THE HOLOCAUST IN BOSNIA
I’ve written extensively about Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Arab Higher Committee in Mandatory Palestine. For more on him and the Arab Higher Committee’s close relationship with Nazi Germany, please see my post NAZISM IN THE 1947-1949 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR.
Al-Husseini’s virulent antisemitism and self-proclaimed anti-Zionism not only affected the Jews of Palestine, but also played a significant role in the Holocaust in Bosnia during World War II. As a Nazi himself, al-Husseini was heavily involved in a Nazi-sanctioned propaganda campaign to influence Arab and Muslim public opinion. Also involved in the campaign were Hasan Salama and Fawzi al-Qawuqji, both Palestinian leaders as well.
Al-Husseini wrote a pamphlet for the Nazi’s 13th SS Handschar division titled “Islam and Judaism.” The pamphlet stated: “The Day of Judgement will come, when the Muslims will crush the Jews completely: And when every tree behind which a Jew hides will say: 'There is a Jew behind me, Kill him!’” Some allege this pamphlet was responsible for the murder of 90% of Bosnian Jews, though the high percentage is debated. Nevertheless, it’s likely that it was directly responsible for the murder of Jews in the city of Zvornik.
The Farhud was a Nazi-inspired pogrom (anti-Jewish massacre) in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1-2, 1941. The number of total Jews murdered varies per estimate, but it’s possible that up to 1000 Jews were killed, with another 1000 injured.
Earlier in 1941, Rashid Ali al-Gaylani enacted a coup against the British, briefly taking hold of the Iraqi government. Rashid Ali was an Arab nationalist, anti-Zionist, Nazi supporter, and ally to Amin al-Husseini, having written a letter to him in 1940, expressing his desire for mutual friendship and collaboration. Between 1940-1941, Rashid Ali appealed to the Axis powers to remove British influence from Iraq. The German embassy in Iraq was deeply involved with Iraqi leadership, going so far as to sponsor an Iraqi version of the Hitler Youth.
When the British defeated Rashid Ali in May of 1941, non-Jewish Iraqis accused Baghdadi Jews of aiding the British. There are two accounts of how the violence began: (1) some claim Iraqi Arab mobs began attacking Jews who were on their way to the Palace of Flowers, and (2) some state that it was incited by antisemitic preachings in the Jami-Al-Gaylani mosque, and that the pogrom was premeditated.
The violence lasted for 48 hours, with the British slow to respond. In addition to the murders, some 600 Jewish businesses and 100 Jewish homes were destroyed.
For a more complete post on Palestinian-Nazi collaboration in Mandatory Palestine, please see my post NAZISM IN THE 1947-1949 ARAB ISRAELI WAR.
In 1933, just two months after Hitler came to power, the leader of the Arab Higher Committee, Haj Amin al-Husseini, called the German consulate in Jerusalem, offering his congratulations. In November of 1933, the Nazis themselves revealed that they had established a direct contact with the Arab leadership in Palestine, with the hopes of “adapting the Nazi program” to the Holy Land.
In 1935, the Husseinis established the Palestinian Arab Party, modeled after the Nazi Party in Germany.
During the Great Arab Revolt (1936-1939), which culminated in various anti-Jewish massacres, the British quickly suspected Nazi involvement, noticing that the Arab rioters carried smuggled Nazi weaponry. The British also suspected the Germans of planning the 1938 pogrom in Tiberias, which resulted in the massacre of 19 Jews, including 11 children.
Right in the midst of World War II, the Nazis continued to arm the Arabs in Palestine. In addition to al-Husseini, other prominent Palestinian leaders working directly for the Nazis included Akram Zuaiter, Jamal Hussein, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Mu’in al-Madi, Amin Tamimi, Abd al-Qader al-Husseini. In October of 1944, two of Husseini’s men aided the Nazis in a failed intelligence-gathering mission in Mandatory Palestine.
1947-1949 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR
After World War II, most of the Palestinian Arab leaders who’d been exiled by the British as a result of the violence in the 1930s were allowed to return to Palestine. Following the vote on the 1947 Partition Plan, the Arab Higher Committee warned the British not to intervene in their violence against the Jews. The Arab Higher Committee published a leaflet stating: “The Arabs have taken the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.”
Between 1948-1949, 1000 former Bosnian Muslim SS members joined the Palestinians in their fight against the Jews. Hundreds of members from the 13th and 23rd SS Divisions volunteered as well.
The Palestinian paramilitary organizations were deeply involved with the Nazis as well. Hasan Salama, the founder of the Army of the Holy War, was formerly a major in the Nazi military. Additionally, he enlisted another German officer as his adviser. Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini, a commander in the Army of the Holy War, also received Nazi military training.
The Arab League-sponsored Arab Liberation Army also had a former Nazi propagandist, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, as its commander. Fawzi el Kutub, known for various bombings that destroyed synagogues and killed dozens of Jews, had also trained with the SS.
In early 1948, 30,000 army veterans from various fascist forces created an army known as Black International. Some of the members included Nazi soldiers, a pro-Nazi renegade Soviet battalion, and pro-Nazi Poles and Yugoslavs, as well as the Muslim members of a brigade that al-Husseini had organized to fight alongside the Nazis. Black International attacked Jewish towns and kibbutzim. In December of 1947, former Nazis were already training Arab groups. A January 1948 report found that 30 former Nazi POWs were participating in Arab battles, 15 of them training Arab soldiers in Hebron. On May 22, an Egyptian aircraft was shot down; 3 of its 5 pilots were actually likely Nazi Germans.
NAZI FUGITIVES IN ARAB WORLD
Many people are familiar with the fact that tens of thousands of former Nazis received asylum in Argentina and other countries in South America after the end of World War II. But Argentina was far from the only nation to provide refuge to Nazi fugitives.
Most significantly, Nazi intelligence officers, SS generals, propaganda specialists, and Holocaust functionaries received asylum in Egypt, likely because the Egyptian government was interested in recruiting Nazis to fight Israel. To this day, the exact number of Nazi fugitives who found asylum in Egypt is unknown, though it is known that at least 26 war criminals were residing in the country. Egypt’s policy has been one of silence surrounding the topic.
Between 1948-1949, Syria hired 50 Nazi intelligence officers to help establish an intelligence and army that could rival Israel’s. In the early 1960s, Egypt employed former Nazi scientists to develop missile technology that could hit anywhere “south of Beirut” — that is, anywhere in Israel.
The Arab League itself was well-aware that numerous Nazi officials (likely thousands) had taken refuge in these countries; in fact, they encouraged the absorption of former Nazis because they believed that the Germans were “the best, with the most knowledge, the actual inventors of modern mobile warfare.”
The Munich Massacre was an attack on the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which was perpetrated by the Palestinian group Black September, an offshoot of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Five Israeli athletes, six Israeli coaches, and one West German police officer were murdered in the massacre. One of the Israeli victims, Yossef Romano, was also castrated. In the end, the perpetrators of the attack were killed as well. For more on this, see my post THE MUNICH MASSACRE.
In 2012, a previously classified 2000-page German document concerning the massacre revealed that the terrorists responsible for the massacre had sought the help of a German neo-Nazi named Willi Pohl earlier that year. It’s unclear whether other neo-Nazis were involved in the planning as well.
Pohl, who has since renounced neo-Nazism, put the terrorists in touch with an expert in counterfeiting passports and other official documents. He also acted as their personal chauffeur. Pohl also likely was responsible for obtaining the weapons that were later used in the massacre. According to Pohl, he had no previous knowledge of the plans for the Munich Massacre; that is, while he aided members of Black September, he was not aware of what exactly they were planning to do.
Nevertheless, the documents reveal that Pohl was to participate in carrying other terrorist attacks for the PLO, though such attacks did not pan out because he was arrested in October of 1972.
UN RESOLUTION 3379
In the late 1940s the Soviet Union was sympathetic to Israel, given the socialist nature of labor Zionism, but Stalin changed his tune in the 1950s. In order not to be associated with Nazi antisemitism, the Soviets began persecuting Jews under the guise of anti-Zionism instead, but they were never covert about the fact that their “anti-Zionism” was actually just antisemitism. In the 1960s, Soviet propaganda made blatantly antisemitic claims, including: “The character of the Jewish religion serves the political aims of the Zionists” and “Zionism is inextricable from Judaism, rooted in the idea of the exclusiveness of the Jewish People.”
In the 1950s, the Soviet Union — itself a major enemy of the Nazis — began exporting actual Nazi propaganda films to the Arab world to further turn Arab public opinion against Israel.
On November 10, 1975, on the 37th anniversary of the Nazi pogrom (anti-Jewish riot, massacre) of Kristallnacht, the United Nations, headed by the Soviet Union, Soviet satellite states, and the 20+ countries in the Arab League, passed Resolution 3379, stating that Zionism is a form of racism. The resolution never defined Zionism, nor did it explain, how and why, exactly, Zionism is a form of racism.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia all but admitted that Resolution 3379 had been nothing more than a Cold War propaganda ploy, calling it “a relic of the Ice Age.” In December of 1991, UN Resolution 46/86 revoked Resolution 3379. For more on this, see my post THE BLATANT ANTISEMITISM BEHIND UN RESOLUTION 3379.
Please note that Islam and Islamism are not the same thing. Islam is a religion; Islamism is an extremist, deeply antisemitic and anti-Zionist ideology that hurts a number of people, including millions of Muslims around the world (see my post ISLAMISM & ANTISEMITISM). All bigoted comments will result in a swift block.
Nazi/neo-Nazi and Islamist collaboration is sadly not an issue of the past. Since the earliest days of the internet, neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups have used the main common ground between Islamists and white supremacy (i.e. antisemitism) to recruit new members or to advance their cause. During the May 2021 Israel-Gaza War, for example, various neo-Nazi groups expressed public support for Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip. According to the Department of Homeland Security, various prominent white supremacist groups have praised and drawn inspiration from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year.
The alliance between these extremist groups is not only ideological but translates to very real violence. White supremacist groups frequently emulate Islamist recruitment tactics; for instance, in 2021, the leader of the neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party claimed that his group learned its recruitment tactics from the anti-Zionist and antisemitic Hezbollah. Last year, a coalition of neo-Nazis and Islamists of Syrian, Turkish, and Lebanese origin collaborated to plan an anti-Israel protest in Germany. Neo-Nazis across the world have also been some of the biggest proponents and supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement against Israel.
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