Netanyahu standing by his comments as scholars blast his sources

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tags: Holocaust, Netanyahu

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Defending his contentious remarks Wednesday as he made his way to Berlin, the prime minister said: “There is much evidence about this, including the testimony of [Adolf] Eichmann’s deputy at the Nuremberg trials — not now, but after World War II.”

Netanyahu then cited two statements attributed to SS-Hauptsturmführer Dieter Wisliceny, who served under Eichmann in the Jewish affairs department of the Reich Security Main Office and who from 1940 acted as adviser on Jewish affairs to the Slovakian government, participating in the deportation of Jews from Slovakia, Greece, and Hungary:

“In my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who has been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded. He has repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he has been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution for the Palestine problem.”

That quote comes from the 1946 Nuremberg trials. Netanyahu also cited a sentence that Wisliceny is believed to have uttered in Bratislava while the Holocaust was raging, in 1944:

“The Mufti was one of the instigators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and was a partner and adviser to Eichmann and Hitler for carrying out this plan.”

“The attempt by certain scholars and people to be apologists for the key and important role of Haj Amin al-Husseini is clear,” an unrepentant Netanyahu said Wednesday. “Many other researchers cite this testimony and others regarding the role of Haj Amin al-Husseini.”


Dieter Wisliceny (Wikipedia)

Netanyahu is not the first to cite the Wisliceny quotes. They feature, for instance, in a 2012 book, “Israel: The Will to Prevail,” by the man Netanyahu recently appointed as his ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon. But Danon acknowledges the problematics of the claim: “Some historians have cast doubt on al-Husseini’s involvement in the ‘final solution,’” he writes, “since it was already under way after [sic] al-Husseini’s arrival on the scene.”

In fact, it is not some, but rather most serious historians who doubt the veracity of Wisliceny’s account.

Yehuda Bauer, Israel’s preeminent Holocaust scholar, is a prominent case in point. “After the war, they caught him (Wisliceny) and tried him at Nuremberg, where he tried to eschew all responsibility, saying: ‘It wasn’t Hitler, it wasn’t me, it was the mufti,'” Bauer told The Times of Israel on Thursday. “I am not sure if Wisliceny ever met the mufti. I doubt it, but it’s doesn’t matter. It’s clear that his account is untrue: the Germans had started annihilating the Jews half a year before Hitler and the mufti met. Netanyahu’s story is entirely baseless.” (Wisliceny was executed for war crimes in 1948.)

Read entire article at Times of Israel

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