By Thomas Krumenacker
BERLIN (Reuters) – Nazi Germany planned to expand the
extermination of Jews beyond the borders of Europe and into
British-controlled Palestine during World War Two, two German
In 1942, the Nazis created a special “Einsatzgruppe,” a
mobile SS death squad, which was to carry out the mass
slaughter of Jews in Palestine similar to the way they operated
in eastern Europe, the historians argue in a new study.
The director of the Nazi research center in Ludwigsburg,
Klaus-Michael Mallman, and Berlin historian Martin Cueppers say
an Einsatzgruppe was all set to go to Palestine and begin
killing the roughly half a million Jews that had fled Europe to
escape Nazi death camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau.
In the study, published last month, they say “Einsatzgruppe
Egypt” was standing by in Athens and was ready to disembark for
Palestine in the summer of 1942, attached to the “Afrika Korps”
led by the famed desert commander General Erwin Rommel.
The Middle East death squad, similar to those operating
throughout eastern Europe during the war, was to be led by SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Walther Rauff, the historians say.
“The central plan for the group was the realization of the
Holocaust in Palestine,” the authors wrote in their study that
appears in a book entitled “Germans, Jews, Genocide: The
Holocaust as History and the Present.”
But since Germany never conquered British-controlled
Palestine, plans for bringing the Holocaust to what is now
Israel and the Palestinian territories never came to fruition.
Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in Europe.
According to their own records, the Einsatzgruppen killed over
one million people, most of them civilians.
In the battle of El Alamein, Egypt, British General Bernard
Montgomery turned the tide of the war in north Africa by
routing Rommel’s “Afrika Korps” and ending his African
As they did in eastern Europe, the plan was for the 24
members involved in the death squad to enlist Palestinian
collaborators so that the “mass murder would continue under
German leadership without interruption.”
Fortunately for the Jews in Palestine, “Einsatzgruppe
Egypt” never made it out of Greece.
“The history of the Middle East would have been completely
different and a Jewish state could never have been established
if the Germans and Arabs had joined forces,” the historians
Regarding the question why this is emerging 61 years after
the end of World War Two, Mallmann and Cueppers said they
simply unearthed something other historians had not found yet.