A letter by Adolf Hitler – said to be the earliest expression of his ideas on anti-Semitism – has been shown publicly for the first time in New York.
(NATIONAL) — A very famous letter written about Jews by a young Adolf Hitler has been put on display in New York’s Museum of Tolerance by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles .
The center reportedly paid $150,000 for the letter from a private dealer.
Believed to be the first public expression of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, the four-page, hand-typed letter was composed in 1919, just after Germany’s defeat in the “Great War”.
In it Hitler calls for the “uncompromising removal” of Jews from German society.
Long known to scholars and historians as the “Gemlich letter,” Hitler was a 30-year old solider at the time with what seems to be a bitter hatred for members of the Jewish faith and society.
“To begin with, Judaism is definitely a racial and not a religious group. The result of which is that a non-German race lives among us with its own feelings, thoughts and aspirations, while having all the same rights as we do,” wrote the 30-year old Hitler.
The letter was written six years before the publication of the famous “Mein Kampf” manuscript and also demands that Jews be denied their rights. Hitler sent the letter to an army comrade who had asked him about the “Jewish peril.”
In the letter Hitler outlined a plan for, “The uncompromising removal of the Jews altogether,” which he says can only be accomplished, “Under a government of National strength and never under a government of National impotence.”
Hitler also warns against an “emotional anti-Semitism which will always find its expression in the form of pogroms” and seeks rather “a legal … removal of the rights of the Jew.”
“What began as a private letter, one man’s opinion, twenty-two years later became the ‘Magna Carta’ of an entire nation and led to the nearly total extinction of the Jewish people. This is an important lesson for future generations,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Wiesenthal Center Dean and Founder. “Demagogues mean what they say and given the opportunity, carry out what they promise,” he concluded.
“Twenty-two years later, he implemented everything that he wrote in that letter,”added Hier.
The document will be on permanent display at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles at the entrance to the Holocaust section, opening on July 11, 2011.
The Wiesenthal Center archives is one of the largest Holocaust collections holding over 50,000 artifacts and memorabilia including photographs, thousands of documents, diaries, letters, artwork, and rare books.