DECLASSIFIED: How a controversy over a Palestinian supporter of the Nazi Party exposed a campaign to sugar-coat events in the aftermath of WW2

WHEN PHOTOGRAPHS of Palestinian leader Amin al-Husseini touring Trebbin Concentration Camp appeared the images were greeted with disbelief. The 6 previously unknown photos in which the Palestinian leader and self-styled ‘grand mufti of Jerusalem’, al-Husseini, inspects a Nazi concentration camp along with Nazi senior officials and government figures, are shocking to say the least.

Three of the images now in the public domain provide “irrefutable proof that all of the men present had precise knowledge of the fate of Jews in Hitler’s Germany — and of the likely fate of Jews in their own home countries under Nazi rule, ” writes Wolfgang Schwanitz. The photos are stamped “Photo-Gerhards Trebbin.” 

This evidence of Palestinian leadership involvement in the events surrounding the Holocaust, as more than simply a disinterested party, stand alongside documentation and commentary by Schwanitz, showing a delegation including Iraqi politician Ali al-Kailani accompanying al-Husseini. These are not the only clues, indicating that al-Husseini’s published memoirs, upon which much of current historical opinion on the politician (including a controversial Wikipedia article) is based, are just plain wrong.

Joel Fishman in a forward to a special issue on al-Husseini in the Jewish Political Studies Review says:”During the past decades, new archival sources have become available. They include Nazi documents captured by the Red Army, State Department and CIA collections which have become declassified, and related primary sources from Germany. “

“For example, in 1977, the State Department declassified the “Axis in Arabic” files of the US Embassy in Cairo. This valuable collection includes transcripts of the Mufti’s speeches to the Arab world, broadcast from Berlin by shortwave.”

“Approximately 8 million pages of documents declassified in the United States under the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act added significantly to our knowledge of wartime Nazi crimes and the postwar fate of suspected war criminals” write Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda in the introduction to their book Hitler’s Shadow. Yet other documents remain classified, see postscript below.

Dr Steven Wagner of Brunel University London, head of a project which aims to ‘unmask al-Husseini via his war-time letters and diaries’ concurs:

“It’s now possible to set the record straight. Researchers have lacked access to direct primary evidence about Husseini’s time in Germany and Italy during 1941-45. Lack of evidence has hampered research about Husseini’s aims, motives, and decisions. Most of what we know about him has derived from his own memoir, written decades later, compared against colonial archives.”

Yet a good deal of this apparent ‘new evidence’ was already in the public domain in some form, long before the circumstances of al-Husseini’s close relationship with the Hitler regime was raised in a very public fashion in 2015, at which time, the evidence appeared then, to the casual observer, to be merely transcripts of a 1941 meeting with Adolf Hitler, ‘an innocent meeting with Der Fuhrer’, along with several books by authors accused of ‘Nazifying the subject matter’.

In reality most of the early intrigue stems from evidence submitted before Nuremberg and later Eichmann trial.

Prime Evil’s controversial parole hearings

THE latest round of parole hearings of apartheid death squad leader, Eugene de Kock, the man nicknamed Prime Evil by South Africa’s press, have provided yet more evidence of attempts to trivialise the crime against against humanity known as apartheid.

Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele is considering the parole applications of several prisoners, including that of apartheid killer, Eugene de Kock, the Saturday Star has reported.

In 1996, de Kock was sentenced to 212 years for crimes against humanity

The Star report over the weekend incorrectly states that de Kock was simply a policeman employed by the apartheid regime and fails to note that he was also a former South African police colonel and assassin, active under the apartheid government.

Considered one of the darkest figures of the apartheid period, in 1983, the South African Police transferred de Kock to C10, a counter-insurgency unit headquartered at a notorious farm called Vlakplaas, located 20 kilometres west of Pretoria, which became the site of multiple executions of political opponents of the apartheid government

De Kock, who had established a reputation for ruthlessness during operations in Rhodesia, was promoted as the unit’s commanding officer two years later. Under de Kock’s leadership, C10—later known as C1—became a death squad which hunted down and killed opponents of the National Party and the apartheid system. 

Journalist Jaccues Pauw in a media briefing for eCNA excuses De Kocks actions in a video plea in which he downgrades de Kock’s status to that of a “common killer”.

Pauw goes on to state de Kock is “on a unique journey of reconciliation”, this despite many of his victims’ families demanding that he remain incarcerated.

One of the factors which lead to the execution of the Nazi lieutenant colonel, Adolf Eichmann was the killers inability to show any remorse or understanding of the magnitude of his actions. Although South Africa no longer has a death penalty, de Kock occupies a similar position in history with regard to his appearance before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and still appears unable, after 18 years in prison to understand the enormity or comprehend the consequences of his actions.