12 April 2006
STUTTGART, GERMANY - The Nazis made plans to conduct a Holocaust of Jews living in Palestine during the Second World War, according to German historians who have examined secret archives.
The Nazis stationed a unit of ruthless troops in the Greek capital Athens with the task of landing in Palestine and murdering about 500,000 European Jews who had taken refuge there, the historians at the University of Stuttgart said Wednesday. But it never deployed.
The rapid-deployment unit was answerable to the Afrika Korps, the German army in North Africa headed by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
Klaus Michael Mallmann of the University's Ludwigsburg research team and his assistant Martin Cueppers said they had spent three years studying German wartime archives including those at the Foreign Office in Berlin.
The Allied defeat of Rommel at the end of 1942 had prevented the extension of the Holocaust to Palestine, they said. If Rommel had beaten the Allies in the desert and invaded Egypt, a push into Palestine would have followed and the unit would have deployed there.
The researchers, whose findings appear in a new book entitled Germans, Jews, Genocide, said the Athens unit was intended to operate like Nazi units that hunted for Jews in eastern Europe and either massacred them or sent them to the Nazi death camps.
Mallmann and Cueppers said the Nazis had planned to exploit Arab friendship for their plans.
"The most important collaborator with the Nazis and an absolute Arab anti-Semite was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem," they said in the book. He was a prime example of how Arabs and Nazis became friends out of a hatred of Jews.
Al-Husseini had met several times with Adolf Eichmann, Adolf Hitler's chief architect of the Holocaust, to settle details of the slaughter.
DPA with Expatica
Subject: German news
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