For all these reasons and more, the Nazis could make common cause with the Arabs who were largely Muslim and who had at least a theoretical basis for anti-Semitism. Citing a few inflammatory verses from the Qur’an concerning the Jews, a new generation of Wahhabis and their fellow travelers—inspired by the Grand Mufti himself, al-Husseini—could see themselves fighting alongside the most famous anti-Semites in the world, men motivated by the same mystical impulses as they were; men who identified their movement with something larger, more transcendent, than the dictatorship of the proletariat or a workers’ paradise. The Nazis were believers, and while their belief system did not match those of their Muslim collaborators, there were similarities.
The Muslims believe in submission to God; the word “Islam” means “submission.” The Nazis believed in the Fuhrer Principle: complete obedience to the Fuhrer and to his representatives. The Nazis never placed the rights of the individual above that of the community, and certainly not above that of the Fuhrer, God’s representative on earth. Both the Muslims and the Nazis yearned for the past: the Muslims, for the glories of the Caliphates that had ruled the Middle East, India and even parts of Europe for centuries; the Nazis, for a glorious past in the distant mists of ancient history, when Teutons fought the armies of the Caesar and even further back, when the pagan gods were still worshipped with fire and sword. The Nazis saw the Jews as both an ancient enemy and a current one; so did the Arabs, and for almost the same reasons. To both, the Jews were an alien race bent on world domination. To the Nazis, the Jews represented the faith of a demonic god who masqueraded as the Creator of the universe. More than this, their very blood was a poison. It was not simply a matter of a belief system that was wrong or hateful in some way: it was the very existence of Jewish blood, of Jewish genetics, that threatened the spiritual
as well as the physical life of the world. A Jew could conceivably convert to Islam and be spared; but a Jew could not convert to Aryanism and be spared by the Reich.
So men like Walter Rauff and SS-Haupsturmführer Alois Brunner (1912-1996?) could find sanctuary in the Middle East. Brunner had been in charge of mass deportations of Jews in various European countries as the personal emissary of Adolf Eichmann. After the war, Brunner claimed that he worked for awhile for the US military (possibly with the Gehlen Organization, the espionage facility created by the CIA out of former Nazis to spy on the Soviet Union) and then fled first to Rome, using the same Catholic Church connections as his colleagues, and then to Egypt where he worked as an arms dealer and finally to Syria where he found employment with the regime as an interrogation (i.e., torture) expert. Brunner was so confident in his status that he gave interviews to magazines and newspapers from his home in Damascus as lat as 1985 154 and 1987 155. The fact that the various Syrian regimes from 1954 to the present—including the Assad regimes—would protect him for so long is an indication that he had proved his usefulness in some way that permitted him to outlast the various political storms that beset that country over the last fifty years. This was either due to his particular expertise in various military and intelligence areas, his connections with the worldwide Nazi network, or possibly also to an infusion of Nazi gold to bribe his way into security. Unfortunately, the German government has destroyed its files on Alois Brunner and unless something surfaces from the current political turmoil in Syria (or from US intelligence files, particularly those of Allen Dulles and the OSS) we may never know the truth.
The entire history of Nazi-Arab collusion is too long and complex to go into detail here. We have seen the basic elements, however, and understand that there was a natural alliance between the Nazis and the Arab nationalists both during and for many years after the war. This alliance is still nurtured. Hitler’s autobiography and political manifesto, Mein Kampf, is always in Arabic translation and easily available everywhere in the Arab world, as is the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (a notorious hoax which is nonetheless accepted as fact by many readers). There are close connections between neo-Nazi movements in Europe—particularly in Austria—and terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. While these groups could conceivably turn on each other eventually, for now the immediate threat is the existence
of the state of Israel and the perceived “global Jewish conspiracy.” This is a theme that has been picked up as far away from the battlegrounds of World War Two as present-day Southeast Asia
When the Asian Economic Crisis occurred in 1997—the crash of Asian currencies that contributed to the fall of Indonesia’s dictator Soeharto in 1998 during the Reformasi movement—Malaysia’s then Prime Minister, Mahathir Muhammad, blamed it on George Soros and a cabal of international Jewish bankers considered to be partners in a conspiracy to destroy the developing economies of Southeast Asia. That a national leader and Muslim statesman in 1997 could make such a claim demonstrates that the theory of “a global Jewish conspiracy” is still very much with us, regardless of how often that theory is exploded by reference to the facts. Later, Indonesia’s Soeharto would make the same claim when asked about his fall from power in 1998.
This is a charge that sits well with the more radical Muslims of Southeast Asia who, like their Arab counterparts, seek a scapegoat to blame for their lack of power and economic parity with the west. However, Malaysia could hardly be considered an economic backwater and young Malaysian Muslims have opportunities and access to power and resources that far exceed those of their co-religionists in the Arab world. Indeed, Mahathir had called for Malaysia to become a completely developed nation by the year 2020, putting it on par with its neighbor, Singapore. He had invested billions of dollars in major infrastructure projects, such as the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Kuala Lumpur City Center (with the tallest buildings in the world at that time), and the Cyberjaya and Putrajaya projects which promised a complete high-speed fiber-optic network in the capital city. Malaysia was hardly a “third world” country in 1997, yet Mahathir felt justified in blaming the crash of his country’s currency on the Jews. Indonesia, while not as economically advanced as Malaysia at the time was still in a relative position of strength when the crisis began with a large trade surplus. Unfortunately this led to over- borrowing by Indonesian corporations in US dollars and as the Indonesian currency slid the debt position of these corporations rose considerably, leaving Indonesia to suffer as the rupiah lost more than 80% of its value (compared with the Malaysian ringgit which lost 39% of its value). This put Soeharto’s thirty year regime in danger. People took to the streets in revolt
against the rising prices, the corruption and impotent yet dictatorial powers of their government. The International Monetary Fund made humiliating demands on Indonesia in return for aid in propping up the econony, and this (among many other issues) inspired the Reform movement that toppled Soeharto and ushered in an era of democracy, pluralism, and free elections. Yet, Soeharto could still blame an international Jewish conspiracy for his country’s problems.
We have seen that there is a precedent for this reaction in Southeast Asia. The existence of a Nazi Party in Indonesia and the collusion of rebel leaders like future Indonesian president Sukarno with the Japanese invaders and their German partners would seem to indicate that there was already a degree of anti-Semitism in that country. This would be a mistake, however. The Nazi Party recruited its members from among the European expatriate community and not from the local Indonesians themselves. Sukarno is acknowledged to have cooperated with the Japanese for purely pragmatic reasons: they would help him ensure that the Dutch would finally lose their Indonesian colony after 350 years of dominance in the region. Sukarno made several speeches during the war that praised Japan and the Axis powers, but there is no evidence to show that he harbored genuine pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic sentiments.
In recent years, however, attempts have been made to show parallels between Sukarno and Hitler. Both were dictators; both had delivered their respective countries from oppressive circumstances and both had challenged the European powers of Great Britain and the Netherlands, as well as of the United States. Both were skillful orators who understood the power of the spoken word and the theatrical gesture. Both saw the Japanese as their allies. And neither man was afraid to stand up to the entire world in order to raise his country’s profile on the global stage.
In 1945, with the surrender of the Japanese forces in the region, the opportunity came for Sukarno to force the hand of the Dutch. The Japanese had promised Indonesia its independence, and declared it on their way out of the country. Sukarno raised his forces to begin the struggle against the Dutch who were coming back to reclaim their “territory.” Thus would begin years of armed struggle until finally Indonesia was recognized by the world as an independent country.
During that immediate post-war period, however, Sukarno had problems not only with the Dutch but with violent political parties in Sumatra and
Java that had a different agenda. While Sukarno saw Indonesia as a secular state—and was accused of flirting with Communism as well—there were those in his country who wanted to create an Islamic government. This tension between secular and sacred agendas continues to this day and there will always be those in Indonesia who desire the creation of a khalifa or Caliphate in the region. In some cases—such as the Jemaah Islamiyyah organization of fundamentalist firebrand Abu Bakr Ba’ashir—this Islamic struggle takes on pronounced anti-Semitic contours.
As in the Arab world, Mein Kampf is available in Indonesia in local translation as well as a number of conspiracy-oriented books that emphasize the idea of a global Jewish conspiracy. Many of these books would be familiar to anyone who had read similar conspiracy literature in the United States, or in the Middle East. Henry Ford’s International Jew is also readily available (usually paired with an Indonesian language translation of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion), and the prestige associated with the name of Ford lends additional credibility to the famous American inventor’s anti-Semitic ravings.
But in 1954, the year the mysterious Georg Anton Pöch and his equally enigmatic wife Hella arrived in Indonesia, the country was still in the grip of sectarian struggles, political intrigues, violent confrontations, and the constantly looming threat of either a Communist or an Islamicist takeover. Of one thing the couple could be sure, however: there were virtually no Jews at all in Indonesia. More than Argentina—which had a sizeable Jewish population—or any other country in the western hemisphere, for a Nazi war criminal in 1954, Indonesia could be considered one of the safest places on earth.
- The author would like to point out, unnecessarily perhaps, that the term “anti-Semitic” is problematic for the word “Semite” can apply equally to Jews and Arabs (although not to Iranians). However, in common usage the term “anti-Semite” refers to bias and prejudice concerning Jews and is rarely, if ever, used to describe anti-Arab sentiments.
- The author is aware of the inadequacy of this term. There is a tendency to equate fundamentalism with fanaticism or even terrorism; however, most Christian fundamentalists (who consider themselves fundamentalists) would strongly deny that they are fanatics or terrorists, and with reason. Thus, the linkage between Islamic “fundamentalism” and terrorism is contrived and counter-productive, even it serves as a kind of journalistic shorthand. Some authors have suggested the use of “scripturalist” to replace “fundamentalist”, but this author finds that term awkward and equally misleading in this case.
- A letter dated October 24, 1915 (only declassified in 1964) by Sir Henry McMahon of the British Foreign Office to Sherif Hussein of the Arab revolt, guaranteeing that Palestine was within the
boundaries of the independent Arab state that was being promised in return for the Sherif’s assistance against the Turks.
- See the recently (2000, 2005) declassified CIA file EGMA-32934, dated March 19, 1958 regarding “UPSWING Near Eastern Connections”. UPSWING was the code name given by the CIA to the West German intelligence service, the BND, which at the time was being run by former Nazi intelligence officer Reinhard Gehlen.
- It should be noted that the first Bilderberger meeting was organized by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands who (as we have seen) has been accused of harboring Nazi sympathies. Incidentally, his brother was actually an officer with the Wehrmacht during the war.
- “Judentum und Islam als Gegensätze”, Die Judenfrage, Vol. 6, No. 24(15December 1942), p. 278, quoted and paraphrased by Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy, p. 181.
- The interview was conducted by journalist Shlomo Nakdimon and published in Yedioth Ahronoth. See also Shraga Elam and Dennis Whitehead, “In the service of the Jewish state,” in Haaretz, March 31, 2007.
- See the CIA Name File for Walter Rauff, released by the Interagency Working Group (IWG), Record Group 263, located in RC Box #42, RC Location 230/902/64/7 at the National Archives, Washington DC.
- Gerald Steinacher, Nazis on the Run, p. 193.
- For more details on the relationship between Von Bolschwing and Eichmann, see Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America’ s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War, New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson,1988, p.252-260
152 Ibid., p. 263.
- This point is made in the Frederick Forsyth novel (and later movie) The Odessa File, and is based on documented evidence.
- To the German magazine Bunte, where he complained that he wished he had killed more Jews. See also “In Syria, a Long-Hunted Nazi Talks,” in the New York Times, November 29, 1985.
- To the Chicago Sun Times, where he insisted he would “do it all again.”
Argentina is still the place to look for—I don’t discount a monastery in Tibet.156
or more than two decades after the end of World War Two, persistent rumors that Hitler was still alive and had escaped Germany were taken seriously by the world’s intelligence services. Declassified documents reveal that there was no consensus among the Allies as to the fate of the century’s most infamous dictator, even after Hugh
Trevor-Roper’s report and insistence that the Führer died an ignominious death in Berlin.157 Stalin consistently declared his belief that Hitler was still alive, and possibly being harbored by the Allies to use as some kind of weapon against the Soviet Union. Historians usually take Stalin’s statements to be a propaganda move, an attempt to discredit the capitalists in the eyes of the world or to make their intelligence services waste valuable time and resources on a wild goose chase; but as we have seen there is no forensic evidence at all to prove that Hitler died in the bunker and the Nazi prisoners in Russia gave so many conflicting stories about the “last days” of Hitler that it was impossible to take any one of them seriously. Thus, it is entirely possible that Stalin was sincere in his belief that Hitler survived or could have survived. He was sincere enough to have convinced General (and later