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The Swastika and the Crescent

In the wake of Sept. 11, new light is thrown on the inter­na­tion­al ties increas­ing­ly link­ing Mus­lim and neo-Nazi extrem­ists

by Mar­tin A. Lee

SPLC Intel­li­gence Report, Spring 2002

As Ger­many’s defeat loomed dur­ing the final months of World War II, Adolf Hitler increas­ing­ly lapsed into delu­sion­al fits of fan­ta­sy.

Albert Speer, in his prison writ­ings, recounts an episode in which a mani­a­cal Hitler “pic­tured for him­self and for us the destruc­tion of New York in a hur­ri­cane of fire.”

The Nazi fuehrer described sky­scrap­ers turn­ing into “gigan­tic burn­ing torch­es, col­laps­ing upon one anoth­er, the glow of the explod­ing city illu­mi­nat­ing the dark sky.”

An approx­i­ma­tion of Hitler’s hell­ish vision came true on Sept. 11, when ter­ror­ists destroyed the Twin Tow­ers in New York, killing near­ly 3,000 peo­ple. But it was not Nazis or even neo-Nazis who car­ried out the attack — the dead­liest ter­ror strike in his­to­ry alleged­ly came at the hands of for­eign Mus­lim extrem­ists.

Still, in the after­math of the slaugh­ter, white suprema­cists in Amer­i­ca and Europe applaud­ed the sui­cide attacks and praised Osama bin Laden, the mas­ter­mind of the mas­sacre.

An offi­cial of Amer­i­ca’s pre­mier neo-Nazi group, the Nation­al Alliance, said he wished his own mem­bers had “half as much tes­tic­u­lar for­ti­tude.” The awestruck leader of anoth­er U.S. Nazi group called the ter­ror­ists “VERY BRAVE PEOPLE.”

Neo­fas­cist youth in France cel­e­brat­ed the event that evening with cham­pagne at the head­quar­ters of the extreme right Front Nation­al. Ger­man neo-Nazis, some wear­ing check­ered Pales­tin­ian head­scarves, rejoiced at street demon­stra­tions while burn­ing an Amer­i­can flag.

Jan Kopal, head of the Czech Nation­al Social Bloc, declared at a ral­ly in Prague that bin Laden was “an exam­ple for our chil­dren.”

Horst Mahler, a for­mer left-wing ter­ror­ist and promi­nent mem­ber of the neo-Nazi Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (NPD) in Ger­many, pro­claimed his sol­i­dar­i­ty with the ter­ror­ists and said Amer­i­ca had got­ten what it deserved.

What’s going on here?

For decades, Amer­i­can extrem­ists have lumped Arabs in with dark-skinned “mud peo­ple.” In Europe, neo-Nazis have been impli­cat­ed in count­less xeno­pho­bic attacks on Arabs, Turks and oth­er Mus­lims.

Extrem­ist par­ties on both sides of the Atlantic hope to bar entrance to non-white immi­grants.

The pecu­liar bond between white nation­al­ist groups and cer­tain Mus­lim extrem­ists derives in part from a shared set of ene­mies — Jews, the Unit­ed States, race-mix­ing, eth­nic diver­si­ty.

It is also very much a func­tion of the shared belief that they must shield their own peo­ples from the cor­rupt­ing influ­ence of for­eign cul­tures and the homog­e­niz­ing jug­ger­naut of glob­al­iza­tion.

Both sets of groups also have a pen­chant for far-flung con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that car­i­ca­ture Jew­ish pow­er.

But there is more. Even before World War II, West­ern fas­cists began to forge ide­o­log­i­cal and oper­a­tional ties to Islam­ic extrem­ists.

Over the years, these con­tacts between Nazis and Mus­lim nation­al­ists devel­oped into dan­ger­ous net­works that have been impli­cat­ed in a num­ber of bloody ter­ror­ist attacks in Europe and the Mid­dle East.

Wealthy Arab regimes have financed extrem­ists in Europe and the Unit­ed States, just as West­ern neo-Nazis have helped to build Holo­caust denial machin­ery in the Arab world.

In the 1970s, Sau­di Ara­bia hired an Amer­i­can neo-Nazi as a lob­by­ist in the Unit­ed States. In the 1980s, U.S. neo-Nazi strate­gist Louis Beam open­ly called for a linkup of Amer­i­ca’s far right with the “lib­er­a­tion move­ments” of Libya, Syr­ia, Iran and Pales­tine.

In the 1990s, an Amer­i­can Black Mus­lim was con­vict­ed in a plot to bomb the Unit­ed Nations and oth­er New York land­marks that was mas­ter­mind­ed by a blind Egypt­ian cler­ic.

Just last year, a meet­ing spon­sored by a U.S. Holo­caust denial group brought togeth­er Arab and West­ern extrem­ists in Jor­dan. And after the Sept. 11 attacks, a spate of arti­cles by Amer­i­can neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists appeared in Islam­ic pub­li­ca­tions and Web sites.

Although links like these illus­trate the ties between Mus­lim extrem­ists and Amer­i­cans, such ties are far more devel­oped in Europe.

But since the ter­ror­ist attacks of Sept. 11, there are a num­ber of signs — includ­ing a spate of arti­cles by Amer­i­can neo-Nazis that have appeared in Islam­ic pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites — that an oper­a­tional alliance may be tak­ing shape in the Unit­ed States as well.

Bank­ing for Allah
Per­haps the best con­tem­po­rary snap­shot of this Nazi-Islamist extrem­ist axis comes in the per­son of one Ahmed Huber, a neo-Nazi whose home in a sub­urb of Berne was raid­ed by Swiss police on Nov. 8, after U.S. offi­cials iden­ti­fied him as a linch­pin in the finan­cial machi­na­tions of Osama bin Laden.

The raid was part of a coor­di­nat­ed law enforce­ment drag­net that seized records from the offices of Al Taqwa, an inter­na­tion­al bank­ing group.

Al Taqwa, which lit­er­al­ly means “Fear of God,” had been chan­nel­ing funds to Mus­lim extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions around the world, includ­ing Hamas, a group active in the Israeli-occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.

Huber, a for­mer jour­nal­ist who con­vert­ed to Islam and changed his first name from Albert, served on the board of Nada Man­age­ment, a com­po­nent of Al Taqwa.

After Swiss author­i­ties froze the fir­m’s assets and ques­tioned Huber, the 74-year-old denounced Wash­ing­ton for doing the bid­ding of “Jew Zion­ists” who “rule Amer­i­ca.” In Jan­u­ary, Nada Man­age­ment announced that it had gone into liq­ui­da­tion.

A well-known fig­ure in Euro­pean neo­fas­cist cir­cles, Huber “sees him­self as a medi­a­tor between Islam and right-wing groups,” accord­ing to Ger­many’s Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Por­traits of Hitler and SS chief Hein­rich Himm­ler adorn the walls of Huber’s office, along­side pho­tos of Islam­ic polit­i­cal lead­ers and a pic­ture of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the present-day boss of the French Front Nation­al.

In accor­dance with his self-pro­claimed mis­sion to unite Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ists and extreme right-wing forces in Europe and North Amer­i­ca, Huber has trav­eled wide­ly and pros­e­ly­tized at numer­ous gath­er­ings.

In Ger­many, he speaks often at events host­ed by the neo-Nazi Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which pub­licly wel­comed the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist attacks. Huber also befriend­ed British author David Irv­ing and oth­er Holo­caust deniers while fre­quent­ing “revi­sion­ist” con­claves.

A Bin Laden Fan in Chica­go
At the same time, Huber made the rounds of the rad­i­cal Islam­ic cir­cuit in West­ern coun­tries. In June 1994, he spoke about the “evils of the Jews” at a mosque in Potomac, Md. (just out­side Wash­ing­ton, D.C.), where video­tapes of Huber’s speech­es are report­ed­ly on sale.

Dur­ing a sub­se­quent vis­it to Chica­go, he attend­ed a pri­vate assem­bly that brought togeth­er, in Huber’s words, “the authen­tic Right and the fight­ers for Islam.” Huber told jour­nal­ist Richard Labeviere that “major deci­sions were tak­en [in Chica­go]. ... [T]he reuni­fi­ca­tion is under way.”

Huber acknowl­edges meet­ing al-Qae­da oper­a­tives on sev­er­al occa­sions at Mus­lim con­fer­ences in Beirut, Brus­sels and Lon­don. He has been quot­ed in the Swiss media as say­ing that bin Laden’s asso­ciates “are very dis­creet, well-edu­cat­ed and high­ly intel­li­gent peo­ple.”

The U.S. gov­ern­ment claims that Huber’s bank­ing firm helped bin Laden shift finan­cial assets around the world. But Huber denies any involve­ment in ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties. He insists Al Taqwa was engaged in char­i­ta­ble work, pro­vid­ing aid for social ser­vices that ben­e­fit­ed needy Mus­lims.

Described as “the finan­cial heart of the Islamist
eco­nom­ic appa­ra­tus,” Al Taqwa is inter­twined with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a long­stand­ing, far-right cult whose emblem is a Koran crossed by a sword.

The influ­ence of the Broth­er­hood extends through­out the Mus­lim world, where it vig­or­ous­ly, and often vio­lent­ly, oppos­es sec­u­lar Arab regimes.

In 1981, par­ti­sans of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood were impli­cat­ed in the assas­si­na­tion of Egypt­ian pres­i­dent Anwar Sadat. Sev­er­al mem­bers of Islam­ic Jihad, an extrem­ist sect close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Broth­er­hood, were also involved in the Sadat assas­si­na­tion.

By the ear­ly 1990s, Islam­ic Jihad would close­ly ally itself with bin Laden’s al Qae­da net­work.

Back to the Begin­ning
The roots of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood — and, in many ways, the Nazi-Mus­lim axis — go back to the orga­ni­za­tion’s for­ma­tion in Egypt in 1928.

Mark­ing the start of mod­ern polit­i­cal Islam, or what is often referred to as “Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism,” the Broth­er­hood from the out­set envi­sioned a time when an Islam­ic state would pre­vail in Egypt and oth­er Arab coun­tries, where the orga­ni­za­tion quick­ly estab­lished local branch­es.

The growth of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood coin­cid­ed with the rise of fas­cist move­ments in Europe — a par­al­lel not­ed by Muham­mad Sa’id al-‘Ashmawy, for­mer chief jus­tice of Egyp­t’s High Crim­i­nal Court.

Al-‘Ashmawy decried “the per­ver­sion of Islam” and “the fascis­tic ide­ol­o­gy” that infus­es the world view of the Broth­ers, “their total (if not total­i­tar­i­an) way of life ... [and] their fan­tas­ti­cal read­ing of the Koran.”

Youssef Nada, cur­rent board chair­man of Al Taqwa, had joined the armed branch of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood as a young man in Egypt dur­ing World War II. Nada and sev­er­al of his cohorts in the Sun­ni Mus­lim fra­ter­ni­ty were recruit­ed by Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, which sought to under­mine British colo­nial rule in the land of the sphinx.

Has­san al-Ban­na, the Egypt­ian school­teacher who found­ed the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, also col­lab­o­rat­ed with spies of the Third Reich.

Advo­cat­ing a pan-Islam­ic insur­gency in British-con­trolled Pales­tine, the Broth­er­hood pro­claimed their sup­port for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Hus­sei­ni, in the late 1930s.

The Grand Mufti, the pre­em­i­nent reli­gious fig­ure among Pales­tin­ian Mus­lims, was the most notable Arab leader to seek an alliance with Nazi Ger­many, which was eager to extend its influ­ence in the Mid­dle East.

Although he loathed Arabs (he once described them as “lac­quered half-apes who ought to be whipped”), Hitler under­stood that he and the Mufti shared the same rivals — the British, the Jews and the Com­mu­nists.

Indica­tive of the old Arab adage, “The ene­my of my ene­my is my friend,” they met in Berlin, where the Mufti lived in exile dur­ing the war.

The Mufti agreed to help orga­nize a spe­cial Mus­lim divi­sion of the Waf­fen SS. Pow­er­ful radio trans­mit­ters were put at the Mufti’s dis­pos­al so that his pro-Axis pro­pa­gan­da could be heard through­out the Arab world.

A Mec­ca for Fas­cists
After the defeat of Nazi Ger­many, the Grand Mufti fled to Egypt. His arrival in 1946 was a pre­cur­sor to a steady stream of Third Reich vet­er­ans who chose Cairo as a post­war hide­out.

The Egypt­ian cap­i­tal became a safe haven for sev­er­al thou­sand Nazi fugi­tives, includ­ing for­mer SS Cap­tain Alois Brun­ner, Adolf Eich­man­n’s chief deputy. Con­vict­ed in absen­tia for war crimes, Brun­ner would lat­er reside in Dam­as­cus, where he served as a secu­ri­ty advi­sor for the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment.

Sev­er­al Amer­i­can fas­cists vis­it­ed the Mid­dle East dur­ing this peri­od, includ­ing Fran­cis Park­er Yock­ey, who made his way to Cairo in the sum­mer of 1953, a year after the cor­rupt Egypt­ian monar­chy was over­thrown by a mil­i­tary coup.

The Broth­er­hood had played a major role in insti­gat­ing the pop­u­lar upris­ing that set the stage for the emer­gence of Col. Gamal Abdel Nass­er as Egyp­t’s new leader. But Nass­er, who had lit­tle inter­est in mix­ing pol­i­tics and reli­gion, would sub­se­quent­ly have a falling out with the Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist sect.

When Nass­er want­ed to over­haul Egyp­t’s secret ser­vice, he asked the U.S. Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency for assis­tance. But the U.S. gov­ern­ment “found it high­ly impolitic to help him direct­ly,” CIA agent Miles Copeland recalled in a mem­oir.

So, the CIA instead secret­ly bankrolled more than 100 Ger­man espi­onage and mil­i­tary experts who trained Egypt­ian police and army units in the mid-1950s.

An Amer­i­can Reach­es Out
Dur­ing this peri­od, the Grand Mufti main­tained close rela­tions with the bur­geon­ing Nazi exile com­mu­ni­ty in Cairo, while cul­ti­vat­ing ties to right-wing extrem­ists in the Unit­ed States and oth­er coun­tries.

H. Kei­th Thomp­son, a New York-based busi­ness­man and Nazi activist, was a con­fi­dant of the Mufti. “I did a cou­ple of jobs for him, get­ting some doc­u­ments from files that were oth­er­wise unavail­able,” Thomp­son acknowl­edged in an inter­view.

Thomp­son also car­ried on a live­ly cor­re­spon­dence with Johannes von Leers, one of the Third Reich’s most pro­lif­ic Jew-baiters, who con­vert­ed to Islam and changed his name to Omar Amin after he took up res­i­dence in Cairo in 1955.

“If there is any hope to free the world from Jew­ish tyran­ny,” Amin wrote Thomp­son, “it is with the Moslems, who stand stead­fast­ly against Zion­ism, Colo­nial­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism.”

For­mer­ly Goebbels’ right-hand man, Amin became a top offi­cial in the Egypt­ian Infor­ma­tion Min­istry, which employed sev­er­al Euro­pean fas­cists who churned out hate lit­er­a­ture and anti-Jew­ish broad­casts.

Anoth­er Ger­man expa­tri­ate, Louis Hei­den, alias Louis Al-Hadj, trans­lat­ed Hitler’s Mein Kampf into Ara­bic.

The Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment also pub­lished The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion, the infa­mous anti-Semit­ic forgery that pur­ports to reveal a Jew­ish mas­ter plan for tak­ing over the world.

A sta­ple of Nazi pro­pa­gan­da, the Pro­to­cols also are quot­ed in Arti­cle 32 of the char­ter of Hamas, the hard-line Pales­tin­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist group that is sup­port­ed by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood — even though Mus­lim schol­ars say such views are an anath­e­ma to main­stream Islam.

“There are no his­toric roots for anti-Semi­tism in Islam,” says Hasem Saghiyeh, a colum­nist at Al Hay­at, a Lon­don-based Arab news­pa­per. “The process of trans­lat­ing books like The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion on a pop­u­lar scale start­ed in Nasser’s Egypt, but only the Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ment incor­po­rat­ed them into its lit­er­a­ture.”

Mer­ce­nar­ies for Pales­tine
After Israel’s over­whelm­ing vic­to­ry in the Six Day War in June 1967, a mood of des­per­ate mil­i­tan­cy engulfed the Pales­tin­ian refugee camps.

Deprived of a home­land, the lead­ers of the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Orga­ni­za­tion (PLO) appar­ent­ly felt that they could­n’t afford to turn down offers of help, no mat­ter how unsa­vory the donors. Karl von Kyna, a West Ger­man neo-Nazi mer­ce­nary, died dur­ing a Pales­tin­ian com­man­do raid in Sep­tem­ber 1967.

Eager to con­tin­ue their vendet­ta against the Jews, sev­er­al right-wing extrem­ists sub­se­quent­ly joined the Hil­f­sko­rp Ara­bi­en (“Aux­il­iary Corps Ara­bia”), which was adver­tised in the Munich-based Deutsche Nation­al-Zeitung, a pro-Nazi news­pa­per, in 1968.

The fol­low­ing year, the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine (PFLP) hijacked sev­er­al com­mer­cial air­planes. When three PFLP mem­bers stood tri­al after blow­ing up an Israeli jet in Zurich, the legal costs for their defense were paid by Fran­cois Genoud, an elu­sive Swiss banker described by the Lon­don Observ­er as “one of the world’s lead­ing Nazis.”

Genoud had pre­vi­ous­ly picked up the tab for Adolf Eich­man­n’s legal defense, and a num­ber of oth­er Nazi war crim­i­nals and Arab ter­ror­ists would also ben­e­fit from his largesse.

Where did the mon­ey come from? Accord­ing to Euro­pean press accounts, Genoud was man­ag­ing the hid­den Swiss trea­sure of the Third Reich, most of which had been stolen from Jews.

“Secu­ri­ty ser­vices claim he trans
ferred the defeat­ed Nazis’ gold into Swiss bank accounts,” reports Git­ta Sere­ny, who called Genoud “the most mys­te­ri­ous man in Europe.”

After World War II, Genoud served as the finan­cial advi­sor to the Grand Mufti.

In 1958, the Swiss Nazi set up the Arab Com­mer­cial Bank in Gene­va to man­age the war chest of the Alger­ian Nation­al Lib­er­a­tion Front, whose par­ti­sans were fight­ing to free their coun­try from French colo­nial rule.

Sev­er­al Third Reich vet­er­ans, includ­ing Maj. Gen. Otto Ernst Remer, who had served as Hitler’s body­guard, smug­gled weapons to the Alger­ian rebels, while oth­er Ger­man advi­sors pro­vid­ed mil­i­tary instruc­tion.

Under the guise of sup­port­ing the Arabs’ strug­gle against French colo­nial­ism, Genoud and his Nazi cohorts were fol­low­ing the same geopo­lit­i­cal strat­e­gy that Hitler had pur­sued in the Mid­dle East.

Euro­peans and Pro-Pales­tin­ian Ter­ror
In addi­tion to bro­ker­ing arms sales to Arab mil­i­tants, Genoud helped sub­si­dize ter­ror­ist net­works in Europe and the Arab world.

This financier of fas­cism wait­ed until the stat­ue of lim­i­ta­tions ran out before admit­ting that he had per­son­al­ly writ­ten and sent ran­som notes demand­ing $5 mil­lion to the Ger­man air­line Lufthansa and sev­er­al news ser­vices after PFLP ter­ror­ists hijacked anoth­er jet in 1972.

That same year, the Black Sep­tem­ber orga­ni­za­tion mur­dered nine Israeli ath­letes at the Munich Olympics. When Black Sep­tem­ber leader Has­san Salameh need­ed med­ical atten­tion, Genoud arranged for him to be treat­ed at a pri­vate clin­ic in Lau­sanne.

In 1974, PLO chief Yass­er Arafat pub­licly indi­cat­ed a will­ing­ness to renounce inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism and declared his inter­est in a set­tle­ment that would final­ly estab­lish a Pales­tin­ian home­land in the Israeli-occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries. These steps toward mod­er­a­tion angered Arab hard­lin­ers, who ruled out any com­pro­mise with Israel.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Genoud and oth­er neo­fas­cists favored the most bel­liger­ent fac­tions that kept call­ing for the anni­hi­la­tion of the Jew­ish state.

After bomb­ing four U.S. Army bases in West Ger­many in 1982, Odfried Hepp, a young neo-Nazi rene­gade, went under­ground and joined the Tunis-based Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Front (PLF).

Hepp, one of West Ger­many’s most want­ed ter­ror­ists, was arrest­ed in June 1985 while enter­ing the apart­ment of a PLF mem­ber in Paris. Four months lat­er, PLF com­man­dos seized the Achille Lau­ro cruise ship and mur­dered Leon Kling­hof­fer, a wheel­chair-bound Jew­ish Amer­i­can.

Includ­ed on the PLF’s list of pris­on­ers to be exchanged for the Achille Lau­ro hostages was the name of Odfried Hepp.

Fun­da­men­tal­ism and the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion
Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism got a tremen­dous boost when the Aya­tol­lah Khome­i­ni top­pled the Shah dur­ing the 1979 Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion.

The Aya­tol­lah’s descrip­tion of the Unit­ed States and the Sovi­et Union as “the twin Satans” dove­tailed neat­ly with the “Third Posi­tion” pol­i­tics of many Euro­pean and Amer­i­can neo­fas­cists, an ide­ol­o­gy that rejects both Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ism and Sovi­et Com­mu­nism.

Some white suprema­cists also shared Khome­ini’s dream of launch­ing a “holy war” against what was seen as deca­dent, West­ern-style democ­ra­cy.

When Iran issued a call for the assas­si­na­tion of author Salman Rushdie for writ­ing The Satan­ic Vers­es, sev­er­al neo-Nazi groups sup­port­ed the Iran­ian fat­wa.

Far-right fanat­ics also hailed the 1983 sui­cide car-bomb­ing by Iran­ian-backed Shi­ite ter­ror­ists that killed 271 U.S. Marines in Beirut.

The British Nation­al Front had noth­ing but praise for Khome­ini’s Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards:

Their belief in their cause is so strong that they will run through mine fields unarmed to attack ene­my posi­tions; their ideals are so all-con­sum­ing that they will dri­ve truck bombs into ene­my camps know­ing full well their [own] death is inevitable. ... This pow­er, this con­tempt for death, is the stuff of which vic­to­ries are made.

In 1987, French police cor­doned off the Iran­ian embassy in Paris and demand­ed that a mag­is­trate be allowed to inter­ro­gate Wahid Gord­ji, an Iran­ian offi­cial sus­pect­ed of orches­trat­ing a series of bomb­ings that rocked the French cap­i­tal dur­ing the pre­vi­ous a year.

French inves­ti­ga­tors got on to Gord­ji’s trail after they dis­cov­ered a check for 120,000 francs (about $20,000) that he had writ­ten to Ogmios, a neo-Nazi pub­lish­er and book­store in Paris. The mon­ey was used to under­write a slick cat­a­logue pro­mot­ing The Myth of the Jew­ish Holo­caust and sim­i­lar titles.

But the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment rebuffed the French author­i­ties who want­ed to ques­tion Gord­ji, caus­ing a rup­ture in diplo­mat­ic rela­tions between Paris and Tehran.

The six-month embassy stand-off was final­ly resolved after French offi­cials met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a group called “The Friends of Wahid Gord­ji” — a group which includ­ed the redoubtable Nazi banker Fran­cois Genoud.

Nazis in Bagh­dad
Links between white suprema­cists and the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued after Khome­ini’s death in 1989.

On sev­er­al occa­sions in recent years, Amer­i­can neo-Nazi chief­tain William Pierce has been inter­viewed by Radio Tehran. U.S. white suprema­cists have also snug­gled up to Iran’s arch­en­e­my, Sad­dam Hus­sein.

In 1990, Gene Schroder, an ide­o­logue of the far-right “com­mon-law court” move­ment, joined a del­e­ga­tion of Mid­west farm­ers to Wash­ing­ton for a meet­ing in the Iraqi embassy, where Iraqi offi­cials were try­ing to drum up oppo­si­tion to the impend­ing Per­sian Gulf War.

Dur­ing that 1991 war, Okla­homa Klan leader Den­nis Mahon orga­nized a small ral­ly in Tul­sa in sup­port of Sad­dam. Mahon says he lat­er received a cou­ple of hun­dred dol­lars in an unmarked enve­lope from the Iraqi gov­ern­ment.

In addi­tion, short­ly before the war, Ger­man neo-Nazis solicit­ed sup­port from Iraq for an anti-Zion­ist legion com­posed of far-right mer­ce­nar­ies from sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. The mem­bers of this so-called inter­na­tion­al “Free­dom Corps” pre­ten­tious­ly strut­ted around Bagh­dad in SS uni­forms.

As soon as bombs start­ed to fall on the Iraqi cap­i­tal, how­ev­er, the neo-Nazi vol­un­teers scur­ried back to Europe.

A num­ber of promi­nent neo­fas­cists have expressed sup­port for Sad­dam, includ­ing Vladimir Zhiri­novsky, the Russ­ian dem­a­gogue, who vis­it­ed Iraq after the Gulf War.

Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French Front Nation­al also got the red-car­pet treat­ment when he met Sad­dam in Bagh­dad.

Although he built his polit­i­cal career by dis­parag­ing Arab immi­grants, Le Pen now claims that he is deeply con­cerned about the plight of Iraqi chil­dren who have suf­fered under sanc­tions imposed by the Unit­ed Nations.

His wife, Jany, who heads a group called SOS Chil­dren of Iraq, has joined Le Pen on sev­er­al trips to Bagh­dad. Thus far, how­ev­er, Arab chil­dren in France have yet to ben­e­fit from the sup­posed good Samar­i­tan act of the Le Pens.

The Libyan Con­nec­tion
On June 28, 2000, the Times of Lon­don report­ed that Libyan leader Muam­mar Ghaddafi had ordered the deposit of $25 mil­lion into a bank in Carinthia, the Aus­tri­an province gov­erned by Jorg Haider, de fac­to leader of the far-right Free­dom Par­ty.

(The Free­dom Par­ty is an immi­grant-bash­ing orga­ni­za­tion that is home to many neo-Nazis and for­mer Nazis and has down­played Ger­man war atroc­i­ties.)

Col. Ghaddafi’s cash gift — which Haider described as “Christ­mas for Aus­tria” — was meant to ease the strain of sanc­tions imposed on Aus­tria by the Euro­pean Union after the Free­dom Par­ty joined Aus­tri­a’s nation­al gov­ern­ing coali­tion.

This was the sec­ond rab­bit Haider pulled from his hat as a result of two pri­vate for­ays to Tripoli, where he met Ghaddafi.

After his first Libyan excur­sion, Haider announced he was tack­ling Aus­tri­a’s high gas prices by arrang­ing for Libyan gaso­line to be sold in Carinthia at a dis­count. News pho­tos showed Haider, the Porsche-dri­ving pop­ulist, beam­ing as he pumped gas for motorists.
Over the years, Ghaddafi has been wooed by sev­er­al neo­fas­cist lead­ers, includ­ing Ital­ian fugi­tive Ste­fano delle Chi­aie, who was accused of mas­ter­mind­ing a series of bomb attacks in Rome and Milan.

Described in a 1982 CIA report as “the most promi­nent right­ist ter­ror­ist ... still at large,” delle Chi­aie wrote a let­ter to Ghadaf­fi, invit­ing him to join in a com­mon strug­gle against “athe­is­tic Sovi­et Marx­ism and Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ist mate­ri­al­ism,” both of which were sup­pos­ed­ly con­trolled by “inter­na­tion­al Zion­ism.”

Delle Chi­aie added: “Libya can, if it wants, be the active focus, the cen­ter of nation­al social­ist ren­o­va­tion [that will] break the chains which enslave peo­ple and nations.”

Ghaddafi, the Green Book and West­ern Extrem­ism
Links between Libya and the Euro­pean far right have been scru­ti­nized in sev­er­al par­lia­men­tary and judi­cial probes in Italy.

One Ital­ian judi­cial inquiry found that the Libyan embassy in Rome had pro­vid­ed mon­ey to aid the escape of Ital­ian ter­ror­ist sus­pect Mario Tuti short­ly after the bomb­ing of an express train near Flo­rence in 1974. Tuti was lat­er cap­tured and sen­tenced to a lengthy prison term for orches­trat­ing the attack, which killed 12 peo­ple and injured 44 oth­ers.

Ghadaf­fi’s finan­cial largesse and his mil­i­tant anti-Zion­ism has gen­er­at­ed sup­port for the Libyan regime among right-wing extrem­ists around the world, includ­ing in Great Britain, where the Green Book, Ghaddafi’s polit­i­cal man­i­festo, was pro­mot­ed by the neo-Nazi Nation­al Front.

In 1984, accord­ing to for­mer British Nazi leader Ray Hill (who lat­er renounced racism and worked with antiracists), the Libyan Peo­ple’s Bureau put up mon­ey for a spe­cial anti-Semit­ic sup­ple­ment to the Nation­al Fron­t’s month­ly mag­a­zine.

In addi­tion, Ghadaf­fi’s gov­ern­ment picked up the tab for sev­er­al jun­kets so that neo­fas­cists from Eng­land, France, Cana­da, the Nether­lands and sev­er­al oth­er coun­tries could vis­it the Libyan cap­i­tal.

Col. Ghaddafi is also wide­ly admired by white suprema­cists in the Unit­ed States.

The Green Book has been fea­tured as the top online book on the Web site of the Amer­i­can Front, whose pro­fessed aim is “to secure Nation­al Free­dom and Social Jus­tice for the White peo­ple of North Amer­i­ca.”

Assert­ing that he is “against race mix­ing,” Amer­i­can Front leader James Poraz­zo prais­es Libya and says that his group has much in com­mon ide­o­log­i­cal­ly with Louis Far­rakhan’s Nation of Islam, which has its own links to Ghaddafi.

Poraz­zo also says he has “great respect for the actions of Hamas and Hezbol­lah,” two rad­i­cal Islamist groups involved in sui­cide bomb­ings, as long as they “see that their home is in the Mideast and that their reli­gion is great for their peo­ple but not intend­ed for all mankind.”

‘Work­ing for Their Races’
The Philadel­phia-based Amer­i­can Front thinks high­ly of Osama bin Laden, too, describ­ing him as “one of ZOG [Zion­ist Occu­pa­tion Gov­ern­ment, the name many extrem­ists give to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, which they believe is run by Jews] and the New World Order’s biggest ene­mies.”

And it is not alone. Wolf­gang Droege, one of 17 Cana­di­an racists who trav­eled on a “fact-find­ing mis­sion” to Libya in 1989, is sim­i­lar­ly enam­ored of bin Laden, see­ing par­al­lels between bin Laden’s strug­gle and oth­ers sup­port­ing “racial nation­al­ism” in North Amer­i­ca.

“I’ve had deal­ings with Black Mus­lims, I’ve had deal­ings with Arabs, I’ve had deal­ings with peo­ple of var­i­ous races, and I real­ize that some of these peo­ple are as moti­vat­ed as I am in work­ing for the inter­est of their race,” Droege told MacLean’s mag­a­zine.

While they would­n’t want bin Laden, or any­one of non-Euro­pean descent, liv­ing next door, lead­ers of the hard-core racist move­ment in the Unit­ed States have seized upon the Sept. 11 attacks as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand their strate­gic alliance with Islam­ic rad­i­cals under the pre­text of sup­port­ing Pales­tin­ian rights.

After hijacked air­planes demol­ished the World Trade Cen­ter and dam­aged the Pen­ta­gon, a num­ber of Mus­lim news­pa­pers pub­lished a flur­ry of arti­cles by Amer­i­can white suprema­cists rant­i­ng against Israel and the Jews.

Anti-Zion­ist com­men­tary by neo-Nazi David Duke appeared on the front page of the Oman Times, for instance, and on an extrem­ist web­site based in Pak­istan.

Anoth­er opin­ion piece by Duke ran in Mus­lims, a New York-based Eng­lish-lan­guage week­ly, which also fea­tured a lengthy cri­tique of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy by William Pierce, head of the rabid­ly racist Nation­al Alliance.

In the wake of Sept. 11, sev­er­al Amer­i­can neo-Nazi web­sites also start­ed to offer links to Islam­ic web­sites.

The psy­cho­log­i­cal dynam­ics that pro­pel the actions of Islam­ic ter­ror­ists have much in com­mon with the men­tal out­look of neo-Nazis.

Both glo­ri­fy vio­lence as a regen­er­a­tive force and both are will­ing to slaugh­ter inno­cents in the name of cre­at­ing a new social order.

The poten­tial for an alliance between Amer­i­can neo-Nazis and Islam­ic ter­ror­ists — an alliance that could devel­op into strong oper­a­tional ties — can­not be ruled out giv­en the long and sor­did his­to­ry of fas­cist links to the Mus­lim world.


2 comments for “The Swastika and the Crescent”

  1. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/14066#.Un8aXuI4FpE

    Op-Ed: Why Did so Many Want­ed Nazis Con­vert to Islam?
    Pub­lished: Wednes­day, Novem­ber 06, 2013 12:47 PM
    The list is long — but is there a con­nec­tion?

    Giulio Meot­ti
    The writer, an Ital­ian jour­nal­ist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-week­ly col­umn for Arutz She­va. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the per­son­al sto­ries of Israel’s ter­ror vic­tims, pub­lished by Encounter. His writ­ing has appeared in pub­li­ca­tions, such as the Wall Street Jour­nal, Front­page and Com­men­tary. He is at work on a book about the Vat­i­can and Israel.

    There are Nazi grafts in Arab-Islam­ic ter­ror­ism.

    At the top of the most want­ed list of the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter there is a man who today would be one hun­dred years old. His name is Alois Brun­ner and he is respon­si­ble for the deaths of over 130,000 Jews. The Nazi hunters still place him in Syr­ia, where he was last seen in 2001, pro­tect­ed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

    Brun­ner was one of the most zeal­ous ide­o­logues and offi­cials of the “Final Solu­tion”, the plan for the exter­mi­na­tion of the Jews. The idea haunt­ed him to the point that in 1985 he said to the Ger­man mag­a­zine Bunte: “I regret that I didn’t fin­ish the job”.

    When the Unit­ed Arab Repub­lic of Syr­ia was formed, Dr. Brun­ner took up res­i­dence at 7 George Had­dad, in the embassy dis­trict of Dam­as­cus. In 1961, the year that Adolf Eich­mann was cap­tured by the Israelis in Buenos Aires, Brun­ner received a bomb-let­ter, prob­a­bly from the Mossad and lost an eye.

    Brun­ner, a per­son­al friend of Hafez el Assad, took part in the con­struc­tion of Syr­i­a’s secret ser­vices on the mod­el of the Gestapo.

    In Novem­ber 1967, the neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion Bund Heimat­treuer Jugend pub­lished in Esslin­gen Hegens­berg, West Ger­many, the obit­u­ary of Karl van Kynast: “Lieu­tenant (res.) of the Bun­deswehr, Cap­tain in the army of the Unit­ed Arab Repub­lic, he felt at the Suez Canal on 12 Sep­tem­ber, 1967”.

    Brun­ner is, in fact, only the best known of a num­ber of Nazi offi­cials who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the con­struc­tion of of the Islam­ic regimes and who died in those lands after con­vert­ing to Islam.

    This alliance between the Nazi swasti­ka and the Islam­ic Koran is well explained in a 1942 arti­cle writ­ten by Johann von Leers, the best known of Nazi con­verts to Islam. Pub­lished in the news­pa­per “Die Juden­frage”, the arti­cle pre­sent­ed Judaism and Islam in terms of Hegel’s the­sis and antithe­sis: “The hos­til­i­ty of Muham­mad towards the Jews had a con­se­quence: the Ori­en­tal Jews were total­ly par­a­lyzed. If the rest of the world had adopt­ed a sim­i­lar pol­i­cy, we would not have the ‘Jew­ish ques­tion’. Islam has made an eter­nal ser­vice to the world by pre­vent­ing the con­quest of Ara­bia by the Jews”.

    One of the lead­ers of the “Jew­ish Affairs” in Gali­cia, Altern Erich, con­vert­ed to Islam and took the name of “Ali Bel­la” in Egypt, where he trained Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists.

    Leopold Gleim was known through his orig­i­nal name as a head of the Gestapo in Poland, but became “Ali al- Nahar” at the ser­vice of the Egypt­ian dic­ta­tor Nass­er.

    Oskar Dirlewanger, after killing tens of thou­sands of Jews in the Ukraine, became the body­guard of the Egypt­ian dic­ta­tor. Dr. Hein­rich Willer­man, famous for some of the most atro­cious exper­i­ments at Dachau, and direct­ed the ter­ror­ist “Camp Samar­ra” in Egypt.

    After hav­ing “liq­ui­dat­ed” the War­saw ghet­to, Kurt Bau­r­nann joined the Min­istry of War in Cairo and trained the Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine.

    The head of the Gestapo in Düs­sel­dorf, Joachim Daem­ling, went to work at the Egypt­ian prison sys­tem.

    Even François Genoud, the famous banker of Nazism, tes­ta­men­tary heir of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, used the war trea­sure of the Reich to finance the Arab- Mus­lim anti-Jew­ish caus­es, and in 1959, gave birth to “Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Friends of the Arab World”.

    Wal­ter Rauff, who invent­ed the “gas vans” which killed at 97,000 Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust, in 1948 tor­tured Jews in Dam­as­cus.

    Boeck­ler Wil­helm became “Abd al Karim”, the SS Wil­helm Bern­er instruct­ed Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists, the SS Grup­pen­führer Alois Moser became “Has­san Sulay­man”.

    In Cairo lived Hans Eise­le, “Dr. Eise­le”, who in Dachau became noto­ri­ous for tor­tur­ing pris­on­ers with injec­tions of cyanide. Even Otto Sko­rzeny, the SS com­man­der who freed Mus­soli­ni from his prison on the Gran Sas­so, lived in Cairo, where he per­fect­ed the Intel­li­gence Ser­vices of Nasser’s regime.

    Among the col­lab­o­ra­tors of Sko­rzeny there was also an offi­cial of the Goebbels Min­istry of Pro­pa­gan­da, Franz Buen­sch, an “expert on the Jew­ish prob­lem” who had worked with Adolf Eich­mann on the “Final Solu­tion” and had also writ­ten a book enti­tled “Sex­u­al Habits of the Jews”, per­haps the most repug­nant doc­u­ment pro­duced by the Nazis.

    In the Egypt­ian cap­i­tal there was anoth­er infa­mous doc­tor, Arib­ert Heim, “Dr. Tod”, Dr. Death, so named because of the cru­el­ty of his exper­i­ments in the camps of Buchen­wald, Sach­sen­hausen and Mau­thausen. Heim con­vert­ed to Islam under the name of “Tarek Hus­sein Farid”. He sport­ed an Islam­ic beard, he went to the al Azhar mosque every morn­ing and read the Koran in the Ger­man trans­la­tion.

    The col­lab­o­ra­tor of Goebbels, Johann von Leers, was solemn­ly received in Cairo by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Hus­sei­ni: “We thank you for hav­ing fought against the pow­ers of dark­ness incar­nat­ed by world Jew­ry”. After con­vert­ing to Islam, Von Leers assumed the name of “Omar Amin von Leers” and in Cairo occu­pied many posts in the admin­is­tra­tion of Nass­er.

    When Tom Cruise in 2008 pro­duced the movie “Valkyrie”, Major Otto Ernst Remer, who in the film has the face of Thomas Kretschmann, was por­trayed as a key fig­ure in the bloody sup­pres­sion of the con­spir­a­cy that tried to assas­si­nate Adolf Hitler. In 1993, an Egypt­ian news­pa­per inter­viewed Remer, who hailed the Khome­i­ni rev­o­lu­tion, said that the gas cham­bers were “lies” and who com­pared the defeat of Nazi Ger­many to that of the Pales­tin­ian Arabs, “both vic­tims of the Jews, both suf­fered under occu­pa­tion”.

    And how to for­get that neo-Nazis helped Yass­er Arafat in 1972’s Munich mas­sacre?

    This is not an exot­ic, dis­tant sto­ry, it sheds a dra­mat­ic light on the exis­ten­tial war between polit­i­cal Islam and the Jews.

    While read­ing these and oth­er sto­ries of Nazi offi­cials who fought for Islam, I am remind­ed of the project of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haji Amin al Hus­sein, who planned to install a gas cham­ber and a cre­ma­to­ri­um near Nablus/Shechem. That is the real “occu­pa­tion”, that of a geno­ci­dal and total­i­tar­i­an ide­ol­o­gy at war with the Jews in their own land.

    A Birke­nau in the desert. A Mau­thausen which would have liked to set foot on Mount Zion.

    Posted by Vanfield | November 9, 2013, 9:47 pm
  2. http://www.vice.com/read/the-eternal-nazi-aribert-heim

    The SS Doc­tor Who Con­vert­ed to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters

    By Jamie Clifton Apr 21 2014

    The Holo­caust, as you’ll prob­a­bly know, pro­duced some of history’s worst human beings. The thing is, though, besides those who made it into your textbooks—the Hitlers, Görings and Himmlers—many escaped unscathed, free to live out the rest of their days pre­tend­ing to be mild-man­nered expats who’d moved to Argenti­na sim­ply because they pre­ferred empanadas and polo to bratwurst and car man­u­fac­tur­ing.

    One SS mem­ber to ulti­mate­ly escape pros­e­cu­tion was an Aus­tri­an con­cen­tra­tion camp doc­tor called Arib­ert Heim, who lat­er became known as “Doc­tor Death.” The atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the Nazi camps have their very own scale of hor­ror, and Heim sits some­where near the top (his trade­mark was inject­ing gaso­line into healthy people’s hearts and keep­ing their skulls as tro­phies). Despite his hor­rif­ic crimes, he man­aged to most­ly evade the author­i­ties, and when they did final­ly catch up with him, in the ear­ly 60s, he had already fled Ger­many.

    Almost 50 years lat­er, New York Times jour­nal­ist Souad Mekhen­net got a tip that Heim had con­vert­ed to Islam and had been hid­ing out in Cairo. she teamed up with anoth­er NY Times jour­nal­ist, Nicholas Kul­ish, and the pair decid­ed to fol­low up what they’d heard, hop­ing to track down Heim and explain what exact­ly had hap­pened after his sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance.

    An arti­cle about Mekhen­net and Kul­ish’s search for Heim was first pub­lished in the New York Times, before the pair turned their inves­ti­ga­tion into a book, titled The Eter­nal Nazi. I recent­ly spoke to the writ­ers about their expe­ri­ence, the brief­case of Heim’s pos­ses­sions they were hand­ed in Cairo, and the effect the sto­ry had on them and those clos­est to Dr. Death.

    VICE: Hi guys. So let’s start at the begin­ning. When did you start inves­ti­gat­ing the sto­ry of Arib­ert Heim?

    Souad Mekhen­net: It start­ed in 2008, when I received a phone call from an old source of mine. We met, and he took out this pho­to­copied pho­to of Arib­ert Heim. He told me that he was the most-want­ed Nazi doc­tor, “Doc­tor Death.” There was infor­ma­tion that Heim used to hide out in a cer­tain neigh­bour­hood in Cairo, but it wasn’t con­firmed. So I spoke to Nick, and we decid­ed to take on the chal­lenge. I took this pho­to­copy to Cairo to see if it was true. We went from small hotel to small hotel, until, on our third day, we found some­one who rec­og­nized him.

    What exact­ly had Heim done to become the most want­ed Nazi in the world?
    Nicholas Kul­ish: He worked as a Waf­fen-SS doc­tor in a series of con­cen­tra­tion camps, includ­ing Buchen­wald, in Ger­many, and Mau­thausen, in Aus­tria. He was accused of com­mit­ting hideous crimes in Mau­thausen in 1941, includ­ing oper­at­ing on healthy liv­ing patients, killing them in the process, and inject­ing gaso­line into people’s hearts. He also used to take the skulls with par­tic­u­lar­ly good teeth as tro­phies and keep them on his desk.

    And he then man­aged to escape after the war.
    Well, what a lot of peo­ple find unbe­liev­able is that he was held in custody—first by Amer­i­cans, then the Ger­man authorities—for more than two years after the war, but there was no sign on his record that he’d served in Mau­thausen, so he was released under the Christ­mas amnesty in 1947.

    How he did he man­age to get that wiped from his record?
    No one real­ly knows. It could have been a lucky over­sight; they were shuf­fling mil­lions of sol­diers around half of Europe.

    SM: Also, the wit­ness­es to Heim’s atroc­i­ties were in Aus­tria, and it took the inves­ti­ga­tors quite some time to real­ly fig­ure out who and where Heim was.

    Yeah, one sto­ry I found inter­est­ing was how Nazi hunters start­ed putting things togeth­er after Heim was explic­it­ly men­tioned in a play writ­ten by a Holo­caust sur­vivor.
    NK: Yeah, that was a fas­ci­nat­ing thing – it was one of the ear­li­est works of art about the Holo­caust. The play­wright, Arthur Beck­er, was a kind of assis­tant war-crimes inves­ti­ga­tor in Mau­thausen and took down the first known tes­ti­mo­ny about Heim’s crimes in 1946. Then he writes this play in which the vil­lain is a doc­tor who col­lects skulls as tro­phies. So Heim has become this bogey­man Nazi mur­der­er with­in two years of the war.

    When real­ly Heim was off play­ing pro­fes­sion­al ice hock­ey.
    SM: Yes, he had moved to Bad Nauheim [near Frank­furt] and was play­ing for the Red Dev­ils ice hock­ey team. Then he met a girl from a very wealthy fam­i­ly and moved to a tremen­dous­ly big vil­la in Baden-Baden, where he set­tled as a gyno­col­o­gist.

    How long was it until the Nazi hunters caught up with him?
    NK: He received a phone call in 1962 ask­ing him if he was the doc­tor who worked in Mau­thausen. He then had this incred­i­bly casu­al encounter with a cou­ple of inves­ti­ga­tors, but he knew what it meant. He bor­rowed his brother-in-law’s Mer­cedes and basi­cal­ly high­tailed from Ger­many into France and France into Spain, then ditched the car before mov­ing on to Moroc­co. His broth­er-in-law was pret­ty angry with him when he picked up the car. He said, “The least you could have done would have been to wash it.”

    And it was in Egypt that he con­vert­ed to Islam and became Tarek Hus­sein Farid. It’s appar­ent in the book that he was very good at hid­ing who he real­ly was. Do you think his con­ver­sion had some­thing to do with that?
    SM: We heard a few the­o­ries, and one from his imme­di­ate fam­i­ly was that when Egypt start­ed to have clos­er rela­tions with Israel, Heim start­ed to feel very unsafe there. So one way to change his name and blend in bet­ter would have been to con­vert to Islam. But on the oth­er hand, his Egypt­ian adopt­ed fam­i­ly believed that he had a gen­uine inter­est in the reli­gion and that he prayed and fol­lowed all the rules. So it depends on who you talk to. But he def­i­nite­ly suc­ceed­ed in mak­ing peo­ple believe he had a gen­uine inter­est in Islam.

    Can you tell me a lit­tle about the fam­i­ly he lived with in Egypt?
    He moved into a lit­tle hotel called Kasr el Mad­i­na, and the owner’s fam­i­ly felt sor­ry for him because he was this old­er for­eign man liv­ing alone. He even­tu­al­ly became close friends with the own­er, and they used to cook for him and hang out. He more or less adopt­ed them as fam­i­ly and they adopt­ed him. He became very close to Mah­moud Doma, who we inter­viewed sev­er­al times for the book. Heim became Mah­moud’s and his younger brother’s sec­ond father, because their father passed away when they were very young.

    What was it like telling the fam­i­ly that the man they knew had done all these hor­ren­dous things?
    They had no idea that he was hid­ing or who he real­ly was, so it came as a big sur­prise to them. They did­n’t about his sec­ond iden­ti­ty. But they did know that he’d been mar­ried and had two chil­dren in Ger­many. They also met Rüdi­ger [Heim’s younger son] at one stage because he start­ed to vis­it his father.

    How aware were his real fam­i­ly of what he’d done?
    Well, we spoke to his wife before she passed away and she said she had no idea until she first heard the accu­sa­tions [after Heim met with the inves­ti­ga­tors in Baden-Baden]. It appeared that her moth­er had told him there would be no way the fam­i­ly could face such a tri­al and said it would be bet­ter for all of them if he took off.
    NK: One of the cen­tral ironies was that he sup­pos­ed­ly fled to pro­tect his fam­i­ly, in Ger­many in 1962, when a Nazi war crim­i­nal could get off with a slap on the wrist or a cou­ple of years in prison, before going back to a nor­mal life. Instead, he sub­ject­ed his fam­i­ly to half a cen­tu­ry of phone taps, ques­tion­ing, and search­es, and set him­self up for decades in exile, essen­tial­ly turn­ing Egypt into his own prison.

    What were Rüdiger’s feel­ings when you spoke to him? How did he rec­on­cile what his father had done with the father he was vis­it­ing in Cairo?
    SM: My impres­sion was that he didn’t want to believe that his father would have com­mit­ted all these evil crimes, and he didn’t want to know whether he’d real­ly done it all or not. He was total­ly obsessed with try­ing to prove that his father was inno­cent.
    NK: Heim had two sons, and it’s real­ly telling how dif­fer­ent their reac­tions were. The old­er son more or less knew and remem­bered his father and going through all the ques­tions and police inves­ti­ga­tions. He had noth­ing to do with his father and nev­er went to vis­it him in Cairo. Where­as the younger son, who was six when his father dis­ap­peared, bare­ly had the faintest mem­o­ry of him, so he went in search of a father he nev­er knew and who he always longed for.

    Was there any­thing you learned while work­ing on the book that sur­prised you?
    One thing that sur­prised me was how many real Inglou­ri­ous Bas­ter­ds sto­ries there were. Groups with names like Vengeance and the Avengers tracked down and killed for­mer SS and Gestapo mem­bers. Tuvi­ah Fried­man, who lat­er worked with [renowned Nazi hunter] Simon Wiesen­thal, hunt­ed down Nazis in post-war Europe. The SS cap­tain known as the Hang­man of Riga was found in a trunk in the bed­room of his beach house in Uruguay, exe­cut­ed for his part in the Holo­caust.
    SM: Also how the Mossad tried to kill Nazis in Egypt. Hans Eise­le, who was also a Nazi doc­tor, was sent a let­ter bomb, but it explod­ed in the deliv­ery guy’s hands.

    What did you per­son­al­ly take away from the expe­ri­ence?
    It was a chance to learn about what hap­pened in Ger­many from a total­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. The Egypt­ian fam­i­ly hand­ed over Heim’s dusty, rusty old brief­case, which was stuffed full of let­ters and med­ical records and a long report about Jews and anti-Semi­tism, which he obsessed over. I took away that there are still so many things that we don’t know about—and, I mean, I grew up in Ger­many and stud­ied his­to­ry, but there are so many things we don’t know.

    What about you, Nick?
    I asked a retired judge who was hunt­ing Nazis in his spare time, “What’s the point in arrest­ing these 90-year-old guys? What’s the point in going after them?” And he said, “At the con­cen­tra­tion camps they sent 90-year-old men and women to their death, and they had no prob­lem killing new­born babies. So you pur­sue jus­tice at any point and at any cost.” There’s a rea­son why there’s no statute of lim­i­ta­tions on mur­der here in the US, and that’s because the vic­tims deserve jus­tice, no mat­ter how long it takes.

    What do you think of the the­o­ry held by some that Heim is still alive and out there some­where?
    SM: Well, there is no body. Our research led us to believe that he was buried in a com­mon grave, but of course the final proof is not there. From the Nazi hunters’ per­spec­tive, this kind of skep­ti­cism is a nor­mal part of their job. There was an inves­ti­ga­tion into Heim going on in Ger­many, but because of our research and because of fur­ther proof, the case was closed.
    NK: On the one hand, this guy made so many escapes after the war, and the idea of him slip­ping away one last time—of fak­ing his death—is a real­ly attrac­tive one. On the oth­er hand, Heim would be turn­ing 100 in June, but peo­ple still feel that jus­tice hasn’t been done—and, in some ways, you could nev­er real­ly catch enough peo­ple for the crimes of the Holo­caust.

    Do you think they’ve most­ly missed their chance now?
    In the late 40s and ear­ly 50s, when almost all the Nazis per­pe­tra­tors were there to be caught, the Amer­i­cans were more con­cerned with fight­ing the Sovi­ets, and the Sovi­ets were more con­cerned with fight­ing the Amer­i­cans. The Ger­mans just want­ed to build Mer­cedeses and BMWs and to for­get about the whole thing, so it was only later—once these peo­ple start­ed dying—that peo­ple were ready to go after them.

    Thanks, guys.

    Posted by Vanfield | April 24, 2014, 11:14 am

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