Fury grows over Bibi’s Holo­caust ‘dis­tor­tion’

Mufti gave Shoah idea to Hitler, says PM

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

THE IS­RAELI Prime Min­is­ter has caused up­roar by say­ing that it was only af­ter meet­ing the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Hus­seini, in Novem­ber 1941, that Adolf Hitler de­cided to em­bark on the Fi­nal So­lu­tion.

Speak­ing to the World Zion­ist Congress in Jerusalem on Tues­day, Mr Ne­tanyahu said that when the two men met, “Hitler didn’t want to ex­ter­mi­nate the Jews at the time, he wanted to ex­pel the Jews. And al-Hus­seini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you ex­pel them, they’ll all come here (to Pales­tine).’”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ne­tanyahu — whose fa­ther was a lauded his­to­rian — Hitler asked Al-Hus­seini: “What should I do with them?” He replied: “Burn them.”

The Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the found­ing fa­thers of Pales­tinian na­tion­al­ism, was widely known as a vir­u­lent an­tisemite and sup­porter of Hitler.

But this ac­count of their meet­ing, which is based solely on the state­ment of one SS of­fi­cer, has been dis­missed by al­most all se­ri­ous his­to­ri­ans.

Pro­fes­sor Dina Po­rat, chief his­to­rian at Yad Vashem, said: “You can­not say that it was the mufti who gave Hitler the idea to kill or burn Jews. It’s not true.”

Al-Hus­seini’s in­flu­ence in the Third Re­ich is gen­er­ally re­garded as lim­ited to pro­pa­ganda broad­casts in Ger­man and help­ing re­cruit Bos­nian Mus­lims for the SS.

By the time the men met in Novem­ber 1941, around a mil­lion Jews had al­ready been mur­dered in shoot­ing-pits in Poland, Ukraine, Be­larus and western Rus­sia.

Mr Ne­tanyahu’s words have been taken as im­ply­ing that the Pales­tini­ans share some re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Shoah.

In 2012, the Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter

as he sought to re­strict Jews from pray­ing at the Wail­ing Wall. In 1929, this re­sulted in mob vi­o­lence that left 133 Jewish peo­ple dead in Jerusalem and be­yond. The death toll would have been greater had the Ha­ganah forces not fought back, be­fore the Bri­tish Army re­stored con­trol.

While all of this is a mat­ter of record, what Mr Ne­tanyahu claimed next is not. The Is­raeli leader said that un­til Hitler met the Mufti in Novem­ber 1941, he did not want to ex­ter­mi­nate the Jews, but rather ex­pel them from Ger­many. Mr Ne­tanyahu then claimed that al-Hus­seini had con­vinced Hitler to “burn” them in­stead.

While most bi­ogra­phies of Hitler have walk-on roles for mur­der­ous for­eign an­ti­semites, such as the dic­ta­to­rial Croat Ante Pavelic or the Ro­ma­nian Ion An­tonescu, as well as the Mufti, no se­ri­ous his­to­rian would claim any of them in­flu­enced his de­ci­sion to mur­der Europe’s Jews.

Th­ese men were re­mote from the de­ci­sion-mak­ing in­ner cir­cles of the Third Re­ich. Hitler’s ob­ses­sional ha­tred of Jews was deep and long­stand­ing, a fire that re­quired no fur­ther stok­ing by any ex­ter­nal hand.

Nazi mur­der­ous­ness to­ward the Jews burst onto Ger­man and Aus­trian streets dur­ing Kristall­nacht in Novem­ber 1938, while its keener SS Jew-killers got ahead of them­selves from day one of the Septem­ber 1939 in­va­sion of Poland. The in­spi­ra­tion for this was Hitler’s “prophetic” speech on Jan­uary 30 of that year, when he said that the out­break of a world war would re­sult “in the an­ni­hi­la­tion of the Jewish race in Europe”.

Four months be­fore the in­va­sion of Rus­sia, in March 1941, the Ger­man se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary ap­pa­ra­tus put in place the struc­tures and the per­son­nel for the whole­sale mur­der of “Jewish Bol­she­viks”, leav­ing am­ple lat­i­tude for that to mean Jews in gen­eral.

The SS Ein­satz­grup­pen and their lo­cal helpers went about that task with a vengeance af­ter Op­er­a­tion Bar­barossa com­menced on June 22, 1941. A man­date for in­dus­trial-scale mass mur­der was is­sued on July 31, seem­ingly in re­sponse to pres­sures (for ex­am­ple, Jews starv­ing to death in win­ter) that Nazi pol­icy had cre­ated in the first place.

Mr Ne­tanyahu is right not to al­low the world to ig­nore a vi­cious stream of an­tisemitism that has long been rife within what is ris­i­bly called the “Arab world” but which ex­tends to non-Arab Mus­lims too, from Iran to Pak­istan.

Pales­tinian Arabs are not im­mune to this either, de­spite adroitly cast­ing them­selves as vic­tims. But this should not dis­tract from where ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity lay for the Holo­caust, which was with Ger­many and Hitler.

Pro­fes­sor Michael Burleigh has writ­ten widely on Nazi Ger­many

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