Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu recently made the following claim:

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to Palestine].’” According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: “What should I do with them?” and the mufti replied: “Burn them.”

Did al-Husseini tell Hitler to exterminate the Jews instead of expelling them?

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    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Husseini didn't tell Hitler to exterminate the Jews, and the issue wasn't discussed at all in their meeting. The full record of the conversation is available in Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, Series D, Vol XIII, the record of their conversation appears on pages 881-885.

A second source containing the full book, just in case.

An article in The Times of Israel with only the transcript of the conversation.

While both mention the Jews as the natural enemies of both the German and the Arab people, they don't talk about the solution to "The Jewish Problem", nor does the Mufti offer any advice on how to handle the Jews.

Hitler does say that:

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 Caucasia.
  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.

Moreover, Hitler assured the mufti that he was against creating a Jewish homeland in Israel:

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.

In the end of the conversation the mufti wanted a secret agreement of some kind and Hitler assured him that that is what had just happened:

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 Fuhrer.

The Fuhrer replied that he had just now given the Grand Mufti precisely that confidential declaration.

The mufti did play a role in WWII, and and he did try to stop deportation of Jews out of Romania and Bulgaria, at least one instance he was successful, and 4000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz instead.

A Jerusalem Post article cite Dr. Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington:

While Netanyahu was incorrect in his assertions, it is likely that his confusion was based on the mufti’s very real role in lobbying against proposals to bring Jews out of Romania and Bulgaria during the war, Zuroff said.

“The mufti tried very hard to stop it,” Zuroff said. “He intervened to make sure it wouldn’t happen and that intervention apparently halted or stopped those operations.”

One such incident involved the mufti “persuading the Germans to cancel a 1943 prisoner exchange that would have sent 4,000 Jewish refugee children to Palestine,” said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington.

“As a result of the mufti’s intervention, the children were sent to Auschwitz. There is ample evidence that he knew they would be murdered,” Medoff said.

Zuroff said that the involvement of the leader of the Palestinian national movement in the Holocaust is a matter of historical record. He cited the mufti’s propaganda work on behalf of the Third Reich and his role in recruiting Muslim troops to take part in the Holocaust.

“There is no doubt that the mufti was a zealous supporter of the Third Reich and that he hoped that the Nazis would implement the Final Solution in the Land of Israel, but Hitler did not need any convincing from the mufti or anyone else to launch the annihilation of European Jewry,” Zuroff said.

A Ynet article citing Prof. Meir Litvak from Tel Aviv University:

Professor Meir Litvak, who teaches at Tel Aviv University's Department of Middle Eastern History, ... "Husseini supported the extermination of the Jews, he tried to prevent rescuing of Jews, he recruited Arabs for the SS," said Litvak. "He was an abominable person, but this must not minimize the scale of Hitler's guilt."

  • On pages 742-743 of your first reference an earlier conversation between the Mufti and Fuhrer is discussed.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 1:14
  • @DavePHD, no, it describes the declaration that the Mufti wanted to issue "After having obtained Germany's consent". That telegram mentions a meeting between the Mufti, the Duce (Mussolini) and Count Ciano (Italy's foreign minister). The meeting with Hitler is in the future at the time that the telegram was written.
    – SIMEL
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 11:51
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    "Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Palestine and one of the leading representatives of the independence movement of the Arab peoples, has had a frank and cordial exchange of views with the Duce and the Fuhrer. In this conversation he was told the following:...the Axis Powers are prepared to give their consent to the elimination of the Jewish national home [judisch-nationalen Lebensraumes] in Palestine". So you view this as a fictitious or proposed conversation with the Fuhrer, rather than, say, a negotiated summary of telephone conversations?
    – DavePhD
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 0:13

According a memorandum submitted April 1947 to United Nations General Assembly, The Palestine problem and proposals for its solution, at page 48, in the section titled The Role of the Grand Mufti in World War II

The revelations of Mr. Mowrer, based on captured documents, were confirmed by Bartley Crum in the course of his investigations as a member of the Anglo-American Committee. Discussing his examination of the archives of the Allied Tribunal investigating war crimes, Mr. Crum says:

....Hitler had instructed that in any ransoming of concentration-camp inmates, no Jews were to be included because an agreement had been reached with the Mufti that all Jews be exterminated. I also learned that the Hitler-Mufti agreement included relegation of Ibn Saud to secondary importance by making the Mufti the supreme head of a new Pan Islam. This became clear as I read on. It was the Mufti who insisted to the Nazi leaders that no matter what deals were made, no matter what monies were paid for the ransom of the Jews by Jews, no Jews should be permitted to go to Palestine.

The memorandum continues:

It became evident that Nazi policy in relation to the Jews could be divided into three phases. Until 1940, the general policy was to settle the Jewish question by forced expulsion of them, coupled with extortion. From 1940 to 1942, the Nazi plan was to concentrate them in ghettos in Poland and in occupied eastern territories. In 1941, the Mufti fled to Germany for refuge. He immediately set to work with all his influence to agitate against ghettoization of the Jews and for a final solution: extermination. The result was the third stage of Nazi policy: the planned destruction of the Jewish race.

The memorandum also quotes Dieter Wisliczeny's testimony of as:

The Grand Mufti has repeatedly suggested to the Nazi authorities-including Hitler, von Ribbentrop and Himmler-the extermination of European Jewry

The above information is also contained in Bartley Crum's own book BEHIND THE SILKEN CURTAIN, a portion of which is summarized in the The Stanford Daily, 28 October 1977:

Until 1940 Hitler's policy regarding the Jews had been, at first, forced expulsion and extortion; later, ghettoization: upon his arrival in 1941, Husseini used all [italics in original text] his influence to agitate against ghettoization of the Jews and for their extermination. His efforts led to the Nazis' final solution — the planned destruction of the Jewish race (see Bartley Crum's "Behind the Silken Curtain," pp. 108-115).

The degree to which one accepts the testimony of Wisliczeny substantially determines whether or not one answers the question in the OP as yes or no.

According to the book The Mufti and the Fuehrer: the rise and fall of Haj Amin el-Husseini:

There also is direct evidence as to the Mufti's influence in the implementation of the physical destruction of Eu­ropean Jewry.

In June 1944, Dieter Wisliceny told Dr. Rudolf Kastner, representative of the Budapest rescue council, that he was convinced that the Mufti had "played a role in the deci­sion to exterminate the European Jews." "The importance of this role," he insisted, "must not be disregarded. . . . The Mufti had repeatedly suggested to the various au­thorities with whom he was maintaining contact, above all to Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestine problem." [reference 61]

Wisliceny was even more explicit in his conversation with Engineer Endre Steiner of Bratislava:

"The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic exterm­ination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan, . . .He was one of Eichmann's best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chamber of Auschwitz." [reference 62]

Wisliceny elaborated on these private wartime revela­tions in a signed official deposition submitted on July 26, 1946, to the Nuremberg tribunal. He testified that after the Mufti's arrival in Germany he had paid a visit to Himmler and shortly afterward (late in 1941 or early in 1942) had visited Eichmann in his Berlin office at Kurfurstenstrasse 116. According to Wisliceny, Eichmann told him that he had brought the Mufti to a special room where he showed him maps illustrating the distribution of the Jewish population in various European countries and delivered a detailed report on the solution of the Jewish problem in Europe. The Mufti seemed to have been very much impressed; he told Eichmann, that he had requested Himmler—and received a promise to this effect—that when, after the victory of the Axis, he would return to Palestine, he would be accompanied, as his personal adviser, by a trusted agent of Eichmann. The latter inquired whether Wisliceny himself would not be disposed to take such an assignment; the offer was declined. "Eichmann was strongly impressed by the personality of the Mufti," continued Wisliceny. "He told me then—and often re­peated it later—that the Mufti had also made a strong impression on Himmler and exerted considerable influ­ence in Arabic-Jewish affairs."

The book also quotes Eichmann as saying to Dr. Rudolf Kastner in Budapest:

I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised him that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more. Do you understand now?

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    That was not a UN Assembly publication. It was produced by "Nation Associates", an organization associated with the US political magazine The Nation which at that stage was campaigning for partition of Palestine
    – Henry
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 12:49
  • @Henry you're right it was a memorandum submitted to the UN General Assembly by Nation Associates, I'll edit the answer to make clear
    – DavePhD
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:49

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