Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Torture
"There Are Parallels between Islamism and National Socialism"
In 1945, following the Second World War, many prominent Nazis sought refuge in Arab countries. The Algerian writer Boualem Sansal has addressed this chapter of history in his latest novel. Martina Sabra met him in Frankfurt, Germany
Saturday, June 20,2009 04:45
by Steph Morris Qantara.de

In 1945, following the Second World War, many prominent Nazis sought refuge in Arab countries. The Algerian writer Boualem Sansal has addressed this chapter of history in his latest novel. Martina Sabra met him in Frankfurt, Germany

| Bild: Boualem Sansal (photo: C. Hélie Gallimard)
Bild vergr?ssern Boualem Sansal: "Young people in the Arab world know almost nothing about National Socialism and the Holocaust"
|
Herr Sansal, your novel Le village de l"Allemand (due for release in English in September 2009 as The German Mujahid) is about a former SS officer who was involved in mass murder and other crimes in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The man, called Hans Schiller in your novel, flees in 1945 first to Turkey then to Egypt where, in the 1950s he is recruited by the Algerian National Liberation Army as a military expert. After the war of independence he lives unnoticed for several decades until he is killed in a terrorist attack in the 1990s. Is this character wholly fictional or is he based on a real person?

Boualem Sansal: There is a real-life background to the story: at the beginning of the 1980s, I was working as an engineer for the Algerian Ministry for Industry. On one of my work-related journeys, I stumbled upon a small village near Setif which seemed very exotic to me. In the next town I told some friends about it. Then someone suddenly said, "oh, you mean the village with the German". I was told that this was a very particular German figure, as the man was a former SS officer, an old Nazi with a dark past. I have to say this was a big shock for me. I had very romantic, idealistic notions of the Algerian war of independence. To discover that a Nazi was involved was very disturbing.

| Bild: Cover of the German edition of Boualem Sansal
Sansal’s latest novel is about a former SS officer who was involved in mass murder and other crimes against the Jews in Auschwitz and Buchenwald before fleeing to Egypt, where he was recruited by the Algerian National Liberation Army
|
This discovery is likely to surprise many Germans too. Books such as Die Koffertr?ger by Claus Leggewie or Mourad Kousserow"s autobiography have taught us that in the 1950s, it was mainly young left-wing Germans who supported Algeria"s fight for independence. Do you know how many ex-Nazis sought refuge in independent Algeria?

Sansal: I don"t have any precise figures; I believe they were isolated cases. What I do want to emphasise, however, is that in 1945, not all German war criminals fled to South America. Many of them found refuge in the Arab world, in Egypt, Syria and other countries. There were less of them in Algeria because it still belonged to France until 1962.

Did you get to know the German and his village yourself?

Sansal: No, he was already old by then. But I was not trying to write the umpteenth story about a war criminal. I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of succeeding generations, to ask what it might mean to take responsibility for ensuring that such crimes are never repeated. Young people in the Arab world know almost nothing about National Socialism and the Holocaust. In Algeria, the Second World War is on the curriculum, but the historical uniqueness of German fascism is not discussed. And the murder of millions of Jews and other people is not talked about at all.

Nevertheless, it"s important to address this, along with prejudices about Jews in Arab countries. When I was young, many people in Algeria didn"t say simply "ihudi", they added "hachek", which means something like, "excuse me for uttering the word "Jew"". A similar custom was followed when mentioning the wife of the man you were talking to. This habit has now largely died out, but it is still part of our history.

| Bild: View along the railway line leading to Auschwitz concentration camp, photo taken at the end of January 1945 (photo: AP)
Bild vergr?ssern "In Algeria, the historical uniqueness of German fascism is not discussed. And the murder of millions of Jews and other people is not talked about at all," says Sansal
|
Your novel contains powerful descriptions of the sites where the horror unfolded, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Did you visit them specially for the book?

Sansal: No, I had already been to Auschwitz before. My first wife was Czech; we visited Prague often and at some point I suggested we visited Poland for the weekend. My experiences there left a deep impression on me. Visiting Auschwitz is a huge personal test and I would not recommend anyone to delve too deep. It can really throw you into confusion, because all the convictions and values you have as a human being are shaken: belief in God, in humanity, everything. Nothing remains as it is.

In Algeria it"s not yet possible to buy the book. Many Algerians who have managed to read it, as well as the Algerian population in France, have criticised it because it draws parallels between National Socialism and Islamism. Are you not exaggerating here? Islamism does not aim per se to eradicate or subjugate another race of people. And not all Islamists want to introduce Sharia law or hide women under veils.

Sansal: On the contrary! I have followed the development of Islamism from its beginnings to the present day and analysed its discourses. In my opinion there are enormous similarities, in every sense. There is the concept of conquering – the conquering of souls, but also of territories. And there is the idea of extermination, the extermination of all those who do not submit to the ideology of Islamism. To this extent I certainly do see parallels, and I believe we have to analyse National Socialism if we are to keep Islamism in check.

To date there have been no plans to translate your book into Arabic, whereas the Hebrew translation is nearly finished. Would you travel to Israel to present the book?

Sansal: I had already been invited to Israel by the newspaper Haaretz and my publisher there. At the moment I do not intend to travel there. The new government under Netanyahu and Liebermann is too right wing for me, verging on fascist

The Source


Posted in Torture , Human Rights , Activites , Other Issues  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Obama’s Cairo Speech - Lies, Spin And Holocaust Denial
Muslims Condemn display of hate at Holocaust Museum
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
Holocaust Denied
660 Palestinians killed and 2950 wounded in the Gaza holocaust, 135 Palestinians massacred on Tuesda
Reflections on the Israeli holocaust in Gaza
Reflections on the Israeli holocaust in Gaza
Demonstrations in most capitals of the world to protest the Gaza holocaust
Israeli occupation holocaust in Gaza reaps 365 lives and 1800 wounded
MB Chairman Calls On Egyptian People To Continue Protests Against Gaza Holocaust
Egypt’s National Powers Denounce Gaza Holocaust
Agha: The IOA executes "agricultural holocaust" against olive trees
Hamas condemns the Holocaust
Is Progress possible amidst the cycle of revenge? The Gaza Holocaust: The Wrong Address to Peace
Egyptian University Students Protest Gaza Holocaust
Mashaal Calls IOF Crimes Committed in Gaza "a Holocaust"
Tens of Thousands of Egyptians Protest, Call for Ending Gaza Holocaust
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood Calls for Stopping Israeli Holocaust in Gaza
Jews and the Gaza Holocaust
Matan Vilnai threatens Palestinians with a bigger holocaust
Israel is Effecting Holocaust in Gaza
"What is the lesson to be learned from the Holocaust?"
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Says No Holocaust Denial
Holocaust Victims: Why Doesn’t Israel Work For Peace?
Reflections on the Israeli holocaust in Lebanon
The Road to the Muslim Holocaust