HITLER AND THE GRAND MUFTI OF JERUSALEM
OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MEETING
NOVEMBER 28, 1941 BERLIN, GERMANY
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was probably the most famous and
most popular leader in the Arab world in his time. His
enthusiastic and continued support for Hitler would have huge
implications for the future of the Middle East. Yasir Arafat
began his career working for the Mufti after the war and would
continue to praise him as late as 2002.
Arafat's connection to the Mufti and the Mufti's high
prestige in the Arab world would create major concerns in the
world's Jewish community about the sincerity of the commitment
to peace of Arafat and other Arab leaders.
There is only one known photo the meeting between Hitler and
the Mufti, and it is barely legible. However, this picture and
the actions of the Mufti haunt Arab-Jewish relations to this
The official transcript follows:
Reich Chancellory, Berlin November 28, 1941 meeting of German
Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseiniin
the Presence of the Reich Foreign Minister and Minister Grobba
Source: Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, Series
D, Vol XIII, London, 1964, pp.881 ff.
The Grand Mufti began by thanking the Fuhrer for the great honor
he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the
opportunity to convey to the Fuhrer of the Greater German Reich,
admired by the entire Arab world, his thanks of the sympathy
which he had always shown for the Arab and especially the
Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in
his public speeches. The Arab countries were firmly convinced
that Germany would win the war and that the Arab cause would
then prosper. The Arabs were Germany's natural friends because
they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English,
the Jews, and the Communists. Therefore they were prepared to
cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to
participate in the war, not only negatively by the commission of
acts of sabotage and the instigation of revolutions, but also
positively by the formation of an Arab Legion. The Arabs could
be more useful to Germany as allies than might be apparent at
first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the
suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews.
Furthermore, they had had close relations with all Moslem
nations, of which they could make use in behalf of the common
cause. The Arab Legion would be quite easy to raise. An appeal
by the Mufti to the Arab countries and the prisoners of Arab,
Algerian, Tunisian, and Moroccan nationality in Germany would
produce a great number of volunteers eager to fight. Of
Germany's victory the Arab world was firmly convinced, not only
because the Reich possessed a large army, brave soldiers, and
military leaders of genius, but also because the Almighty could
never award the victory to an unjust cause.
In this struggle, the Arabs were striving for the independence
and unity of Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. They had the fullest
confidence in the Fuhrer and looked to his hand for the balm on
their wounds, which had been inflicted upon them by the enemies
The Mufti then mentioned the letter he had received from
Germany, which stated that Germany was holding no Arab
territories and understood and recognized the aspirations to
independence and freedom of the Arabs, just as she supported the
elimination of the Jewish national home.
A public declaration in this sense would be very useful for its
propagandistic effect on the Arab peoples at this moment. It
would rouse the Arabs from their momentary lethargy and give
them new courage. It would also ease the Mufti's work of
secretly organizing the Arabs against the moment when they could
strike. At the same time, he could give the assurance that the
Arabs would in strict discipline patiently wait for the right
moment and only strike upon an order form Berlin.
With regard to the events in Iraq, the Mufti observed that the
Arabs in that country certainly had by no means been incited by
Germany to attack England, but solely had acted in reaction to a
direct English assault upon their honor.
The Turks, he believed, would welcome the establishment of an
Arab government in the neighboring territories because they
would prefer weaker Arab to strong European governments in the
neighboring countries and, being themselves a nations of 7
million, they had moreover nothing to fear from the 1,700,000
Arabs inhabiting Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, and Palestine.
France likewise would have no objections to the unification plan
because she had conceded independence to Syria as early as 1936
and had given her approval to the unification of Iraq and Syria
under King Faisal as early as 1933.
In these circumstances he was renewing his request that the
Fuhrer make a public declaration so that the Arabs would not
lose hope, which is so powerful a force in the life of nations.
With such hope in their hearts the Arabs, as he had said, were
willing to wait. They were not pressing for immediate
realization for their aspirations; they could easily wait half a
year or a whole year. But if they were not inspired with such a
hope by a declaration of this sort, it could be expected that
the English would be the gainers from it.
The Fuhrer replied that Germany's fundamental attitude on these
questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated, was clear.
Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That
naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home
in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form
of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish
interests. Germany was also aware that the assertion that the
Jews were carrying out the functions of economic pioneers in
Palestine was a lie. The work there was done only by the Arabs,
not by the Jews. Germany was resolved, step by step, to ask one
European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and
at the proper time to direct a similar appeal to non-European
nations as well.
Germany was at the present time engaged in a life and death
struggle with two citadels of Jewish power: Great Britain and
Soviet Russia. Theoretically there was a difference between
England's capitalism and Soviet Russia's communism; actually,
however, the Jews in both countries were pursuing a common goal.
This was the decisive struggle; on the political plane, it
presented itself in the main as a conflict between Germany and
England, but ideologically it was a battle between National
Socialism and the Jews. It went without saying that Germany
would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved
in the same struggle, because platonic promises were useless in
a war for survival or destruction in which the Jews were able to
mobilize all of England's power for their ends.
The aid to the Arabs would have to be material aid. Of how
little help sympathies alone were in such a battle had been
demonstrated plainly by the operation in Iraq, where
circumstances had not permitted the rendering of really
effective, practical aid. In spite of all the sympathies, German
aid had not been sufficient and Iraq was overcome by the power
of Britain, that is, the guardian of the Jews.
The Mufti could not but be aware, however, that the outcome of
the struggle going on at present would also decide the fate of
the Arab world. The Fuhrer therefore had to think and speak
coolly and deliberately, as a rational man and primarily as a
soldier, as the leader of the German and allied armies.
Everything of a nature to help in this titanic battle for the
common cause, and thus also for the Arabs, would have to be
done. Anything however, that might contribute to weakening the
military situation must be put aside, no matter how unpopular
this move might be.
Germany was now engaged in very severe battles to force the
gateway to the northern Caucasus region. The difficulties were
mainly with regard to maintaining the supply, which was most
difficult as a result of the destruction of railroads and
highways as well as the oncoming winter. If at such a moment,
the Fuhrer were to raise the problem of Syria in a declaration,
those elements in France which were under de Gaulle's influence
would receive new strength. They would interpret the Fuhrer's
declaration as an intention to break up France's colonial empire
and appeal to their fellow countrymen that they should rather
make common cause with the English to try to save what still
could be saved. A German declaration regarding Syria would in
France be understood to refer to the French colonies in general,
and that would at the present time create new troubles in
western Europe, which means that a portion of the German armed
forces would be immobilized in the west and no longer be
available for the campaign in the east.
The Fuhrer then made the following statement to the Mufti,
enjoining him to lock it in the uttermost depths of his heart:
1. He (the Fuhrer) would carry on the battle to the total
destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.
2. At some moment which was impossible to set exactly today but
which in any event was not distant, the German armies would in
the course of this struggle reach the southern exit from
3. As soon as this had happened, the Fuhrer would on his own
give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation
had arrived. Germany's objective would then be solely the
destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere
under the protection of British power. In that hour the Mufti
would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. It
would then be his task to set off the Arab operations, which he
had secretly prepared. When that time had come, Germany could
also be indifferent to French reaction to such a declaration.
Once Germany had forced open the road to Iran and Iraq through
Rostov; it would be also the beginning of the end of the British
World Empire. He (the Fuhrer) hoped that the coming year would
make it possible for Germany to thrust open the Caucasian gate
to the Middle East. For the good of their common cause, it would
be better if the Arab proclamation were put off for a few more
months than if Germany were to create difficulties for herself
without being able thereby to help the Arabs.
He (the Fuhrer) fully appreciated the eagerness of the Arabs for
a public declaration of the sort requested by the Grand Mufti.
But he would beg him to consider that he (the Fuhrer) himself
was the Chief of State of the German Reich for five long years
during which he was unable to make to his own homeland the
announcement of its liberation. He had to wait with that until
the announcement could be made on the basis of a situation
brought about by the force of arms that the Anschluss had been
The moment that Germany's tank divisions and air squadrons had
made their appearance south of the Caucasus, the public appeal
requested by the Grand Mufti could go out to the Arab world.
The Grand Mufti replied that it was his view that everything
would come to pass just as the Fuhrer had indicated. He was
fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard
form the Chief of the German State. He asked, however, whether
it would not be possible, secretly at least, to enter into an
agreement with Germany of the kind he had just outlined for the
The Fuhrer replied that he had just now given the Grand Mufti
precisely that confidential declaration.
The Grand Mufti thanked him for it and stated in conclusion that
he was taking his leave from the Fuhrer in full confidence and
with reiterated thanks for the interest shown in the Arab cause.