Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazis and the Holocaust: The Origins, Nature and Aftereffects of Collaboration

(Jewish Political Studies Review) Jeffrey Herf - While Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, did not have an impact on Hitler's decisions to murder the Jews of Europe, after his presence in Berlin from 1941 to 1945 Husseini left a legacy of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that remains an enduring element of Palestinian and Arab politics. He played a central role in shaping the political tradition of Islamism by offering an interpretation of the religion of Islam as intrinsically anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist and in connecting that version to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of modern European history. Husseini's importance to the Third Reich in 1942 and 1943 lay primarily in his contribution to Nazi propaganda toward North Africa and the Middle East. This author's study Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World draws upon German archives, State Department files and U.S. intelligence reports to present the most extensive documentation available about the vast Arabic language propaganda radio broadcasts and printed leaflets that the Nazi regime sent to Arab societies during World War II. Husseini played a central role in those broadcasts. He became internationally famous for his incitement on the radio to "kill the Jews" in the summer of 1942 as Rommel's Afrika Korps threatened to overwhelm the British at El Alamein, occupy Egypt and capture the Jews of pre-state Palestine. Thus, Husseini joined Goebbels as one of the first political actors to use means of mass electronic communications to support genocide. The writer is Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park. His publications on modern German history include Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (Yale University Press, 2009).

2016-01-08 00:00:00

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