Polish Nazi Whitewashing, Arab Nazi Whitewashing

Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler by Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-004-09A / Heinrich Hoffmann [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler by Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-004-09A / Heinrich Hoffmann [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial center, issued a harsh rebuke in early July of a joint statement by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart, in which the two asserted that Poland had tried to help its Jews who were being butchered by the Nazis.

The Yad Vashem condemnation — which pointed out that far from aiding the Jews, the Poles frequently and actively collaborated with the Nazis against them — caused quite a stir in Israel. One cannot help but agree with the memorial center’s statement, since we should all be sensitive to the truth in general, and particularly regarding Jewish historical facts. This is all the more so when it comes to the Holocaust.

Whitewashing the despicable role played by the Polish nation before, during, and after the Holocaust is a hideous crime to the memories of the victims and to Jewish history. Those who persecuted the Jews willfully chose their roles during the Holocaust. A handful chose differently, and they will always be our heroes.

Agreed, Yad Vashem’s statement was on target.

It seems, though, that outrage is limited to European Jew-haters — and does not include Arab Jew-haters, who were also willing allies of Hitler.

I refer to my continuing campaign against the P.C. fortress at Yad Vashem, which indeed whitewashes the role played by Arab leader and Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini in whipping up support for the Nazis, and the Arab adoration of Hitler in general — another fellow fan of the Nazis was former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The Arabs adored Hitler and found a champion in him.

Before the current expansion of Yad Vashem, the old museum had a floor-to-ceiling photo of the infamous meeting between Al-Husseini and Hitler in Berlin, where Al-Husseini promised to do his all to help make sure that no Jews were saved from the ovens.

Opposite that photo was an equally huge one of Jewish soldiers in the British army fighting the Nazis. The message of contrasts and historical roles was simple, loud, clear, and true.

In the new Yad Vashem, that message is whitewashed and hidden.

I had to make two rounds of the museum to find what I was looking for — a photo of Al-Husseini with Hitler. But what I finally found was a tiny photo in a place where people are not likely to see it, showing the Arab Nazi, who was made a ceremonial general of the Schutzstaffel (SS), together with SS leader Heinrich Himmler, not Hitler. Many would not even recognize Himmler, so the effect was even more minimized than it already would have been due to the size of the new photo.

It would seem that Hitler was dismissed or escaped from Yad Vashem, at least in his Arab context.

This happened in the post-Oslo P.C. version of Yad Vashem, in which a narrative of “the Arabs are no longer enemies but peace partners” appears to pervade.

I had a conversation with a spokesperson at Yad Vashem, who denied that there was ever a photo of Hitler with Al-Husseini at the museum. I and my colleagues distinctly remember the huge photo on display in the pre-Oslo Yad Vashem. Even if the photo had not been there before, one is left wondering why it is not on display today.

The local guides at Yad Vashem with whom I have spoken are usually not even aware of the photo, let alone discuss the subject with visitors.

Did someone say whitewash?

Yes, it is a horrible thing to whitewash the role of Holocaust villains. That goes for Poles as well as Arabs. If I am joined by other caring people, the powers that be will take note and truth may prevail. I urge you to make your thoughts known to Mr. Avner Shalev (avnr.shalev@yadveshem.org.il), the current chairman of Yad Vashem.

Photo of Shalom Pollack

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