By Jean Patrick Grumberg
An anonymous purchaser bought rare photographs from a German dealer showing Haj Amin al-Husseini touring Nazi camps, accompanied by Nazi officials around 1943. He now sells them through the Kedem auction house, Jerusalem, Israel.
Extensive coverage of the Mufti here.
The six photographs documents a visit to Germany by Mufti Haj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini. [Germany, ca. 1943].
The photographs show al-Husseini, accompanied by a number of Nazi senior officials, dressed in uniforms, and a number of government officials, dressed in civilian clothes, during a tour apparently held at a camp in Germany (possibly, a camp of The German Labour Front).
All the photographs are marked on reverse with the stamp “Photo-Gerhards Trebbin”. The photographer’s mark attests that they were developed in Trebbin, Germany, and may have been shot in its environs.
These photographs, previously unknown, document an unidentified visit to Germany by al-Husseini.
We were unable to identify the men in the photographs. However, according to some speculations, among the photographed are possibly:
- the Croatian politician Mile Budak (a member of the Ustase Party who served as Croatian envoy to Germany in 1941-1943),
- Iraqi politician Rashid Ali al-Gaylani,
- Fritz Grobba (the German ambassador to Iraq, later in charge of Middle Eastern affairs at the German Foreign Ministry, known for his ties to al-Husseini and Rashid Ali al-Gaylani during al-Gaylani’s revolt against the Iraqi government and in the following years)
- and the Austrian politician Arthur Seyss-Inquart.
Haj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini (1895?-1974) served as the Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate period, in the years 1921-1937, and was known as one of the most important and influential leaders of the Palestinian Arabs and the Palestinian national movement.
In 1937, after the British outlawed the Arab Higher Committee and dispersed the Supreme Muslim Council, al-Husseini fled to Lebanon, where he stayed for about two years before moving to Iraq.
In Iraq he joined the politician Rashid Ali al-Gaylani and contributed significantly to the planning and organization of the revolt led by al-Gaylani in 1941. Following the revolt, al-Gaylani established a pro-Nazi government that demanded the expulsion of the British from Iraq, but his government did not last for long, and with the collapse of the coup, al-Husseini and al-Gaylani left Iraq.
Al-Husseini first traveled to Fascist Italy (where he even met Mussolini), then to Nazi Germany. Al-Gaylani also went to Germany.
Haj Amin al-Husseini’s ties with the Nazis, initiated before he had arrived in Germany, grew closer during his stay there. He had contacts with the German Foreign Ministry, with the upper echelons of the S.S. and the Gestapo, and even met with Adolf Hitler (their first meeting was in November 1941).
One of al-Husseini’s major contributions to the German war effort as part of his activities in favor of the Axis Powers was the recruitment of fighters to the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS in 1943. This division, called Handschar, was established by the Germans in the region of Croatia under the rule of the pro-Nazi Ustase Party (which then included Bosnia and Herzegovina). Most of the recruits were from among the Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the recruitment was carried out with the encouragement of al-Husseini, who was sent there especially by the German authorities.
In addition, al-Husseini established the “Arab Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question” in Berlin – an institute founded with German funding and constituting the Berlin parallel to the “Institute for the Study of the Jewish Problem” active in Frankfurt, whose declared objective was the expulsion of the Jews from German territory.
As a result of these and other activities, al-Husseini was included at the end of World War II in the list of “war criminals” of the Yugoslav Committee Investigating the War Crimes of the Occupiers and their Collaborators.
Al-Husseini’s relations with the Axis Powers have been closely studied and still arouse questions. Some associate his collaboration with his enthusiasm for German policies towards the Jews and their plan for a “Final Solution”, and even with an aspiration on his part to expand the genocide to Palestine as well.
Islamic alliance is not exclusively with the left.
6 photographs, approx. 6.5X9.5 cm. Good condition. Some stains, tears and creases. Estimation: $20000 – $30000.