In a newly discovered telegram believed to be from 1943, Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler pledged support to Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini and the struggle against “Jewish invaders.”
Archivists at Israel’s National Library discovered the telegram, sent by Himmler during the Holocaust. It was published on the library’s website Wednesday.
The document adds to what historians have already uncovered about connections between the Nazis and al-Husseini, who served as the grand mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to 1937.
The SS commander wrote: “The great Nazi-socialist movement of Great Germany has, from its inception, rebuffed its struggle against world Jewry. For this reason, it closely follows the struggle of the freedom-loving Arabs — especially in Palestine — against the Jewish invaders.
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“The common recognition of the enemy, and the joint struggle against it, are what form the solid foundation between Germany and the freedom-loving Muslims all over the world.”
It remains to be seen, writes The Jerusalem Post, how “this new and significant finding will impact the historic narrative regarding Jewish history and the Palestinian-German diplomatic maneuvers in the years prior to the establishment of the Jewish state.”
In 1937, before he could be arrested for his involvement in the Arab revolt, al-Husseini fled to Lebanon and later to Iraq, where he joined a pro-Nazi group that unsuccessfully attempted a military coup against the pro-British regime in Baghdad in 1941, according to the Post.
He escaped to Nazi Germany, where he gained the support of Adolf Hitler. In a 90-minute meeting with the Nazi leader in Berlin on Nov. 28, 1941, al-Husseini presented himself as the representative of all Arabs and all Muslims.
Al-Husseini began the meeting by declaring that the Germans and the Arabs had the same enemies: “the English, the Jews and the Communists.”
In spite of the bond he created with the Nazi leaders, al-Husseini failed to achieve most of his diplomatic goals, Esther Webman, a historian at Tel Aviv University, says on the National Library’s website.
“At the end of the day, the Mufti failed in achieving the majority of his goals: Nazi Germany didn’t declare its support of Arab independence and the Nazi leadership used him to realize its own goals,” she said.
“His attempt to incite Middle Eastern Arabs against the colonial authorities during WWII didn’t succeed either. His only significant accomplishment was his success in preventing a number of cases of Jews leaving for Palestine during the war.”
Israeli officials have not commented yet on the Himmler telegram, but many can’t wait to hear reaction from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jerusalem Post reports.
During a speech at the 37th World Zionist Congress in October 2015, Netanyahu incited an uproar when he suggested that al-Husseini instigated the Holocaust.
Netanyahu said al-Husseini played a “central role in fomenting the final solution” by trying to convince Hitler to destroy the Jews during their meeting in Berlin.
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu told the group.
“And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. He said, ‘Burn them.’”
Holocaust experts and survivors slammed Netanyahu’s comments as historically inaccurate and for bolstering Holocaust deniers by minimizing the responsibility of Hitler and the Nazis, the Associated Press reported.