Amin al-Husseini-The Führer’s Palestinian friend.

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Mohammed Amin al-Husseini  was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine.

Al-Husseini used his influence and ties with the Germans to promote Arab nationalism in Iraq. He was among the key promoters of the pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club, and supported the coup d’état by Rashid Ali in April 1941. The situation of Iraq’s Jews rapidly deteriorated, with extortions and sometimes murders taking place.When the Anglo-Iraqi War broke out, al-Husseini used his influence to issue a fatwa for a holy war against Britain. As the British advanced on the capital, the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad,where over 180 Jews were killed and 1,000 injured)

Farhud_mass_grave                    (Mass grave of victims of the Farhud, 1941l

led by members of the Al-Muthanna Club, which had served as a conduit for German propaganda funding, erupted in June 1941, following the Iraqi defeat and the collapse of Rashid Ali’s government. The pogrom was rooted in antisemitic incitement during the preceding decade against the backdrop of the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine.

When the war failed for the Iraqis—given its paucity, German and Italian assistance played a negligible role in the war al-Husseini escaped to Persia (together with Rashid Ali), where he was granted legation asylum first by Japan, and then by Italy. On 8 October, after the occupation of Persia by the Allies and after the new Persian government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi severed diplomatic relations with the Axis powers.

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Al-Husseini was taken under Italian protection and conveyed through Turkey to Axis Europe in an operation organized by Italian Military Intelligence (Servizio Informazioni Militari, or SIM).

Al-Husseini arrived in Rome on 10 October 1941. He outlined his proposals before Alberto Ponce de Leon. On condition that the Axis powers ‘recognize in principle the unity, independence, and sovereignty, of an Arab state, including Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Transjordan’, he offered support in the war against Britain and stated his willingness to discuss the issues of ‘the Holy Places, Lebanon, the Suez Canal, and Aqaba’. The Italian foreign ministry approved al-Husseini’s proposal, recommended giving him a grant of one million lire, and referred him to Benito Mussolini, who met al-Husseini on 27 October. According to al-Husseini’s account, it was an amicable meeting in which Mussolini expressed his hostility to the Jews and Zionism.

Back in the summer of 1940 and again in February 1941, al-Husseini submitted to the Nazi German Government a draft declaration of German-Arab cooperation, containing a clause:

Germany and Italy recognize the right of the Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements, which exist in Palestine and in the other Arab countries, as required by the national and ethnic (völkisch) interests of the Arabs, and as the Jewish question was solved in Germany and Italy.

Encouraged by his meeting with the Italian leader, al-Husseini prepared a draft declaration, affirming the Axis support for the Arabs on 3 November. In three days, the declaration, slightly amended by the Italian foreign ministry, received the formal approval of Mussolini and was forwarded to the German embassy in Rome. On 6 November, al-Husseini arrived in Berlin, where he discussed the text of his declaration with Ernst von Weizsäcker and other German officials. In the final draft, which differed only marginally from al-Husseini’s original proposal, the Axis powers declared their readiness to approve the elimination (Beseitigung) of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

On 20 November, al-Husseini met the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and was officially received by Adolf Hitler on 28 November.

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He asked Adolf Hitler for a public declaration that ‘recognized and sympathized with the Arab struggles for independence and liberation, and that would support the elimination of a national Jewish homeland’.Hitler refused to make such a public announcement, saying that it would strengthen the Gaullists against the Vichy France,but asked al-Husseini ‘to lock …deep in his heart’ the following points, which American Historian Christopher Browning summarizes as follows, that

‘Germany has resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time, direct a similar appeal to non-European nations as well’. When Germany had defeated Russia and broken through the Caucasus into the Middle East, it would have no further imperial goals of its own and would support Arab liberation… But Hitler did have one goal. “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power”. (Das deutsche Ziel würde dann lediglich die Vernichtung des im arabischen Raum unter der Protektion der britischen Macht lebenden Judentums sein). In short, Jews were not simply to be driven out of the German sphere but would be hunted down and destroyed even beyond it’

A separate record of the meeting was made by Fritz Grobba, who until recently had been the German ambassador to Iraq. His version of the crucial words reads “when the hour of Arab liberation comes, Germany has no interest there other than the destruction of the power protecting the Jews”.Al-Husseini’s own account of this point, as recorded in his diary, is very similar to Grobba’s. According to Amin’s account, however, when Hitler expounded his view that the Jews were responsible for World War I, Marxism and its revolutions, and this was why the task of Germans was to persevere in a battle without mercy against the Jews, he replied: “We Arabs think that Zionism, not the Jews, is the cause of all of these acts of sabotage.”

In December 1942, al-Husseini held a speech at the celebration of the opening of the Islamic Central Institute (Islamisches Zentralinstitut) in Berlin, of which he served as honorary chair.

Berlin, Besuch Amin el Husseini

In the speech, he harshly criticised those he considered as aggressors against Muslims, namely “Jews, Bolsheviks and Anglo-Saxons.” At the time of the opening of the Islamic Central Institute, there were an estimated 3,000 Muslims in Germany, including 400 German converts. The Islamic Central Institute gave the Muslims in Germany institutional ties to the ‘Third Reich’

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Much of the case against Husseini’s role in The Holocaust emerged in the immediate aftermath of WW2, with those collecting evidence working for the Jewish Agency in the context of an intensive public relations exercise to establish a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine.Husseini has been described by the American Jewish Congress as “Hitler’s henchman”and some scholars, such as Schwanitz and Rubin, have argued that Husseini made the Final Solution inevitable by shutting out the possibility of Jews escaping to Palestine.

 

Although some historians have questioned al-Husseini’s knowledge of the Holocaust while it was in progress, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz notes that in his memoirs Husseini recalled that Heinrich Himmler, in the summer of 1943, while confiding some German war secrets, inveighed against Jewish “war guilt”, and revealed the ongoing extermination (in Arabic, abadna) of the Jews.

Großmufti Amin al Husseini, Heinrich Himmler

 

Gilbert Achcar, referring to this meeting with Himmler, observes:

The Mufti was well aware that the European Jews were being wiped out; he never claimed the contrary. Nor, unlike some of his present-day admirers, did he play the ignoble, perverse, and stupid game of Holocaust denial… . His amour-propre would not allow him to justify himself to the Jews… .gloating that the Jews had paid a much higher price than the Germans… he cites… : ‘Their losses in the Second World War represent more than thirty percent of the total number of their people …’. Statements like this, from a man who was well placed to know what the Nazis had done … constitute a powerful argument against Holocaust deniers. Husseini reports that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler … told him in summer 1943 that the Germans had ‘already exterminated more than three million’ Jews: “I was astonished by this figure, as I had known nothing about the matter until then.” … Thus. in 1943, Husseini knew about the genocide.

In November 1943 the Mufti declared.

It is the duty of Muhammadans [Muslims] in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries… . Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world.

Amin al Husseini bei bosnischen SS-Freiwilligen

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The assassination of Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne.

Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne, DSO & Bar, PC (29 March 1880 – 6 November 1944) was an Anglo-Irish politician and businessman. He served as the British minister of state in the Middle East until November 1944, when he was assassinated by the Jewish terrorist group Lehi.

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The assassination of Lord Moyne sent shock waves through Palestine and the rest of the world.

Walter Guinness was born in Dublin, Ireland, the third son of the 1st Earl of Iveagh. His family homes were at Farmleigh near Dublin, and at Elveden in Suffolk.

At Eton, Guinness was elected head of ‘Pop’, the club for prefects, and was appointed Captain of Boats.

On 24 June 1903, he married Lady Evelyn Hilda Stuart Erskine (1883–1939),third daughter of Shipley Gordon Stuart Erskine, 14th Earl of Buchan. The Earls of Buchanwere an ancient family in the Scottish nobility. They had three children, Bryan (d.1992), Murtogh (d.2002) and Grania.

In the early afternoon of 6 November 1944, Eliyahu Bet-Zuri and Eliyahu Hakim of the Jewish militant group Lehi waited for Moyne near his home in Cairo following a well-planned and much practised plan of action to assassinate Moyne.

Moyne arrived in his car with his driver, Lance Corporal Arthur Fuller, his secretary, Dorothy Osmond, and his ADC, Major Andrew Hughes-Onslow. The ADC went to open the front door of the residence and the driver got out to open the door for Moyne. They were suddenly told not to move, as Bet-Zuri emerged and shot Fuller in the chest, causing him to collapse in the driveway and bleed to death in minutes. Hakim then pulled the car door open and shot Moyne three times. The first bullet hit him in the neck on the right side, just above the clavicle, the second penetrated his abdomen, punctured his colon and large intestine, and became embedded to the right of the second lumbar vertebrae, while the third shot, fired after Moyne raised his right hand, ripped across four of his fingers and went in and out of his chest, causing no serious injuries.

Hakim and Bet-Zuri ran out of the yard, jumped on their rented bicycles, and began pedaling down the street away from the scene. Major Hughes-Onslow rushed to the sentry box and raised the alarm. Hearing it, Hakim and Bet-Zuri turned onto a side street. They had very nearly gotten away when an Egyptian motorcycle policeman, El-Amin Mahomed Abdullah, caught up to them. Hakim and Bet-Zuri were determined not to injure any Egyptians in their operation, and so did not attempt to shoot him off his motorcycle. Rather, Bet-Zuri fired a volley of warning shots in his direction, which he ignored. Abdullah then dismounted and ordered him to drop his weapon. Bet-Zuri attempted to shoot out the motorcycle’s tires, but found that his pistol had run out of ammunition, and as he attempted to reload it, Abdullah fired, hitting Bet-Zuri in the chest. Hearing the commotion, Hakim turned back to help Bet-Zuri, and within minutes, another policeman appeared, and the two were placed under arrest.

Meanwhile, Moyne regained consciousness, and in a few minutes, a doctor and ambulance arrived. Moyne was rushed to a British military hospital in Cairo, and admitted at 1:40 p.m., in critical condition, having lost a great deal of blood through gross hemorrhaging and suffering from shock. Five minutes later, he was given the first of three blood transfusions, causing his condition to improve. After he complained of a burning sensation down his right leg and an inability to move it, X-rays revealed an injury to his thoracic vertebrae. Later, his right arm also became paralyzed as a result of the neck wound. Doctors were reluctant to operate until his condition improved, but at 5:30, a lumbar puncture revealed a blood stain, and it was decided to operate. He was given another blood transfusion, and in the operation that followed, surgeons removed the bullet lodged near the second lumbar vertebra and discovered the injuries to the colon and large intestine, while the neck wound and finger wounds were cleaned. Soon after the operation, his condition began to deteriorate, and he died at 8:40 pm, aged 64

As the principal witness at the trial, Major Hughes-Onslow became a marked man and was sent to Aden and then to Khartoum for his safety. He subsequently said, “No doubt Lord Moyne could have been regarded as a target for political assassination, but the shooting of the chauffeur was pure murder.”

Moyne’s body was flown home to England and cremated on 17 November at Golders Green Crematorium.

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According to Lehi leader Natan Yellin-Mor, the group’s founder Ya’ir Stern had considered the possibility of assassinating the British Minister Resident in the Middle East as early as 1941 before Moyne held the position.

Moyne’s predecessor Richard Casey was deemed unsuitable because he was Australian.When Moyne replaced Casey in 1944, planning for the operation began.

As well as being the highest British official within Lehi’s reach, Moyne was regarded as personally responsible for Britain’s Palestine policy. In particular, he was regarded as one of the architects of Britain’s strict immigration policy, and to have been responsible for the British hand in the Struma disaster,which followed a refusal to grant visas to Palestine for its Jewish refugee passengers, decided during his time as Colonial Secretary.According to Bell, Lord Moyne was known to the underground as an Arabist, who had consistently followed an anti-Zionist line.

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According to Yaakov Banai (Mazal), who served as the commander of the fighting unit of Lehi, there were three purposes in the assassination:

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  1. To show the world that this conflict was not between a government and its citizens as Britain had tried to show but between citizens and a foreign ruler.
  2. To demonstrate that the conflict was between the Jewish people and the British Imperialism.
  3. To take the “War of Liberation” out of the Land of Israel and the Yishuv. The trial was not planned, but the action had to capture a place in the world press and lead political thoughts.

Author James Barr suggests that a French intelligence initiative was behind Moyne’s murder, because of his support for the Greater Syria plan.

After the assassination, Lehi announced:

We accuse Lord Moyne and the government he represents, with murdering hundreds and thousands of our brethren; we accuse him of seizing our country and looting our possessions. We were forced to do justice and to fight.

Bet-Zuri and Hakim initially gave false names, but their true identities were soon discovered. They were tried in an Egyptian court.

Eventually, the Lehi members were found guilty and, on 18 January 1945, sentenced to death. Their appeals for clemency were dismissed, probably partly in response to pressure from Winston Churchill, who had been Moyne’s ally and close personal friend.They were hanged on 23 March 1945.