After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sparked a political frenzy by claiming that Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini convinced Adolf Hitler to annihilate the Jews during World War II, Germany reiterated its responsibility for the Holocaust.
"The responsibility is ours," the German government spokesman Steffen Siebert said in an official statement. "I see no reason to change our view of history in any way."
"I can speak for the federal government, that we Germans recognize that the murderous racial fanaticism of the Nazis was the historical origin of … the Shoah," said Siebert, when asked on Wednesday about Netanyahu's remarks.
"Every school in German teaches this, and for good reason. One must never forget that. We know of the inherent German responsibility in these crimes against humanity."
"Hitler did not want to annihilate the Jews at the time," Netanyahu asserted in a speech Tuesday at the World Zionist Congress. "He wanted to expel them. And Hajj Amin al-Husseini went to him and said – 'if you expel them, they will all come here.' 'So what shall I do with them?', Hitler asked, and Husseini answered – 'burn them.'"
Netanyahu's remarks were widely criticized by MKs in the opposition, who accused him of not only distorting history, but also exploiting the Holocaust to incite against the Palestinians.
Realizing the extent of the backlash, Netanyahu doubled down on his claim Wednesday, stating that accusations by leftist politicians that he had absolved Hitler from blame for the Holocaust, were "absurd."
"I had no intention of exonerating Hitler from his diabolical responsibility for the extermination of European Jews," Netanyahu told reporters before flying to Germany. "Hitler is responsible for the Final Solution for annihilating the Six Millions; he made the decision.
"By the same token," he argued, "it is absurd to ignore the role that the Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a war criminal, played in encouraging Hitler, Ribbentrop, Himmler and others, to annihilate the Jews of Europe."