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Documents sur le grand Mufti de Jérusalem, le premier leader palestestinien page d'entrée l'historique du conflit israélo-palestinien photos indédites sur le web du grand mufti de Jérusalem avec sa division SS. pour voir ailleurs... les pensées du documentaliste
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long-term promises; the opportune time to make such a declaration would be when the German forces ap­proached the borders of the Arab countries. Quoting the Mufti's Memoirs, Majid Khaddury says: "Despite the Mufti's disappointment he assured Hitler of Arab friend­ship and their willingness to collaborate with Germany."14 Rashid Ali's turn to be received came somewhat later. He saw Ribbentrop on December 16 and on December 19 obtained from him a letter recognizing his position as the Iraqi prime minister. An interview with Hitler was se­cured only in mid-July 1942, at the Fuhrer's military headquarters in occupied Soviet territory. For his part Haj Amin sought to secure a letter addressed to him personally which would recognize the independence of the Arab countries. The desired letter from Ribbentrop came in January 1942. It contained the usual promise of recognition of such independence when the Arabs had won It The Mufti was more successful in securing a pledge from the Italian government To an application made jointly with Rashid Ali, Count Ciano answered on April 28, 1942, with a letter addressed to the Mufti, which con­tained a specific reference to Palestine. (The full text of the letter appears in the Appendix.)
Italy is ... ready to grant to the Arab countries in the Near East, now suffering under British oppression, every possible aid in their fight for liberation; to recognize their sovereignty and independence; to agree to their federation if this is desired by the interested parties; as well as to the abolition of the National Jewish Homeland in Palestine. It is understood that the text and contents of this letter shall be held absolutely secret until such a time as we together decide otherwise.10
Their rivalry notwithstanding, the Mufti and Rashid Ali were united and vocal in their praise for the abortive Iraqi rebellion. They were the star speakers at an anniversary broadcast in Arabic beamed to the Arab world
and relayed from Berlin Radio by radio stations of Zeissen and Athens. Haj Amin said in his address:
Our celebration today is in honor of the glorious anniversary of the movement of the Iraq government, army and nation in the face of British aggression. Today we recall the martyrs who fell on the Iraqi front Today we remember our patriots who made a stand before the tyrants.
Britain's attack on Iraq was not due to political mistakes on the port of Rashid All It was made by the British as part of their plans to turn Iraq into a military base for themselves in the Near East. They wanted to secure their lines of communi­cations and the oilfields, and to strengthen their military and political position. They also planned to penetrate into Persia. The plan was Wavell's, approved by the British government during the first year of war. Plots were hatched in the dark to fulfill it. Excuses and various tricks were devised to hide their true aims and shift the blame for their crimes on to other people. This has always been typical of British conduct The British saw in the government of Rashid Ali and the Iraq army leaders an obstacle to their designs. They used their political methods to overcome it But these Iraqi patriots refused to be misled by British tricks, and refused to play with the inde­pendence of Iraq. So the British resolved to get rid of them and brought up their armies to do so and to occupy the coun­try. . . . Responsibility for the shedding of Iraq blood and for damage to the country falls on the neck of the British... The Anglo-Iraq treaty was not the first to be violated by the British, Britain broke her promises to Egypt, India and other Islamic and Eastern countries... ,
Today reminds us of those in concentration camps, prison and exile. This commemoration extends to those killed and injured in the Arab cause since the last war, and to the revolts in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and other Arab countries. With this commemoration our determnination is renewed to continue our struggle and to maintain patience whatever the difficulties. Victory is ours. The Arabs alone have carried the burden for many years, while the Jews and British have done as they liked. Today we oppose them at a time when they are being attacked by powerful friendly countries, Arab blood has not
been shed in vain. It is a high price, but they who ask much must sacrifice much. The aims of our countries must be achieved. The Muslims will be victorious. The morning is not distant
A week later Haj Amin was on the Axis air again, this time with a straight call to arms against the British and Allies, The occasion was the German announcement that three Iraqi military leaders, Sabbagh, Sa'id and Salman —members of the "Golden Square"—had been con­demned to death by an Iraqi military court.
In a recorded program from Berlin, relayed to the Near and Middle East by the powerful Ban Radio at 1:00 p.m, on May 10, the Mufti said:
O Arabs, rise and avenge your martyrs. Avenge your honor. Fight for your independence. I, Mufti of Palestine, declare this war as a holy war against the British yoke of injustice, in­decency and tyranny. We fear not death, if in death there is life and liberty.
The blood of these martyrs was shed for the cause of Islam and for an Arab country. They will remain immortal in the heart and history of the Arabs.
Rashid Ali was again in the same program.
Haj Amin also was at loggerheads with Fawzi Kaukji, former commander of Arab armed bands during the rebellion of 1938-1939. A pamphlet published after the war by anti-Mufti groups, devoted much attention to "the Mufti's intrigues against Kaukji":
Driven by Kaukji's military reputation to the fear that Hitler might place him rather than the Mufti in charge of the attempt to organize Arab resistance to the Allied Annies in the Middle East, Haj Amin constantly whispered into the ears of German intelligence officers that Kaukji was nothing but an English instigator whom the British had specially brought to Lebanon for this purpose from Turkey,
The pamphlet also claimed that the Mufti had intrigued against Kaukji during the 1936-1939 rebellion and that Kaukji had "only succeeded by a miracle in escaping his clutches in Palestine."16
Buro des Grossmufti
The center of Haj Amin's almost world-wide net was Germany. A special office, called Buro des Grossmufti was established in Berlin (and later in Oybin) with branches in other parts of Germany and in Italy. Its activities in­cluded: (1) radio propaganda, (2) espionage and filth column activities in the Middle East (sabotage and parachutist expeditions}, (3) organization of Moslems into military units in Axis-occupied countries and in North Africa and Russia, and (4) establishment of the Arab Legions and the Arab Brigade. To each of these fields Haj Arnin devoted his truly extraordinary energy and dyna­mism.
Since his arrival in Berlin, the Mufti was in charge of supervising Axis propaganda broadcasts to the Middle East. He himself went on the radio on several occasions and his broadcasts were among the most violent pro-Axis utterances ever produced. He had at his disposal no less than sis "freedom stations"(Berlin, Zeissen, Bari, Rome, Tokyo, Athens), urging the Arabs of Palestine and Moslems all over the world, including those in the United States, to rise against the Allies, join the fifth column, commit acts of sabotage, and kill the Jews. Several mem-
To the Grand Mufti:
The National Socialist Movement of Greater Germany lias, since its beginning, inscribed upon its flag the fight against world Jewry. It has therefore followed with particular sympa­thy the struggle of the freedom-loving Arabians, especially inPalestine, against the Jewish interlopers.
Five weeks later, on December 10, 1943, the official German News Agency Transocean reported that on the Arab-Moslem holiday of Aid el-Kebir, Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Reich's foreign minister, addressed a message to both the Mufti and Rashid el-Gailani: "Traditional bonds of friendship Join Germany with the Arab people. Today more than ever Germany is the natural ally of the Arabs- The elimination of the so-called Jewish National Home and the liberation of all Arab countries from sub­jugation and exploitation by the Western Powers is an unalterable aim of the policy of the Greater German Reich. May the hour not be far off when the Arab people, in complete independence, can build up its future in unity and self-determination.*'
Nazi press and political literature were assiduously wooing the Mufti The rabidly anti-Semitic periodical Die Action published in March 1942 an interview by N, H, Sanki under the title, "An Hour with the Taithfull.' His Eminence the Grand Mufti of Palestine Speaks About the Arab National Aims" The following year there appeared a book by Kurt Fisher-Weth: Amin al-Husseini, Gross-mufti von Palestine (Berlin, 1943, 95 pp.), and the Mufti was invited to write a Preface to a Nazi source book on Britain's Palestine policy, by Mamrin al Hamui, Die Britische Pabtertina-Politik, Dokumente zur Zeitgeschichie (Berlin, 1943, 365 pp.). "Grossmufti of Jerusalem, Kurort Oybin" was mentioned in a German Propaganda Ministry
document of March 1944, in a mailing list of pro-German volunteer formations receiving literature from the minis­try. Haj Amin was also invited to represent "Arabia" at the abortive International Anti-Jewish Congress sched­uled by Alfred Rosenberg for July 1944-45
The collapse of Mussolini's government in September 1943 resulted in attaching the Mufti's Arab supporters even closer to Germany. A Nachriehten und Pressedienst report from Antakia, dated September 10, 1943, thus de­scribed Arab reaction to this new turn of world events:
During (he last tea years Fascism has, for ideological and political reasons, found many adherents and sympathizers among the Arabs of the Near East, and has awakened many hopes of powerful support for the Arabs' fight for freedom against Great Britain and France.... A proof that these opin­ions had taken root was the fact that the enemy broadcasting stations tried nearly every day to disparage and slander Italy and Fascism. . . . Since the overthrow of Mussolini, however, this attitude has undergone considerable change.... The news of the philo-Semitic measures taken by the Badoglio Govern­ment, which is entirely analogous to the re-establishment of Jewish influence in Algiers, has greatly contributed to this change of opinion among the Arabs.
During these last few weeks it has been observed that Italy, without the attraction of Fascism, is no longer able to pursue art active Near Eastern policy to impress the Arab soul. All the more do Arab circles now expect an independent active Ger­man Near Eastern policy, since Germany has been freed from her former agreements with Italy.
The Mufti's Anti-Jewish Crusade
It was only natural that in the Mufti's numerous and variegated broadcasts, anti-Jewish incitement had played an outstanding and ever increasing part. It became particularly vitriolic on March 19, 1943, cm the occasion of
Prophet Mohammed's birthday. In a broadcast over the Rome wireless he reiterated his old allegation, which had caused so much bloodshed in Palestine in the past, that the Jews had designs on the holy places of Islam, espe­cially on the El Aqsa Mosque. The danger of Judaism to the Arabs, argued the Mufti, was not confined to Palestine as the Jews, associated with the Allies, were now planning to mate North Africa a shelter for Jewish refugees from Europe; this, he said, explains Dr. Weizmam's statement that North Africa will form a bridge between New York and Jerusalem, Warning the Arabs that in the case of an Allied victory "Jewish influence will be the arbiter of the world," Haj Amin urged them to sabotage the Allied war effort. He addressed himself in particular to Arab emigrants in America:
The Arabs and Moslems will not be deceived by Britain, for not only have they long known Us true intentions but they have also known those of its Ally—America. 1 want to draw the attention of the Arab emigrants in America to this fact, reminding them of their glorious past when they supported the National Movement. I would remind them that their efforts will be wasted if, God forbid, America and her Allies are vic­torious in this war. For if (hat happened, the Arabs would never rise again. I therefore am confident that those Arab emi­grants in America will refrain from helping Roosevelt or from taking part in a war which he has brought on his country.
. . . Arabs and Moslems, on this occasion of the birthday of the Prophet, who crushed Jewish ambitions in the past and completely eliminated them from Moslem countries, thereby setting us an example, on such a day Moslems and Arabs should vow before God utterly to crush Jewish ambitions and prove that faith in God is greater than imperialism and far more powerful than the devilry which surrounds international Judaism-Eight months later, a rally to protest the publication, twenty-sis years ago, of the Balfour Declaration was held
in the large Luftwaffe Hall in Berlin. The proceedings were broadcast and a recording was rebroadcast the fol­lowing day. Haj Amin was the principal speaker. The broadcast opened with a color piece from the announcer:
We are in the Luftwaffe building in Berlin, where Arab leaders are gathered to protest against the Balfour Declaration. The Hall is festooned with Arab flags and poster portraits of Arab patriots. Arabs and Moslems from every land pour into the hall- Among them are Moroccans, Palestinians, Lebanese, Yemenites, men from the Hedjaz, Indians, Iranians and Mos­lem representatives from all over Europe. Among the latter are a great many Germans friendly to the Arabs, high government officials, civilian and military, one of the S.S. chiefs, representa­tives of foreign embassies and at their head representatives of the Japanese Embassy- The audience runs into hundreds, and here now I see the Mufti of Jerusalem making his way into the hall. He is shaking bands with a number of notables and mounts the steps to the stage to deliver his address.
Haj Amin then took over with a vitriolic tirade against the Jews and the British and glowing praise for the Axis:
Moslems throughout the Arab lands are united against the enemy which faces them today in Palestine and elsewhere— namely the British.
The Treaty of Versailles was a disaster for the Germans as well as for the Arabs. But the Germans know how to get rid of the Jews. That which brings us dose to the Germans and sets us in their camp is that up to today, the Germans have never harmed any Moslem, and they are again fighting our common enemy (applause) who persecuted Arabs and Mos­lems. But most of all (hey have definitely solved the Jewish problem. These ties, and especially the last, make our friend­ship with Germany not a provisional one, dependent on condi­tions, but a permanent and lasting friendship based on mutual interests.
The greatest of Britain's crimes is wanting to drag the Arabs into a war against the Germans and Japanese, who never committed a wrong against the Moslems.
sufficient." Yet Field Marshal Goering, to whom the mat­ter had been previously submitted for decision, turned it down on July 17 because no sufficiently large task force was available.
In the spring of the nest year, the Mufti renewed pres­sure for such an action. Another official German report, this time by Foreign Air Force West (No, 9753/448/D4/, March 30, 1944), entitled; "In re: Grand Mufti's Urging of a Bombing Attack on Tel Aviv on April 1," pointed out that "the Grand Mufti had already repeatedly proposed bomb attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in order to injure Palestinian Jewry and for propaganda purposes in the Arab world."6 Referring to Goering's previous ruling, the Air Force Command again refrained from action.
acceleration of such a mass exodus. The same policy was applied in Czechoslovakia when, in July 1939, Eichmann was transferred to Prague to head the branch of the "Cen­tral Office for Jewish Emigration" in the German Protec­torate of Bohemia and Moravia. The announced goal was the emigration of 70,000 Jews within a year, and within the first sis months some 35,000 Jews had left the Protec­torate. Given exit permits, they were dumped at various European ports. Thousands were put aboard German ships with forged British certificates for Palestine or with bogus Latin-American visas. In 1933-1939 alone, a total of 80,000 Jews had left Austria and Czechoslovakia under Eichmann's "auspices"—and under duress- As it turned out, they thus escaped being gassed In Auschwitz by order of the same Adolf Eichmann.
In the second half of 1939 the emigration scheme was suddenly abandoned- Yet, for months to come, the alter­native to emigration was still not slaughter but isolation in ghettos, deportation to the East, and slave labor. The pro­gram of wholesale physical extermination began only after the Mufti's arrival on the scene. The formal decision to annihilate the Jews who had survived the ghettos, forced labor, starvation, and disease, was taken at the Wannsee interdepartmental conference on January 20, 1942, two months after the Mufti's landing in Berlin.
It would he both wrong and misleading to assume that the presence of Haj Amin el-Husseini was the sole, or even the major factor in the shaping and intensification of the Nazi "final solution of the Jewish problem," which supplanted forced emigration by wholesale extermination. There is, however, abundant first-hand evidence of the part the Mufti played in making foolproof the ban on emigration.
The Mufti and "The Final Solution'
It is hardly accidental that the beginning of the system­atic physical destruction of European Jewry by Hitler's Third Reich roughly coincided with the Mufti's arrival in the Axis camp.
Up to mid-1941, the official German policy vis-a-vis the Jews was one of forced mass emigration from the Reich's "vital space." After the annexation of Austria in 1938, the "Jewish Emigration Office" headed by Adolf Eichmann, succeeded, within eight months, in impelling 45,000 Jews to leave the country. The Office took no interest in the ultimate destination of the expellees, and Eichmann is known to have cooperated with Zionist leaders toward the
* In a letter to Himrnler, dated September 28, 1944, General Berger of the Waffen S.S. reported: "Today the Mufti came to see me for a long talk. He talked about his work and noted happily that the day is near-
ing he will head an army to conquer Palestine." (Quentin Rey-nolds, Ephraim Kotz, Zwy Aldouby. Minister of Death: The Adolf Eichmann Story [New York, I960], pp, 175-178).
Sealing Off the Routes of Escape
Within Germany proper, there were no loopholes to which the Mufti could object. But he felt that the puppet governments of Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria were not being sufficiently strict in preventing their Jewish subjects from escaping to Palestine. Throughout the war years, small groups of Jews from the Axis-dominated countries somehow succeeded in evading the ghettos and gas chambers and in making their way to Palestine, first via Greece and later, when the Greek ports were closed to Jewish refugees, overland via Bulgaria and Turkey. In 1941-1942, a total of 1,090 reached Palestine; early in 1943, the first group of Youth Aliyah children arrived from Rumania and Hungary, and by the end of the year, 1,128 Jews had passed through Turkey. The ratal for 1941-1945 was 1S,783.
However insignificant these numbers, in relation to the tragic plight of the masses of European Jewry, this trickle of escapees was a challenge to the Mufti's designs. Partic­ularly irritating was their destination: Palestine. And Haf Amin spared no effort to seal off this sole route of salva­tion.
In the summer of 1944 he directly approached the satel­lite governments with virtually identical letters, urging them to bar any Jewish emigration to Palestine. In a letter dated June 28, 1944, addressed to the Hungarian foreign minister, he wrote:
Lately I have been informed of the uninterrupted efforts made by the British and the Jews to obtain permission for the Jews living in your country to leave for Palestine via Bulgaria and Turkey,
I have also learned that these negotiations were successful.
since some of the Jews of Hungary have had the satisfaction of emigrating to Palestine through Bulgaria and Turkey, and that a group of these Jews had arrived in Palestine towards the end of last March. The Jewish Agency, which supervises the execution of the Jewish program . . . quotes, among other things, its receipt of a sufficient number of immigration certifi­cates for 900 Jewish children to be transported from Hungary, accompanied by 100 adults.60
Insisting that any Jewish emigration be stopped, the Mufti significantly added: "If there are reasons which make their [the Jews] removal necessary, it would be indispensable and infinitely preferable to send them to other countries where they would find themselves under active control, as for example Poland, thus avoiding danger and preventing damage,"
When these letters to the three Axis satellites were written, Poland had already begun to function as the main center of extermination. The alternative to emigration offered by the Mufti was—deportation and subsequent annihilation. A month later, on July 24, 1944, he also approached the Reich's Foreign Office:
Berlin July 25, 1944
To His Excellency The Minister for Foreign Affairs Berlin
Your Excellency;
I have previously called the attention of your Excellency to the constant attempts of the Jews to emigrate from Europe in order to reach Palestine, and asked your Excellency to under­take the necessary steps so as to prevent the Jews from emi­grating. I had also sent you a letter, under date of June 5,1944, in regard to the plan for an exchange of Egyptians liv­ing in Germany with Palestinian Germans, in which I asked you to exclude the Jews from this plan of exchange, I have,
however, learned that the Jews did depart on July 2, 1944, and I am afraid that further groups of Jew will leave for Palestine from Germany and France to be exchanged for Palestinian Germans,
This exchange on the part of the Germans would encourage the Balkan countries likewise to send their Jews to Palestine. This step would be incomprehensible to the Arabs and Mos­lems after your Excellency's declaration of November 2, 1943 that "the destruction of the so-called Jewish national home In Palestine is an immutable part of the policy of the greater German Reich" and it would create in them a Feeling of keen disappointment
It is for this reason that I ask your Excellency to do all that is necessary to prohibit the emigration of Jews to Palestine, and in this way your Excellency would give a new practical example of the policy of the naturally allied and friendly Ger­many towards the Arab Nation.61
A similar letter was sent two days later to Heinrich Himrnler in his capacity as S,S- Reichsfuhrer and Minister of the Interior,62
The Mufti was both persistent and indefatigable in his efforts to prevent the Jews from leaving in whatever form, Legationsrat Wilhelm Melchers said in his evidence taken during the Nuremberg trial, August 6, 1947: "The Mufti was making protests everywhere—in the Office of the [Foreign] Minister, in the antechamber of the Secre­tary of State, and in other Departments, such as Home Office, Press, Radio, and m the S.S. headquarters. It goes without saying that the [Reich] Foreign Ministry was ex­pecting protest demarches in matters concerning Balkan Jews, fust on the part of the Mufti They were, of course, welcome in certain places. ... The Mufti was an accom­plished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated." His main concern, however, was the liquidation of Palestine Jewry. "The
[Jewish] National Home must disappear and the Jews [there] must get out," he once told Melchers, and he "did not care where they would go: Ils peuvent aller s'ils veulent au diable" (They are free to go to hell).69
As a rule, the Mufti's demarches had an immediate effect. On May 13, 1943, he personally delivered to Von Ribbentrop a letter of protest against the plan to arrange the emigration of 4,000 Jewish children:
It has come to my attention from reliable sources that the English and American Governments asked their representa­tives in the Balkans (especially in Bulgaria) to intervene with the governments and request that they be given permission to allow Jews to emigrate to Palestine, In connection with this, the British Minister of Colonies, Sir Oliver Stanley, announced in the British Parliament that the discussions for the emigra­tion of 4,000 children escorted by 500 adults from Bulgaria have been ended successfully and he hopes that similar occur­rence? will be achieved in Rumania and Hungary. The Arabs see in this emigration a great danger to their lives and existence. The Arab peoples put themselves at the disposal of the Axis without any hesitation in the fight against communism and international Jewry. The Jews will take out with them from the Balkans many military secrets and will give them to Allied agents who are waiting their arrival at the port I re­quest your Excellency to act with all possible effort to avoid this plan of the international Jewry and Anglo-Americans without delay. This service will never be forgotten by the Arab people.64
Following this request, Horst Wagner of the II of the German Foreign Office forthwith sent a telegram to the German ambassador in Sofia instructing him to draw the attention of-the Bulgarian government to the common German-Arabian interest in preventing this res­cue action.66
Discussing with engineer Endre Steiner at Bratislava the prospects for emigration of a group of Polish Jewish
children, S.S. Hauptsturmfuhrer Dieter Wisliceny, Eich-mann's deputy for Slovakia and Hungary, insisted that "the destination of [their] possible emigration may under no circumstances be Palestine." To the question as to why such limitation had been imposed, Wisliceny laughingly asked whether Steiner "had not heard of the Grand Mufti whose name was Husseini , . . [and who] was in closest
contact and collaboration with Eichmann___In order not
to have this action disapproved by the Mufti, Palestine could not be accepted by any German authority as the final destination."" Somewhat later, Eichmann himself told Dr. Rudolf Kastner in Budapest: "I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised him that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more. Do you understand now?"67
In every case connected with the emigration of Jews from Germany's "vital space," there always was mention of some promises given to, or an agreement concluded with, the Mufti not to permit the exit of any numbers of Jews, large or small A document submitted at the Eich­mann trial by the prosecution established that when the German minister to Bucharest had formally objected to an order by Marshal Antonescu, the Rumanian prime minis­ter, to allow the emigration of 80,000 Rumanian Jews, he did so "in accordance with our agreement with the Mufti."68 In answer to questions put to him at the Jeru­salem trial, Eichmann said on June 27, 1961, that though even before the Mufti's arrival there had been "objections to emigration to Palestine because this might strengthen the country [Palestine] and create in the field of foreign relations a new factor which would one day join the ene­mies of the Reich," a consistent "policy of the Foreign Ministry . . . began after the agreement with the Grand
Mufti"; he also spoke of an "agreement between Mufti and [head of the Gestapo] Himrnler.""
Referring to the successful intervention by the Mufti against the planned evacuation to Palestine of 4,000 Jew­ish children, Robert N, W. Kempner, the American deputy chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on July 1,1948, asked the former Reich secretary of state, Gustav Adolf von Moyland Steengracht: "How could you con­clude agreements with anyone who was not a head of a [foreign] State, but your own employee whom you had been paying thousands of gold pounds?"
Steengrachfs embarrassed answer was: "Yes, but it wasn't me who had made these agreements. I had just come into a situation where everything had already been completed."
Kempner bluntly formulated this state of affairs by say­ing: "Herr von Steengracht, first you are paying someone, and then this man, your employee, says: The children must not go to Palestine.'"80
The Mufti and Eichmann
There also is direct evidence as to the Mufti's influence in the implementation of the physical destruction of Eu­ropean Jewry.
In June 1944, Dieter Wisliceny told Dr. Rudolf Kastner., representative of the Budapest rescue council, that he was convinced that the Mufti had "played a role in the deci­sion to exterminate the European Jews." "The importance of this role," he insisted, "must not be disregarded. . . . The Mufti had repeatedly suggested to the various au­thorities with whom he was maintaining contact, above all to Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himrnler, the extermination
of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestine problem.'»61
Wisliceny was even more explicit in his conversation with Engineer Endre Steiner of Bratislava:
The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic erterm­ination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himrnler in the execution of this plan, . . .He was one of Eichmann's best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I beard
■ him say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited in-
incognito the gas chamber of Auschwitz."62
Wisliceny elaborated on these private wartime revela­tions in a signed official depostion submitted on July 26, 1946, to the Nuremberg tribunal. He testified that after the Mufti's arrival in Germany he had paid a visit to Himmler and shortly afterward (late in 1941 or early in 1942) had visited Eichmann in his Berlin office at Kur­Fiirstenstrasse 116- According to Wisliceny, Eichmann told him that he had brought the Mufti to a special room where he showed him maps illustrating the distribution of the Jewish population in various European countries and delivered a detailed report on the solution of the Jewish problem in Europe. The Mufti seemed to have been very much impressed; he told Eichmann, that he had requested Himmler—and received a promise to this effect—that when, after the victory of the Axis, he would return to Palestine, he would be accompanied, as his persona! ad-
viser, by a trusted agent of Eichmann. The latter inquired whether Wisliceny himself would not be disposed to take such an assignment; the offer was declined. "Eichmann was strongly impressed by the personality of the Mufti," continued Wisliceny. "He told me then—and often re­peated it later—that the Mufti had also made a strong impression on Himrnler and exerted considerable influ­ence in Arabic-Jewish affairs."
A photostatic copy of Wisliceny deposition was shown to Eichmann by chief inspector Avner Less dur­ing pre-trial interrogation ( the full German test of the interrogator's questions and (he accused's answers was made available to this author). Eichmann recognized Wisliceny's signature under the deposition and did not question its authenticity. He insisted, however, then—and later before the Jerusalem District Court—that he had "met the Mufti only once, and never again; this was at a reception which was arranged by the S.D, [Security Serv­ice] in the Mufti's residence . . . most of the heads of departments in the Reich Security Head Office, including myself, were presented to him. . . We—neither my sub­ordinates nor myself—never had any farther contact with the Mufti." He admitted that, once, "three Iraqi majors" (one of them, he heard, was the Mufti's nephew) had "spent ... on a study tour ... a day or two" in his department on the Kurfurstenatrasse. But that, he claimed, was all When interrogator Less asked why Wis­liceny would have distorted the facts, Eichmann sug­gested that this was done in the hope of finding favor in the eyes of the Nuremberg Judges, Dr. Robert Servatius, Eichmann's defense counsel at the Jerusalem court, put to his client the question: "Did anyone propose to you, on behalf of the Mufti, that you join him as an expert on Jewish affairs?" The answer was a firm "No, no, there was
* S. Wiesenthal relates in his Grand MuftiAgent Extraordinary of the Axis that Haj Amin visited not only Auschwitz but aha Maldanek. In both death camps he paid dose attention to the efficiency of the crematorie, spoke to the leading personnel and wasgenerous in bis praise for those who were reported as particularly conscientious in their work. He was on friendly terms with such notorious practitioners of the "final solution" as Rudolf Hess, the overlord of Auschwitz; Franz Zeireis of Mauthausen; Dr. Seidl of Theresienstadt; and Kramer, the butcher of Belsen,
never any such proposal." One of the three judges, Ben­jamin Halevi, then asked: "But you were undoubtedly presented to the Mufti as an expert on Jewish affairs?" To this, the answer was more hesitant;
1 can't answer yes or no [at this point there was a burst of laughter in the courtroom]. I don't remember today what hap­pened. But it is possible—I must make this reservation—that perhaps this was done by Department VI which arranged the reception.63
Eichmann was, however, unfailing in denying any close relation or cooperation with the Mufti The latter, on his part, even claimed not to have ever met or known Eich-mann, jet alone incited or advised him on mass killings of Jews. In reply to reports to this effect, he told a press conference in Beirut on May 4,1961:
The Nazis needed no persuasion or instigation either by me of anybody else to execute their program against the Jews.... I do not know Eichmann, I have never met him, and I had no, repeat, no occasion to observe his activities or for that matter to visit the Nazi extermination camps for Jews, as the Zionists so falsely claim. I also do not think that Eichmann could be the source of these fancies which can only be called the fan­tasies of the Machievelian imagination of the Zionists.64
The Mufti's sweeping assertion that he had "never met" Eichmann is easily disproved by the Tatter's acknowledg­ment of their having been introduced to each other. But the actual degree of their acquaintance and cooperation remains a moot point which was far from adequately elucidated by the Jerusalem trial.
Another question not cleared Up at the trial was that raised by a piece of evidence submitted by the prosecu­tion: a page of the Mufti's diary, dated November 9,1944, and containing the words, in Arabic, "very rare diamond, the best savior of the Arabs," and immediately under-
neath, inLatin letters, "Eichmann." Called to the witness stand, Chief Inspector Avraham Hagag, Arabic and hand­writing expert of the Israeli Police, testified that the sen­tence in Arabic was definitely in the handwriting of the Mufti. So were two other Arabic notations: "Before Trip­oli is evacuated, the Jews should be cleaned out and their property confiscated," and "Bomb Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea [Works], Rutenberg and Haifa, and the military installa­tions there." Yet, when Eichmann's defense counsel asked: "Was the word 'Eichmann' written by the Mufti?" Hagag answered: "I didn't have enough material [in Latin let­ters] to make a comparison and form an opinion." To the counsel's further question, "Arc the other two notations in German written in the same handwriting as the 'Eich-mann'," the reply was "No,"63
Whatever the precise degree of the Mufti's personal in­volvement with Eichmann's genocide activities, his broad­cast from Berlin on September 21, 1944, bears witness that he was fully cognizant of the method and scope of Nazi extermination of the Jews. "Is it not in your power, O Arabs," he asked, "to repulse the jews who number not more than eleven million?"
Tins reference to "eleven million" waspuzzling at the time. It was common knowledge that before World War II, world Jewry numbered nearly seventeen million. The Mufti's figure was therefore disregarded as a slip of the tongue or a mere propaganda device. In 1944, nobody was as yet aware of the actual scale of Jewish extermination. But the Mufti obviously was. There was no error and no guessing in his arithmetic- As close associate, confidant, and collaborator of the top men involved in the Nazi "final solution of the Jewish problem," he knew precisely the extent of the annihilation: six million.
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