Nazis planned Holocaust for Palestine: historians

Note the last line asserting that the release of the findings at this time is coincidental. Could be, but it certainly serves an important propaganda function as Bush prepares to play Churchill to Ahmadinejad's Hitler. From Reuters, April 7:

BERLIN — Nazi Germany planned to expand the extermination of Jews beyond the borders of Europe and into British-controlled Palestine during World War Two, two German historians say.

In 1942, the Nazis created a special "Einsatzgruppe", a mobile SS death squad, which was to carry out the mass slaughter of Jews in Palestine similar to the way they operated in eastern Europe, the historians argue in a new study.

The director of the Nazi research centre in Ludwigsburg, Klaus-Michael Mallman, and Berlin historian Martin Cueppers say an Einsatzgruppe was all set to go to Palestine and begin killing the roughly half a million Jews that had fled Europe to escape Nazi death camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau.

In the study, published last month, they say "Einsatzgruppe Egypt" was standing by in Athens and was ready to disembark for Palestine in the summer of 1942, attached to the "Afrika Korps" led by the famed desert commander General Erwin Rommel.

The Middle East death squad, similar to those operating throughout eastern Europe during the war, was to be led by SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Walther Rauff, the historians say.

"The central plan for the group was the realisation of the Holocaust in Palestine," the authors wrote in their study that appears in a book entitled "Germans, Jews, Genocide: The Holocaust as History and the Present."

But since Germany never conquered British-controlled Palestine, plans for bringing the Holocaust to what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories never came to fruition.

Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in Europe. According to their own records, the Einsatzgruppen killed over one million people, most of them civilians.

In the battle of El Alamein, Egypt, British General Bernard Montgomery turned the tide of the war in north Africa by routing Rommel's "Afrika Korps" and ending his African campaign.

As they did in eastern Europe, the plan was for the 24 members involved in the death squad to enlist Palestinian collaborators so that the "mass murder would continue under German leadership without interruption."

Fortunately for the Jews in Palestine, "Einsatzgruppe Egypt" never made it out of Greece.

"The history of the Middle East would have been completely different and a Jewish state could never have been established if the Germans and Arabs had joined forces," the historians conclude.

Regarding the question why this is emerging 61 years after the end of World War Two, Mallmann and Cueppers said they simply unearthed something other historians had not found yet.

See our last post on Israel/Palestine.

Old News?

I think this is old news at least to most Jews. Jews living in Palestine at the time knew the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a big Hitler fan. Pictures of him sieg-heiling and hanging with Hitler are all over the net.

"In 1941, Haj Amin al-Husseini fled to Germany and met with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders. He wanted to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti-Jewish program to the Arab world.

The Mufti sent Hitler 15 drafts of declarations he wanted Germany and Italy to make concerning the Middle East. One called on the two countries to declare the illegality of the Jewish home in Palestine. Furthermore, “they accord to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries, in accordance with the interest of the Arabs and, by the same method, that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.

Yes, we knew about the Mufti...

...but not, until now, "Einsatzgruppe Egypt."

OK, the name "Einsatzgruppe"

OK, the name "Einsatzgruppe" is news to historians and I'm sure some interesting research will result from this discovery. But, the fact that the Nazis had nefarious plans for Jews in Palestine and the rest of the ME is not news IMHO.

I brought up the Mufti because Jews were obviously well-aware at the time that Arab nationalists in Palestine and throughout the region supported the Nazis' goals and ideology. They knew what would happen to them if Hitler was victorious in Europe. They knew they would be next. So Jews in the Holy Land--organized as "The Palestine Brigade"--fought for the British against the Nazis in Europe.

The name "Einsatzgruppe"... definitely not news to historians.

From the Holocaust Encyclopedia

From the Holocaust History Project

From the Aktion Reinhard commemoration page (Aktion Reinhard=Nazi code name for extermination of the Polish Jews)

From the Einsatzgruppen Archives

What is news is that an "Einsatzgruppe Egypt" had been prepared.