Museum of Tolerance to display Hitler's 'Jewish threat' letter
A typed letter revealing Adolf Hitler’s disdain for the Jewish people and his plans to ostracize them from society, written years before he took over Germany, will be displayed for public viewing for the first time on Tuesday in an interactive exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center acquired the letter last spring. The center says the letter's authenticity is indubitable, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the center, called the letter the “most significant document ever acquired” by the center.
The letter was written by Hitler in 1919, six years before the publication of “Mein Kampf” (1925), Hitler's autobiography and manifesto. It details what he calls the “Jewish threat,” and argues for Germans to hinder Jews' ability to gain power and influence.
Hier, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the letter documents the roots of Hitler’s anti-Semitic beliefs that he would work to carry out as German chancellor from 1933 to 1945.
In the letter, Hitler writes: “Its final aim, however, must be the uncompromising removal of the Jews altogether.”
Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta, told The Times in June that the letter was important in helping uncover the evolution of Hitler’s anti-Semitism.
“A letter like this is a piece of the puzzle. It’s important for helping us understand Adolf Hitler,” Lipstadt said. “Is it the most important document in the history of the Holocaust? Absolutely not, but it is an important document.”
-- Rick Rojas
Photo: Detail of a letter written by Adolf Hitler in 1919, several years before he took power in Germany and put the Holocaust into motion. The letter is believed to be Hitler's first written comments calling for the annihilation of Jews. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press