NEW YORK – A newly released report by the US National Archives details the close collaborative relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, indicating that Nazi authorities planned to use Husseini as their leader after their conquest of Palestine.
Husseini was paid handsomely by the Nazis for his efforts, recruited Muslims for the SS and was promised that he would be made Palestine’s leader after its Jewish population of 350,000 had been murdered.
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The report, Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence and the Cold War
, was prepared on the basis of thousands of documents declassified under the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
“Hitler’s Shadow” is an addendum to a 2004 US government report, US Intelligence and the Nazis.
The new report’s authors, Norman J.W. Goda of the University of Florida and Richard Breitman of American University, said the addendum was particularly important.
“We thought the information was significant and detailed,” Breitman told The Jerusalem Post
regarding the newly uncovered facts on the Jerusalem mufti in particular.
“We thought the April 1945 contract between the [German] Foreign Office and Husseini was striking evidence of an ideological collaboration both sides hoped would continue after the war.”
Husseini, who died in Beirut in 1974, was apparently paid 50,000 marks per month, and 80,000 additional marks a month for living expenses, according to a contract with the Germans. This was a time when a German field officer typically earned 25,000 marks a year.
According to the report, on November 28, 1941, Adolf Hitler told Husseini that the Afrika Korps would “liberate” Arabs in the Middle East and that “Germany’s only objective there would be the destruction of the Jews.”
“SS leaders and Husseini both claimed that Nazism and Islam had common values as well as common enemies – above all, the Jews,” the report states.
In fall 1943, it says, Husseini went to the Croatia, a German ally, to recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS.
“During that trip he told the troops of the newly formed Bosnian-Muslim 13th Mountain Waffen-SS division that the entire Muslim world ought to follow their example,” the report states.
Husseini also organized a 1944 mission in which Palestine Arabs and Germans would carry out sabotage and propaganda after German planes dropped them into Palestine by parachute.
“Husseini insisted that the Arabs take command after they landed and direct their fight against the Jews of Palestine, not the British authorities,” according to the report.
As late as 1945, the German Foreign Office rewrote its contracts with Husseini.
At that point, the outcome of the war was no longer in question, and therefore the contracts are significant as indications of Nazi intentions to work with the mufti in future political-ideological campaigns in Arab lands.
In October 1945, the report said, the British head of Mandatory Palestine’s Criminal Investigation Division told the US assistant military attaché in Cairo that the mufti might be able to unite Palestine’s Arabs and “cool off the Zionists. Of course, we can’t do it, but it might not be such a damn bad idea at that.”
Husseini’s CIA file, the report states, indicates that wartime Allied
intelligence organizations gathered a “healthy portion” of the
incriminating evidence against him.
This evidence “is significant in light of Husseini’s lenient postwar
treatment,” the report notes. Husseini was allowed to flee to Syria
after the war despite enough evidence to bring him to trial as a war
“Together, the Army and CIA records will keep scholars of World War II
and the Cold War busy for many years,” the report’s authors conclude.