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Nazis? In Jerusalem?

by michael March 01 2008
Municipal news

How ever did they get in?

No, Jerusalemite isn't talking about Nazis in Jerusalem today, thankfully, but rather Nazis in pre-state Mandatory Palestine. There were more than one might think. A significant percentage of German Templers, a small Christian community who immigrated to Palestine in the 1800s and built (and lent their name to) the German Colony, declared allegiance to Hitler upon the rise of the Nazi party. And the Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic religious leader in Palestine, was a fervent supporter of Hitler, discussing with Nazi officials how the Final Solution would be implemented in Palestine and spending the war years in Berlin as a guest of the Fuhrer after the British chased him out. The Mufti's influence spread Nazi sympathies among Palestinian Arabs, who hoped the Nazis would eradicate the Palestinian Jewish population and return its land to Arab hands. For a fascinating and lengthy summary of this turbulent period, with a special focus on the Templers' conversion to Nazism, check out today's Haaretz:

With its lovely stone buildings, red-tiled roofs, old pine trees and picturesque alleyways, Jerusalem's German Colony is an enchanting area. But in the 1930s, a branch of the Nazi Party operated openly in this pastoral neighborhood, established by the Templers, who belonged to a messianic religious cult that came to the Holy Land from Germany in 1868. How many of them were Nazis? Were they just a tiny minority, as Templer scholar Alex Carmel claims? German journalist Ralf Balke researched the matter and found that in 1939, the Nazi Party in Palestine had 350 members, out of a total of 2,100 German inhabitants.

It's worth your time to read the whole thing. And when you enjoy Jerusalem this weekend, remember that it could be run by a bunch of Nazi punks, and then the hummus wouldn't be any good.

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