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.