The Final Solution was approved before Hitler met Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini in November 1941. This directive from Goering to the SS proves it.
I must clear my throat at the outset and say that I am an unapologetic admirer of Jewish culture, and would vastly prefer to have Israel as an ally in the Middle East than pretty much anyone else. But in his bellicose speech this week on the ’causes’ of the Holocaust, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has ventured far beyond the pale.
I often get the feeling with Benjamin Netanyahu that he has to keep the flames going under five barbecues at once – otherwise the US would stop worrying about oil and regional stability, and let him go hang. Not a terribly original thought, but then I don’t think Netto has had one of those in his entire life.
The Israelis I know don’t like Netanyahu – indeed, they are embarrassed by him. But where is the alternative leader under whose wing they would feel physically and ethically at ease? One could ask the same question in relation to Tsipras, Merkel and Obama.
Set against the Arab good/Jew bad bigotry line among liberals for many years now is a grain of truth in what Benny the Bombast is on about. But he has twisted it all out of shape for base political reasons. What else is new? Not much – but superficial relativism cannot excuse his rabid rhetoric.
I wrote a dissertation at University on the SS and the Arabs during the Desert Campaign during 1941-43. There is documentary evidence in the US Congress Library for anyone to read showing how much the B’aathists at the time (in Iran) thought Adolf Hitler was a fine upstanding genocidist. One particularly effusive greeting given to Hitler via Himmler from the Iraqi clique would turn your stomach. Unless, of course, you’re a murderous anti-semite.
But the idea that – at the peak of his Reich in 1941 – Hitler would listen to some old mullah on what to do about ‘The Jewish Problem’ is beyond silly. Netanyaa-boo behaves more like Josef Goebbels with every year.
It is certainly true that Hitler was more pragmatic than most historians (apart from AJP Taylor) are prepared to allow. The 2D cardboard zealot Hobgoblin image for the Führer has always been the on-message postwar German strategy: to present him as a seedy Austrian tramp completely off his head – a one-off monster “and nothing to do with us”. In reality, the truly terrifying thing about Herr Schicklegruber is that he did not become certifiable until Morell started feeding him mind-altering drugs during late 1942. He was an excrement fetishist and sexual masochist, but then so is Chuck Berry. For much of his life, he was an excitable pervert; but he wasn’t insane. (Hitler, not Berry)
Ultimately, the Israeli leader’s allegations don’t stack up: if you read Hitler’s original Führerdiktat of July 1939 (or even Mein Kampf) it was always clear he saw ‘the Jewish bacillus’ as having a criminal past, but no future.
In turn, the dates involved prove Netanyahu hopelessly wrong.
The German leader did meet the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in November 1941: but in the Spring of 1941, Hitler had already discussed exact plans for the Jews. In July 1941 – mass sterilisation and deportation to Madagascar having been ruled out as far too expensive and ‘inconvenient’ two years earlier – Hermann Goering signed the Final Solution decree ordering Eichmann and Heydrich to make sure the trains ran on time. (See page capture at the head of this post).
What the Israeli leader is trying to do now is say “Hitler met the Mufti in November 1941…..and then just two months later the Wannsee Conference met to put the extermination programme into effect”.
That is complete bollocks, and the lowest form of propaganda. I spent the summer of 1965 doing exchange visit labouring from a Zeltlager in Wannsee’s Glienicker Park, and was (along with other attendees) given access to the Conference records. They showed clearly that the general strategy – Death Camps – had been established at the very latest in Autumn 1941: the Wannsee jolly was designed to do little more than assign tasks and check that the gas chamber and oven pitches made to the Conference by IG Farben et al stacked up.
How foul and bizarre it is to observe the way in which a nation – like the entirety of Mitteleuropa – steeped in casual anti-Semitism and blame (using, for example, the phrase Jüdenkonfetti for the hyperinflating German currency during the 1920s) could so easily drift over the moral line into the cost of administering mass murder. Indeed, it explains to some degree why Holocaust denialism has attracted so many followers: the very idea has obscene, outer limits conspiracy theory written all over it.
But more to the point, how sad it is to see an Israeli Prime Minister slithering under the same limbo-line in a cynical effort to maintain his position. Benjamin Netanyahu should hang his head in shame tonight.