Auschwitz-Birkenau: the Mufti admonished camp guards to work harder
On the day that the world
commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of
Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the UK liberal newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial :
“The Arabs, meanwhile, cannot be blamed for feeling that Europe’s blood
debt to the Jews was paid with what they see as their territory.”
The myth of the Arabs as innocent bystanders,
who had no responsibility for the Holocaust — and indeed, paid the price
for a European crime when Israel was established — is widely believed.
The Arabs, like other third-world peoples, are
only ever seen as victims of western oppression and colonialism. They
cannot themselves be guilty of oppressing others.
The West self-righteously deplores the old
European anti-Semitism of the ‘far right’. But a new Green-Brown-Red
anti-Semitism — encouraged by an alliance of the Far Left, the Greens
and Islamist sympathizers — is studiously downplayed, ignored by the
media, or blamed on Israel.
Truth to tell, the virus of Nazi anti-Semitism
was exported to the Arab and Muslim world as early as the 1930s. It
gave ideological inspiration to Arab nationalist parties like the
Ba’athists in Syria and Iraq and paramilitary groups like Young Egypt,
founded in 1933. Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are the central plank
of the totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, and
their ideological cousins, Islamic State, who seek today to impose
Allah’s kingdom on earth through jihad and forced conversion of non-Muslims.
The Holocaust was, in the words of author Robert Satloff,
as much an Arab story as a European. In spite of efforts to trumpet the
stories of individual ‘Righteous’ Muslims, who rescued Jews
(particularly in Albania), scholars continue to uncover evidence of Arab sympathy and collaboration with Nazism.
Said Walter Doehle, German Consul in Jerusalem in 1937: ”
Palestinian Arabs in all social
strata have great sympathies for the new Germany and its Führer. .… If a
person identified himself as a German when faced with threats from an
Arab crowd, this alone generally allowed him to pass freely. But when
some identified themselves by making the “Heil Hitler” salute, in most
cases the Arabs’ attitude became expressions of open enthusiasm, and the
German gave ovations, to which the Arabs responded loudly.
When Tunisia came under direct Nazi occupation
between November 1942 and May 1943, some 2,000 Jews were sent to work
in labour camps. The reaction of Tunisia’s Muslim majority was,
according to Robert Satloff, ‘widespread indifference.’
Gestures of support and active
assistance for the minority being displaced, disenfranchised, plundered
and conscripted into forced labour were very rare. Arab passers-by would
publicly insult and physically attack individuals.
Although he was not the only collaborator with
Nazism — Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Rashid Ali al-Kelani, Abu Ibrahim al-Kabir,
Hassan Salama and Arif Abd al-Raziq spring to mind — the role played by
the Palestinian leader, The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin
al-Husseini, in fomenting anti-Jewish incitement and violence, not just
in Palestine but across the Arab world, is key. From 1931, he conflated
‘Zionists’ with ‘Jews’: any Jewish community became fair game for
collective punishment. And still is.
The Grand Mufti met with Hitler in Berlin in
November 1941 to discuss the extermination of the Jews in the Middle
East. He spent the rest of the war as a guest of the Nazis.
Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny
(later executed as a war criminal) in his Nuremburg Trials testimony
stated: “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic
extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser
of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan… He was one of
Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the
On a visit to Auschwitz, the Mufti reportedly
admonished the guards running the gas chambers to work more diligently.
Throughout the war, he broadcast regularly on German radio to the Middle
East, preaching his pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic message to the Arab masses
Had the Allies not liberated Tunisia from the
Nazis, Libya from the Italian fascists, and Algeria and Morocco from the
Vichy regime in 1943 – it is a fair bet that the local Arab population
would not have lifted a finger to halt the deportation of the Jews of
Palestine and the Arab world to death camps.
Arguably, North African states, having not yet
achieved independence, were not responsible for Jewish suffering:
anti-Jewish measures were implemented by the Vichy regime and the
Italian fascists. But the Iraqi government cannot so lightly be let off
the hook. Iraq, independent since 1932, was the scene of a pro-Nazi coup
in 1941, leading inexorably to the Farhud,
the Iraqi-Jewish Kristallnacht. In this two-day orgy of murder, rape,
mutilation and looting, up to 600 Jews were killed, according to British
archival records. The exact figure will never be known.
The Palestinian grand Mufti played a central role in plotting the pro-Nazi coup in Iraq.
The Mufti was personally responsible for the
deaths of 20,000 European Jews murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. He
organised 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: they too
were sent to death camps.
Only three years after the end of WW ll, the
members of the Arab League were bent on emulating the Nazis. They set
about making the Arab Middle East Judenrein. They applied Nuremberg-style laws,
criminalising Zionism, freezing Jewish bank accounts, instituting
quotas, imposing restrictions on jobs and movement. The result was the
mass exodus and spoliation of of a million Jews. Yet very few Arabs
acknowledge they are to blame for the so-called Jewish nakba. Holocaust denial goes hand-in-hand with Jewish nakba denial.
In 1945, the Mufti of Jerusalem should have
been tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg. He was indicted, judged and
convicted by Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity, arising from his
pivotal role in the Handschar and Skandeberg SS divisions which deported
Balkan Jews from Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace. But the Allies shrank
from offending the Arabs.
Not only has the virus of Nazi antisemitism
never left the Arab and Muslim world, it has grown exponentially. Muslim
immigrants have carried the the virus of Jew-hatred back into European
countries. Saudi petrodollars have financed the spread of Islamism, with
its implicit antisemitism, worldwide.
That is why today, in the Arab and Muslim world, Holocaust denial is alive and well.
The ghost of Nazi-inspired, anti-Jewish
bigotry was never exorcised from the Arab world. In fact Arabs became
its torch-bearers. Adolph Eichmann himself hoped his “Arab friends”
would continue his battle against the Jews who were always the
“principal war criminals” and “principal aggressors.” He hadn’t managed
to complete his task of “total annihilation,” but the Muslims could
still complete it for him.