David Cesarani

‘Berlin In Arabic’

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World

By

Yale University Press 321pp £20 order from our bookshop

When Hitler sent Rommel to north Africa in January 1941, Nazi interest in the Arab world burgeoned. From then until the end of the war the Third Reich invested heavily in trying to win over Muslim opinion. Jeffrey Herf believes that this propaganda offensive touched key sectors of Arab society, with profound consequences.

It would have been hard to predict this. Following the passage of the Nuremberg Laws, German diplomats had to field protests by Turks and Egyptians. Were they to be stigmatised by official anti-Semitism? It took prolonged ideological contortions before German officials found a way to define Arabs as being of ‘racially kindred blood’. Then there was Mein Kampf, in which Hitler placed the Arabs well down the racial hierarchy. The book was never translated into Arabic in full, although a shortened version appeared in which ‘semites’ became exclusively Jews.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,
    • In this month's 'Silenced Voices', looks at the case of Azimjon Askarov, the journalist and human rights… ,