David Motadel is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and currently a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is the author of Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Harvard University Press, 2014), which was awarded the Fraenkel Prize, and the editor of Islam and the European Empires (Oxford University Press, 2014), and the co-editor The Global Bourgeoisie: The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire (Princeton University Press, 2019). In 2018, he received the Philip Leverhulme Prize for History.
Muslims and Jews under German Occupation, 1941-1945
At the height of the Second World War, German troops encountered large Muslim populations in North Africa, the Balkans, the Crimea and the Caucasus. Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force and one hostile to the same enemies as Germany - the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and Jews. The paper will not only discuss Berlin's attempts to promote Nazi Germany as a patron of Islam, but also show that the realities on the ground were often very complex: In the first weeks after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, thousands of Muslims, specifically prisoners of war, were executed by SS squads on the assumption that their circumcision proved that they were Jewish. In North Africa, the Balkans, and the Eastern front, German soldiers were confronted with heterogeneous Muslim populations, including Muslim Roma and Jewish converts to Islam.