How complicit were Arabs with Nazism?

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem with Adolf Hitler

The king of Morocco’s acknowledgment of the Holocaust has been hailed by Jewish leaders as a bold step. But although the Moroccan king’s declaration is a useful counterweight to president Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, the prevailing impression in the Arab world – and indeed much of the West – is that the Arabs were innocent bystanders while the Nazis slaughtered millions in Europe. (In fact thousands of Jews died on ‘Arab’ soil as a direct or indirect result of Nazism). More egregious, the myth, ostensibly believed by president Obama, no less, has developed that the Palestinians paid the price for Nazi and European antisemitism when Israel was established on ‘their’ land.

Nowadays, it is politically incorrect to refer to the Arab association with the Nazis. The Palestinian leader, the Mufti, was the driving force behind the campaign to rid Palestine of its Jews. But Arab propaganda has tried to turn history on its head, accusing Israelis of being the new Nazis – a phenomenon analysed in this report.

The recent debacle over the Shepherd hotel in Jerusalem has a special irony: the property was once owned by the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem himself. The US administration has backed Palestinian objections to the redevelopment of the Shepherd Hotel, although it has been legally owned by a Jew since 1985, because it is situated in a predominantly ‘Arab’ district of Jerusalem. This position sends the worrying signal that Arabs can live among Jews, but Jews cannot live among Arabs.

In truth the Arabs were sympathisers, and even actively complicit with Nazism. After the war the Mufti of Jerusalem was wanted for war crimes in Yugoslavia, but the Allies failed to prosecute him as a Nazi war criminal for fear of offending Arab sensibilities.

Below is evidence of the Arab-Nazi connection:

1. Arab discourse against the Jews and the Jewish state has been genocidal in nature since the 1930s.

2. Arab nationalist parties, eg the Baath party, were influenced by a Nazi model.

3. The founders of the Moslem Brotherhood in the 1930s – which eventually spawned groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah – were heavily inspired by Nazism.

4. Arab countries gave shelter to prominent German Nazis after World War 11.

5. The Palestinian leader, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was Hitler’s ally.Haj Amin Al Husseini became a loyal ally of Hitler and spent the war years in Berlin. He incited anti-Jewish violence in Palestine 1920, 1929 and 1936. Banished (or escaping) to Iraq in 1939 by the British for his role in the Arab revolt, he plotted the pro-Nazi Rashid Ali al-Geylani coup in May 1941. He incited antisemitism and prepared the groundwork for the June 1941 Farhoud progrom which killed some 179 Jews.

6. The Mufti was personally responsible for the deaths of 20,000 Jews murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. He organized the killing of 12,600 Bosnian Jews by Muslims, whom he recruited to the Waffen-SS Nazi-Bosnian division. He personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and gassed; he prevented another 2,000 Jews from leaving Romania and 1000 from leaving Hungary for Palestine, who were subsequently sent to death camps.

7. The Arabs have fulfilled the Nazi objective of rendering the ‘Arab’ Middle East judenrein. Nine-nine percent of the Jewish population has been ‘ethnically cleansed’ from Arab countries. No Jews are allowed to live in Jordan. No Jews can even visit Saudi Arabia. The Jewish community is extinct in Libya. The call to freeze and abandon Jewish settlements in the West Bank has an unpleasant whiff of anti-Jewish racism about it.

Further reading: see articles on this site under the label ‘Holocaust in Arab and Muslim countries.’

Arabs and Nazis – can it be true?

Nazi Influence on the Middle East During WWII

Amin al-Husaini and the Holocaust. What Did the Mufti know?

Islamism, Hamas and Al Queda’s Nazi Roots

Hamas’s historical ties to Nazism

Nazi Roots of Palestinian Nationalism

Hitler wins Fatah primary

The fall of Nazi language – a response

Review of Paul Berman’s book, The flight of the intellectuals

When Palestinians go to Auschwitz, by Sarah Honig


Websites: (French)
The website Jerusalem Posts has a wealth of information in its archive.


  • We await this book with keen anticipation – not due to be published before February 28th

  • On this topic a new scholarly book has been published by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz:

    Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    During the 1930s and 1940s, a unique and lasting political alliance was forged among Third Reich leaders, Arab nationalists, and Muslim religious authorities. From this relationship sprang a series of dramatic events that, despite their profound impact on the course of World War II, remained secret until now. In this groundbreaking book, esteemed Middle East scholars Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz uncover for the first time the complete story of this dangerous alliance and explore its continuing impact on Arab politics in the twenty-first century. Rubin and Schwanitz reveal, for example, the full scope of Palestinian leader Amin al-Husaini’s support of Hitler’s genocidal plans against European and Middle Eastern Jews. In addition, they expose the extent of Germany’s long-term promotion of Islamism and jihad. Drawing on unprecedented research in European, American, and Middle East archives, many recently opened and never before written about, the authors offer new insight on the intertwined development of Nazism and Islamism and its impact on the modern Middle East.

    • Thank you Gideon, I bought the book after reading your comment. I found the book a bit ideologic and the authors failed, among many other things, to mention how many Arab Palestinians joined the Allies in 1939.
      I also suggest you to read the following academic article, Shalom.

      Hajj Amīn al-Ḥusaynī, the “creation” of a leader

      Hajj Amīn al-Ḥusaynī – the «Grand Muftī of Jerusalem» – is often portrayed as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in the first part of XX century. Due to his collusion with Nazism, such a position implies that the Palestinian people are, at least in principle, responsible for their own tragic destiny. This study challenges that assumption and sheds light on how and why the Grand Muftī was imposed on the Palestinian people by London. Analyzing the rise to power of Hajj Amīn al-Ḥusaynī and the means granted to him is crucial for understanding the ways through which the British authorities related to the local realities in post-World War I Palestine and to what extent these practices have marked the subsequent development of Palestinian society.

  • It is my view that when the Mufti "fled" to Lebanon in 1937, the British were not trying very hard to catch him. I think that he was simply allowed to leave Jerusalem for Lebanon. To be sure, Schechtman's biog of the Mufti [The Mufti and the Fuehrer] says that he was hiding from the British on the Temple Mount, which the British proceeded to surround when they learned that he was there. Then he is supposed to have escaped from the Temple Mount disguised as a beggar. From there he went to Gaza where he took a boat for Lebanon. Be that as it may, he stayed in Lebanon for two years and then came to Iraq in 1939, without hindrance from the French. It seems that Nuri Said wanted him to come.

  • This website has much documentation in both French and English.

    This article recounts the Mufti's Holocaust role and gives bibliography.

    Husseini visited the German consulate in Jerusalem as early as 1933 and declared his sympathy for Hitler. He received funding surreptitiously from an American admirer of Hitler, Charles R Crane. Crane a multi-millionaire at the time, had been US minister to China and later sought to build a Muslim-Christian coalition against the Jews. Crane was also the employer in the 1930s of George Antonius, the propagandist/historian of Arab nationalism. Antonius was the Middle East representative of Crane's Institute for Current World Affairs. Crane supplied some of the funding for the "Arab Revolt" of 1936-39. The Nazis and Italian fascists supplied weapons.

    However, it is not true that the British banished Husseini to Iraq. They were supposedly trying to arrest for his involvement in the Arab revolt, and in particular in connection with the murder of Lewis Andrews, Galilee district governor. According to the story at the time, Husseini "escaped" the British and fled to Lebanon. Later, he went from Lebanon to Iraq where he met with UK Major Newcombe in a meeting arranged by the pro-British Nuri Said.


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