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. Jebediah

    Wow, there is breaking news.....They found a letter describing how Hitler did not like Jews.....Who would have thought...now it all makes sense....we got the proof we need....Mark it down for the records....Hitler was a bad man.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Chartreux

      Incorrect, Jebediah. This letter contains the first proof that Hitler approved of execution of Jews. Perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension skills a bit more.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  2. Jesus

    Another sign that our world must let go of religion. Come on people, it is over. Let us please focus on our future without religion.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • FairGarden

      Holocause will never be forgotten for all eternity. Atheists did the worst evil on earth, killing far more number of innocent people than the Jewish casualty at the hands of Nazis.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • FairGarden

      This news proves that evil must be eradicated or corrected when it's still in a small form as the Bible says. The German theology was toxic and screwed already in the beginning of last century just as today's American atheism is.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Gaunt

      So to be clear, you are actually comparing Nazism to modern US Atheism?

      You know, no matter how much medicine and psychiatry advances, its a shame there is still no cure for jaw-dropping stupidity.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:17 am |
  3. 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 412 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 2:51 am |
    • omar

      Sorry everyone, I hit my head. What I meant to say was we must not let history repeat itself and help Israel. Syria and Libya, just to name a few countries, have killed thousands in the name of keeping order, and we must get rid of extremism, especially with Hamas. The Palestinians have been played as fools, and we must ensure justice and freedom for all.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:05 am |
  4. flarnkingsgargle

    hitler. was. crazy.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  5. John

    Based on these comments, it's clear that antisemitism is alive and well. Shame on those of you who clearly have hate in your hearts.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  6. Jim

    We are expected to believe, I have a lamb skin letter signed by Jesus at the age of 10 describing how he will lead the Jews out of Egypt.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Chartreux

      You've confused Moses and Jesus.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  7. Dude

    What a dick

    June 8, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  8. John10:10

    Hitler a Christian? Lie from the mouth of Satan meant to deter human beings from meeting their only Savior, the Risen Son of God.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Chartreux

      Hitler claimed to be a Christian, just as many folks claim Christianity today.

      Look it up, read a book, you don't have to believe me or anyone else. It's true.

      You might also want to look to the political party which today is claiming to be for Christian ideals at the same time it's cut food stamps and health care benefits for poor children and their mothers. The only time they really care about babies and children is when they're inside their mothers.

      Sound like any other hypocrites you've heard of recently?

      June 8, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  9. FairGarden

    Nazis killed many others beside the Jews – anyone who does not comply with them or deemed useless(such as unwanted babies). Villains are murderous. A work of Darwinism at its disclosed peak and a logical outcome from that belief system.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Basem

      Israel use that and use american media to continue remove the palestinians from thier Home Land and steal thier land and destroy thier houses and keep terror and kill palestinians, Yestarday the israeli burn a mosque and a lot of trees belong to palestinians, just saerch on unbaised media

      June 8, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • FairGarden

      Basem, leave Israel alone. You earthlings will all be punished for mistreating the Jews. Just wait for that.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Gaunt

      Stupidest response ever. The Holocaust was not 'the Logical growth of darwinism' or anything like it. The two concepts are entirely unrelated and have nothing to do with each other. Darwinism is an endlessly and universally proven FACT regarding the manner of evolutionary development of biological organisms over time.

      A few people in the early 20th century coined the phrase 'social darwinism' in an attempt to relate the (completely misrepresented) 'survival of the fittest' principle to human conflict, and were shot down instantly and easily by those who knew better.

      To even pretend that one has anything to do with the other is essentially to stand up in a crowded room and scream "I am a retard, ridicule my stupidity!!"

      June 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  10. Rolf

    No comment again!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  11. murat pasha


    June 8, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Exactly. Armenians tried to take advantage of Turkey's weakest time when Turks were at war against multiple nations at many warfronts, and started massacring Turks. Turkish response followed. Armenians miscalculated, Turks were strong enough to fight against them, and their plans backfired. Since then, they've been twisting facts and crying as if they were innocent.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  12. Audrey Meridienne

    Once again it is clearly seen that CNN is under Jewish control like most other US media. If a Jew farts, it makes to the front page. This is not nearly important of an article to be on the front page, let alone the number one story. It's time for a change CNN.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Steve Johnson

      It's not just about being Jewish you ignorant fool. This can be about finding the signs of early persecution for any religion or race. Too bad you're too small minded to see it. It's called a warning flag.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Chris Greer

      Hear, hear!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Steve Johnson: It is what it is, Jew. Namecalling will not take you anywhere, grow up.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Rick Smith

      @ Audrey Meridienne, Steve Johnson hit the nail on the head. You are acting like an ignorant fool. Hear hear! It's amazing how small some minds can be.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Steve Johnson

      @ Audrey Meridienne, "Steve Johnson: It is what it is, Jew. Namecalling will not take you anywhere, grow up." Interesting, you call me a name "Jew" which I'm not, yet say I'm wrong to call people names. Wow...you're ignorant and a hypocrite. I didn't think you could sink lower but you did 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Rick Smith: Really now? Just because you support him and say so? It is already expected that a bunch of his kind will show up and show support. If that wasn't the reality of the situation, this article wouldn't be on the front page of CNN to begin with. People see things the way they are, not in the twisted form you try to show them. Good try though.

      More like you will pop up, it will not change anything. Intelligent people decide for themselves. Small minded people are your favorites since those are the ones that fall for your propaganda.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Mr. B.

      @ Audrey Meridienne, hahaha...ignorant and dumb girl got PWNED!!!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      I'm sorry guys...I'm just having a really bad day, because I broke up with my boyfriend and I'm taking it out on the Jewish people. Live, long, and peace!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Rick Smith

      @ Audrey Meridienne, wow...seriously. Please stop commenting. You're just sounding more and more hateful, hypocritical, and ignorant. "His kind"...what the heck does that mean? I mean, I guess this is America, the land to be free...and stupid 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Rick Smith: You represent that crowd. You are the one namecalling. You are part of the people that call others gay a dozen times a day, if nothing else. Not me. You are the one who can't carry a decent conversation. You are the hypocrite.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Rick Smith

      @ Audrey Meridienne, actually, check my comments I have never called anyone "gay". I don't consider it a bad term, but I'm not surprised you brought that up and would make such an ignorant statement. Ah, flinging mud at others and calling them dirty while you yourself are covered head to toe in the stuff. Good show!

      June 8, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Rick Smith: You said "I mean, I guess this is America, the land to be free...and stupid" and I told you that you are the one that is part of the society you mentioned, not me. And you are showing it very well. If you can't interpret replies properly, don't post.

      You don't even get my point. I am not anti-Israeli or against Jews, there is no hatred here. I just criticized the fact that CNN puts such news to the front page when they are not front page material.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Okay everyone. You win. I'm done making comments. I admit I'm ignorant and have said dumb things. You all happy? My apologies. Peace.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      As you can tell, some of the posts are not mine although they have my name on them. That must be what delays the posts of Rick Smith as he switches names back and forth. Talk about mud, but such tactics are usual in your society, in fact it makes you who you are and you are even proud of it, you think that being macho is awesome.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Someone is taking my name and making silly comments. I love Israel, the Jewish people, and all people for that matter. I don't buy into "jew owned" propoganda. I'm smarter than that. Good night.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  13. Jimbo

    Stop whining. you are not the only group that have been through this kind of none sense. stop begging.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Steve Johnson

      Who's whining? The only one who sounds like they're whining is actually you. It's a piece of history they're looking at here.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  14. Brad Jenkins

    We must never forget that a democratic, cultured, civilized society spent untold resources (that could have been used for the war effort) on creating a systematic method to exterminate an identifyable group of people. It was depraved and evil. No event speaks more to the evil that we are capable of inflicting upon each other, and to the presence of evil on our planet. That is why we must always remember.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Justsaying

      What a pity that the very people who suffered under the holocaust are now trying to exterminate the Palestinians by the thousands...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • Steve Johnson

      @ Justsaying, actually it's Muslims which are exterminating the Palestinians by not helping them as they should (i.e. giving them hope and proper non-violent support). Just saying, just saying...I'm also sure you're pretty quiet about the Palestinians in Lebanon who can't vote or hold citizenship or own land unlike they can in Israel. Again, just saying justsaying

      June 8, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Justsaying

      @Steve Johnson...you are desperately trying to potray yourself as some smart ass here.Don't change the topic to suit yourself.Modern Israel was founded on STOLEN land and the rights of the legitimate inhabitants (Palestinians) have now been stripped by the current OCCUPIERS.....Get it?Stolen land,.....Occupiers......Illegal Settlets....do you even understand those terms?And yet they say it's the Palestinians who are the agressors...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:32 am |
    • Dwayne


      >>Modern Israel was founded on STOLEN land

      No, Israel was founded on land purchased from largely-absentee land-owners and state lands that pass with sovereignty. Arabs claim the lands were stolen because the alternative is to admit that Jews have property rights. Since the whole conflict is derived from an Arab/Muslim obsession to deny rights to anyone who isn't Arab/Muslim, they must lie about property rights and everything else.

      >>and the rights of the legitimate inhabitants (Palestinians) have now been stripped by the current OCCUPIERS.....Get it?

      Curious that the UN defined a refugee as somsone whose normal habitation had been in the Palestine Mandate for at least three years. Ordinarily, refugees have to have been born in a country from which they flee. What this means is that some fraction, possibly large, of the people who now claim to have been autochthonous were actually immigrants. Indeed, some refugees were able to return to their native village while still claiming to be a refugee. Only Palestinian Arabs have ever been able to do this and still claim to be refugees.

      Arabs under the occupation actually had more civil liberties than Arabs in Arab countries. The only right they were denied, the one they want most, is to kill Jews.

      You also need to decide what you mean by "occupiers." As you're using the term, it could mean either the territory that was under Jordanian occupation before 1967, or the entirety of Israel.

      >>Stolen land,.....Occupiers......Illegal Settlets....do you even understand those terms?

      Yes, we do. The real question is whether you do. There is no stolen land. Occupation is legal under international law (if it weren't the law of occupation would say so in one sentence rather than be based on a lengthy treaty governing what occupying powers can and cannot do) The articles apoligists for the Palestinians cite to support their claim of illegal settlements actually refer to forcible transfers to concentration camps; the treaties are not about real estate.

      >>And yet they say it's the Palestinians who are the agressors...

      Yes, you are. Your leaders have rejected every reasonable offer presented to you. If you had wanted a settlement, you could have had one in 1937, 1947, 1949, 1967, or several times since 1991. Each time, your leaders rejected an absolute requirement of any settlement: that it not be subject to immediate reopening. Instead of agreeing to peace, they preferred to launch wars against civlians.

      June 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  15. seriously?

    Who cares?????right below this NK fires a missile... so much other news that is news worthy, and this makes one of the largest icons... Stop with the constant Jewish history lesson on CNN. Almost like advertisement.... I am pretty sure your getting close to converting Tom Cruise...lol

    June 8, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Rick Smith

      I believe there's a quote that goes along the lines that those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  16. John H.

    Where can we see this letter online? Shame they only show bits of it here.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:31 am |
  17. ryan stayley

    I'd like to fill up a volkswagon w as many hampsters that would fit. Then, get naked and coat myself in vaseline...entire body. Then basically get in the car and drive around town giggling. If you judge me...ill take you down.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  18. Rolf

    No comment!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  19. Beasterdamas

    You...People of Planet Earth...This World needs to stop religion...God is inside each and everyone of you...You are an individual expression of the onenes...In essence you are God...Grow up and accept it...Stop killing eachother in the name of stupid!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • Amir Tadros

      Hey, I like your point of view. I think the same sometimes.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Adobbs

      Thank you, I couldn't have said it better myself.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  20. Arto

    Interesting how Zionists purposely deny the Armenian Genocide which was the template for the Holocaust because they don’t want to “antagonize” their Turkish friends and they don’t want anyone muscling in on their “Holocaust” brand. Shame on them.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Armenian genocide is as bogus as a three dollar bill. Holocaust has all sorts of proof, the bogus Armenian genocide only has stories. It was a war which Armenians brought upon themselves by siding with Russians and attacking Turks with the hopes of reaching their goal of greater Armenia when Turks were in their weakest state. Tens of thousands of people died, the number was also inflated to millions over time as the Armenians got carried away with their lies and propaganda.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Gaunt

      Please stop lying. 'Zionists' do not deny the Armenian genocide, in fact Israel has been one of the states campaigning to compel Turkey to recognise this action as a genocide.

      Why would you make up such an insane and obviously false lie?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Audrey Meridienne

      Gaunt: You are the one coming up with false information. Israel, as the nation of the people who suffered the actual holocaust, knows very well that the so-called Armenian genocide never really took place. That is why they never recognized it, and that it why they side with Turks in foreign parliaments where they try to recognize it.. including the US. If the bogus genocide gets recognized, it will be degrading the real genocide and insulting its victims.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:51 am |
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About this blog

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.