1919 signed letter contains Hitler's first known stance on Jewish 'removal'
June 7th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

1919 signed letter contains Hitler's first known stance on Jewish 'removal'

By Dana Garrett, CNN

New York (CNN) - A signed letter by Adolf Hitler, which contains what is believed to be the earliest written expression of his views on Jews and anti-Semitism, was unveiled at a press conference in New York on Tuesday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Rabbi Marvin Hier said the letter, written in 1919, is "one of the most important documents in the entire history of the Third Reich."

Wearing white gloves to protect the fragile, yellowing document, Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, pointed out what he considered to be the most significant phrase in the four-page, typed letter - the words "Entfernung der Juden," German for "removal of Jews" - which Hitler wrote must be the government's "final goal."

"In 1919 he wrote this. Twenty-two years later he implemented it as Chancellor of the Third Reich," Hier said. "He removed the Jews altogether."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, purchased the letter from a private dealer for $150,000 and will put it on permanent display in July at the center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Hitler was a 30-year-old veteran of World War I when he wrote the letter on September 16, 1919. At the time, he was working for the propaganda unit of the German army, Hier said. It was Hitler's supervisor, Capt. Karl Mayr, who assigned him the task of articulating the army's position on the Jews for Adolf Gemlich, who was an army spy. (At about the time he wrote the letter, he also attended a meeting of the German Workers' Party to find out more about them, at Mayr's request. Later, it would be the National Socialist Workers' Party, and Hitler would be its chairman.)

The letter, which was written on a German army typewriter, is addressed to Gemlich. It was authenticated in 1988, according to the Wiesenthal Center.

In the letter's English translation provided by the Wiesenthal Center, Hitler identifies Judaism as a race, not a religion, that has been preserved "through a thousands years of inbreeding" and is only concerned with "the pursuit of money and power."

"The result of which is that a non-German race lives among us with its feelings, thoughts and aspirations, while having all the same rights as we do," Hitler wrote.

He warned against anti-Semitism "born of purely emotional ground," which he wrote would only lead to pogroms - referencing the organized mob attacks that targeted Jews in Russia and, later, Germany. Hitler's letter makes clear he had a larger objective in mind. "The final goal must be the removal of Jews," he wrote. "To accomplish these goals, only a government of national power is capable and never a government of national weakness."

Hier said the letter was found in 1945 in the Nazi Archives near Nuremberg by an American soldier, William F. Ziegler, and sold to an historical documents dealer.

It has remained in private hands since then. Hier said a dealer offered him the letter in 1988, but then sold it to another collector before the Wiesenthal Center could verify its authenticity.

When it was offered a second time, Hier said there was no hesitation.

"We knew immediately that the Gemlich letter is absolutely historic. There is nothing like it in the world," he said.

Hier said an unsigned "office copy" of the letter exists in Munich, which scholars have known about, but that the copy now in the hands of the Wiesenthal Center is the only signed copy. It has never been publicly displayed.

Hier said the letter is significant in large part is because there is no known signed order by Hitler for the extermination of the Jews. Instead, it was the No.2 man in the Reich, Hermann Goering, who gave the order in July 1941 to Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Nazis' security apparatus, to carry out "the final solution of the Jewish question."

"This is the first document and only document of its kind that deals with the Jews exclusively and postulates the solution," Hier said of the Hitler letter.

Whether Hitler had in mind concentration camps and mass extermination at the time is not a question that can be answered by this document, Hier said. "But I can tell you that Hitler in 1919 said we don't want any Jews in the country that I live, and I don't want them removed by corner pogroms. I need them removed by a legal system where the government legally removes them," Hier said. "That is unprecedented." he added.

Hier said he hopes the letter, which will be part of an interactive display in Los Angeles, will be used to teach students young and old about demagogues and the consequences of taking them lightly.

He said if people had taken bets in 1919," they all would have bet this is a lot of nonsense, nothing would happen like this. And 22 years later, it happened exactly as he wrote it.," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Germany • Holocaust • Judaism • New York • United States

soundoff (931 Responses)
  1. Your Friend

    XOXOXOXO..........I.....LOVE....YOU......ISRAEL.....AND......ALL.....THE.....JEWISH......PEOPLE..........XOXOXOXO ; )

    June 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  2. brian

    what does the state of Israel have to do with Hitler's distaste for any other race but his own?
    Hitler will never have a place in this world...nor does any other person who thinks that racial cleansing will accomplish anything. There were millions of lives lost (jews, blacks, asians, and many whites) and we are ALL very luck to be alive today because it means that someone in our lineage was able to avoid a such a tragedy.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Glenn

      Mental illness is not a race.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  3. Marcnj

    he tried to ship them to the US and we turned them away.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Alexander Herbert

      He tried to ship them to many places but they all turned then down. Including England, Russia, the United States, and the Balkans.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Never Let Facts Stand in the Way of Your Opinions

      Hitler never tried to ship the Jews to America.

      Historical ignorance is far more widespread than I imagined.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  4. Supersemar

    The Holocaust is a crime against humanity and so genocide, Hitler and Osama bin Lades has the same hate, to begin to motivate and believed in their crimes.

    Stop hate, or you are just like both of them even worse.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  5. sam

    just shows how dumb hitler was. of course jews are only concerned with the pursuit of money and power. so is the rest of humanity.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  6. Kingdavid13

    Jesus Christ was persecuted by the Jews.... and what about the Jews.....today... there are few good Jews left....however so.... some have become aethiests, some non-believers... whatever happened its history now..... Jesus Christ was proclaimed King of the Jews...... no one can take claim of that.......

    Moses took them out of Egypt into the promised land... however, some hard core pharasees got thick headed and now we have the conflicts in the Middle East..... there are Jewish politicians who are non-religeous and non-believers in any faith.... and these are people who are causing lots of distress... as religeon gives one a conscience but most people dont think like that.....

    June 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Leppo, the Dancing Chipmunk Who is Also King of the Jews

      Actually, I can take claim of "King of the Jews." I am "Emperor of the Jelly Donuts" too.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Sarah Palin's Exploding Panties

      Out of curiousity, how could Jesus be "King of the Jews" if no Jews ever recognized him as king and if Jews won't be admitted to heaven? Pretty lousy king.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  7. sam

    hier + tl = hitler. it's a conspiracy!

    June 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  8. LouAz

    Seems the jews are trapped in their own history, as are christians who adopted that history as their own. That in no way excuses Hitler and Nazis and Germany and . . . us as well. Silence is consent. When they came for the gypsies, I didn't say anything, as I wasn't a gypsie . . .

    June 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Wanda Johnson


    June 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Troy

      thank you so much for posting that! that was so powerful especially towards the end. wow

      June 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  10. Gimble

    How sad that there are still people out there who cannot understand or tolerate the existence of Judaism. It was and always will be, the will of God that Israel be a home for the Jewish people. There was a time when many thought the Jews were cowards and easy targets for the bullies of this world. Those days are over. Hit a Jew, he will hit you back. The children of Israel defeated 4 arab armies, as they fought, many claimed they heard the ghosts of from the past fighting beside them. Only God can destroy the Jews. But no father with such awesome power would ever destroy his own.
    Leave the Jews alone, and live in peace and harmony.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • James

      You mean "again", as in "But no father with such awesome power would ever destroy his own again after the flood"

      June 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  11. William

    That signature is too dark and fresh looking to be real IMo.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  12. Glenn

    More proof of humanities insanity. I want it my way...no compoimise, no restraint, no acceptance of a world as it really is........ just a universal believe that I can have it my way.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • James

      Like your spelling and punctuation.......

      June 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Glenn

      These are the important issues.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  13. Enver Hoxha

    You can say all you want about the small Albanian SS unit, but the Albanians saved all of their jews.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

      You are quite right. Albanians would not tolerate the murder of their Jewish population and the deportations were indeed stopped. The only country to stand up to genocide and say "no". You have our eternal thanks.
      In fact, in the few places in Europe wherre there was pushback by the local population, Jews were saved and there was little if any conseuqence for the locals. The Germans were not dumb enough to want to fight all the civilians of Europe and always backed off. The sad part is that the vast amjority of Europeans were glad to see their neighbors killed and couldn't wait to profit from it, if possible.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      Not quite true, David. The Dutch began a nation-wide general strike after some Jews were arrested for deportation, but the effort was futile – most Dutch Jews died in the holocaust.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Do a Bit of Research Before You Post

      Actually, the truth in regards to Albania is less noble. There were only about 600 Jews in Albania to start with, and a few hundred more immigrated to escape the Nazis. early in the war. 600 Jews from Greater Albania died in concentration camps. That's the majority of Jews there.

      Sorry, the "Albania saves its Jews" thing a nice story, but it's just not true.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Enver you are right. Awesome.
      @David Kaplan – You sir, are wrong. When the Nazis moved into Denmark they went to the King and demanded that all Danish Jews should wear the Star of David. As of that day, the Danish King and ALL his people, Jews and Gentiles, wore the Star of David with pride. I find that awesome too.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  14. religionislifedestroyinggarbage

    Hitler was a christian

    June 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Glenn

      Hitler was raised according to christian tradition. A bear which tries to fly with eagles or swim the dolphins is still only a crazy bear

      If his ancestory was of the "holy land" and hr was a true "genetic" chrisrian his insaniity wouldn't have happened. Who's to blame ?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Bronco

      So was Mother Theresa and she helped starving orphans in India. Just because Hitler said he was a Christian, does not mean he was. Just like I can say I'm a martian...does not mean that I am. So I guess my question to you would be...what's your point?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Glenn

      My point is sane people don't do these things. If he had been raised according to his nature, mental health issues would not be a concern.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Reality

      "The allegation is sometimes made that Hitler was a Catholic – a Christian until the day he died. This claim is based upon the fact that Hitler was born and raised in a Catholic family.

      However, as an adult, Hitler specifically rejected the Catholic Church, as well as Christianity in general. He described himself as "a complete pagan".

      The book Hitler's Secret Conversations: 1941-1944, published by Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc. (1953), contains definitive proof of Hitler's real views. The book was published in Britain under the ti-tle, Hitler's Table Talk: 1941-1944, which ti-tle was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States.

      Some excerpts:

      All of these are quotes from Adolf Hitler:

      Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:

      "National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7) "

      10th October, 1941, midday:

      "Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)"

      June 8, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Glenn

      The damage is self evident. If he had been raised as a pagan his humanity would have been intact.
      Do you like the insignia of the Nazi's. They remind me of the old roman legions.
      As a pagan myself, I tend to believe in science and human rights....but the ancient romans had their own gods, living in a far less civilized or educated world. Please do not attempt to paste the morals of the twenty first century on the ancient world. I love my ancestrial home and my tribe as much as you do.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • SpeakOklahomaCom

      @"reality"...Hearsay, all you have is HEARSAY....that crap is being dragged around to rewrite history. What a crock dude.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Glenn

      Christians have no interest in the natural world. This world is here for them to use as they please and that includes the people of a different ancestory.(and there are many). Their only goal is to maintain the illusion of god's world'

      June 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  15. religionislifedestroyinggarbage

    there is no god, all hail the adult santa clause!

    June 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Chico Marx

      Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Rapp

      I love reading the absolute statements of a moronic atheist. So simple and humorous.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Squirrel Juggling Jesus

      Feel free to prove him wrong, Rapp. Provide all the evidence you can that God exists.

      Here, I will do it for you. The following is all the evidence proving the existence of God:

      June 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • religionislifedestroyinggarbage

      Moronic?. There are a lot of books about someone named Harry Potter, that doesn't make him real. You believe in santa, and are basically afraid of the dark....which is pretty moronic, there is no god, get over it. I have and it's simply wonderful!

      June 8, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Rapp

      The fact that you would equate belief in God with Harry Potter, Santa Claus etc. demonstrates simplistic thinking at its finest. I think you are just trying to be comical but if you are serious and that's the best you've got... I offer you my apologies and instead extend my sympathy.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Phil

      I would find Harry Potter more believable than your God...... speaking of absolutism, ever heard a Christian rant on about their faith?

      June 8, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  16. you are ofcourse mistaken,

    open a page in wikipedia to see the thousands of thousands of jewish relics in israel of 2,000 years ago,
    including texts which are used today, geneteclly related bones, and such. israel is jewish, alaways was.
    the plaestininas are welcomed to have a state. israel hopes it will use terror no more.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  17. Jack Crowe


    June 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm |


      June 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  18. Michael

    I'd have charged them a LOT more for that letter.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    c) History of the Alabanian Muslim regiment in Hitler's army:


    June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  20. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    b) The Bosnian Muslim regiment and the Mufti.


    June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.