“Omar Amin” von Leers: The Nazi Who Found a Haven in Egypt and Embraced a More Potent Ideology to Destroy the Judeo-Christian West—Islamic Jihad
Cross-posted at The American Thinker
Wednesday May 25, 2011 a group of Egyptians, led by founding member Emad Abdel Sattar proclaimed the establishment of “a contemporary frame of reference” Nazi Party.
Sattar reportedly stated that the party, whose founding deputy is a former military official, would bring together prominent figures from Egyptian society, and vest all powers in a “carefully selected” president.
The Egyptian Leftist publication Al-Masry Al-Youm, at its English website, further contends the Nazi party operated clandestinely during the Mubarak regime which had prevented party leaders from carrying out their activities in the open. Two Facebook pages which appeared recently under the title of “the Egyptian Nazi Party,” may confirm the party’s public emergence since Mubarak was deposed.
Whether or not the inchoate new Egyptian Nazi Party, operating within a “modern framework,” becomes a significant political force, Nazism and its ugly resonance with the country’s Muslim masses, has a prolonged, disturbing legacy in Egypt.
Aribert Ferdinand Heim, was a member of Hitler’s Waffen-SS, and a psychopathic “medical doctor” who committed the most heinous atrocities at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps, including: the performance of operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, who were then left then to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a “souvenir.”
As revealed in this February 4/5, 2009 New York Times story, Heim, like many Nazi war criminals, lived safely in Egypt, perhaps for up to three decades, following his flight from Europe in 1962.
A dusty briefcase with rusted buckles, sitting nearly forgotten in storage here in Cairo, hid the truth behind Dr. Heim’s flight to the Middle East. Obtained by The New York Times and the German television station ZDF from members of the Doma family, proprietors of the hotel here where Dr. Heim resided, the files in the briefcase tell the story of his life, and death, in Egypt.
Josef Kohl, a former inmate at Mauthausen, gave the following testimony regarding Heim to a United States war crimes investigating team on Jan. 18, 1946, less than a year after the German surrender.
Dr. Heim had a habit of looking into inmates’ mouths to determine whether their teeth were in impeccable condition. If this were the case, he would kill the prisoner with an injection, cut his head off, leave it to cook in the crematorium for hours, until all the flesh was stripped from the naked skull and prepare the skull for himself and his friends as a decoration for their desks.
During 1979, Heim (who died on Aug. 10, 1992, according to his son and the death certificate), wrote a letter to the German magazine Spiegel, after the publication of a report about his war-crimes case. Whether he ever sent the letter, which was found in his files (along with numerous others were “written in meticulous cursive style in German or English”) is unclear. According to the Times report,
the letter…accused Simon Wiesenthal, who was interned at Mauthausen, of being “the one who invented these atrocities.” Dr. Heim went on to discuss what he called Israeli massacres of Palestinians, and added that “the Jewish Khazar, Zionist lobby of the U.S. were the first ones who in 1933 declared war against Hitler’s Germany.” The Turkic ethnic group the Khazars were a recurring theme for Dr. Heim, who kept himself busy in Cairo, researching a paper he wrote in English and German, decrying the possibility of anti-Semitism owing to the fact, he said, that most Jews were not Semitic in ethnic origin.
Heim converted to Islam (in his case, at the Cairo mosque of Sunni Islam’s foremost religious teaching institution, Al Azhar), becoming “known to locals” as Tarek Hussein Farid. Apparently, Heim, aka, Dr. Death, became a devout Muslim, “maintained the discipline to walk some 15 miles each day through the busy streets of Egypt’s capital…to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque”, and bonded with his Muslim neighbors, who knew him as “Uncle” Tarek Hussein Farid.
He formed close bonds with his neighbors, including the Doma family, which ran the Kasr el Madina hotel, where Dr. Heim lived the last decade before his death. Mahmoud Doma, whose father owned the establishment, said Dr. Heim spoke Arabic, English and French, in addition to German. Mr. Doma said his neighbor read and studied the Koran, including a copy in German that the Domas had ordered for him. Mahmoud Doma, 38, became emotional when talking about the man he knew as Uncle Tarek, whom he described giving him books and encouraging him to study. “He was like a father. He loved me and I loved him.”
He recalled how Uncle Tarek bought rackets and set up a tennis net on the hotel roof, where he and his siblings played with the German Muslim until sundown. But by 1990, Dr. Heim’s good health began to fail him and he was diagnosed with cancer.
Thus Heim epitomized scores of other Nazis, who found safe haven in Egypt, most importantly, the pious Muslim jihadist and Nazi ideologue, Johannes “Omar Amin” von Leers. Historian Bat Ye’or has described this phenomenon, as follows (here, pp.154-55):
…they lived under false names and worked in anti-Zionist propaganda centers, such as the Institute for the Study of Zionism, which was founded in Cairo, in 1955. Its director, Alfred Zingler (alias Mahmoud Saleh), worked together with Dr. Johannes von Leers (d. 1965, alias Omar Amin), who had been a specialist on the “Jewish Question” in Josef Goebbels’ propaganda department. Zingler’s main assistants were Dr. Werner Witschale and Hans Appler (Saleh Shafar), who had also served on the staff of Goebbels’ ministry, as well as Louis Heiden. Heiden was the editor of one of the many Arabic versions of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and of a translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf into Arabic. In 1955, the Cairo Egyptian special services for anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist propaganda hired Appler.
Other Nazis settled in Egypt as well. Most of them worked with the Egyptian government as advisers on anti-Zionist propaganda or assisted with the organization of police forces or as military trainers in Palestinian terrorist camps. In 1957, according to Frankfurter Illustrierte [August 25, 1957], the number of Nazis in Egypt was two thousand. [emphasis added] Erich Altern (Ali Bella), the chief of the Jewish section of the Gestapo in occupied Galicia [Eastern Central Europe, between Poland and Ukraine] during the war, escaped to Egypt in the early 1950s, where he served as a military instructor in the Palestinian camps. [Standartenfuhrer (an SS regiment leader)] Baumann (Ali Ben Khader), who had collaborated in the extermination of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and went into hiding, became a military specialist in Egypt for the army of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The pervasive impact of this ugly mentality is perhaps best illustrated by then Colonel Anwar El-Sadat’s 1953 “Letter to Hitler”. When, in September, 1953 several news agency reports were circulated claiming that Hitler was still alive, the Cairo weekly Al Musawwar, posed this question to a number of Egyptian personalities, including Sadat: “If you wished to send Hitler a personal letter, what would you write to him?” In response, Sadat wrote the following, published September 18, 1953: (here, p. 155 )
My dear Hitler,
I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. Even if you appear to have been defeated, in reality you are the victor. You succeeded in creating dissensions between Churchill, the old man, and his allies, the Sons of Satan. [emphasis added] Germany will win because her existence is necessary to preserve the world balance. Germany will be reborn in spite of the Western and Eastern powers. There will be no peace unless Germany once again becomes what she was. The West, as well as the East, will pay for her rehabilitation—whether they like it or not. Both sides will invest a great deal of money and effort in Germany in order to have her on their side, which is of great benefit to Germany. So much for the present and the future. As for the past, I think you made mistakes, like too many battlefronts and the shortsightedness of Ribbentrop vis-a vis the experienced British diplomacy. But your trust in your country and people will atone for those blunders. We will not be surprised if you appear again in Germany or if a new Hitler rises up in your wake. [emphasis added]
Almost 40 years ago (1973/74) Bat Ye’or published a remarkably prescient analysis of the Islamic antisemitism and resurgent jihadism in her native Egypt, being packaged for dissemination throughout the Muslim world. The primary, core Antisemitic and jihadist motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam’s foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.
Nazi academic and propagandist of extermination Johannes von Leers’ writings and personal career trajectory — as a favored contributor in Goebbels’ propaganda ministry, to his eventual adoption of Islam (as Omar Amin von Leers) while working as an anti-Western, and antisemitic/anti-Zionist propagandist under Nasser’s regime from the mid-1950s, until his death in 1965 — represents the apotheosis of this convergence of jihad, Islamic antisemitism, and racist, Nazi antisemitism, described by Bat Ye’or.
Upon his arrival in Egypt in 1956, it was the jihadist and Nazi ally, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem, who welcomed von Leers, stating, “We are grateful to you for having come here to resume the struggle against the powers of darkness incarnated by international Judaism.” The ex-Mufti oversaw von Leers’ formal conversion to Islam, and remained one of his confidants. And von Leers described the origins of the Muslim “forename,” Omar Amin, that he adopted as part of his conversion to Islam in a November, 1957 letter to American Nazi H. Keith Thompson,
I myself have embraced Islam and accepted the new forename Omar Amin, Omar according to the great Caliph Omar who was a grim enemy of the Jews, Amin in honor of my friend Hajj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti.
Already in essays published during 1938 and 1942, the first dating back almost two decades before his conversion to Islam while in Egypt, von Leers produced analyses focused primarily on Muhammad’s interactions with the Jews of Medina. These essays reveal his pious reverence for Islam and its prophet, and a thorough understanding of the sacralized Islamic sources for this narrative, i.e., the Koran, hadith, and sira. which is entirely consistent with standard Muslim apologetics.
Von Leers’ 1942 essay simultaneously extols the “model” of oppression the Jews experienced under Islamic suzerainty, and the nobility of Muhammad, Islam, and the contemporary Muslims of the World War II era, foreshadowing his own conversion to Islam just over a decade later. And even earlier, in a 1938 essay, von Leers sympathized with, “the leading role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the Arabians’ battles against the Jewish invasion in Palestine.” Von Leers observes that to the pious Muslim,
…the Jew is an enemy, not simply an ‘unbeliever’ who might perhaps be converted or, despite the fact that he does not belong to Islam, might still be a person of some estimation. Rather, the Jew is the predestined opponent of the Muslim, one who desired to bring down the work of the Prophet.
Von Leers, for example, offers this reverent summary characterization of Muhammad’s activities in Mecca, and later Medina, which is entirely consistent with standard Muslim apologetics:
[Mecca] For years Muhammad sought in Mecca to succeed with his preaching that there was only one God, the sole, all-merciful king of Judgment Day. He opposed to the Christian Trinity the unity of God, rejected the Christian doctrine of original sin and salvation, and instead gave every believer as a guiding principle the complete fulfillment of the commands of the righteous, given by a compassionate and just God, before whom every individual person had to account for his acts.
[Medina] September 622 he left Mecca for Medina, where he took up residence. Here he encountered the Jewish problem for the first time. He believed in the victorious power of good in the world, he was firmly convinced that the religion of the one and only God, with its easy, practical, reasonable, basic laws for human life was nothing other than the original religion. He wanted to take mankind out of the current turmoil and lead it toward the original, clear vision of God. But since he had to deal with people who had been influenced by both Christianity and Judaism, he said that it was the religion in which Abraham (Ibrahim) had already believed, andwhich Christ and Moses had proclaimed, only each time it had been distorted by human beings. He said that this had been revealed anew to him by God. He wanted to make the path easy to follow for both Christians and Jews; thus at first he allowed his followers to pray facing toward Jerusalem. He repeatedly emphasized that he only wanted to purify the existing religions, to establish the restored, newly revealed faith. At the same time he was a skilled statesman. When the Arab tribes were unified, theJews became a minority in Medina. Muhammad provided them with a kind of protectorate agreement: they were to retain their administration and their forms of worship, help the faithful defend the city, not ally themselves with Muhammad’s opponents, and contribute to the faithful’s wars. The Jews could have been satisfied with this. But they began a general hate campaign against Islam, which proclaimed a pure conception of God.
Citing (or referring to) the relevant foundational text sources (i.e., Qur’an 13:36; 8:55–58; 59:1–15; the sira and canonical hadith descriptions of the fate of individual Jews such as Abu Afak and Ka’b ibn Ashraf and the Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayzah, as well as the Jews of the Khaybar oasis), von Leers chronicles Muhammad’s successful campaigns that vanquished these Jews, killing and dispersing them, “or at most allow[ing] them to remain in certain places if they paid a poll tax.” Von Leers further describes the accounts (from the hadith, and, more elaborately, the sira) of Muhammad’s poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess, and also notes the canonical hadith that records Caliph Umar’s rationale for his putative expulsion from northern Arabia of those remaining Jews who survived Muhammad’s earlier campaigns:
On his deathbed Mohammed is supposed to have said: “There must not be two religions in Arabia.” One of his successors, the caliph Omar, resolutely drove the Jews out of Arabia.
Ibn Huraira even communicates to us the following assertion of the great man of God: “Judgment Day will come only when the Moslems have inflicted an annihilating defeat on the Jews, when every stone and every tree behind which a Jew has hidden says to believers: “Behind me stands a Jew, smite him.”
Von Leers’s 1942 essay concludes by simultaneously extolling the “model” of oppression the Jews experienced under Islamic suzerainty and the nobility of Muhammad, Islam, and the contemporary Muslims of the World War II era, foreshadowing his own conversion to Islam just over a decade later:
They [the Jews] were subjected to a very restrictive and oppressive special regulation that completely crippled Jewish activities. All reporters of the time when the Islamic lands still completely obeyed their own laws agree that the Jews were particularly despised. . . .
Mohammed’s opposition to the Jews undoubtedly had an effect—oriental Jewry was completely paralyzed by Islam. Its back was broken.
Oriental Jewry has played almost no role in Judaism’s massive rise to power over the last two centuries. Scorned, the Jews vegetated in the dirty alleys of the mellah, and were subject to a special regulation that did not allow them to profiteer, as they did in Europe, or even to receive stolen goods, but instead kept them fearful and under pressure. Had the rest of the world adopted a similar method, today we would have no Jewish question—and here we must absolutely note that there were also Islamic rulers, among them especially the Spanish caliphs of the House of Muawiyah, who did not adhere to Islam’s traditional hostility to Jews—to their own disadvantage. However, as a religion Islam has performed the immortal service of preventing the Jews from carrying out their threatened conquest of Arabia and of defeating the dreadful doctrine of Jehovah through a pure faith that opened the way to higher culture for many peoples and gave them an education and humane training, so that still today a Moslem who takes his religion seriously is one of the most worthy phenomena in this world in turmoil.
Seven decades ago, University of Notre Dame historian Waldemar Gurian, and Protestant theologian Karl Barth, each elucidated the profound attraction of Islam for a hardcore Nazi ideologue such as von Leers—which also underpins the subsequent Islamic-Nazi symbiosis so evident in post World War II Egypt.
Gurian, a refugee, who witnessed first hand the Communist and Fascist totalitarian movements in Europe, concluded (circa 1945) that Hitler, in a manner analogous to the 7th century precedent of Muhammad, had been the simplifier of German nationalism.
A fanatical simplifier who appeared as the unifier of various German traditions in the service of simple national aims and who was seen by many differing German groups — even by some people outside Germany — as the fulfiller of their wishes and sharer of their beliefs, with some distortions and exaggerations — such, as long as he had success, was Adolf Hitler.
Based upon the same clear understandings, and devoid of our era’s dulling, politically correct constraints, Karl Barth [from, The Church and the Political Problem of Our Day] had offered this warning, published in 1939:
Participation in this life, according to it the only worthy and blessed life, is what National Socialism, as a political experiment, promises to those who will of their own accord share in this experiment. And now it becomes understandable why, at the point where it meets with resistance, it can only crush and kill — with the might and right which belongs to Divinity! Islam of old as we know proceeded in this way. It is impossible to understand National Socialism unless we see it in fact as a new Islam [emphasis in original], its myth as a new Allah, and Hitler as this new Allah’s Prophet
Investigative journalist John Roy Carlson’s 1948-1950 interviews of Arab Muslim religious and political leaders provide consummate independent validation of these Western assessments. Perhaps most revealing were the candid observations of Aboul Saud, whom Carlson described as a “pleasant English-speaking member of the Arab League Office.” Aboul Saud explained to Carlson that Islam was an authoritarian religio-political creed which encompassed all of a Muslim’s spiritual and temporal existence. He stated plainly,
You might describe Mohammedanism as a religious form of State Socialism…The Koran give the State the right to nationalize industry, distribute land, or expropriate the right to nationalize industry, distribute land, or expropriate property. It grants the ruler of the State unlimited powers, so long as he does not go against the Koran. The Koran is our personal as well as our political constitution.
And after interviewing Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna himself, who “preached the doctrine of the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other,” Carlson observed:
It became clear to me why the average Egyptian worshipped the use of force. Terror was synonymous with power! This was one reason why most Egyptians, regardless of class or calling had admired Nazi Germany. It helped explain the sensational growth of the Ikhwan el Muslimin [Muslim Brotherhood]
However, as Brynjar Lia’s 1998 analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s formative years (1928-1942) points out,
…al-Banna was anxious to distance himself from the aggressive chauvinism and racism that flourished in several countries in the 1930s, and rejected racial theories as utterly incompatible with Islam. In fact, the Muslim Brothers used to make fun of the Young Egypt Party (Misr al-Fatah) which they saw as trying to imitate the German Nazis.
Lia acknowledges how Al-Banna’s and the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision remained steadfastly Islamic—hence its deep resonance with the timeless aspiration of the Muslim masses to establish a transnational Muslim Caliphate via jihad.
Quoting the Qur’anic verse [2:193] “And fight them till sedition is no more, and the faith is God’s,” the Muslim Brothers urged their fellow Muslims to restore the bygone greatness of Islam, and to re-establish the Islamic empire…[T]het even called for the restoration of “former Islamic colonies” in Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands…When they did express admiration of certain aspects of Nazism or Fascism, it was usually in the context of demonstrating that the Europeans had implemented some of “the principles of Islam,” such as modest dress code, encouragement of early marriage, a strong patriotism, and a military jihad spirit.
Remarkably concordant views on jihad were expressed by von Leers during the same era, prior to his formal conversion to Islam. I was able to obtain (from the Russian State Military Archive of captured Nazi documents), and have translated from the original German, an unpublished ~ 6000 word essay Leers’ wrote during World War II (apparently in 1942), entitled, “Philosophies of Peace and War in Islam.”
Disingenuously ignoring the explicit imperial designs of jihad—to subjugate all of mankind under Islamic Law, as detailed with lucidity in the Koran, sunna, and a millennial continuum of Muslim jurisprudence—von Leers provides this hagiographic overview of Islam’s bellicose institution for global conquest, linked to his condemnation of Western European Christendom:
For quite a long time, however, the great colonial powers have been using treaties between themselves and smaller nations merely as a mutual means of help, that is, until one nation has become stronger than the other in its leadership and its means of war. The Qur’an intends and demands that treaties be established upon the bases of justice and equal rights of access, without ulterior motives or underhanded intentions – otherwise, there will never be peace upon the earth.
Leers amplifies this traditional Muslim apologetic in his assessment of the Koranic injunction—verse 9:29—for timeless jihad against Judeo-Christian societies.
“Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled” (9:29, Arberry translation). One must therefore fight against those who possess the Book and who threaten the land and life of the Muslims, who oppress the people or want to convert the Muslims to their faith. This enemy, when defeated, must pay tribute….This payment, therefore, is not a “payment of reparations” in the European sense, by which the enemy is completely ruined.
Predictably, Leers also highlights this traditional Koranic statement of Jewish perfidy in relation to wartime treaties. But again, Leers “exegesis” on Koran 8:55 is entirely consistent with the gloss on this verse in the seminal, mainstream Koranic commentary Tafsir al-Jalalayn which maintains that 8:55 refers specifically to the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza.
The Qur’an considered the Jews, who never remained true to the treaties they made with the Prophet, to be lower than cattle. It says concerning them, “ Surely the worst of beasts in God’s sight are the unbelievers, who will not believe, those of them with whom thou hast made compact, then they break their compact every time, not being godfearing” (8:55-56, Arberry translation)
Until his death in 1965, von Leers remained unrepentant about the annihilationist policies towards the Jews he helped advance serving Hitler’s Reich. Indeed he was convinced of the righteousness of the Nazi war against the Jews, and as a pious Muslim convert, von Leers viewed the Middle East as the succeeding battleground to seal the fate of world Jewry. His public evolution over the course of three decades illustrates starkly the shared centrality to these totalitarianisms — both modern and ancient — of the Jews as “first and last enemy” motif.
Over fifty years later ignorance, denial, and delusion have engendered the sorry state of public understanding of this most ominous conversion of hatreds, by all its potential non-Muslim victims, not only Jews. This lack of understanding is little advanced by the spate of contemporary analyses which seek “Nazi roots” of the cataclysmic September 11, 2001 acts of jihad terrorism, and see Nazism as having “introduced” antisemitism to an otherwise “tolerant”, even philosemitic Islamic world beginning in the 1930s. Awkwardly forced, and ahistorical, these analyses realign the Nazi cart in front of the Islamic steed which has driven both global jihadism and Islamic antisemitism, since the 7th century advent of the Muslim creed, particularly during the last decade of Muhammad’s life.
Finally, an October 1957 US intelligence report on von Leers’ writing and activities for Egypt and the Arab League confirmed his complete adoption of the triumphal Muslim worldview, desirous of nothing less than the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization by jihad (#382):
He [Dr. Omar Amin von Leers] is becoming more and more a religious zealot, even to the extent of advocating an expansion of Islam in Europe in order to bring about stronger unity through a common religion. This expansion he believes can come not only from contact with the Arabs in the Near East and Africa but with Islamic elements in the USSR. The results he envisions as the formation of a political bloc against which neither East nor West could prevail
The so-called “Arab Spring” has unleashed jihadist forces—most notably within Egypt itself—pious Muslim convert “Omar Amin” von Leers long ago foresaw, and cherished. Those who wish to preserve our uniquely Western heritage of freedom must not ignore, or worse still, delusively re-interpret this existential threat.