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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. Burmese

    crying for the lost is only good for a certian period of time. you can win some sympathy from others. but, for centuries? it has become whining, boring and has lost respect from people.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • FairGarden

      Holocaust will never be forgotten for all eternity. All nations are guilty as we just watched, doing nothing. Your att-itude will not bring decent democracy into Burma or anywhere else. Stop persecuting the Karen people, you villains.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • mark

      i appreciate news of this letter, as i choose to LEARN from history, rather than to REPEAT it. Obviously the more pessimistic-minded responders have allowed thier spirits to be dulled -and that is unfortunate.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Rick Smith

      Actually, I know many Holocaust Survivors who are still alive, so you pretending like this is something from hundreds of years ago doesn't fly. They don't cry or whine. They've just wanted to live a "normal" life. This is just an article for history text books, so we can learn history, not to win sympathy. I'm willing to bet that if if something a millionath as bad happened to you that happened to a Holocaust Survivor, you would cry for years. Hopefully it never will.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • Chartreux

      Centuries, Burmese? The sheer amount of ignorance on these boards never ceases to amaze me. People who suffered in Nazi concentration camps are still alive today. TODAY!

      I worked with a woman who suffered in Auschwitz under the cruel torture of the evil Nazis, Burmese. She was patient and kind and a lovely person most of the time until anyone acted in the least bit bigoted or racist. That upset her terribly. I learned from her that some of the things we say in passing have a dreadful connotation. I learned a great deal from her.

      A Nazi guard was just sentenced for his crimes a few weeks ago. *This is living history.* Pay attention, you might learn something.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  2. omar

    Actually I don't care about what happened to them 50 years ago while there crimes are 5 minutes ago , what they do to Palestinians is fare enough to be memorized and discussed not what Hitler had done to them .. this is crazy CNN yesterday they burned a mosque , and every day they kill civilians in the name of Israeli security , in 27 Dec 2008 they injured 5450 and killed 1417 civilians including 281 children and 111 women but to be fair Palestinians those nutty terrorists killed 13 !! thirteen and u telling me about Hitler ! . . I have nothing towards Jews especially neturei karta those who are against Zionism but our problem with Zionism and Israelis are the biggest cancer in that world .

    June 8, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • Chartreux

      Really? So you don't care about how these events are connected?

      I try so hard not to insult people and follow the rules here, but that's extremely ignorant of you not to care about what brought the Jews back to their homeland. Yes, archaeological digs in Israel prove that there were Jews living there thousands of years ago.

      Perhaps you should read some history. These current events that consume you so? they'll become history soon enough. Imagine that, Omar.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  3. ScepticOptic

    2030: jewish scientist found a letter that proves everyone in the world is guilty about holocaust. The brainwashing continue.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  4. Carbon Copy 1

    ...-... Confessions of a Hottentot; The Painter, Carbon Copies of the Reflections of Reality..., The audience... O Square Triangle..

    June 8, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  5. ME

    The Jews faced unjust crimes against them , and those crimes were shared by many non-Jews as well . Now , like a little kid who had his toy stolen from him/her , gets their revenge when they grow up. The respected "Israelis" stole homes , lands , life's right out of Palestine. Very human and justified from our dear Jews .

    June 8, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Rolf

      Hey!, "Me". I live my life under the assumption that at least 90% of the non-Jewish people have negative and/or hateful feelings against Jews. You are just one example. Remember the words ,"never again". Hate us all you want; just don't mess.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • omar

      you're right ME this is the Israeli sadism ..

      June 8, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  6. aman

    I dont belive that the dokument is real. I think Isrel wants to make busy to country so cover the Philistinan victim and Mavimarmara terorism

    June 8, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  7. Farhan

    And what Jews are doing now?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • ME

      Killing , stealing , taking lands ..... and saying that THEY are the victims . Poor people.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  8. Phil

    No disrespect to Dr Schroeders position but he is wrong. He has not at all proved the existence of God. Just rehashed the same old arguments with a different viewpoint....he is a nuclear physicist.Not a biologist.Nor a Cosmologist, He sounds like WIlliam Lane Craig. He proves nothing. Just philosophizes and rambles.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  9. Johan S

    Reminds me of the tea party and "social conservatives" who want to remove Muslims.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • U.R. an Idiot

      OK, I've decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. You are an imbecile.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  10. jimmy smith

    They should post this letter at the Palestinian holocaust memorial too. Palestinians are Semitic too. Look it up. Semitic is a language group which includes Arabic. So when you say someone is Anti-Semitic you are saying someone is anti-jew and arab. They're the same people is just one family was on the wrong side of the fence.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • S.m

      Not at all arabs and jew are the same family niether they are semtic although i am not a palestnian at all but correct your info before leaking it .Arabs have a different heritage , race, langauge , and a a complete way of life which is Islam.But some have been lost and couldnt embark the difference between "being modern and being western " that what their religion tell them that who is a muslim and clearly gives the whole background of jews.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  11. Rovi

    Come on, stop flogging a dead horse and get over it, this story is almost 100 years old! We have a lot of atrocities going on in the world NOW, let's focus on them. Also, some might argue that the victims of that era are now perpetrators themselves.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Chartreux

      People who deny their great hero Hitler knew about a 'final solution' cannot now deny it, Rovi. Hitler planned to destroy populations of Jews by murder as far back as 1919. This is historically significant.

      Concentration camp victims are still alive who suffered under Nazi torture. Two weeks ago a camp guard was convicted of his crimes.

      It's not all about you.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  12. qirin

    "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."

    Not long after that the Jews removed the Palestinians from their homes. And so it goes...

    June 8, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • waterkim

      absolutely agree

      June 8, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • lvuaull

      Two wrongs don't make a right. And of course two (w)rights make a plane... Evil apparently continues to be an equal opportunity employer.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  13. Just the facts

    Know the childish Arab mind. Give up the lies already and live in peace with what you have! If you'd spent the last 66 years working with Isael your people wouldn't need an "Arab Spring." being ignorant about history is childish.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Ameer Harb

      Israel spent the past 66 years removing/displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinian from their homeland. Why would they work with them if their primary goal is the removal of Palestinians?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • pointless1

      Ameer Harb – ummm who owned the land? Those guys across the pond from us I believe... Look at it as simply evicting the brown tenant...

      June 8, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • U.R. an Idiot

      @Ameer: Were ovens involved in any way? Think about it. There's a slight difference. [ end sarcasm ]

      June 8, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  14. Fareed

    As a Palestinian refugee I have to wonder how many similar letters were written by Zionists who planned, established the State of Israel and continue on their immoral journey to purify historic Palestine from "none Jews". What Hitler did was unjust and a crime against all humanity. Israeli leaders can not continue to purify Palestine from its people of none Jewish faith in the name of security and peace for Jews. Instead they need to teach their children tolerance and the truth about the millions of Palestinian refugees who seek justice and want simply to return home. Only if we can defeat those who advocate "Hitler's Agenda" for intolerance and discrimination then we will be able to acheive a susainable peace and justice for all the people who claim historic Palestine as their home.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Burmese

      well said..

      June 8, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • lvuaull

      Yes. Very well said.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I get sick and tired of the whining Palestinians. Your methods are nasty but your propaganda is pretty effective with tyhe weak minded.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • seriously?

      Fareed. very well put.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Dwayne

      @Fareed

      >>As a Palestinian refugee I have to wonder how many similar letters were written by Zionists who planned, established the State of Israel and continue on their immoral journey to purify historic Palestine from "none Jews".

      Most likely none.

      Israel is the most diverse society in the Middle East, with the largest minority population (as a % of its total) in the region. There were once a million Jews living in many of the Arab countries. Now there are close to none - they were ethnically cleansed by the same Muslims who whine about Israel's unwillingness to let them overwhelm the Jews in Israel. It is the only country in the region where the number of Christians has increased in the last 50 years. In several Muslim countries, including the Palestinian Authority, Christians are finding it increasingly difficult to remain in the face of the persecution, kidnappings of women, thefts, etc. that Muslims commit against them. You don't hear much about this unless you talk with some of these people.

      >>What Hitler did was unjust and a crime against all humanity.

      Your leader at the time, Haj Amin al-Husseini, lobbied for the "Final Solution" and was the first non-Nazi to be told about it. Your leadership has never broken with this tradition.

      >>Israeli leaders can not continue to purify Palestine from its people of none Jewish faith in the name of security and peace for Jews.

      See first comment.

      >>Instead they need to teach their children tolerance and the truth about the millions of Palestinian refugees who seek justice and want simply to return home.

      Israel has peace education in its school curriculum. Its counterpart in the Palestinian schools, including those run by UNRWA, teaches young Arabs to hate Jews and prepare to become suicide bombers. While there may be some Palestinians interested in living in peace, they don't control Palestinian society; that position is held by those who think another holocaust is a good idea.

      >>Only if we can defeat those who advocate "Hitler's Agenda" for intolerance and discrimination then we will be able to acheive a susainable peace and justice for all the people who claim historic Palestine as their home.

      The principal advocates of "Hitler's Agenda" are Palestinian Arabs. There is no evidence at all that their leaders are prepared to accept that Jews have the rights Arabs claim for themselves., i.e., that Jews have equal status as Arabs. And what we are talking about is the historic Land of Israel - it was known as Palestine for only a few centuries under the Romans and the brief period of the Palestine Mandate.

      June 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  15. 2011

    So that kind of explain why Israel current President Shimon Perez was born in Poland. Helen Thomas had nothing to apologize for then. I hate Hitler, but what makes him different from the Zionists? Christians crusaders have more blood on their hands than any individual, or country or beliefs.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Phil

      Wow, you really are a poorly educated bigot aren't you?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Gremio53

      More blood than Nazism? (over 6 million)? More blood than atheist Communism? (Over 100 million?)

      June 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Phil

      Typical for Christian retards to use the "Atheism = Communism" approach.... Perhaps we could also use the "Religion = pedophilia" approach as well.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • hannah

      Not trying to turn this into a debate on religion, but one thing I will never understand....Nowhere in the bible or any other religious book does it say that murdering, mass or otherwise, is right, yet all religion does is produce genocide.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      All you high minded saviours of the world carp on like a bunch of old spinsters having a hissy fit because their corsets are too tight. NONE of you give a tinkers cuss about drought and acute famine in Africa or any other country where there is real suffering TODAY. Oh, no – you'd rather show off your bigotry and pretend you care here, from the comfort of your armchair – why don't you put your money where your oversized mouths are and get out there and DO something useful for a change. The vast majority of you need to get a reality check, you really do. This is my last post on this subject; you make me sick.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  16. Ira

    what "Bangla" is saying is disgusting. Ignorant idiots like that is the reason the world is such a sad place. you should be ashamed of yourself.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  17. Schultz

    oh that hitlerrr... good guy he was

    June 8, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  18. ngc1300

    Bangla-6,000,000 people ruthlessly murdered (add another 3,000,000 or so to include Gypsies, Slavs, Russians, gays, mental "defectives") and you say the Holocaust is "overblown"? You,sir, are one sick puppy.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Peter Pan

      almost 7,000,000 Germans were killed in WWII

      June 8, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Phil

      @Peter Pan...and just who started the war, btw? Oh, that's right!

      June 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Phil

      Don't care how many Germans died. They sowed the wind, the reaped the whirlwind

      June 8, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  19. Hart

    It's sad to see that there are so many heartless people commenting on this site! It really shows how low and depraved the pro-palestinian faction really is.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Peter Pan

      ...why, because they do fight for life and not for muder?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  20. more tea vicar

    I read these comments hoping to find some interesting ideas but they are very few. Thanks for the 2 or 3 people who showed some knowledge: the rest of you are as ignorant is can be. Typical CNN, Fox New, Huff Post...All a waste of time.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • So U Don't Get It...

      Another way of saying that it's beyond your comprehension. Back to your comic book.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:34 am |
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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.