Johann von Leers

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Johann von Leers
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2004-0825-502, Dr. Johannes von Leers.jpg
Born (1902-01-25)January 25, 1902
Karbow-Vietlübbe, Germany
Died 5 March 1965(1965-03-05) (aged 63)
Cairo, Egypt
Allegiance  Germany
Service/branch Waffen-SS
Rank SS-Sturmbannführer.svg Sturmbannführer
Other work Convert to Islam

Johann von Leers (25 January 1902 – 5 March 1965) was an Alter Kämpfer[1] and an honorary Sturmbannführer[1] in the Waffen SS in Nazi Germany, where he was also a professor known for his anti-Jewish polemics. He was one of the most important ideologues of the Third Reich, serving as a high-ranking propaganda ministry official. He later served in the Egyptian Information Department, as well as an advisor to Gamal Abdel Nasser.[2] He published for Goebbels, in Peron's Argentina and for Nasser's Egypt. He converted to Islam, and changed his name to Omar Amin.

Early life and education[edit]

Von Leers was born in Vietlübbe, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany on January 25, 1902. He studied law at Berlin, Kiel, and Rostock and eventually worked as an attache in the foreign office.[3] He was involved in the Viking Free Corps.[4] Von Leers became actively involved in voelkisch politics during the Weimar Republic, and he joined the NSDAP in 1929.[5] He was a district speaker and leader of the National Socialist Students' League,[3] and in 1933 signed the Gelöbnis treuester Gefolgschaft, the "vow of most faithful allegiance" to Adolf Hitler.[6]

Career[edit]

Nazi Germany[edit]

Von Leers supported himself writing freelance articles for the NSDAP press,[4] and joined the Waffen SS in 1936 as a sub-Sturmbannführer, eventually becoming an a full honorary.[1][4][7] He would serve as a professor at the University of Jena.[1] He eventually was summoned by Joseph Goebbels to work in the propaganda ministry. There he was assigned to proliferate party propaganda, eventually penning 27 books between 1933-1945.[3]

He wrote the notorious anti-Semitic tract (published and popular during the Third Reich), Juden sehen dich an (Jews Are Looking at You). He was fluent in five languages, including Dutch and Japanese.[5]

Jeffrey Herf reports that in December 1942, von Leers published an article in Die Judenfrage, a journal which belonged to the anti-Semitic intellectual world, entitled "Judaism and Islam as Opposites". As the title indicates, the author's perspective is Hegelian, presenting Judaism and Islam in terms of thesis and antithesis. This essay also reveals the ingratiating National Socialist perspective which von Leers projected on the Islamic past as well as the intensity of his hatred for Judaism and Jewry. The following passage is part of the original text:

Mohammed's hostility to the Jews had one result: Oriental Jewry was completely paralyzed. Its backbone was broken. Oriental Jewry effectively did not participate in [European] Jewry's tremendous rise to power in the last two centuries. Despised in the filthy lanes of the mellah (the walled Jewish quarter of a Moroccan city, analogous to the European ghetto) the Jews vegetated there. They lived under a special law (that of a protected minority), which in contrast to Europe did not permit usury or even traffic in stolen goods, but kept them in a state of oppression and anxiety. If the rest of the world had adopted a similar policy, we would not have a Jewish Question (Judenfrage).... As a religion, Islam indeed performed an eternal service to the world: it prevented the threatened conquest of Arabia by the Jews and vanquished the horrible teaching of Jehovah by a pure religion, which at that time opened the way to a higher culture for numerous peoples ....[8] (Quoted in Victor Klemperer' Tagebuch as author of an article "Schuld ist der Jude" in nr.143 of "Freiheitskampf" Review (1943), where he accuses the Jews to have prepared the First World War to destroy the German people: "if the Jews win, our destiny will be that of the polish officers in Katyn".

Realpolitik[edit]

Von Leers was a proponent of realpolitik, advocating a race-free foreign relations policy on the basis of relationship and alliance. He authored the memo which led to the exemption of non-Jewish racial minorities from race laws in the nation in 1934, 1936, and 1937.[9]

Post-war[edit]

In 1945 he fled to Italy, living there for five years, and then moving to Argentina in 1950 where he continued his propaganda activities. He was praised by Haj Amin al-Husseini for his loyalty to Arab nationalism.[3] Thereafter he moved from Argentina to Egypt.[5]

In Nasser's Egypt[edit]

Von Leers was welcomed in Egypt by al-Husseini[10] and he became the political adviser to the Information Department under Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser.[3] He continued to specialize in anti-Semitism as head of the Insti­tute for the Study of Zion­ism, managing anti-Israeli propaganda.[11] He was a mentor of Ahmed Huber and networked with Muslim emigres in Hamburg,[11] while also being an acquaintance of Otto Ernst Remer in the country.[12][13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Jihad and Genocide", Richard L. Rubenstein. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. ISBN 0-7425-6203-4, ISBN 978-0-7425-6203-5. p. 100
  2. ^ The Wiener Library bulletin, Volume 15. Wiener Library. 1961. p. 2
  3. ^ a b c d e "Who's who in Nazi Germany", Robert Solomon Wistrich. Psychology Press, 2002. ISBN 0-415-26038-8, ISBN 978-0-415-26038-1. p. 152-153
  4. ^ a b c "Goebbels and Der Angriff", Russel Lemmons. University Press of Kentucky, 1994. ISBN 0-8131-1848-4, ISBN 978-0-8131-1848-2. p. 30
  5. ^ a b c Description of Kurt P. Tauber, Beyond Eagle and Swastika: German Nationalism since 1945, Middletown, CT Wesleyan University Press, 1967, II, 1115
  6. ^ 88 "writers", from Letters of Heinrich and Thomas Mann, 1900-1949, Volume 12 of Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism, University of California Press 1998, ISBN 0-520-07278-2, p. 367-8
  7. ^ "Confronting the Nazi war on Christianity: the Kulturkampf newsletters, 1936-1939", Richard Bonney. Peter Lang, 2009. ISBN 3-03911-904-4, ISBN 978-3-03911-904-2. p. 120-121
  8. ^ "Judentum und Islam als Gegensätze", Die Judenfrage, Vol. 6, No. 24 (15 December 1942), p. 278, quoted and paraphrased by Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy, p.181
  9. ^ "Japanese prisoners of war", Philip Towle, Margaret Kosuge, Yōichi Kibata. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000. ISBN 1-85285-192-9, ISBN 978-1-85285-192-7. p. 120
  10. ^ "Egyptian Islamo-Nazism and "Omar Amin" Von Leers", Andrew Bostom. Family Security Matters. May 31, 2011. Accessed 1 october 2011
  11. ^ a b "FTR #721 A Mosque in Munich", Dave Emory. Spitfire List. August 30, 2010. Accessed 1 october 2011
  12. ^ "The beast reawakens", Martin A. Lee. Taylor & Francis, 1999. ISBN 0-415-92546-0, ISBN 978-0-415-92546-4. p. 151
  13. ^ Tadros, Samuel (21 April 2014). "The Sources of Egyptian Anti-Semitism". The American Interest. The American Interest, LLC. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

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