Grand Mufti, leaders in photo with Nazi officials at concentration camp

Grand Mufti, leaders in photo with Nazi officials at concentration camp

An original photo of various world leaders touring a concentration camp during the second world war appeared in a sale at Jerusalem’s Kedem Auction House in 2017. Those world leaders have now been identified. 

The image displayed Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Iraq’s former prime minister Ali al-Kailani, Mile Budak from Croatia and India’s leader Subhas Chandra Bose, with officials in Germany’s Trebbin camp, some 30km south of Berlin. 

Fritz Grobba, Germany’s expert on Middle East affairs, later admitted while in Soviet custody that the Arab officials wanted to see concentration camps as an inspiration for eliminating their Jewish population, reported Tablet in their account of the photograph.  

Throughout the war, Husseini united Palestinian groups under his Arab Higher Committee, which demanded Jewish immigration be stopped and land transfers to Jews prohibited. He became an influential religious leader and eventually gained the title of grand mufti of Jerusalem.

Husseini encouraged the Arab Revolt in the 1930s, which resulted in the deaths of many Jewish refugees that arrived in the country after escaping the Nazi genocide in Europe.

In a hope to end the violence, the British published the White Papers, giving the Arabs what they had demanded. The papers claimed Jewish immigration to the British Mandate would be discontinued as long as the Arab population did not agree to their entrance. 

Husseini and Adolf Hitler met in Berlin on November 28, 1941 and discussed their alliance and mutual desire to rid both Europe and the Middle East of Jews. 

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“The Arabs could be more useful to Germany as allies than might be apparent at first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews,” Husseini told Hitler, as reported by official German records. 

He went on to request a public announcement of Hitler’s intention to eliminate the Jews in Palestine at the time, claiming the statement would help initiate more violence against the Jews. 

“A public declaration in this sense would be very useful for its propagandist effect on the Arab peoples at this moment. It would rouse the Arabs from their momentary lethargy and give them new courage. It would also ease the Mufti’s work of secretly organizing the Arabs against the moment when they could strike,” he explained. 

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In response, Hitler agreed that “Germany stood for the uncompromising war against the Jews.”

He promised that “He [the Fuhrer] would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe,” and afterwards would “Give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation had arrived. Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power.

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