1945. The end of Nazi Germany and the so-called "Final Solution," the Nazi program to exterminate the Jews. But was it the end? A German professor says that the spirit of the Final Solution did not die with the Nazi regime, but was passed to Israel's enemies in the Middle East.
"Yes. Absolutely," says Matthias Küntzel, author of Jihad and Jew Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. Himself the son of former Nazi supporters, Küntzel is a professor of political science in Hamburg, Germany.
Arbitrary Killing of Jews
He says of Israel's enemies today: "They're not the Nazis. It's not the same, and Auschwitz was a singular crime. There are no gas chambers and stuff like this. But you can say the ideology of the Nazis is still alive and you see it by the arbitrary killing of Jews."
Küntzel says the starting point in tracing Nazism to radical Islam "was, of course, Auschwitz, because I am German, and so I had to study, how could this happen?"
But Küntzel found himself asking the same question again after 9/11, and he knew immediately that part of the answer was Nazi ideology. He knew that Hitler had dreamed of destroying New York because it was Jewish -- the same view, according to German court records, of 9/11 leader Mohammed Atta.
"When I saw the 9/11 event on television in Germany, it was not difficult for me to see the fingerprints of anti-Semitism even in this event," he said.
Muslim Authority an Admirer of Nazis
One of the men most responsible for bringing Nazi style anti-Semitism to the Middle East was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the highest Muslim authority in Palestine and an ardent admirer of the Nazis.
A close friend of SS Chief Heinrich Himmler, the Mufti spent World War II in Berlin. He helped oversee a German shortwave broadcast to the Middle East called Radio Zeesen, which tried to win Arabs and Muslims over to the Nazi cause.
"Every evening there was this kind of anti-Semitic propaganda in order to influence the mindset of the Arabs. And it was sent not only in Arabic language but also in Persian language and Turkish language." Küntzel said.
A faithful listener to the anti-Semitic Persian language programs on Radio Zeesen was a young Ayatollah Khomeini, who would later turn Iran into a Muslim theocracy, which today seeks the destruction of Israel.
Nazis Financed Muslim Brotherhood
The Nazi's also gave money to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. According to Küntzel, "Nazi Germany put all its weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to support them, in order to strengthen them, in order to get the anti-Jewish message spread in the Arab world. And therefore, they helped them a lot, like a big brother."
The Muslim Brotherhood distributed Arabic translations of Mein Kampf. And it is the parent of Muslim terrorist groups like the PLO, Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda.
Nazism was also the model for secular nationalists in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Asser and Anwar Sadat were both young members of the fascist, anti-Semitic Green Shirt movement.
"The green shirt movement in Egypt was pro-Nazi. They had the Nazi salute," Küntzel said.
Final Solution to Palestine
In Berlin, the Mufti hoped to bring the Nazi's Final Solution to Palestine, and was personally responsible for persuading the Nazis not to free 5,000 Jewish children toward the end of the war. The children were sent to death camps instead.
After the war, the Mufti faced charges of war crimes, but the Allies feared angering the Arabs, and allowed him to return to the Middle East, where he lived until 1974. Before he died, he handpicked as his successor to lead the Palestinians, a family relative named Yasser Arafat.
"The Mufti thought that Arafat would be the right guy to lead the Palestinian movement," Küntzel said.
Küntzel says parts of Islam were always anti-Semitic, or anti-Jewish. But he says what the Nazi's did export to the Middle East was the view that the world will not be truly liberated until the Jews are dead.
"If you want to kill any Jew, you go with a suicide belt in the middle of the city, and every victim is a good victim because it's a Jew. This is a Nazi mindset," Küntzel said. "And if you shoot the rockets, nobody knows who will get killed, but if it's a Jew, it's always good. It does not matter who he was, what he thinks about politics, what he did in his life. If it's a Jew, he or she has to be killed," he added.
'Jews Controlled America'
The Nazis believed Jews controlled America. Osama bin Laden says the same thing. Portions of the charter of the Palestinian terror group Hamas read like Mein Kampf, essentially blaming the Jews for everything evil.
"In former times, every Jew was considered to be evil. But now, with modern anti-Semitism, every evil was deemed to be Jewish. Muslims believed Jews were 'losers', according to Koran. The Germans exported the view of Jews as controlling the world. Therefore, now to liberate the world, you have to get rid of the Jews," Küntzel said.
Israel now watches as Iran seeks a bomb it can use to erase the Jewish state in order to create what it believes will be a better world. It's something Hitler could have only dreamed of.
*Original broadcast May 15, 2008.