Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in WW2 was a Nazi

A two hour program screened on the History Channel on the subject of the links during the 20th Century between the Ba'aath Party in Iraq and Nazi Germany pointed out that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time - Mohammad Amin al-Husayni - was an active supporter of Hitler's policy of exterminating the Jews. "Kill the Jews wherever you find them—this pleases Allah." is one of his quotes. And in return for Hitler's military support in removing the British from Iraq he promised to ensure oil supplies for the Nazis.

Based in Berlin for much of the time from 1941 to 1945 he was given the rank of SS-Oberführer and after the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 this leading Muslim organised the formations and activities of the 13th Waffen-gebirgs-division der SS "Handschar" which consisted of Bosnian Muslim volunteers who committed numerous atrocities in Yugoslavia.

Hitler was not keen on German involvement in the Middle East and the Arab world generally (no surprises about that!) and left it to Mussolini, until the Italians' military defeats against the British forced German involvement. No doubt Hitler and his cohorts regarded Arab involvement in Aktionen against Jews as useful for their purposes but probably didn't have a high regard for Arabs either.

After the War political expediency intervened in preventing the Grand Mufti being tried for War Crimes - the French wanted peace in their Arab colonies, the British needed oil from Iraq.

The photo shows a meeting between Hitler and al-Husayni in 1941

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