How did the Arabs help the Nazi war effort?

In this important 9-part series in Israel National News, historian Dr Alex Grobman examines the influence of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini on Arab opinion, and the Arab contribution to the Nazi war effort.  Here is an extract from Part 3, ‘Enlisting Arabs for the Nazi cause’:

Dr Alex Grobman

From 1941-1945, historian Antonio J. Muñoz estimated that about 5,000
Arab and Indian Muslims volunteered to serve in the German armed
forces, hardly sufficient to constitute an army of liberation. Their
worth as a military force was negligible compared with units created
with Muslims in the Balkans and the USSR. Though the Germans failed to
conquer the region, the units did have propaganda value which the Nazis
exploited.

Joseph Schechtman credited the mufti in helping
establish espionage networks to provide information about British troop
movements. His news transmissions to the Middle East reported acts of
sabotage that would normally have been censored. His agents, who
infiltrated the Middle East by land or by air, cut pipe and telephone
lines in Palestine and Transjordan and destroyed bridges and railways in
Iraq.


His
agents, who infiltrated the Middle East by land or by air, cut pipe and
telephone lines in Palestine and Transjordan and destroyed bridges and
railways in Iraq.

The Mufti’s famous meeting with Hitler in November 1941



 He
also organized an Axis-Arab Legion known as the Arabisches
Freiheitskorps that wore German uniforms with “Free Arabia” patches
Schechtman said. As part of the German Army, the unit guarded
communications facilities in Macedonia and hunted down American and
British paratroopers who jumped into Yugoslavia and were hiding among
the local population. The legion also fought on the Russian front.
Another major success was el-Husseini’s recruitment of tens of thousands
of Balkan Muslims into the Wehrmacht.  Moshe Shertok (Sharett), chief
of the political department of the Jewish Agency, reported that on a
visit to Bosnia in 1943, the mufti appealed to local Muslims to join the
Moslem Waffen-SS Units and met with the units that were already
operational.

In addition, Middle East expert Robert Satloff said
Haj Amin used his contacts with Muslim leaders in North Africa to urge
them to obstruct the Allied advance in every way possible. After Allied
troops invaded North Africa in November 1942, Vichy officers in Tunisia
established the Phalange Africaine, also called the Légion des
Volontaires Française de Tunisie. There were 400 men in the unit,
approximately one-third Arab and the rest a mélange of European
pro-Fascists. The German Army assumed command of the Phalange in
February 1943, fighting the British and the Free French for most of
1944. In 1944, a French military court convicted the unit’s commander,
Pierre Simon Cristofini, of treason and executed him.

A
second all-Arab unit under German command, known as the Brigade Nord
Africaine, Satloff noted was established by Mohamed el-Maadi, a former
French officer and antisemite whose nickname was “SS Mohamed.” They
fought the partisans, a group of resistance fighters, in the Dordogne
region in South-West France.

In March 1944, Schechtman said the
mufti urged the Arabs to “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This
pleases God, history and religion.” In keeping with this religious
imperative, historian Raul Hilberg said the mufti asked the German
Foreign Minister on May 13, 1943 “to do his utmost” to prohibit further
departures of Jews from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary to Palestine.

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The Arabs who fought with the Jews against the Nazis: 

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