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. OOlo

    Now the Jews are doing same thing to Palestinians as Hitler did to them. How ironic is that!

    June 8, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • OOlo

      I love Jewish people and Israel. Let's give peace a chance.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • OOlo

      Most Jews are great people and I love them too but peace only happens when people of all races love each other and learn how to live with each other 😛

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

      They are the Kings-we are the slaves

      June 8, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Chartreux

      Sorry, where are the Palestine concentration camps? Please provide photos and other proof. We must see this, it's important to the world that it be exposed. Work camps, too, wherever they are, let's have the proof.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Dwayne

      >>Now the Jews are doing same thing to Palestinians as Hitler did to them. How ironic is that!

      It would be if it were true, but it isn't.

      Apologists for the Palestinians and other Muslims often make this claim, but the facts are clearly in the opposite direction.
      During the Holocaust, about two-thirds of European Jews were murdered in six years. During the nearly century of the Muslim war against the Jews, the total number of Arabs killed, including combatants, is about four days' toll in a typical death camp, where none of the dead were combatants. During this period, the Palestinian population multiplied by a factor of about ten.

      Meanwhile, the data are very clear, when there actually was an occupation: life expectancy for Arabs increased from about 40 to over 70, infant mortality plummeted, illiteracy took a dive, Palestinian Arabs enjoyed an economy growing typically 7% a year, and they were able to establish a free press for the first time in their history.

      Did you really think ANY of these things happened to Jews under the Nazis?

      June 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  2. Ryan

    I don't hate Jewish people, and I don't hate anyone for that matter.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  3. Jerry

    What is this a public Muslim blog. What a joke you all are.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • lifeisfirst

      They follow the heritage of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  4. Alicia

    Let's talk about slavery. 400 years of slavery. 400 000 000 slaves. Tired of this Shoah business. Have we forgotten the suffering of others ? Why should we always talk about the Shoah and only the Shoah ? Let's talk about slavery, about colonisation, about the massacre of the aborigenes in Australia, the Native Americans in America, about the Tzighans under Hitler's regime ... stop the Shoah business

    June 8, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • lifeisfirst

      You don't get it, huh? People like you are the reason.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:38 am |
  5. Win

    Can we seriously stop this propoganda bs about the jews? This happened over 60 years ago. Why not focus on the women and children they are murdering by the thousands every year, or how the army printed out shirts representing the murder of the palestinians (Showing pregnant palestinian women with a gun pointed at them by the army, with a slogan saying "2 kills, 1 shot"). Israel is sick, and so is anyone that supports it.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Win

      This isn't propoganda. It's a history lesson. Take it or leave, but if you leave it, chances are history will repeat itself. Let's give peace a chance for everyone.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Dogwelder

      Why would jews stop their own propaganda BS. You realize they own CNN and every other media network right? They need to be perceived as victims. We are fighting a war for them right now in the middle east against countries like Iran who have never invaded another country in known history.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Dogwelder

      Look, it's late where I am and I'm tired. I don't mean to be rude to the Jews, it's just I'm unemployed and need a job. I'm just letting my grief out. Sorry.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • Dogwelder

      Cute. Defending those who oppress and silence innocents have murdered millions of innocents in Russian gulags and burn books in countries like Canada that speak out against the Zionists. Jews forced Christians to eat their own feces in russian gulags. Defend that.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • OOlo

      "Jews forced Christians to eat their own feces in russian gulags." Ummm...it didn't happen. Someone's a bit slow 🙂

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

      To claim that Israel is treating the Palestinians as Nazis treated the Jews is absurd. It is the same as denying the holocaust, pure and simple.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Dogwelder

      I'm sorry...I have body image and low self esteem issues, so I vent my grief online. I don't mean any disrespect to the Jewish people or Israeli people who I love, as well as all people. We're all G-D's children. Peace to all. I love you all.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Chartreux

      Dogwelder, this is the kind of junk that belongs in a private journal, not online. Buy one and act appropriately. Better yet, start a blog about your issues. Even that's more appropriate than venting your problems here.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Dwayne


      Thank you for providing such a dramatic display of ignorance.

      >>Why would jews stop their own propaganda BS. You realize they own CNN and every other media network right?

      This is nonsense. Jews certainly don't control al-Jazeera, which belongs to the ruler of the Muslim state of Qatar, the virulently anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic BBC, the openly anti-Israel NPR, New York Times, etc. Do some research or get a life.

      >>They need to be perceived as victims.

      No actually, they need people like you to face up to the reality of what your views have done in history.

      >>We are fighting a war for them right now in the middle east against countries like Iran who have never invaded another country in known history.

      This is wrong on two scores: We're not fighting Iran. What the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan is remove two regimes that were opponents of the Iranian regime. We made it safe for them to become more adventurous.

      Second, Iran has a proud history of military prowess. The earliest mention of Iranians in history was the establishment of the Persian Empire in the Sixth Pre-Christian century. Their lands extended from the Khyber Pass into Greece (ever heard of Thermopylae?). Persia, under the name Parthia, battled the Romans for control of Mesopotamia for a few centuries. An Iranian military expedition to Yemen in 606 destroyed South Asian civilization and led to the establishment of Islam. As Muslims, Persians became very active in the military expansion of Islam, into central Asia and India. The Taj Mahal was built by a ruler of Iranian descent; his dynasty was established by such an Iranian invasion. In the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Persia conquered the Caucasus, including what is now Chechnya. In the Nineteenth Century, Persia invaded Afghanistan. More recently, Iran has conducted its aggression using surrogates like Hezbollah and Hamas, which like to murder civilians. Incidentally, "Persia" became "Iran" so they could identify with the Aryan race from which they spring.

      June 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  6. Sherri

    The United States executes innocent people. How is that any different than this?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  7. riley ripken

    When I was a young boy, I used to molest priests. Now, how does that work?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:12 am |
  8. West

    Mind if I point out what the Jews say about the non-Jews in the Talmud? Hmmm... nah... maybe its best if you research it for yourself.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:09 am |
  9. HERO

    Allah is Greatest.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  10. Clara Derrick

    Now I've read all comments. And yes Hitkler was a Christian. BUT he was also half Jewish. Which finally came out in the earlky 90's. He was a loner. He really wasn't good at business, being a lawyer, being a doctor, or anything like that. He was made fun of because of this. Now the dear Catholic church actually struck a deal with him. Leave us alone and we will not say anything about what your doing to tghe Jews. Dome Christiabs they were huh?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Timmy C

      The religion of Nazis was Nazism and Hitler was their prophet and God. It's really the same crap, different holy book...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • Gaunt

      What an astonishing stream of utter lies.

      Hitler was not half jewish, he was not any part jewish. Rumours about his maternal grandmother were started during the war by the west, but there is no basis to them whatsoever. he was nomonally protestant, but never religious nor a churchgoer. He was never involved in Business, or law, or medicine, ever.

      Stop making things up: if you actually wish to know anything about Hitler, read Kershaw's two-book biography of the man.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:15 am |
  11. S M Shetty

    A memorable piece of historical evidence.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  12. West

    Hmm... my comment is waiting moderation.. it probably won't be posted as it explains why...

    June 8, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  13. Reason

    You question why and reason. Why would anyone build and develop this much hatered against a Race?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:05 am |
  14. veryfunney

    funny how some nations/ethnic groups praise hitler because he wanted to destroy the jews......hitler wanted to annihilate EVERY race that is not german/nordic/arian, don't forget that you jewhaters :/

    June 8, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  15. Shifter

    I don't think we need anymore evidence that Adolf Hitler was a dick.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:03 am |
  16. Timmy C

    Every major power including the US has committed genocide at one point or another in its history. The reason we know all about Hitler's genocide is because he lost. How do you think history books would read if Hitler had won? That's also why there is this illusion that the bad guys always lose. They don't, it's just that the winners are the ones that write history books.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • omar

      that's right , greetings for this opinion 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Reason

      I would press 'Like' if there was one.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • Guillermo

      Right. And some will write a book about themselves and imploring thanks to The God Of War. Amazing!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  17. JFord

    Killing is wrong

    June 8, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  18. LoveLovemedo

    My question is .....that spot on the letter....did he spill his coffee that day...and did this set him off into a negative spiral?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  19. omar

    Oh yah ! .. 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 2:56 am |
    • Timmy C

      Nazis on average killed 2700 Jews (civilians) A DAY. Not that what Israel has been doing is alright but come on, you can't compare them to the Nazis.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • omar

      Okay, I'm the first to admit I'm a hypcorite. It's just I don't care about Palestinians in Lebanon who can't vote, own land, or have citizenship when they can in Israel.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Win

      Actually, Israel would most likely murder them or wait till they have to get to a hospital, then not let them get in.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • Dogwelder

      If they killed 2400 people a day where is the proof? That would be over 5 million people. 5 million people didn't die. Sorry.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:17 am |
    • Dogwelder

      In addition read up on the Russian Jew Bolshevik killings of over 35 million people in gulags. Even with your LOFTY sum of 5 million jews have and still are killing more innocent people than hitler could have ever dreamed of killing. Partly because there weren't that many jews in Europe at the time.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Gaunt

      Ah Dogwelder, I suppose it was just a matter of time before the first lunatic holocaust denier crawled out from under the sink...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Win

      I love Israel. My aplogies if I said anything rude about the country.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • loraiine

      What I dislike is the arrogance of the present Israeli government and Netanyahu especially. Also how horribly they treat the Palestinians. Shame on Israel!

      June 8, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • loraiine

      I love Israel, and think they've done an excellent job staying moral in the face of such intolerance. Shame on Hamas for hurting their people, and treating them so bad.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:33 am |
  20. anonymous

    cnn = owned by jews

    Shall I say more?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • slats1992

      2011 contains "anonymous's" first known written expression of anti-semitism

      June 8, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • slats1992

      2011 post contain's "anonymous's" first known written expression of anti-semitism

      June 8, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • West

      The truth is often highly anti-semitic

      June 8, 2011 at 3:07 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.