The Einsatzkommando of the Panzer Army Africa, 1942
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 35:1
Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers
“Elimination of the Jewish National Home in Palestine”: The Einsatzkommando of the Panzer Army Africa, 1942
The rather obvious question about what would have happened if the German-Italian Panzer army under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had not been halted at the British lines of defense near El Alamein in Egypt has to date been given relatively little attention. This is precisely the scenario in which the historians Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers explore their study. They demonstrate that there was an SS Einsatzkommando that was on standby in Athens ready to move and was only awaiting the order for deployment in the Middle East. In keeping with German strategic plans, after the occupation of Egypt the Einsatzkommando would have pressed forward together with Rommel’s army to Palestine and would have organized the mass murder of the then almost 500,000 Jews in the Yishuv there. Numerous collaborators from the indigenous Arab population who were hostile to Jews and on friendly terms with the Germans were expected to be the executors of the planned crime. The Holocaust in Palestine would thus almost have become a joint German-Arab project.