Andrew Bostom’s The Mufti’s Islamic Jew Hatred (here) is a must read for anyone interested in knowing about the foundational Islamic texts that underpinned Ajj Amin el-Husseini’s vitriolic Jew hatred. The Mufti was an IslamoNazi, but first and foremost, he was a Muslim, who found a kindred spirit in Nazi ideology which was immersed in similar kind of Jew hatred that he found familiar.
‘But you, you 360 million Mohammedans, to whom I have had a strong inner connection since the days of my association with your Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, you, who have a greater truth in the surahs of your Koran, I call upon you to pass judgment on me. You children of Allah have known the Jews longer and better than the West has. Your noble Muftis and scholars of law may sit in judgement upon me and, at least in a symbolic way, give me your verdict.’ [pp 227-8]
Adolf Eichmann hoped his ‘Arab friends’ would continue his battle against the Jews
Over Christmas I finally got around to reading Eichmann Before Jerusalemby Bettina Stangneth. I cannot recommend this book – newly translated from the German – highly enough. It challenges and indeed changes nearly all received wisdom about the leading figure behind the genocide of European Jews during World War II.
The title of course refers to Hannah Arendt’s omnipresent and over-praised account of Adolf Eichmann’s 1961 trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil. I would say that Stangneth’s book not merely surpasses but actually buries Arendt’s account. Not least in showing how Arendt was fooled by Eichmann’s role-play in the dock in Jerusalem. For whereas Arendt famously portrayed the man in the glass booth as a type of bureaucrat, Stangneth shows not only that Eichmann was not the man Arendt took him to be, but that she fell for a very carefully curated and prepared performance. Putting together a whole library of scattered documents from Eichmann’s exile in Argentina in the 1950s, Stangneth puts the actual, unrepentant Eichmann back centre stage.
There are a number of startling discoveries in the book, not least among them being the extent to which Eichmann had kept up with the books and scholarship on the Holocaust as they came out so that by the time he was awaiting trial in Jerusalem he was fully on top of all primary and secondary material put to him. There is also the extent to which Stangneth is able to show (through accounts from various members of the South America Nazi circles) how well known the true identity of ‘Ricardo Klement’ actually was within the German expat community in those years.
But Stangneth’s principle scholarly triumph has been her ability to piece together and make sense of the extant transcripts and recordings known as the Sassen conversations. Together with Eichmann’s contemporary attempts at memoir-writing they bring a wholly new interpretation on his years in Argentina. These conversations – recorded by the journalist and Nazi Willem Sassen in the 1950s – came to light before Eichmann went on trial. But in Jerusalem Eichmann threw doubt on their authenticity and for this reason (as well as the complex dissemination and distribution of the transcripts plus disputes over ownership as well as attempts to disown them) the complete picture of these interviews has taken until now to come to light. Stangneth’s work on these materials is extraordinary and the results more than reward her considerable efforts. For instance she shows that those who participated in the conversations (including Sassen himself) tried very hard to cover over exactly what had gone on after Eichmann was abducted by the Mossad. And Stangneth startlingly shows the extent to which these discussions were far from being one-on-one interviews but were in fact semi-public events.