Israel’s main Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem was publicly castigated recently for removing a large and famous photograph showing Adolf Hitler meeting with his ally in Jew-hatred, the antisemitic Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el Husseini. Today, if one searches well, a small print of Himmler and Husseini can be found in a dark corner of the museum. The great majority of the museum visitors never see it, and the local Yad Vashem guides are not aware of it. I asked many of them to direct me to it. They could not, or would not.
The Jew-hating Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el Husseini, known as father of the “Palestinian people” (as Yasser Arafat once called him) was made honorary general of the Nazi SS as he raised many thousands of Muslim soldiers for Hitler. His troops guarded trains that brought Jews to death camps. He intervened to nix a deal that would have saved a trainload of Jewish children.
Critics consider the decision to remove the Hitler-Husseini photo to be politically-motivated, pandering to certain Arabs sensitivities after the radical and abrupt turn in Israel’s post-Oslo (1993) orientation toward the “Palestinians.”
Yad Vashem officially claims that this is only a very minor part of the Holocaust story and thus does not warrant much exposure.
They further claim that the orientation in the new museum (2005) is toward the victims, not the perpetrators. Thus even the minuscule place allowed for the Palestinian SS general and his photo with Hitler was removed. (There are however large walls full of photos of German perpetrators.)
Except that the museum is in Jerusalem, and the Mufti was Hitler’s representative in the Middle East, the man who incited the horrendous 1929 Hebron and nationwide massacre and suggested various extermination projects to Hitler.
One of them was to build concentration camps in Israel’s Dotan Valley, banking on the Third Reich’s successful Africa and Middle East campaign to extend the Final Solution to the Mideast and Israel. Unfortunately for them, and luckily for Israel’s Jews, the Germans were defeated at the battle of El Alamein.
This sudden rescue from mass extermination was a modern Purim miracle that should be acknowledged as such and not written out of our history.
The Holocaust record of the Mufti and his continuing influence on Jew-haters throughout the Mideast, and especially in the Land of Israel, must not be whitewashed and hidden. This much we owe to history and to our people for all generations to come.
To make matters much worse, Yad Vashem denies that there ever was a photo of Hitler and Husseini in the museum. A former high-ranking Yad Vashem official is on record acknowledging seeing the famous photo, but shortly after this admission, he recanted his statement! This blatant and shameful cover-up begs the question: Why?
It also begs action: Return the photo!