national socialism and the mideast

Max (Freiherr) von Oppenheim (July 15, 1860 in Köln – November 17, 1946 in Landshut) was a German ancient historian, and archaeologist, “the last of the great amateur archaeological explorers of the Near East.”. [ read the wikipedia pages on this man]

Oppenheim made his last trip to the Orient. Little is known of the trip, though the purpose was reportedly to resume his dig in Syria before his permit expired.Still, there are some questions about whether there was more to it than that. The trip was paid for by a special fund administered by Hermann Göring, the head of Germany’s air force and leading Nazi, who collected stolen paintings and antiques from all over Europe.Once back in Germany, Oppenheim lived in Munich, where he witnessed the demise of the Third Reich in person. His finds had been bombed to bits in Berlin, and he had few treasures left to his name. Soon thereafter, in 1946, he died of old age.[5]

News site for the Orient

Headquarters of the news agency of the Orient, Wall Street 45/46

The news site for the East (short int ) was during the First World War in the Middle East operating unit of the German General Staff and the Foreign Office . She was pro-German propaganda activities in the countries of the East and British Indiaresponsible and fulfilled at the same timeintelligence tasks.

With little success, the news agency went to great Islamic faith to move soldiers from the French, British and Russian armies to overflowing. POWs Islamic faith at the instigation of the message body in the ” Halfmoon Camp concentrated “in Berlin.Here Islamic practices such Essgebote or wereRamadan explicitly taken into account and built the first mosque on German soil for the prisoners. “Guest speakers” from Turkey tried to agitate the prisoners and to persuade to change sides.

The news agency supported nationalist movements in the Middle East countries to ensure that the German position in the Middle East and Transcaucasia to strengthen and the Entente powers, France , Britain and Russia to weaken. The politicization of the term ” jihad “in the Islamic world is partly due to the propaganda activities of the intelligence agency.

The activities of the intelligence agency still impact on the German alliance policy in the Middle East. In the national states of Egypt, Israel and Turkey are like during the First World War, the local ethno-nationalist movements important allies, while the Germans ethnically mixed,Francophone and some non-Muslim peoples of the Levant, especially in Syria and Lebanon , suspicious and strange have remained.

History and Structure [ Edit ]

Idea and situation [ Edit ]

Max von Oppenheim – initiator of the NFO – in Arab dress.

The relations between Germany and the Ottoman Empire were at the beginning of the 20th Century very well. While the German military missions provided for a modernization of the Turkish Army, was awarded the prestigious German-Ottoman major project, the construction of the Baghdad Railway remote parts of the multiethnic state, opened up. The rising superpower Germany tried to win in the Turks as allies. The Ottoman Empire was on the ground, however: The European Powers said because of the ongoing economic and political decline of the ” sick man of Europe “. The ” Eastern Question “if persist, the Ottoman Empire and divided as colonies and would disintegrate so was an important aspect in the foreign policy of imperialism .

In July 1914, started the first world war . The Germanorientalist and diplomat Max von Oppenheim (1860-1946) gave on this occasion in October, the Foreign Office a memorandum entitled “Memorandum on revolutionizing the Islamic territories of our enemies.” In it he wrote:

“First and foremost we currently have to think of our self-defense to exploit Islam for us and strengthen these forces by now. […] The perfidy of our opponents also gives us the right to resort to any means that may lead to a revolution in hostile countries. [1] ”

– Max von Oppenheim, October, 1914.

Oppenheim had collected as a German diplomat and amateur archaeologist in the Middle East a lot of experience and was a foreign policy expert on the Ottoman Empire. He saw great potential in the possibility, among Muslims a holy war ( Jihad , Arab. جهاد) against the Ententepowers France , Britain and Russia to kindle in order to improve their own war situation.Oppenheim saw propagandistic measures and an approach of the German Army in the Ottoman Empire as a necessary pre-conditions of a revolution. For the coordination of these projects, he suggested the creation of a news site which would be composed of Orientalists, Arab or Turkish native speakers and trained lecturers and “Adjusted truthful war reports (calls, etc.)” should work out and send. [2]

The memorandum Oppenheim came to the Under Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to ChancellorTheobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, and Emperor Wilhelm II during the Emperor, to whom much was keen to win the Ottomans as allies, the plan looked benevolently ruled divided opinions in the Foreign Office. In particular, the liberal diplomat and East expert Friedrich Rosen , an opponent Oppenheim, urgently warned not to incite religious fanaticism. [3] However, since theGeneral Staff under Helmuth von Moltke promoted decided the plans in November, the foundation of the “news site for the East” by the Foreign Office and the Section on the Deputy General Staff. [4] This was under the direction of the diplomat Rudolf Nadolny , who since the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers on 3 November was responsible for the Cooperation of NFO with the military.

Financial resources for the NFO were provided from the general budget of the Foreign Office propaganda available. The monthly financing was 5,000, which was increased by an “iron reserve fund for extraordinary tasks” on 8000. This sum was not enough by far, which is why Oppenheim contributed funds from his personal assets. The German headquarters of NFO was first in five rooms of the Berlin Imperial Colonial Office housed. However, the extension of duties made ​​a move to the Tauentzienstraße 19a soon required. At the end of the war were used by NFO 32 rooms. [5]

Organization and functions [ Edit ]

First World War in oriental room – States involved

  • Allied and Allied
  • Central Powers

The propaganda among the Muslims of Russia, theFrench colonies and the British Empire in favor of the German war was the central task of the NFO.This area was divided into four areas:

  1. Propaganda on the fronts
  2. Propaganda among Muslim prisoners of war
  3. Propaganda in the colonies of the Entente
  4. Propaganda in the allied countries and the German Empire

The NFO was their status after neither an authority nor a private company. Their secret cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff gave her half but official. In the organization they resembled a university faculty : In addition to the line there was a law firm and a press office. There were six divisions, edited legal, Turkish, Persian, Arabian, Indian and Russian affairs. In addition, the editors of the newspaper and the prisoners were New Orient equated the departments. The entire organization was up to the head of the institution, in the early years so Max von Oppenheim. To zoom in close to the Muslim population and to facilitate the work, each native speakers were employed in the departments concerned.

One of the first activities of the NFO Orientals in Berlin at the beginning of the war were summarized in committees that make up national organizations for the peoples of the Middle East were formed. For example, the “Indian Independence Committee,” the “Persian committee in Berlin” and “created Committee for the Independence of Georgia “. These organizations were in constant contact with NFO. Oppenheim also suggested the establishment of a Georgian and a Tatar scholarship fund of the “German-Georgian Society” and building a “German-Persian society”. [6]

The NFO possessed several subsidiary organizations, including the so-called “news room organization” at the German embassy in Constantinople, which was the representation of the message body in the Ottoman Empire. During the First World War were numerous “news rooms” liaison offices of the NFO, established in the region, such as in Tbilisi , Mosul ,Damascus and Jerusalem . For coordination between Berlin and the places in the East, the German embassy was responsible. So were daily multilingual reports of the German General Staff the way deep into the Middle East. [7] to disseminate propaganda publications available to the news agency has its own sales office in Zurich and was in close contact to some bookstores in Lausanne , Amsterdam , The Hague and Stockholm . In this way the German war propaganda should find consideration in the neutral countries. [8]

Besides the actual propaganda activities, the NFO also went to other tasks. Thus the maintenance of personal contacts with oriental circles in the German Empire, the Ottoman government and the neutral countries of great importance. In addition, a newspaper archive Affected by the East was established that especially the Foreign Office was available and other official bodies could provide information in Berlin. To this end, NFO watched the Oriental, European and American press and gave periodic overviews of Russian, Tatar, Caucasian , Turkish, Persian and Indian press out. This press facilitated the work of German diplomacy and the General Staff. The NFO was active also as official censorship of the Orient-related writings, films, and even letters to the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff. Similarly, the correspondence of the Muslim prisoners of war were subjected to censorship. [9] In addition, the news took place in the German press influence in order to achieve this a “more deliberate choice of words” in the context of Islam and the Ottoman Empire. [10]

Personnel Structure [ Edit ]

The news agency initially sat down “from some long ago with Oppenheim somehow connected persons” together. [11] They were working on a collegiate basis as possible voluntarily and sometimes even free of charge together. The further progress of the war, the stronger the institutional character of the NFO. In 1915, 15 German and 20 oriental people were employed in the message body. [12] There were also occasional translator eleven and eleven other employees. In 1918, the total staff consisted of 59 persons, including several office servant and messenger. The staff were mostly German Orientalists, diplomats or journalists .

Line of the message body [ Edit ]

Period of time Director of the NFO
November 1914 – March 1915 Max von Oppenheim (1860-1946)
March 1915 – February 1916 Karl Emil damage of Schowingen Binger (1877-1967)
February 1916 – November 1918  Eugen Mittwoch  (1876-1942)

In March 1915, Max von Oppenheim, the founder and initiator of the news agency, was appointed to the German embassy to Constantinople. For this reason, he appointed his assistant Karl Emil Freiherr von Bingen damage Schowingen indefinitely to his representative.Damage Binger was a diplomat and lawyer, but had already during his studies and developed a strong interest in Oriental Studies at Martin Hartmann learned Persian and Turkish. Until the formation of News saddle point Binger was at the Imperial Legation in Tangier ( Morocco have worked) as an interpreter. With the takeover of the management of the NFO it was the title of “Consul “award. Binger damage remained until 22 February 1916 in the office before he was transferred to the Foreign Office to the German Consulate General in Jerusalem. He was succeeded by Eugene on Saturday. Wednesday was no longer semi-officially appointed by Oppenheim himself, but commissioned by the Foreign Office. Wednesday was a professor of Islamic Studies and directed the NFO until its dissolution at the end of the war.

German employees [ Edit ]

Among the German people were the influential orientalist Martin Hartmann, Helmuth von Glasenapp and Willy Sparrow . Martin Hartmann taught Arabic at the Oriental Institute since 1887 in Berlin and sat down as a co-founder of the “German Society for Islamic Studies” for the recognition of Islamic studies as a separate scientific discipline. The company was the world of Islam out as a club member. For his appointment to the news agency, his former student Karl Emil damage Binger was used by Schowingen. [13] Other staff included a native of Switzerland, journalist Max Rudolf Kaufmann (1952 in Bonn, director of the East Unit of InterNationes ), the above contacts with the press in the German Reich and the neutral countries possessed, and Nahum Goldmann , later president of the World Jewish Congress , who was then working as a writer German propaganda writings. Kaufmann’s father ran a front company in Zurich, the “Orient Publishing”, the propaganda writings of the news agency of the neutral Switzerland sales. [14]

The young orientalist Helmuth von Glasenapp had reported the outbreak of war volunteered for military service, but later had to return from the front, just a few weeks due to an injury. Nevertheless, in order, as he wished to pursue an “essential war work,” he turned to the personal acquaintance of his father Otto Georg von Glasenapp Bogislaf , the liberal Secretary of the Colonial Office Wilhelm Solf . Solf referred the young Glasenapp to Max von Oppenheim, who founded the NFO at this time. Because of his knowledge of Indology Oppenheim took him into his staff. Glasenapp was responsible for the implementation of the propaganda in British India in the message body and had good relations with the Indian National Congress . At the same time oriental prisoners of war were part of his Responsibilities: He wrote the lyrics for the German prisoners newspaper. [15]

A connection between the German employees of NFO was on the Seminar for Oriental Languages ​​in Berlin. This prestigious academic institution has produced many eminent Orientalists and made ​​for an exceptionally good voice training numerous German diplomat and colonial administrator. The seminar had in the educational landscape held a privileged position and was operated jointly by the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. The funds came from the budget of the Foreign Office. The Department of Oriental Languages ​​in the Empire was a cadre of German diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire and thus for the NFO of paramount importance.

Oriental employee [ Edit ]

Salih aš-Sharif at-TUNISI – employees of the news agency of the Orient

The approximately 20 employees of the news agency oriental tried by a move to the German Empire, that enjoyed a certain popularity in the region to better pursue their own interests: This was a fine line between patriotism and desire for independence on the one hand, and collaboration on the other. The management of the NFO therefore always remained suspicious and supervised the activities of this employee group very closely. The news agency tried to turn in various ways to recruit Muslim operatives. Some came on the recommendation of the Ottoman side, others were from the communities of the Eastern exiles, including in Switzerland, recruited by employees of the NFO.

Among the Orientals, who cooperated with the NFO, the Tunisians Salih aš-Sharif at-TUNISI (1866-1920).This came from a traditional family of scholars since 1889 and was a professor at the Zitouna Universityin Tunis . In 1906 he went as a result of the French occupation of Tunisia into exile. He emigrated first to Constantinople and later to Damascus . During this time he established contacts with major figures of the Ottoman Empire, such as Ismail Enver . This gave him the Ambassador Hans von Wangenheim , the activity of the intelligence office in Berlin. Along with Karl Emil damage Binger from Schowingen he traveled as an advocate to the Western Front , where it was trying to move Muslim soldiers of the French army to desert. [16] was later Salih aš-Sharif at-TUNISI for German propaganda in the ” vineyard stock ” for Muslim prisoners of war in Zossen responsible. [17]

The German POW camp presented the most important field of activity for the Oriental employee dar. where they spread, for example, as imams propaganda news agency. In addition to the “vineyard camp” in Zossen, in which this task has been mostly perceived by Tatars, existed inWunsdorf the ” Halfmoon Camp “with over 30,000 Muslim prisoners. [18] There, the Algerian Rabah Lieutenant Būkabūya worked for the Germans. He had defected and joined the Entente under the pseudonym El Hadj Abdallah as a preacher and author of propaganda leaflets.Another significant oriental employees of NFO was Abd al-Azeez SAWIS (1876-1929). After his education at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo , he was editor of al-Liwa ‘ , the central organ of the Egyptian independence movement, and become subsequently been repeatedly taken prisoner by the British. For the news agency since 1916, he was in Berlin, the journal The Islamic worldout. [19]

Propaganda of the news agency [ Edit ]

Propaganda [ Edit ]

The truth about the religious war , propaganda brochure the news agency

To the propaganda of the news site for the East included leaflets, Views, war reports, magazines and newspapers, books, brochures, picture-and even movies. [20] By the end of 1915, the NFO had issued 386 different publications in 20 languages. The choice of the means of propaganda was based always on the respective application. Accounted for the largest share of the leaflets that were dropped en masse on the fronts of aircraft to enemy positions in which Muslim soldiers were suspected. The target groups were the North Africans in the French army (Zouaves and Turcos ), besides also Indians in theBritish Army as well as Georgians and Central Asians in the Imperial Russian Army . German propaganda in allied Ottoman army was however strictly forbidden. [21]

Brochures and books should exert influence on public opinion, especially in the neutral countries.The largest part of the nfo publication was a translation of a comprehensive war chronicle. From 1916 appeared Orient issue of image work The Great War in pictures in Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Urdu. [22] This did not come all the publications written by staff of the news agency. Many texts have been written anonymously or originated by Muslim scholars and were only checked by the NFO for their suitability as propaganda and published thereafter.

The influence of the press was another aspect of the propaganda activity. For this reason, Max von Oppenheim in 1916 participated in the founding of an Arabic-speaking, German-friendly newspaper called Al Sark in Damascus. Since that year the Persian newspaper published in Berlin Kaweh in cooperation with the intelligence office. In addition, the NFO called two of their own, official organs into life: the correspondence sheet and the journal The New Orient .

Deutsche wiki, trans from Geramn.

Karl Emil Freiherr von Bingen damage Schowingen (* September 271877 in Gernsbach , † April 4 1967 in Baden-Baden ) was a German diplomat and orientalist.


Damage Binger from Schowingen studied from 1897 at the University of Heidelberg law . During this time he developed a strong interest in Oriental Studies . Therefore, he decided after the completion of his law studies at theSchool for Oriental Languages ​​in Berlin with Martin Hartmann Persian andTurkish to learn.

1901 Binger joined damage of Schowingen in the diplomatic service and was first interpreter at the Imperial Legation in Tangier ( Morocco ). On 22 March 1915 he was appointed Max von Oppenheim his successor as head of theintelligence office for the Orient . In 1916, he became the German consul inJaffa appointed. He had until the end of this post World War stopped. 1918 to 1924 he was in the Orient Department of the German Foreign Office operates.In 1931 he joined the NSDAP in.

In 1924, he finally retired at the age of 47 years from the active duty and devoted himself to Oriental studies. He authored significant publications on theSeldschukenwesir Nizam al-Mulk , whose writings he translated from the Persian into German. In 1967, shortly before his death, he published his memoirs under the title of “world historical mosaic fragments. Experiences and memories of an imperial dragoman. ” deutsche wiki

Eugene Mittwoch (* December 4 1876 in Schrimm in Poznan , † November 8 1942 inLondon ) was a German orientalist. He is considered a founder of modern Islamic studies in Germany and as a major Jewish scholar.

Mittwoch initially intended, rabbis and to be graduated from the Rabbinical Seminary inBerlin. In 1899 he received his doctorate at Edward Sachau . His habilitation was in 1905.During the First World War led Mittwoch’s news site for the East as the successor of the founder Baron Oppenheim and Karl Emil damage bingers of Schowingen .

After a first job at the University of Berlin in 1915-16 and a brief appointment at the University of Greifswald 1917, he was from 1919 until his dismissal by the Nazi government in 1935 professor of Semitic Studies at the University of Berlin. During this time he also acted as a major Jewish scholars, among others, he was an academic teacher of the legendary “Rav,” Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik . Was given emeritus regularly that Mittwoch, 1935 and later still received emoluments of the Berlin University, was on personal intervention of Benito Mussolini attributable. Mittwoch was the leading experts Abyssinia in Europe and thus as a scientist working for the military in Ethiopia Italians of considerable importance. Between 1910 and 1930, made ​​Mittwoch young Falasha and was an important member of the Aid Association of German Jews . He served as past chairman of the Society of Promotion of Science of Judaism , and was also Managing Director of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith . As one of the first German Jews  Mittwoch spoke modern Hebrew .

During the 1930s Mittwoch  was head of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee . He emigrated to France in 1938 and in 1939 went with his family to London. His mother was killed in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: