Palestinian Arab leader struck wartime deal with Nazis

Sheikh al-Husseini with Nazi officials

Sheikh al-Husseini with Nazi officials

The Nazis told the leader of the Palestinian Arabs that in return for his help during the Second World War he would have control of Palestine.

According to a report released this week by the US National Archives, based on thousands of declassified documents, the Nazis planned to make the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, overall leader after the British were ousted and the 350,000-strong Jewish population was murdered.

In return for “liberating” Palestine, the report reveals that the Germans paid Sheikh al-Husseini “an absolute fortune” of 50,000 marks a month and tasked him with recruiting Muslims to the SS.

It is well-known that Sheikh al-Husseini worked with the Nazis, but after the war he claimed this was because he wanted to avoid being arrested by the British authorities.

The documents explored in Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence and the Cold War, also reveal the extent of collaboration between the US government and Nazi officials in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

Researchers found that US intelligence recruited Nazis to provide intelligence during the Cold War and helped a number of them escape prosecution by providing a “safe haven”.

The report said: “Tracking and punishing war criminals were not high among the Army’s priorities in late 1946.”
David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said: "The National Archives now has left no doubt about al-Husseini's total collusion with the Nazis.

"The documents confirm that while Nazi Germany was exterminating the Jewish people across Europe, an alliance was forged with certain Arab leaders to go after Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine."

Mr Harris added: "The depth and intimacy of the relationship between Nazi Germany and the main Palestinian leader of the time…is particularly appalling.

“To have absolute proof 65 years later about what the US did in assisting notorious Nazi leaders like Klaus Barbie, Rudolf Mildner and others is sickening and painful."

    Last updated: 10:35am, December 15 2010