Hugo Marcus, was a gay-german, and an Ex-Jew who converted to Ahmadiyya, and he was writing in a gay magazine after joining Ahmadiya. Hugo Marcus (1880-1966) was born a German-Jew, but converted to Lahori version of #Ahmadiyya, becoming one of the most prominent Ahmadi’s in Germany prior to the Second World War. What did this German homosexual of the 1880s make of the distinguished Ahmadi gentlemen from faraway Lahore?

He was also a gay man who never called himself so but fought for homosexual rights and wrote queer fiction under the pen name Hans Alienus during his decades in exile. Baer uses Marcus’s life and work to shed new light on German Jewish history and anti-Semitism, Ahmadiyya in Europe, Ahmadiyya-Jewish relations, and the history of the gay rights struggle. He explores how Marcus created a unique synthesis of being German, gay and Ahmadi that positioned Goethe as an intellectual and spiritual model. Marcus’s life offers a new perspective on notions of sexuality and competing conceptions of gay identity in the multilayered world of interwar and postwar Europe.

At the age of 51, Hugo Marcus converted to #ahmadiyya. He was not exactly an impulsive man, for he had been an active member of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Berlin for the best part of eight years. During that time Marcus tutored young Indian students in German language and European culture. He also organized lectures, edited the mosque journal and engaged in intellectual debates with the Ahmadiyya missionaries. 20 of his treatises were published in the mosque journal, Die Moslemische Revue. The Central Library in Zurich, which houses the Hugo Marcus collected papers has another 50 unpublished typescripts on the topic of Islam.

In 2008, the Lahore-Ahmadiyya community published a portrait of ‘The German Muslim Dr Hamid Hugo Marcus’, which gave ample attention to his correspondence with Der Kreis (The Circle), a homosexual journal founded in Zurich in 1947 that published some of the lofty male friendship stories that Marcus wrote after the war. The portrait, however, failed to include an overview of his writings on Islam.11 Meanwhile, the historian Marc Baer dedicated two texts to Marcus in which he tried to make sense of a homosexual man being interested in Islam, while barely considering Marcus the novelist.12


Hugo Marcus’s first encounter with Ahmadi Muslims was in Berlin in 1920 and the meeting was quite by chance. After Poland gained independence and the Marcus family’s steelworks in Poznan were nationalized, Hugo was forced to contribute to the family income for the first time in his life.57 He found a niche for himself in private tutoring and, two years after the war ended, Muslim students were streaming into Berlin because of the low cost of living and Germany’s good name in the Muslim world.58 Over the next two chapters, I describe how the Indians settled down in this city, but for the moment it suffices to know that to enrol as a student at Berlin University, it was necessary to have good knowledge of the German language. To meet that demand, the Ahmadiyya imam, Abdullah, would find his way to the Oettinger home in 1928, where Susanna taught him German and her mother introduced him to German culture (Chapter 3).

Hugo Marcus also met Ahmadi students. For instance, Abdul Majid, editor of the Islamic Review in London, took private lessons from him in 1922/3 in German, philosophy and literature.59 When fighting for restitution after the Second World War, Marcus wrote that his Indian students were educated and refined, and wanted to know everything about Nietzsche. Likewise, Arnim T. Wegner, who once sat in on their meetings, noted how much the Indians impressed him.60 As a teacher, Hugo Marcus was a success. The Indians loved Nietzsche, Goethe and Germany, and they absorbed everything he said. In 1923, when the Ahmadiyya built the mosque in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, they introduced him to Sadruddin (1880–1980), a brilliant and exceedingly witty missionary.61 Busy founding a Muslim community in utterly foreign surroundings, Sadruddin was quick to recognize that Hugo Marcus would be the ideal man to explain German society to them. He offered him a permanent position, entrusted him with courses and a lecture series on German culture and appointed him editor of Die Moslemische Revue. Marcus accepted.62


Marcus disliked women, so it was unfortunate for him that the mosque community included quite a number of emancipated German women. His contemporary Emilia Oettinger co-founded the German–Muslim Society. Her daughters Lisa and Susanna Oettinger were in search of a cosmopolitan lifestyle and a husband to match. The many group photographs taken at Eid al-Fitr festivals, make it amply clear that emancipated women were at the very core of the community of converts. S.M. Abdullah’s photograph albums, from which Marcus is entirely absent, show hiking tours, picnics, tennis matches, sunbathing in the mosque garden, and other forms of socializing. Abdullah took great care to teach the women about marriage laws in foreign Muslim countries. Assistant Imam Azeez Ur-Rahman Mirza sent the Indian men into the kitchen to prepare them for a possible match (Chapter 3). Marcus kept his distance. He socialized with the men, but tried to ignore the women. Only once, in a treatise called ‘What does the Quran tell us?’ did he try to lay down the law by stipulating a woman’s place ‘in Islam’.69 To do so, he first developed a theology of symmetry and balance to which true male love was the centrepiece:

The philosopher Fichte says ‘I am me’. Likewise, the Quran (Sura 1) tells us that ‘God is God’. They mean the same thing, namely that every size is equal to itself. … The twofold number of similar phenomena (two hands, two feet, two ears) is symmetry and the fundamental law of love. So real beauty consists of nothing but secret covenants of love. And love is the will to beauty. God is God!70

After this daring piece of homosexual theology, the author turned to the women:

But what does the Muslim woman do? Obey – be silent – serve the man. Their actions are always in accordance with the holy law – they are in themselves worship. So she resembles – with lowered eyes – a priest. And because she always serves and obeys and does not ask for herself, she does not really know anyone and nobody know her.71

This text is the only one in which Hugo Marcus addressed women directly. Taking a stand closer to Blüher than Hirschfeld, he downright told them off, ordering them to stay in their (religious) place, to serve the men with downcast eyes and make themselves invisible. In the same breath, he declared love between men in line with symmetry in nature, and thus more advanced religiously. Needless to say, the text was never published.72 The Ahmadiyya were clearly in favour of women. As part of their modernizing strategy, the Ahmadi missionaries wanted to encourage cross-gender relations and through them create global bonds. The women in Berlin responded favourably to them, and tried hard to turn the idea of Indian–German/Muslim–Jewish marriages into a practice that would endure for generations. Seen from that angle, the Ahmadi could not countenance Marcus’s attempt to exclude women from the mosque.

Hugo Marcus was also convicted. Arrested at his mother’s flat, where he had been registered as head of household since his father’s death in 1930, he was sent to the concentration camp of Oranienburg in the vicinity of Berlin. In his restitution claim he describes, in a few dry words, how he was released after a month thanks to the efforts of Imam Abdullah.74 In reality, this was the moment when his Muslim friends really demonstrated their friendship. The Ahmadiyya organization in Lahore offered Marcus a job, along with a visa for Albania and India, as well as transit to Switzerland and his former pupil, Abdul Majid, invited him to come to London and work for the Islamic Review. Armed with all these documents, Abdullah came to his rescue. Accompanied by two German gentlemen from the community, he travelled to Oranienburg to present the camp wardens with both the visa and the money that the travel necessitated, thereby securing Marcus’s release.

Missionary Sadruddin offered him his bungalow in Lahore. To Marcus he wrote, ‘I gladly offer you my own bungalow. It is not very big and it has not as much furniture as you have at home, but it will do’.75 Aware that Hugo Marcus lived with his mother and that Cäcilie had a say in what happened, he added in his usual buoyant style, ‘please pass on my greetings to your mother. The lady should not worry about her Hamid. Sadruddin will adopt the role of mother in her stead’.76 But, despite the opportunities on offer, Marcus hesitated. Sadruddin, guessing the cause of the delay and worrying about the consequences, once again urged him to ‘please tell your mother that we will all take good care of Klein-Hugo [little Hugo] and that he will feel at home here’.77 Meanwhile, S.M. Abdullah left. However, his many letters to Marcus from Lahore show that the missionaries continued to care for their employee. In fact, their cheques only discontinued in 1957 when they learned that Marcus’s restitution money would hitherto be able to cover his costs.

In the meanwhile, Hugo Marcus remained in Berlin, where he busied himself with the completion of Sadruddin’s translation of the Quran into German. Only when it was published in July 1939 did he pack up his papers and leave. As already mentioned, 85-year-old Cäcilie followed him on 31 December. Once she too had gone, ‘our furniture and books were thrown into the courtyard. What happened to them afterwards is unknown’,78 but their departure signalled the end of the Marcus household in Berlin. Marcus’s brother Richard was harassed until his death in 1933 and Alfred died in Theresienstadt. His wife Gertrud, one of the few to survive the terror, left Germany for the United States. When peace was finally established, there was no one left to whom the refugees could return.

Hugo Marcus spent the rest of his life in Switzerland. After his mother died, he established contact with Der Kreis, a monthly paper for homosexual men that was published in Zurich and for which his old friend Kurt Hiller paved the way. Writing under the pseudonym of Hans Alienus (Hans the Foreigner), for some years Marcus sent in soft stories perpetuating his long-held fascination with sublimated love and eternal friendship. Der Kreis, however, was unambiguously homoerotic; it defended homosexual rights and printed photographs of naked men with exposed genitals. Its readership must have been oblivious to prewar notions of Platonic friendship, for the editor stopped publishing Marcus’s stories in 1956.

The official reference

The American Historical Review, Volume 120, Issue 1, 1 February 2015, Pages 140–171,

09 February 2015

Taken from here:
_____________________________________________________________________________________________The PDF

The full paper
FROM 1923 TO 1935, DR. HUGO MARCUS (1880–1966) was among the leading German Muslims in Berlin. The son of a Jewish industrialist, and a homosexual, Marcus studied at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin in the first decade of the twentieth century. To support his family after financial reverses caused by World War I, he tutored foreign Muslim doctoral students in German. This led to his conversion to Islam, and for a dozen years, under the adopted name Hamid, he was the most important German in Berlin’s mosque community. Nevertheless, he did not terminate his membership in the Jewish community, nor his ties to friends in the homosexual rights movement.

The Nazis incarcerated Marcus in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as a Jew in 1938, and he claimed to have remained there until a delegation led by his imam, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), gained his release. Abdullah obtained a visa for Marcus to travel to British India, where a sinecure at a Muslim organization awaited him. Just before the outbreak of World War II, using travel documents secured by the imam, Marcus was able to escape to Switzerland instead, where he intended to establish an Islamic cultural center.


Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus's left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus’s left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus's left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

These facts alone challenge many deeply ingrained preconceptions about Muslim attitudes toward Jews, and even toward homosexuals. Who were these tolerant Muslims who created an intellectual and spiritual home for Marcus and allowed him to rise to be the representative of their community? What was their understanding of Islam and religious conversion that attracted German intellectuals yet offended the Nazis? Why did they risk the standing of their community in Nazi Germany to save Marcus’s life? Hugo Marcus and Muhammad Abdullah do not figure in academic and popular narratives of Muslims during World War II. Why is their extraordinary story of Jewish-Muslim interaction practically unknown? What are its implications for the history of Muslims in Europe?

The history of the Berlin mosque community and the life of its leading convert shed light on two interconnected topics: Muslim responses to Nazism and Muslim-Jewish relations. Largely because of the tendentious politics of history and memory produced by the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, we do not yet have a complete answer to the question of how Muslims responded to Nazism and the persecution of Jews. Until recently, few academic and popular responses to this question have focused on Muslims who came from Germany or had resided there for decades; most look at Muslims in the Middle East or those who were temporarily located in Berlin during World War II. In fact, research on Muslims in Nazi Germany has overwhelmingly focused on Arabs, and for that matter on a single Palestinian, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni (1897–1974), who was the guest of Hitler in Berlin and whose notoriety for working closely with the Nazi regime has overshadowed the activities of all other Muslims in Germany, and indeed elsewhere as well.1

For seven decades, scholarship on Muslim-Jewish relations has been seen as part of Middle Eastern history, shaped by the conflict in Palestine.2 Immediately after World War II, supporters of the establishment of a Jewish state began campaigning to delegitimize the competing Palestinian national movement by claiming that al-Husayni’s antisemitic views and collaboration with the Nazis were representative of the sentiment of all Palestinians, and consequently of all Arabs.3 Referring to the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Peter Novick notes, “The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Göring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann—of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.”4 After recognizing nearly 25,000 people over fifty years, only in 2013 did Yad Vashem accept its first Arab “righteous gentile,” Dr. Muhammad Helmy, an Egyptian physician who saved the lives of several Jews in Berlin.5 Such preconceptions about Arabs—and Muslims—still prevail even in academic circles today. A recent study uses Al-Husayni’s actions to implicate all Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in the perpetuation of the Shoah. Its author depicts Arabs as uniformly pro-Nazi and antisemitic, citing the “fateful collaboration” of Arab exiles in Berlin with the Nazis and the alleged widespread acceptance of Nazi ideology in the Middle East, then and even now.6 The appetite for biographies of the Mufti of Jerusalem and conspiracy theories about ties between Nazis and Islamists appears insatiable.7

Other scholars have rejected such a one-sided depiction, finding that Arab intellectual elites—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—overwhelmingly rejected fascism and Nazism as ideology and practice and condemned the persecution of European Jewry, and that al-Husayni’s views were peripheral in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and North Africa.8 Moreover, they have presented evidence that Arabs—especially Jewish Arabs—were also victims of the Nazis.9 Yet by focusing on the Arab Middle East, and Arabs in Germany, this scholarship, too, implicitly takes the Arab experience to represent the Muslim experience more generally.

In fact, al-Husayni did not reach Berlin until 1941, eight years after the Nazi seizure of power. Pro-Nazi Muslim exiles did not take over the Berlin mosque and leadership of the only recognized Muslim organization in the Third Reich until 1942, twenty years after Muslims had first established Islamic institutions in the city. Few have yet asked how those who built the mosque responded to the Nazis and antisemitism.10For what has been largely missing from the debate until now is a “pre-history” of al-Husayni’s collaboration, an introduction to the diverse Muslim groups present in the city beginning in the 1920s, a discussion of how their rivalries affected their responses to the Nazi takeover, and a narrative of the spectrum of Muslim responses to Nazism in Germany from 1933 until al-Husayni’s arrival, including that of German converts to Islam.

The Muslim encounter with the Holocaust is not just a Middle Eastern story, nor one that concerns only Middle Easterners in wartime Europe.11 It also is not limited to Muslims of the majority Sunni denomination. After World War I, the Muslim population of Berlin included Afghans, Arabs, Persians, Tatars, Turks, and South Asians, Germans and other Europeans, Sunnis and members of other Islamic confessions, secularists and Islamists, nationalists, and socialist revolutionaries.12Too little attention has been paid to the non-Arab Muslims who first established Islam in Germany, especially South Asians, including those of a minority Islamic confession, the Ahmadi. That they were not Arab, Sunni, or Middle Eastern, not connected to any nation-state’s politics of memory, and not in conflict with Israel are among the many possible reasons for that neglect. Moreover, South Asia is not the usual focus of research into the relations between Muslims and Jews.13 None have yet asked whether they were victims, resisters, accommodators, or collaborators during the Nazi era. Also obscured in the debate is the crucial role played by German converts in the establishment of Islam. Just as not all Muslims in Germany were Arabs, nor were they all foreign. And not all German Muslims were former Christians. A question previously unexplored is the fate of German Muslims of Jewish background during the Nazi reign of terror, and how other Muslims responded to their persecution. Answering this final question enables us to simultaneously explore both Muslims and the Holocaust and Muslims in the Holocaust.14

An analysis based on an examination of the publications and archival records of the first German Muslim communities and the personal documents and private correspondence of their leading members can address these lacunae and add something new to the literature on Muslims in Germany. As the most prominent German Muslim, Hugo Marcus played a leading role in Berlin’s mosque community. The city’s first and only mosque established by Muslims was built and, from 1923 to 1939, controlled by the Ahmadi, made up of South Asians of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam (Ahmadi Movement for the Propagation of Islam), an Islamic confessional minority based in British India, and German converts. From its establishment, the Ahmadi mission in Berlin attracted German avant-garde intellectuals, partly by promoting conversion as a kind of double consciousness, preaching interreligious tolerance, practicing inclusion of homosexuals, and speaking out against racism, nationalism, and war. When German society was Nazified, the Ahmadi—like the other Muslims in Berlin—found themselves needing to make accommodationist overtures to the regime. Yet in helping Marcus to escape from Germany, they managed to thwart the Nazi reign of violence. Their actions in saving the life of their formerly Jewish co-religionist call into question the claim that Muslims shared the Nazis’ deep-rooted antisemitism.

A close examination of Marcus and his mosque community thus moves the debate away from the Sunni Arab al-Husayni, sheds light on the history of the diverse Muslims of prewar Germany, and contributes to a growing body of literature focusing on the “lost stories” of European Muslims and Muslims of Europe who saved Jews from Nazi persecution.15 By acknowledging Marcus’s life, we can help change not only how the Muslim encounter with Nazism is depicted, but also how the history of the Muslims in Europe is portrayed—when it begins, and who it includes.16

A focus on Marcus also provides insights into two broader issues. First, it offers historians a methodological approach to the broader issue of relations between Muslims and Jews. Scholars have been inclined to examine the Muslim-Jewish encounter in terms of “cultural interaction” and “religious exchange,” and the impact of that exchange across the border between different faiths. Positing clear-cut religious borders but nonexistent cultural boundaries, they have often focused on the ideas, practices, innovations, and “goods”—the secular and religious culture—that passed back and forth between the two groups.17 Studying religious texts, language, law, ritual, sacred spaces, intellectual and spiritual movements, art, architecture, and literature, many scholars have concluded that the Muslim-Jewish relationship can be characterized as “creative coexistence,” “cultural symbiosis,” or even a common “Judeo-Islamic civilization.”18 The most recent example of this approach is the impressive collection of state-of-the-art research edited by Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, who present “points of intersection and mutual influence” between Jews and Muslims.19 Their aim is to enable readers to figuratively cross borders, to break free of communitarianism and nationalism and think about Jews and Muslims not in isolation but as two peoples engaged in an intimate historical relationship. Such an aim raises the question, however, of why historians should visualize Jews and Muslims crossing imaginary borders when we can look at the actual experiences of those originally of one faith who converted to the other. The liminal space between religions is also a “crossing point for people.”20

By examining the post-conversion lives of formerly Jewish Muslims instead of framing the interrelated histories of Jews and Muslims as an encounter between two distinct groups or civilizations, we can contribute to an emerging field of scholarship that renders more complex the lines that have traditionally shaped historiographical accounts of the nature of their interaction.21 Studying religious conversion and its aftermath is a useful strategy for moving “beyond religious borders,” seeing the history of Jewish-Muslim relations from within, and recognizing the literal points of convergence between these two faiths, as well as the unexpected outcomes of that encounter.22 Conversion opens a window into the historical experience of individuals and groups of men and women within the larger framework of intercommunal relations.

Including Jewish converts to Islam and their descendants within the history of Muslim communities helps break down the reified frameworks of “Muslim” and “Jew” in two ways. First, recognizing the significant role these individuals could play despite their background brings the diverse creative forces that forged Islam and Islamic history into focus, making it possible for us to recognize the full participation of Jewish converts in Muslim political, intellectual, and religious life. Studying them also helps us move beyond borders because converts played a historical role out of proportion to their limited numbers. As leading Muslims, they formulated Islamic thought and practice through lectures and publications on Islam. Through their Qurʾan translations and commentaries—still in wide use today—they have had an impact on successive generations of Muslims.23

Second, exploration of the new spiritual and social lives that converts created changes how we think about religious, cultural, and national boundaries. The fact that converts adopted a mix of Jewish and Muslim beliefs, practices, and identities challenges their conventional depiction. This historical approach addresses issues that cut across disciplines, illuminating the complex social and historical processes behind ontological classifications.24 Hugo Marcus, who was one of the most prominent German Muslims in interwar Europe yet remains largely unknown to historians, can be used to illustrate both of these points. Marcus was not an isolated case. Other Jewish intellectuals, including Muhammad Essad Bey alias Kurban Said (Lev Nussimbaum, 1905–1942) and Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss, 1900–1992), converted to Sunni Islam in Berlin in the 1920s.25 Unlike these men, however, Marcus became a prominent Muslim in Germany while retaining membership in the Jewish community.26 His religious identity should give us cause to rethink where the boundary between “Muslim” and “Jew” lies, especially in historical eras when the definition of belonging was a matter of life and death.27

AFTER WORLD WAR I, DURING WHICH millions of Muslims fought for the European powers and Germany launched a “jihad” together with the Ottoman sultan, Muslims established their first institutions in Europe, including mosques in London, Paris, and Berlin.28 Muslims—especially Bosnians and Tatars—had lived in Germany and given their lives in Prussian wars since the eighteenth century; Ottoman diplomats, soldiers, and war college students had likewise had a presence for two centuries, concentrated in Berlin and Potsdam.29 What was new was Berlin’s non-diplomatic civilian Muslim population, numbering two to three thousand Germans and foreigners—businessmen, physicians, doctoral students, anticolonial activists, intellectuals, and university lecturers.30 Despite constituting only a tiny percentage of the population—less than 1 percent of the four million residents of the metropolitan region known as Greater Berlin—Muslims became visible in the early 1920s. They established Muslim institutes, libraries, publishing houses, schools, and clubs, and more than a dozen Muslim journals and newspapers, published in German, appeared.31 Nile Green describes Muslims as making German into “a new Islamic language,” with Germany becoming “a Muslim publishing center,” and parts of Berlin transformed into “Muslim space” through the establishment of a mosque.32While Green is correct in noting Islam’s new linguistic, spatial, and geographical configurations, he flattens diverse interpretations of Islam into one generic category, and fails to consider the confessional diversity and political differences of Muslims in Berlin.

The Muslims who established themselves in Berlin after World War I were highly heterogeneous and divided into a number of camps, most prominently the two self-described as Ahmadi and Sunni. They competed to build and then control the Berlin mosque, to gain public recognition as the single group representing Muslims, to disseminate their interpretation of Islam through preaching and publishing journals and a Qurʾan translation and commentary in German, and to gain converts. Their disputes and differences spilled from the street into the courtroom and forced the reluctant involvement of German authorities.

The messianic missionaries of the Ahmadi and their German converts were the most significant group, yet they are the least-remembered. The Ahmadi believed that Muslim reformer Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1839–1908) of Qadian, near Lahore, Punjab, in British India, was Jesus Christ reincarnate and a prophet.33 After his death, followers took his message to the colonial metropole, where they established a mission at the mosque at Woking, near London, in 1913.34 In 1914 the movement split into two branches. The leader of the branch of the Ahmadi that rejected Ahmad’s claims to prophecy, Muhammad Ali (1879–1951), sent Sadr-ud-Din (1881–1981), who had been imam at the Woking mosque during World War I, to Berlin as a missionary in 1922.35 Within two years of his arrival, he laid the foundation stone of the city’s first mosque, completed in 1927 in a well-to-do district.

The year of Sadr-ud-Din’s arrival also witnessed the establishment of the Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin (Islamic Community of Berlin), founded by Abdul Jabbar Kheiri (1880–1958) and Abdul Sattar Kheiri (1885–1953), who were also Muslims from British India.36 The Kheiri brothers were Sunni Muslim socialist revolutionaries who, while earning Ph.D.’s at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin during World War I and introducing Islamic studies there, worked with the German government to promote independence for the Muslims of British India.37 Archenemies of the Ahmadi, they used their German-language journal, Islam (1922–1923), to attack the legitimacy of the group’s mission and its right to build a mosque.38 The Kheiris and their organization, which was led from its founding to 1930 by one or the other of the brothers, and which never had a building constructed specifically for prayers, promoted normative Sunni Islam.39 They challenged the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials, considering them sectarians who sowed discord among Muslims by promoting heretical beliefs. As anticolonial activists, the Kheiri brothers labeled the Ahmadi British agents.40 In campaigning to have Muslims in Berlin boycott the Ahmadi mosque, or to have other Muslims take possession of it, they were joined by Egyptian nationalist Mansur Rifat, who quoted from the Qurʾan (9:107–110) in condemning “those who build a mosque to cause harm and for unbelief and to cause disunion among the believers,” urging Muslims “never to stand in it.”41 The Ahmadi rejected these charges, noting that such differences did not prevent individual Sunni Muslims from praying at their mosque and celebrating the major Muslim holidays in it, or from publishing in their journal.

The Ahmadi had their sights set on larger goals, seeing themselves as “missionaries” devoted to propagating Islam around the globe. This modern religious movement is an example of conversion emerging out of the colonial encounter not as “a unidirectional process of cultural influence and adaptation,” but rather “as resistance to ideological domination,” for its members viewed it as a counter-response to Christian missionizing.42 The first of their missionaries to Europe was the barrister Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (1870–1932), a leading disciple of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to have been on the verge of converting to Christianity before he joined the Ahmadi. After arriving in England in 1912, he established the mission and began to publish its journal, the Islamic Review. He also took over the Woking mosque. Built in 1880 by Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leither (1840–1899), a Hungarian Jew who taught Arabic and Sharia at King’s College, London, and served as principal of Government College in Lahore, Britain’s first purpose-built mosque had fallen into disuse before being converted into the headquarters of the Muslim Woking Mission in 1913. The mission had many influential converts, and used its journal “not only to spread the message of Islam but also to inform and encourage the converts in their new religion.” As of 1924, of the estimated 10,000 Muslims in England, 1,000 were converts—all of Christian background, they claimed.43

Interested primarily in encouraging conversion, and seeking the same success elsewhere in Europe, the leader of the Ahmadi, Muhammad Ali, “resolved to extend its work of the propagation of Islam to Germany,” and accordingly “sent two missionaries to Berlin.” One of them was Sadr-ud-Din; born in Sialkot, Punjab, British India, and companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he was a member of the first Ahmadi council (1914), the second missionary to England, and editor of the Islamic Review (1914–1917) and the Ahmadi English translation of the Qurʾan (1918).44 Sadr-ud-Din explains how Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s “enthusiasm for Islam and its propagation lit a fire in the souls of those who followed him,” such that his disciples “aimed to spread knowledge of Islam to the whole world.”45

The Ahmadi missionaries in Germany followed the same strategy they had followed in England: establish a mosque and a journal in the local language, win over high-profile converts, set up an organization headed by converts to propagate their vision of Islam, and translate the Qurʾan into the local language. They built their mosque in the well-to-do Wilmersdorf district of Berlin, and it remained the only mosque built by and for Muslims not just in Berlin, but indeed in all of Germany.46 In 1924, Sadr-ud-Din established the Moslemische Revue, modeled on the Islamic Review, with the express aim of “explaining the teachings of Islam to Germans” in German.47 Many articles in both journals were written by converts, including the Qurʾan translator Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (1875–1936, conversion 1917) in the Islamic Review, and Professor and Baron Omar (Rolf) von Ehrenfels (1901–1980, conversion 1931) in the Moslemische Revue. Converts played a leading role in the Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft (German Muslim Society), a mosque-based organization whose aim was “to promote understanding of Islam through educational work, lectures, and intensive community life in Germany.”48 For the entire eight years of its existence, converts were always in the majority on its board.49 Since the society “mostly consisted of new German Muslims,” it “played an effective role in making the activities of the mission vibrant and known to Berlin’s literary circles.”50

All of these efforts served to proselytize. In 1925, the Islamic Review boasted that in the new “mission field” in Berlin, “twenty-five converts have already turned to Islam.”51 By 1932, the missionaries claimed that one hundred Germans had converted, all of whom except Hugo Marcus were apparently of Christian background.52 Just as significant is the Ahmadi understanding of religious conversion, something that has largely escaped scholarly analysis.

Borrowing Christian proselytizing techniques—especially autobiographical conversion narratives—the Ahmadi deployed double consciousness as a strategy to win over converts in Europe.53 Sadr-ud-Din did not demand that converts make a clean break from their former religious beliefs and practices. On the contrary, he asserted: “No ceremony is required in order to become Muslim. Islam is not only a rational, widespread, and practical religion, it is also fully harmonious with the natural human disposition. Every child is born with this disposition. This is why no one needs to convert to become a Muslim. One can be a Muslim without telling anybody. Committing to Islam is merely an organizational formality.”54 At the same time, however, using a technique favored by British missionaries in India, the Ahmadi boasted of the new converts the community had won, splashing their photos and conversion narratives across the opening pages of the same journal that declared in every issue from its founding in 1924 through 1929 that one did not need to convert to become Muslim.

The autobiographical conversion narratives of these new Muslims, which promote the self-identity they and the missionaries aimed to create, reveal this understanding of conversion.55 For example, the founder of the Ahmadi Mission Vienna, the Austrian convert von Ehrenfels, was described by the Ahmadi as a “great success achieved,” inasmuch as he and his wife were “members of an aristocratic family.” According to von Ehrenfels,

The Islamic teaching of successive revelation implies in my opinion the following: The source from which all the great world religions sprang as one. The founders of these great paths, prepared for peace-seeking mankind, gave witness to one and the same basic divine teaching. Acceptance of one of these paths means searching for Truth in Love, but it does not imply the rejection of any other path, i.e., another religion … The acceptance of Islam and the path of the Muslims by a member of an older religion thus means as little rejection of his former religion as, for instance, the acceptance of Buddha’s teaching meant the rejection of Hinduism to Buddha’s Indian compatriots … The differences of religion are man-made. The unity is divine.56

Similarly, Marcus wrote: “Islam is the only religion that recognizes all prior revelations of all other peoples likewise as divine. For example, for a Muslim, the Vedas, the teachings of Buddha and Zoroaster, the Old and the New Testament are likewise holy and binding books. And for a Muslim, Buddha, Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus are also prophets sent on a divine mission.”57 “In the Berlin mosque,” he confirmed, “adding the Muslim religion which I embraced to my Judaism was permitted … since there are no fundamental doctrinal differences between the two confessions.”58The foreign Muslims in Berlin formed an “Islamic middle class.”59 Most of them were university students financially supported by their homelands, professors, diplomats, businessmen, journalists, doctors, and other professionals.60 The leaders of the Ahmadi and the Islamic Community—South Asian Muslims with Ph.D.’s—used German middle-class values such as simplicity, practicality, a thirst for knowledge, reason, and intellect to attract members of the middle class and intellectuals, who were facing severe financial and spiritual distress.61 As a result, German converts who came from the same educated middle class as the missionaries made up a significant proportion of the Muslim population.62 Natalie Clayer and Eric Germain claim that a third of Germany’s Muslim population in the 1930s consisted of converts, despite the fact that the exact numbers of Muslims and converts cannot be determined, since Islam was not a recognized religion in Germany given community status.63 As Germain notes, the social status of the aristocrats, professionals, and scientists who did convert was of greater importance than the number of converts.64For as Humayun Ansari points out, they were best able to establish “consonance” between Islam and the “native” religions (Christianity and Judaism), making Islam “indigenous.”65

Hugo Marcus, referred to by the Ahmadi as “the most valued prize of our Mission in Berlin,” was one of those converts.66 A poet, philosopher, political activist, and writer, Marcus committed to several communities, movements, and ideologies over the course of his eighty-six years. His choices speak to a desire to find a utopia, or to join universal “brotherhoods.” After completing Gymnasium in 1898, he migrated to Berlin, and around that time—before his parents arrived in 1901—he joined the first organization in the world to campaign for the rights of homosexuals, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee), founded by his friend Magnus Hirschfeld (1868–1935), who was also of Jewish background.67 Like many other scions of German Jewish provincial families in imperial Germany, Marcus then studied philosophy at Berlin’s university, where he befriended Kurt Hiller (1885–1972), another leading homosexual rights activist of Jewish background, whose 1922 book § 175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! (Paragraph 175: The Disgrace of the Century!) is a seminal work in the homosexual rights struggle, aimed at winning “the liberation of a human minority that, although harmless,” is “oppressed, persecuted, and tormented.”68 Their academic mentors included Georg Simmel (1858–1918), himself the son of Jewish converts to Christianity, who, although renowned today as the founder of sociology, in his day was known as “the philosopher of the avant-garde” and played a leading role in the left-wing, pacifist, feminist, and homosexual rights movements.69 A countercultural iconoclast, Simmel “sought to undermine the status quo by social critique, opposing accepted tastes, hierarchies and conventions”; “believing there was no such thing as self-evident and universal Truth,” he sought “to construct a new morality and spirituality.”70Marcus first joined the George-Kreis (George Circle), a quasi-religious group composed of the rapturous disciples of the poet and “prophet” Stefan George (1868–1933), who thought of themselves as an avant-garde waging a cultural and spiritual war of redemption to renew Germany. He was probably inspired to do this by Simmel, who was George’s close friend. Then, however, he went on to join the Ahmadi, apparently becoming the only Jewish member.71 Prior to World War I, Marcus earned some renown with a half-dozen well-received philosophical works.72In one of these, Meditationen (Meditations)—written while the precocious twenty-four-year-old was still a doctoral student, and whose major themes, like those of George’s works, include pederasty and the master-disciple relationship and a search for a new utopia—we catch a hint of his openness to joining a new spiritual community.73 Marcus’s utopia includes “a new, lay priest order devoted to the purpose of spreading a uniform worldview and a truthful social doctrine.”74

Marcus did not have the luxury of being able to devote himself to philosophical and poetic pursuits alone. Like other Jewish youths sent to the capital to seek higher education to facilitate their families’ social climbing, he was expected to work in the family business. The First World War would change that. During the war, Marcus worked with Hiller in the latter’s pacifist organization, the Aktivistenbund, and served on the staff of his pacifist-socialist journal, Das Ziel: Jahrbuch für geistige Politik (1916–1924).75 After the war, Marcus’s family lost their home and factories when Prussian Posen became Polish Poznán, freeing him from the burden of having to follow in his father’s footsteps.

It was also as a result of this that he found Islam, presented to him as a universal brotherhood that united men of all nations and races, and that, as he quickly discovered, promotes homosocial bonds. To support his family, he began working as a German tutor to young Muslim men from the Ahmadi mission, a community not unlike the George Circle, in that both consisted of disciples who were devoted to the teachings of a charismatic master originally seen as a prophet, and who perceived themselves as waging a war to redeem the soul of Germany. In 1923, the Ahmadi community hired him as editor of all of its German-language publications. He formed an especially close bond with the chic, handsome bachelor Sadr-ud-Din. Inspired by the imam, Marcus converted to Islam in 1925. As the Ahmadi boasted, “The West is destined sooner or later to witness the sunrise of Islam, and we hasten to congratulate Dr. Marcus on his being one of the few chosen ones who are the harbingers of that sunrise.”76 That same year, he helped craft and signed a petition that was organized by Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science and sent to the justice minister urging repeal of Paragraph 175 of the criminal code, which penalized, in the law’s language, “unnatural sexual acts” between men.77

Marcus shared the intellectual reasons for his conversion, stating that he was drawn to Islam by “the absolutely rational and at the same time lofty construction of Islamic doctrine.” At the same time, we see in his conversion narrative, as in that of von Ehrenfels, conversion as a kind of double consciousness. Converting to Islam “deprived me of nothing,” Marcus wrote, “for it allowed me to preserve the worldview that I had formed for myself. But in addition it gave me several of the most pathbreaking human thoughts that have ever been conceived.”78 This interpretation may explain why Marcus did not leave the Jewish community of Berlin for nearly a dozen years after his conversion, and then did so only when he thought it might save his life.79 Nor did he sever ties with Hiller and Hirschfeld, accompanying the latter to an art exhibition six months after his conversion in 1925 to show the famous sexologist a portrait of Marcus done in the mission house of the Berlin mosque by the Jewish feminist painter Julie Wolfthorn (1864–1944 [Theresienstadt concentration camp]).80 It is also significant that being of Jewish background, and retaining membership in the Jewish community, did not hinder Marcus from becoming the leading German in the Ahmadi mosque community’s intellectual and administrative life.

Marcus’s impact was significant throughout the time the missionaries were active in the city. For over a decade and a half, he helped shape the expression of Islam and presented it to the German public. He edited all of the mosque’s German-language publications and served as the chief editor of and the major contributor to the Moslemische Revue (1924–1940), which had a circulation of at least 1,000, and in which he published nineteen articles between 1924 and 1933, the most by far by any German author.81 He was also the editor of the Ahmadi German Qurʾan translation and commentary, published in 1939 in several thousand copies. Marcus was the chairman of the German Muslim Society from its founding in 1930 to 1935.82 He gave dozens of lectures at the society’s “Islam Evenings” at the mosque, which attracted between 250 and 400 attendees, including two of his acquaintances from homosexual rights and literary circles, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, and other German intellectuals.83 The “Islam Evenings” were, along with Muslim holidays, not for Muslims to celebrate alone, but mass media events as well; the Eid al-Fitr sermon in 1931 was broadcast live on radio. The mosque was an “in” place to see and be seen, and the events it hosted were frequently written up in the German press, including the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, which had a circulation of nearly two million, and in society papers.84 Marcus introduced foreign Muslim dignitaries at the mosque to crowds of German guests and embassy officials from Muslim-majority lands.85 He was on good terms with politicians of the Weimar Coalition—Social Democrat, Liberal, and Catholic—as well as with Protestant and Catholic clergy and German royalty.86 According to the last imam of the mosque, Sheikh Abdullah, Marcus “made our community life bloom through many new endeavors and his broad initiative.”87

Marcus and the Ahmadi consistently presented Islam as a tolerant religion that allowed its members to rise above national and racial sentiment.88 From the founding of the mission, the Ahmadi used their public message to stress interreligious tolerance, emphasizing the unity of humankind—based on the idea that all people, no matter their race or nationality, are created by the same God—and pointing out the similarities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the affinities between members of the three religions.89 The Ahmadi claimed that as progeny of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were related by blood—in the language of the day, Christians, Jews, and Muslims were all “Semites.” Displaying a complete lack of anti-Jewish sentiment, they appealed directly to Jews to convert to Islam and join their community.90

Throughout the Weimar era, the Ahmadi spoke out against nationalism and racism, condemning Europeans for being blinded by hatred and prejudice. According to Sadr-ud-Din, when people accepted that the same God is lord of all people, that no one people is favored or preferred by God, they would be freed of the curse of national pride and prejudice and promote the international brotherhood of man.91Asserting that the world had seen enough of “the bitter consequences of national hatred and religious prejudice,” Sadr-ud-Din condemned Christians’ persecution of Jews and antisemitism.92 He argued that Europeans should heed the suffering that hate begets, as witnessed in the misery of World War I. In a report on the mosque’s opening ceremony on Eid al-Fitr in 1925, an Ahmadi newspaper proclaimed: “It is on such occasions that you see Muslims from all parts of the world, of all shades of complexion from the white European to the dark African, embrace one another like members of the same family. It is such scenes that in these days of racial hatred present a broad silver-lining to an otherwise dark over-clouded horizon.”93 If these were their values, how did Ahmadi respond to the rise of the Nazi regime of violence and its targeting of “racial mixing” and Jews? If “tolerance is the main feature of Islam,” as Sadr-ud-Din claimed at the groundbreaking ceremony for the mosque in 1925, and if the mosque was open to all, then what happened to it while it was controlled by the Ahmadi between 1933 and 1939, as the Nazis consolidated their power?94 Did the society remain “equally open to members of all confessions and races”?95 It was easy for these Muslims to practice what they preached in Weimar Germany, but how did they act after the Nazi takeover, and how did they respond to the persecution of one of their own?

DESPITE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF conversion and religious belonging, Marcus and the Ahmadi were compelled by the Nazi takeover to rethink this Muslim’s membership in the Jewish community and his relationship to homosexual activists. In 1922, Hiller had written that “a German Kaiser” “had named antisemitism as the shame of his century. Yet when were the Jews in Germany ever as persecuted as the homoerotics? Does the criminal law contain an exceptional provision against that racial minority as with the notorious exceptional provision against this sexual minority? The shame of the century is anti-homoeroticism; the shame of the century is Paragraph 175.”96 Hiller could not have foreseen what would occur after 1933: he was beaten nearly to death in the Oranienburg (Sachsenhausen) concentration camp and then took refuge in England. Hirschfeld fled to France; his Institute for Sexual Science was looted and plundered, and its library, as he related, was “thrown into an auto-da-fé and burnt to cinders.”97 Marcus lost one of his two brothers, who was hounded by Nazis and driven to suicide in 1933; his other brother would be murdered by the Nazis a decade later.98 He also had to confront the new reality in his mosque community.

The tone and content of the Moslemische Revue changed. For the first time, articles expressed antisemitic sentiment, claiming that Islam and Nazism shared basic principles.99 In an article that was published in 1934, convert Faruq Fischer argued that National Socialism and Islam shared the same “modern” values.100 He wrote that Islam rejected Judaism’s claim that there is “a chosen people,” which had “created much bad blood and made Jews unjustifiably egotistical and conceited.”101He asked how Islam could be considered “arrogant” when “it is the Jews who repudiated and libeled Jesus and crucified him for being a false prophet,” whereas Muhammad declared him a prophet sent by God. He concluded by arguing that “Islam recognizes the Führer of each nation.” And “just as the Qurʾan declares, ‘For every nation there is a messenger’ (10:47), one can also claim that the political Führer of a nation is chosen by God.”102 That issue also included a congratulatory letter from Muhammad Ali, the Ahmadi world leader based in Lahore. Ali welcomed “the new regime in Germany” because “it encourages the same simple life principles that Islam emphasizes.”103 He claimed that “the new Germany” and Islam were of the same mind, and he predicted that someday all of Europe would follow the German model.

German converts who belonged to the Nazi Party also became more visible in the mosque community. In 1934, Fischer attended the German Muslim Society’s annual meeting for the first time and was also elected to the board.104 That same year, Nazi Party member and convert Hikmet Beyer (b. 1907) received the second-highest number of votes for chairman, initially receiving only one vote less than Marcus, who had been chairman of the society since its founding.105 Marcus obviously still had the support of society members, despite his Jewish background, but there was significant and increasing preference for converts who were Party members.

The Gestapo reported that rather than being closed down due to “subversive activities,” as was rumored, the mosque actually featured an imam (Deputy Imam Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah) who, while conducting tours of the mosque, spoke “only glowingly” about the Nazi seizure of power and expressed goodwill toward the regime.106 Abdullah also made a crucial change in Sadr-ud-Din’s 1925 lecture “What Has Islam Given to Humanity?” when he presented it at the mosque after the Nazis came to power: he replaced the word “democracy” with “Volksgemeinschaft” (national community).107

As the mosque community began to succumb to the Nazification of society and then to the new antisemitic legislation, Marcus resigned as chairman and member of the board of the German Muslim Society.108 Before the election was held for a new president in 1935, the prominent members of the organization were summoned “to renounce their membership in a society that still tolerated Jews, or bear the consequences, for their careers and political lives, if they remained.” So Marcus relinquished his positions “to save the Society from further troubles.”109

Despite an atmosphere in which “antisemitism became a principle governing private life as well as public,” Marcus participated in the society’s annual meeting barely a week after the notorious 1935 Nazi Party Rally, where the Nuremberg Laws were proclaimed.110 The board needed a new member. Disregarding the antisemitic laws, another non-German member of the society, Assistant Imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) of British India, proposed that Marcus again play a leadership role.111The board also proposed that Marcus give two of the monthly “Islam Evenings” lectures to be held at the mosque the following year. Were they not aware of the laws separating Jews from other Germans? Were they defying them?

It is unlikely that Marcus actually gave any lectures at the mosque in 1936, since Jews were being attacked both in print and in person.112 In March, at the behest of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, a Nazi press release declared that the German Muslim Society “should not be acknowledged, as first and foremost it is made up of Jews.”113

As Jews were increasingly isolated and made to feel like unwelcome guests in their own land, Marcus, having converted to Islam eleven years earlier, finally gave notice in May of his withdrawal from membership in the Jewish community of Berlin, effective that summer.114 Having officially renounced his connection to the Jewish community, Marcus appeared at the society’s annual meeting in autumn 1936.115Attendees included senior civil servants of the Third Reich. It is remarkable that he participated in the event, for a recent decree for civil servants had prohibited them from “consorting with Jews.”116 Even more astounding, one vote was cast for Marcus as chairman.117 Did he vote for himself? Or was it another member? Was it a silent act of resistance?

The fellow convert whom Marcus had chosen to succeed him as chairman died suddenly in September 1936.118 He was replaced instead by convinced Nazi and convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer.119 During his two years as the society’s head officer, Beyer used National Socialist racist principles to reinterpret a crucial Islamic tenet that promotes interracial harmony. Muslims had always endorsed the idea that what matters to God is not one’s origins but one’s piety. Qurʾan 49:13 states that God divided humankind into different peoples so that they might know one another, not because any is better than the rest; the best are those who are most pious. Referring to this verse, Beyer proclaimed instead that “the sign of a truly advanced culture is not its interbreeding, but rather its recognition of [different] peoples!,” pledging that “the German Muslim Society will act in the coming year with this in mind.”120

In 1936, the society “had to redouble its efforts to prove its right to exist anew” and control the only mosque in Germany in the face of a sustained campaign by the Islamic Community of Berlin, which continued to challenge the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials.121 After 1933, the Islamic Community was led by supporters of the Third Reich: by 1934 its executive director was Habibur Rahman, a Sunni Muslim journalist from India who later became a major figure in Nazi broadcast propaganda.122 In the new climate, the Islamic Community reframed its attacks against the Ahmadi, attempting to convince Nazi authorities that the society was a Jewish Communist organization, unworthy of any claim to the mosque.

Unfortunately for the society, the ensuing period brought continued conflict with the Islamic Community and scrutiny by the police, the Nazi Party, and the Gestapo.123The Berlin police reported on the society to “special representatives” charged with “monitor[ing] the spiritual and cultural activities of Jews in the German Reich.”124The Nazi Party reported to the chief of police in spring 1937 that “the Society is made up of members from the most varied races and nations,” claiming that at their gatherings, “when the participants believe they are among comrades, they have apparently made derogatory comments about National Socialism and its Führer.” In addition, “quite a few Jews belong to the Society. Most notably, the Society became a lair and flophouse for Kurfürstendamm Jews, especially in the years 1933–4.”125 The Kurfürstendamm, where Jews made up a quarter of the population, and Berlin West, where the mosque was located, had long been targets of Nazi rhetoric.126

Since only members and Muslims could attend the German Muslim Society’s functions at the time, it is apparent that German converts or Muslim members were reporting to the Party or the Gestapo. Fischer? Beyer? The Nazis seem to have believed that many Jews were members of the society, although the only known one, Marcus, had ceased playing any public role in the organization, and even attending its meetings, the previous year. He does not appear in a photo taken on the front steps of the mosque on the occasion of Eid al-Adha in 1936.127 Perhaps he continued to show up at the mosque out of the public eye; we know that he maintained a relationship with the imam. Whether or not Marcus surreptitiously continued to visit the mosque, the report that it was a flophouse for Jews has been misinterpreted by Muslims in Germany, who claim that, like the members of the Grand Mosque in Paris, Muslims at the Berlin mosque saved Jews during the Shoah. But Nazi rhetoric should not be mistaken for fact. Nor were Jews in mortal danger in 1933–1934 such that they would have sought refuge.128 During this period of scrutiny, Sadr-ud-Din, the founder of the mosque and community and the architect of its tolerant interreligious and interracial message, left Berlin.129

The new head imam was Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. Born in British India, in Rasul Nagar, Punjab, he had earned a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. at Forman Christian College in Lahore.130 After serving as joint secretary of the Ahmadi in Lahore in 1927, he was appointed deputy imam of the Berlin mosque in 1928, and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Berlin University in 1932.131 Imam Abdullah praised the regime while leading public tours of the mosque, and he made important changes to stock lectures, incorporating Nazi neologisms. He made further overtures to the Nazi regime in the summer of 1938. He offered to give lectures sponsored by the Kulturpolitisches Archiv of self-proclaimed Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg (1892–1946 [executed at Nuremberg]), proving that there were “numerous points of contact between the Islamic and National Socialist worldviews.”132 This attracted the agency’s attention.133 The Reich Foreign Ministry certified that he posed no danger to the state, and the Public Education Agency approved him as a lecturer for winter 1939.134 But the Kulturpolitisches Archiv was tipped off by a Gestapo agent that Abdullah “in his capacity as leader of the Muslim Society had been under Communist influence until the Nazi takeover, and until recently under Jewish influence,” specifically “the Jew Dr. Hugo Markus [sic],” who “had founded the society, and who had played a not insignificant role in society life until 1936.”135

Abdullah’s overtures may reflect a change in philosophical orientation, or a strategy for survival in the face of a totalitarian regime that brooked no dissent. At any rate, in those years the Moslemische Revue published articles that reflected the former, such as “The New Germany According to a Muslim: Hitler Is the Appointed One,” which appeared in the August 1938 issue and was written by Dr. Zeki Kiram (1886–1946), a member of the rival Islamic Community.136 Kiram was a former Ottoman army officer and a longtime Berlin resident.137 A Turkish citizen who maintained close relations with the Turkish embassy, he was employed as an interpreter of Turkish in the Reich Foreign Ministry and worked for the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS (the SS Intelligence Agency) for years, but his main job was dealing German arms.138 In 1936 he wrote an ecstatic letter to Adolf Hitler, his “highly esteemed Führer.”139 In the 1938 article, Kiram asks, “Is this man not sent by God to save the German people from the trap that the Jews and their various organizations, established ostensibly in the name of humanity, have set? These Jewish organizations, which appear to bring benefits, in fact pursue destructive ends.”140

Reflecting this sentiment, on November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed the nationwide pogrom, signaling the beginning of the Shoah. Fellow Jewish convert to Islam Essad Bey had fled to Italy earlier in the year, but Marcus, defined as a Jew according to the Nuremberg Laws, was among the six thousand Jewish men from Berlin and northern and eastern Germany who were subsequently imprisoned at Berlin’s main concentration camp, Sachsenhausen.141 After arriving, the fifty-eight-year-old was forced by the SS to stand absolutely still on the roll-call ground for twenty-four hours. He and the others were “crammed into the ‘small camp,’” recently built to handle the influx of Jewish prisoners, “where they suffered continual mistreatment.”142 Marcus was held in prison block 18, an overcrowded wooden barrack.143

Fortunately, he did not have to remain there long. Most Jews arrested following the November pogrom were released by spring 1939, although two thousand died in detainment. They were freed on condition that they would leave the country immediately. Marcus was slated for release on November 19, 1938, and inmates with release orders were typically let go the following day.144 Like other former detainees, he was given a stern warning about the horror that awaited him should he remain in Germany. As he recalled after the war, “On the day of their release, former detainees were urged to leave Germany posthaste, because otherwise they would disappear forever in a concentration camp.”145

Facing this reality, Marcus asked Imam Abdullah to defend him, which might seem an odd choice, as Abdullah had earlier praised the regime and promoted the idea of the consonance between Nazism and Islam. But to whom else could Marcus turn? Abdullah, probably responding to the shock of the November 9 pogrom—when the flames of burning synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses would have been visible from his residence in the mission house at the mosque—and Marcus’s incarceration, worked on an exit plan.146 It quickly bore fruit. Within a week of his release from Sachsenhausen, Marcus was informed by the Albanian consul in Bern, Switzerland, that he could obtain an entry visa for the Muslim-majority yet secularizing kingdom, still an independent monarchy at that time, if he submitted a valid passport to Albanian authorities in Switzerland.147 British India, the headquarters of the Ahmadi, for whom Marcus had worked for fifteen years, was a better option. Abdullah sought to help Marcus obtain a visa for India. On December 1, 1938, he wrote the British passport control officer in Berlin, assuring him that Marcus “is known to us personally and intimately.”148

By January 1939, the Nazi Party was “increasingly and ever more openly” emphasizing that its principal duty was “the solution of the Jewish question.”149German news reports broadcast Hitler’s Reichstag speech of January 30, in which he “threatened the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”150 In February, a Gestapo agent repeated a claim he had been making for years: that the society was “without a doubt an international organization wholly under Jewish-Communist influence.”151Moreover, according to the agent, “even today the Muslim Society, and especially Dr. Abdullah, maintain close relations with various followers who due to their political views have had to leave Germany.” Accordingly, he opposed any “domestic recognition” of the society.152

In this atmosphere, new rivals to the society emerged. Foremost among them was the Maʿhad al-Islam (Islam Institute).153 Unlike the German Muslim Society, the Islam Institute was outspoken in its Nazi sentiment. Its board members included a variety of Muslims who served as Nazi propagandists and agents.154 And while the society had never included such language in its constitution, despite having had the opportunity to do so, the Islam Institute’s constitution contained the following provision: “A German who applies to be a member must present documentation that he is not a Jew, in accordance with the fifth decree of the Nuremberg Laws (of 30.11.1938).”155 The organization was on such good terms with authorities that in summer 1939, the Nazi Party’s foreign policy office informed the Berlin police that it had no objections to the Islam Institute, or to its board members.156 Its chairman would soon be Habibur Rahman, one of the Islamic Community’s earliest members, and its leading member after the departure of the Kheiri brothers.157 Rahman continually urged Nazi authorities to view the Ahmadi as false Muslims and the German Muslim Society as a Jewish organization, in part motivated by a desire to take over their mosque.158

The situation worsened for Marcus. Having already surrendered his German passport, on March 16, 1939, he was fingerprinted like a criminal and given a new identity card under the name “Hugo Israel,” marked with a large “J” for Jude(Jew).159 And with an earlier decree having declared that Jews who converted to Christianity were still Jewish by race—from which one could infer that the same would be true for conversion to other religions—he would no longer be able to escape the consequences of his origins.160 Remarkably, however, in spite of the fact that his life was in danger, that same day Abdullah asked the British to postpone the date of Marcus’s Indian entry visa, so that he could stay in Berlin to finish editing the German translation of the Qurʾan: “Mr. Hugo Marcus has been indispensable for this work and thus his presence here in Berlin has been unavoidable. The climatic conditions in India combined with the above mentioned work entrusted to him here in Berlin, necessitated his departure to be postponed.”161

Was it better to remain in the eye of the storm in Berlin and avoid the heat of India? Was this Marcus’s wish, or Abdullah’s? Abdullah may have been aware that others who employed Jews on similar projects were able to save their colleagues from deportation at that time.162 But why would Marcus choose to remain in Berlin at a time when talk of impending war filled the air, war measures were already being taken, and converted Jewish contemporaries were wondering, “Will they beat us to death … Will they come for me tonight? Will I be shot, will I be put in a concentration camp?”163 Was Marcus so single-mindedly determined to edit the Qurʾan that he considered nothing else, that he was able to look past the violence and humiliation to which he had already been subjected? As a Jew, he was completely isolated from the rest of society. He would have had no interest in attending the segregated Jewish cultural activities, for he had renounced his attachment to the Jewish community. He was forced to surrender all assets, cash, securities, and valuables.164 Had it not been for his salary from the mosque community, which he received until August 1939, and for the one-time fee he was paid for editing the Qurʾan, he would have been destitute.165

We can gain insight into Marcus’s seemingly irresponsible decision to stay when we compare him to other German Jews of his generation. A majority of the Jews who remained in Germany at that time were over the age of fifty and—like Marcus, who was fifty-nine—could not imagine leaving their homeland, for despite everything they had experienced in the past five years, they remained German patriots and still considered themselves Germans.166 In any case, even if they had wanted to flee, there were few countries willing to take them in, especially since they would arrive penniless, as Jews had to forfeit all their wealth and property when they left Germany.167 Like other German Jewish men of his age, Marcus had been honored as a veteran of World War I, despite having served in only an honorary capacity at a desk job for nine months in the heart of Berlin and offering his services in the city as a voluntary nurse.168 In recognition of this minimal wartime effort, in April 1936 the Wilmersdorf police personally delivered a swastika-stamped document to his home: he had been awarded the Honor Cross for War Veterans by Reich president and war hero Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, “in the name of the Führer,” while he was still officially a member of the Jewish community.169 Perhaps thinking that such recognition could protect him, Marcus sat in his room and improved the Qurʾan translation, delaying his departure by six months. Yet even remaining in his home was no guarantee of safety: as of the end of April 1939, Jews were “stripped of their rights as tenants, thus paving the way for their forcible ghettoization. They could now be evicted without appeal.”170 Marcus was most likely forced to vacate his apartment and move into a “Jews’ House,” denied access to radio, telephone, and typewriter.

In April the Ahmadi invited Marcus “to stay permanently” at their headquarters in Lahore, India, offering to be responsible for his maintenance and defraying all expenses.171 Assured that he would be gainfully employed translating Ahmadi literature into German, several weeks later the British Government of India granted him a visa.172 But he remained in Berlin, working on the Qurʾan translation, which was finally published a month before World War II broke out. In its foreword, Sadr-ud-Din wrote, “Throughout the entire duration of my work on the translation, a great German friend exerted himself working for me, bestowing upon me the greatest help imaginable. His assistance was both indispensable and invaluable. His love of Islam is boundless. And accordingly the labor was his sacrifice and duty. May God bless and reward him.”173 That “great German friend” was Marcus.174

Marcus may not have been mentioned by name in the Qurʾan translation, yet in light of the context in which it was published, it was a remarkable accomplishment. The commentary that accompanies the Qurʾanic text often takes up to 90 percent of a given page, with one line of Arabic text and German translation accompanied by more than fifty lines of commentary. The commentary for the verse “there shall be no compulsion in religion,” for example, expresses the conviction that one should not be persecuted for confessing a particular religion, including having one’s wealth and property confiscated and being targeted for belonging to a particular faith.175Moreover, explaining the verse that refers to people protecting churches, monasteries, and synagogues from destruction by others, the editors state their hope that Europe will take this verse to heart and act upon it, to protect the houses of worship of all believers in which prayers are made to God.176 This is an astonishing statement in the wake of the November 9 pogrom and the persecution of Jews. Such commentary passages and others that condemn racism and blind submission to leaders show the Ahmadi’s perseverance in articulating their core beliefs despite living in the Nazi metropolis: “Goodness and excellence must be promoted, in whatever race and community they are found; on the other hand, evil and maliciousness must be combated, wherever they are found. Help the one who does good, even if he is a non-Muslim! And whoever proves himself evil, refuse to assist him, even if he is a Muslim!” and “Even if you are led astray by a Führer, you will also be punished, for you have followed him blindly.”177

Ten days before the outbreak of war, the imam submitted a certification of Marcus’s good character.178 With this testimony, Marcus was permitted to leave Germany, just one week before the Nazi invasion of Poland. He left not on the long and precarious journey by ship to India, however, which may have been a life-saving decision, but rather for Switzerland.179 The plan was for him to open an Ahmadi “cultural center” in Lausanne and publish the Moslemische Revue there, serving as the editor. He accomplished neither of those objectives, however; nor did he continue on to India.180Had he traveled there, he would have been arrested as an enemy alien and spent the war in a British internment camp, sharing the fate of fellow converts von Ehrenfels and Asad.181 His entry into Switzerland was facilitated by the intervention of a German convert to Catholicism, wartime European director of U.S. radio station NBC and postwar monk Dr. Max Jordan (1896–1977).182 Jordan and Marcus were acquaintances from the homosexual rights movement and the early years of the mosque, when Jordan, who like Marcus wrote for the Berliner Tageblatt, covered the German Muslim Society’s “Islam Evenings” as a journalist.

After World War II erupted, Abdullah, who was a British citizen and thus an “enemy national,” had to leave the country or face incarceration.183 In October he traveled to Copenhagen, and a month later to India.184 Even in mid-November, after his departure, the mosque community was still promoting the brotherhood of man, regardless of race or religion, as in the Eid al-Fitr sermon given by the imam appointed by Abdullah before he left the country, the Egyptian Dr. Ahmed Galwash.185Refuting the 1936 lecture by Nazi Party member and German Muslim Society chairman Beyer, Galwash gave the traditional Islamic interpretation appreciating human diversity, based on Qurʾan 49:13, which states that if any people can claim to be superior to others, it is only by virtue of their piety. Galwash concluded by beseeching “the God of all people and nations” to fill the hearts of all people “with respect toward one another so that peace and well-being for all will yet remain on earth.”186

“SLICES OF LIVES” CAN BE USED “as tracers, to illuminate aspects of the past that would otherwise remain obscure, hidden, or even misunderstood,” just as the histories of individuals, no matter how unique, can “yield global stories that challenge conventional narratives.”187 Hugo Marcus may have been an idiosyncratic historical character—homosexual, Jewish, and Muslim—yet the questions raised by his life are salient for understanding the interrelated issues of Muslim responses to Nazism in Germany and the history of Muslim-Jewish relations.188 Like Christians, Muslims responded to Nazism and its persecution of Jews in a variety of ways. They expressed opinions ranging “from outright refusal to fascination [with Nazism], with sympathy and scepticism often being voiced by one and the same person.” Everywhere Muslim responses were conditioned by local conditions and conflicts.189

The religious and political rivalries that dominated Muslim life in Berlin contributed to German Muslims’ response to the Nazis in the 1930s. Ahmadi beliefs about prophecy and the messiah were condemned by Sunni Muslims centered in the Islamic Community of Berlin, who challenged the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials and labeled its members British agents. Throughout the 1920s, the Islamic Community of Berlin tried to wrest control of the city’s only mosque from the Ahmadi for these two reasons. When the Nazis rose to power and presented themselves as liberators of Muslim-majority lands, protectors of Islam, and enemies of British, French, and Soviet imperialism, they found a natural ally in the Islamic Community, just as the Ahmadi, seen as too pro-British and too cosmopolitan to fit Nazi aims, began to voice alleged affinities between Islam and Nazism in order to survive as an organization.190 The Islamic Community, which was founded by socialist revolutionaries and had once boasted Jewish converts among its ranks, appealed to the Nazis by portraying the Ahmadi as a Jewish Bolshevist organization.

The Ahmadi’s accommodationist statements and actions after 1933 demonstrate that the mission failed to live up to many of its Weimar-era promises. Most of these actions were meant to curry favor with the regime by adopting its terminology so that the organization could continue to exist and hold on to the mosque. Yet even if not based on ideological rapprochement, such actions as publishing antisemitic material and dismissing a Jewish officeholder did subject them to “personal liability for the interaction with a totalitarian and racist regime” and for crimes of the era, for they facilitated the Nazi project of separating “Jews” from “Germans.”191 Moreover, they betrayed their own principles by distinguishing between Muslims based on “racial” categories.

Yet like other foreigners in Nazi Germany, the Ahmadi responded in contradictory ways, for other actions they took successfully opposed Nazi racism. Marcus continued to head the German Muslim Society and remained editor of the mosque’s publications for several years after he was prohibited from doing so by Nazi law. Some members of the community supported his continuing role in the organization and, astonishing in the face of the new racial statutes, the public life of the mosque. They maintained social relations with him long after they were forbidden to do so, and they supported him financially until 1939; otherwise he would have been destitute. The society and mosque resisted pressure to merge with pro-regime organizations and withstood Gestapo and Nazi Party inquiries. Sermons at the mosque—republished in its journal—continued to call for interreligious and interracial harmony until the end of 1939. The Qurʾan translation published that same year condemns religious persecution and racism and offers rejoinders to those wishing to escape culpability for following leaders such as Hitler. These actions in context and the choices made by other Muslims stand as proof of Ahmadi open-mindedness.

When it mattered most, the Ahmadi, Imam Abdullah, and the international leader of the organization, Muhammad Ali, converted their profession of interreligious harmony and condemnation of persecution of Jews into life-saving action. Even as their accommodation to Nazi ideology helped contribute to the antisemitic atmosphere in Berlin, they ultimately frustrated the Nazis’ attempt to annihilate the Jews of Europe, if only by saving one life. They brought together a diverse group of men—one Protestant, one Catholic, and one Muslim, a “Weimar coalition” that had formed interconfessional affinities at the mosque during the 1920s—to save Hugo Marcus from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1938. As Marcus revealed after the war, “The united efforts of Superintendent Joachim Ungnad and Father Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony—both men had visited our ‘Islam Evenings’—and our Imam Dr. Abdullah managed to free me.”192 The Ahmadi created a sinecure for Marcus in Lahore, and the imam got him a visa to India, testifying to Marcus’s good character and obtaining certification that he was not a danger to the state. As a result, he was granted an exit permit that enabled him to leave Germany just one week before the outbreak of World War II, and thus to escape the brutal end meted out to his brothers. The story of Hugo Marcus sheds light on relations between Muslims and Jews as part of world history, of a history connecting Europe and South Asia.193

Research for this article was carried out during extended periods of research leave granted by Carolyn Boyd, Robert Moeller, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, successive chairs of the History Department at the University of California, Irvine. I conducted research in Berlin and Zurich initially under the auspices of a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006 and 2007, thanks to my academic hosts, Maurus Reinkowski at the University of Freiburg and Gudrun Krämer at the Free University, Berlin, and subsequently thanks to a fellowship at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, directed by Ulrike Freitag, from 2009 to 2011. A follow-up visit to Berlin in 2013 and 2014, thanks again to the Humboldt Foundation and renewed affiliation with the ZMO, allowed me to complete the research and write the article. I am especially indebted to Bekim Agai, Umar Ryad, and Mehdi Sajid for including me in the International Symposium on Islam in Inter-War Europe and European Cultural History at Leiden University, the Netherlands; to Jasmin Khosravie, who invited me to participate in the International Research Colloquium, Institut für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften, University of Bonn, BMBF Research Group “Europe from the Outside”; to the participants at these workshops as well as audiences at the University of Bonn and the University of Tübingen in Germany and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The following colleagues based in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. offered insightful critiques of this article at various stages of its development: Corry Guttstadt, Heike Liebau, Nils Riecken, Peter Wien, Dietrich Reetz, Ulrike Freitag, Gerdien Jonker, Mehdi Sajid, Stephan Conermann, Jasmin Khosravie, Şevket Küçükhüseyin, Manfred Backhausen, Stefan Heidemann, Umar Ryad, David Motadel, Moez Khalfaoui, Robert Moeller, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Matthias Lehmann, Rachel O’Toole, and Winston James. I am grateful for the assistance of Muhammad Ali, Imam of the Berlin Mosque; Dr. Zahid Aziz, webmaster of the Berlin and Woking Ahmadi missions; Father Placidus Kuhlkamp, Order of Saint Benedict, Librarian at Beuron Abbey, Germany; Robert Parzer, archivist, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen; Thomas Ripper, Librarian, Bibliothek ZMO; and the directors and staffs of the Handschriftenabteilung, Zentralbibliothek Zürich; the Landesarchiv Berlin; and the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. I am especially indebted to the AHR‘s Editor and Editorial Board members and the anonymous reviewers commissioned by the journal for their critical reading of several revisions of the article.

1On the Mufti’s collaboration with Hitler, espousal of Nazi antisemitism, and support of the genocide of the Jews of Europe and the Middle East, see Gerhard Höpp, ed., Mufti-Papiere: Briefe, Memoranden, Reden und Aufrufe Amin al-Husainis aus dem Exil, 1940–1945(Berlin, 2001); Bernd Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland von 1920 bis 1945 (Cologne, 2001), 117–126; René Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht: Palästina und der Nationalsozialismus (Berlin, 2007), 331–332, 336–343; Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (London, 2011), 150–158. As Philip Mattar has observed, most accounts of al-Husayni either vilify or glorify him, which tells us more about the politics of the biographers than about the Palestinian leader. Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin Al-Husayni and the Palestinian National Movement, revised ed. (New York, 1988), xiii–xiv.
2To see how it has impacted the historiography of the Jewish past in Islamic history in general, and that of Egypt, Iraq, and Morocco in particular, see Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton, N.J., 1994), chap. 1; Joel Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of the Modern Diaspora (Berkeley, Calif., 1998); Orit Bashkin, New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford, Calif., 2012); Aomar Boum, Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (Stanford, Calif., 2013).
3As an example, see Simon Wiesenthal, Grossmufti: Grossagent der Achse (Vienna, 1947). See Gerhard Höpp, “The Suppressed Discourse: Arab Victims of National Socialism,” with a prologue and epilogue by Peter Wien, in Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber, Katharina Lange, Dyala Hamzah, and Ravi Ahuja, eds., The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from Africa and Asia (Leiden, 2010), 167–216, here 213–216.
4Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (Boston, 1999), 158.
5Ofer Aderet, “Yad Vashem Names Egyptian First Arab Righteous among the Nations,” Haaretz, September 30, 2013,; and the Yad Vashem website,
6Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven, Conn., 2009). For a similar view, see Klaus Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years, 1941–1945, trans. Alexander Fraser Gunn (Edgware, 2010); and Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina(Darmstadt, 2006), translated into English with the redundant and extreme title Nazi Palestine: The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine (New York, 2010). But see Gudrun Krämer, “Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World: A Critical Review,” Anti-Semitism in the Arab World, Special Issue, Die Welt des Islams: International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam, new series, 46, no. 3 (2006): 243–276; Peter Wien, “Coming to Terms with the Past: German Academia and Historical Relations between the Arab Lands and Nazi Germany,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42, no. 2 (May 2010): 311–321; Götz Nordbruch, “‘Cultural Fusion’ of Thought and Ambitions? Memory, Politics and the History of Arab–Nazi German Encounters,” Middle Eastern Studies 47, no. 1 (January 2011): 183–194; Donald M. McKale, review of Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab WorldHolocaust and Genocide Studies 25, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 149–152. More nuanced studies that focus on French North Africa, such as Raffael Scheck, “Nazi Propaganda toward French Muslim Prisoners of War,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 26, no. 3 (Winter 2012): 447–477, demonstrate that Nazi propaganda was largely ineffective in inciting Muslims to commit violence against Jews.
7See now Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (New Haven, Conn., 2014); and Tom Boggioni, “Anti-Muslim Long Island Blogger to Run Ads Linking Hitler to Islam on DC Area Buses,” The Raw Story, May 17, 2014,
8Moreover, “In the majority of instances, fascination with fascist ideas (and elements of fascist politics, not all of them symbolic) did not stretch to include racism and anti-Semitism.” Krämer, “Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World,” 260. See also Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht, 143–157, 181–189; Israel Gershoni and James Jankowski, Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s(Stanford, Calif., 2009), 281–282; Israel Gershoni and Götz Nordbruch, Sympathie und Schrecken: Begegnungen mit Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus in Ägypten, 1922–1937(Berlin, 2011); Götz Nordbruch, Nazism in Syria and Lebanon: The Ambivalence of the German Option, 1933–1945 (New York, 2009), 135–136; Bashkin, New Babylonians, chap. 5; Israel Gershoni, “Confronting Nazism in Egypt: Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Anti-Totalitarianism, 1938–1945,” Deutschlandbilder: Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 26 (1997): 121–150; Gershoni, “Egyptian Liberalism in an Age of ‘Crisis of Orientation’: Al-Risāla‘s Reaction to Fascism and Nazism, 1933–39,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31 (1999): 551–576; Gershoni, “‘Der verfolgte Jude’: Al-Hilals Reaktionen auf den Antisemitismus in Europa und Hitlers Machtergreifung,” in Gerhard Höpp, Peter Wien, and René Wildangel, eds., Blind für die Geschichte? Arabische Begegnungen mit dem Nationalsozialismus (Berlin, 2004), 39–72; René Wildangel, “‘Der größte Feind der Menschheit’: Der Nationalsozialismus in der arabischen öffentlichen Meinung in Palästina während des Zweiten Weltkrieges,” ibid., 115–154; Peter Wien, Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian, and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932–1941 (New York, 2006); Orit Bashkin, The Other Iraq: Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford, Calif., 2008).
9Gerhard Höpp complains, “There is a discourse about Arab perpetrators, but none about Arab victims”; “The Suppressed Discourse,” 170. Peter Wien, “The Culpability of Exile: Arabs in Nazi Germany,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 37 (2011): 332–358, here 332.
10For an exception, see Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 58–99.
11For an analysis of Muslim encounters with Nazism in the Balkans, the Soviet Union, and other regions, see David Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Cambridge, Mass., 2014).
12For this era, see Gerhard Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration: Muslime in Berlin, 1922–1930,” pts. 1–3, Moslemische Revue 10, no. 3 (1990): 135–146; 10, no. 4 (1990): 230–238; and 11, no. 1 (1991): 13–19; Höpp, “Zwischen Entente und Mittelmächten: Arabische Nationalisten und Panislamisten in Deutschland (1914 bis 1918),” Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika 19, no. 5 (1991): 827–845; Höpp, “Zwischen Universität und Straße: Ägyptische Studenten in Deutschland, 1849–1945,” in Konrad Schliephake and Ghazi Shanneik, eds., Die Beziehungen zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Republik Ägypten (Würzburg, 2002), 31–42; Goetz Nordbruch, “Arab Students in Weimar Germany: Politics and Thought beyond Borders,” Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 2 (2014): 275–295; Sebastian Cwiklinski, Die Wolga an der Spree: Tataren und Baschkiren in Berlin (Berlin, 2000); Cwiklinski, “Between National and Religious Solidarities: The Tatars in Germany and Poland in the Inter-War Period,” in Nathalie Clayer and Eric Germain, eds., Islam in Inter-War Europe (New York, 2008), 64–88; Corry Guttstadt, Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust (Cambridge, 2013); Marc David Baer, “Turk and Jew in Berlin: The First Turkish Migration to Berlin and the Shoah,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55, no. 2 (April 2013): 330–355.
13An intriguing example of what is possible is found in Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale (New York, 1994). On the study of Jews in India, see Yulia Egorova, Jews and India: Perceptions and Image (London, 2006), 1–8.
14Gerhard Höpp, “In the Shadow of the Moon: Arab Inmates in Nazi Concentration Camps,” Germany and the Middle East, 1871–1945, Special Double Issue, Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 10–11 (2001): 217–240.
15See Robert Satloff, Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands (New York, 2006), chaps. 5–7; Norman H. Gershman, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II (Syracuse, N.Y., 2008); Ethan Katz, “Did the Paris Mosque Save Jews? A Mystery and Its Memory,” Jewish Quarterly Review 102, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 256–287. See also Mohammed Kenbib, “Mohammed V, Protector of Moroccan Jews,” in Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, eds., A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations: From the Origins to the Present Day, trans. Jane Marie Todd and Michael B. Smith (Princeton, N.J., 2013), 362–364; Benjamin Stora, “Messali Hadj, the Refusal to Collaborate,” ibid., 365–366; Habib Kazdaghli, “The Tunisian Jews in the German Occupation,” ibid., 367–369; Irena Steinfeldt, “Muslim Righteous among the Nations,” ibid., 372–374.
16Most studies focus on the mass migration of “guest workers” from Muslim-majority lands after World War II. See Ulrich Herbert, Geschichte der Ausländerpolitik in Deutschland: Saisonarbeiter, Zwangsarbeiter, Gastarbeiter, Flüchtlinge (Munich, 2001); Betigül Ercan Argun, Turkey in Germany: The Transnational Sphere of Deutschkei (New York, 2003); Deniz Göktürk, David Gramling, and Anton Kaes, eds., Germany in Transit: Nation and Migration, 1955–2005 (Berkeley, Calif., 2007); Kira Kosnick, Migrant Media: Turkish Broadcasting and Multicultural Politics in Berlin (Bloomington, Ind., 2007); Gökçe Yurdakul, From Guest Workers into Muslims: The Transformation of Turkish Immigrant Associations in Germany (Cambridge, 2008); Rita Chin, The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany (Cambridge, 2009).
17For a recent example, see Miriam Goldstein, “Introduction,” in David M. Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein, eds., Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World (Philadelphia, 2012), 1–12.
18On friendship between Jews and people of other faiths, especially Christians, see Daniel Jütte, “Interfaith Encounters between Jews and Christians in the Early Modern Period and Beyond: Toward a Framework,” American Historical Review 118, no. 2 (April 2013): 378–400. For examples from this rich literature, see Bernard Dov Cooperman and Tsevi Zohar, eds., Jews and Muslims in the Islamic World (Bethesda, Md., 2013); Jacob Lassner, Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam: Modern Scholarship, Medieval Realities(Chicago, 2012); Joseph V. Montville, ed., History as Prelude: Muslims and Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean (New York, 2011); Emily Benichou Gottreich and Daniel J. Schroeter, eds., Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (Bloomington, Ind., 2011); Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950 (New York, 2006); F. E. Peters, The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, new ed. (Princeton, N.J., 2006); Emily Gottreich, The Mellah of Marrakesh: Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco’s Red City (Bloomington, Ind., 2006); María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians, and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (New York, 2003); Ross Brann and Adam Sutcliffe, eds., Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah (Philadelphia, 2003); Avigdor Levy, ed., Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century (Syracuse, N.Y., 2003); Raymond P. Scheindlin, Wine, Women and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life (1986; repr., Oxford, 1999); Scheindlin, The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel and the Soul (1991; repr., Oxford, 1999); Steven M. Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam(Princeton, N.J., 1995); Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross; Ross Brann, The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain (Baltimore, 1991); Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton, N.J., 1984); S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 6 vols., new ed. (Berkeley, Calif., 1999); Goitein, Jews and Arabs: A Concise History of Their Social and Cultural Relations (1954; repr., Mineola, N.Y., 2005).
19Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, “Introduction,” in Meddeb and Stora, A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, 13–23, here 16.
20Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia, 2006), 1–2.
21My thanks to an anonymous reader for formulating this contribution in this way.
22Freidenreich and Goldstein, Beyond Religious Borders. Despite its title, the volume does not contain a single essay concerning religious converts.
23This includes the Ahmadi translation and commentary in German, and Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qurʾān (Gibraltar, 1980).
24See Marc David Baer, The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford, Calif., 2010).
25Gerhard Höpp, “Mohammed Essad Bey: Nur Orient für Europäer?,” Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika 25, no. 1 (1997): 75–97; Tom Reiss, The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life (New York, 2005); Muhammad Asad, The Road to Mecca (New York, 1954); M. Ikram Chaghatai, ed., Muhammad Asad: Europe’s Gift to Islam (Lahore, 2006); Abroo Aman Andrabi, Muhammad Asad: His Contribution to Islamic Learning (New Delhi, 2007); Martin Kramer, “The Road From Mecca: Muhammad Asad (born Leopold Weiss),” in Kramer, ed., The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis(Tel Aviv, 1999), 225–247; Günter Windhager, Leopold Weiss alias Muhammad Asad: Von Galizien nach Arabien, 1900–1927 (Vienna, 2002); Ismāʿīl Ibrāhīm Nawwāb, “A Matter of Love: Mu˙hammad Asad and Islam,” Islamic Studies 39, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 155–231; Murad Hofmann, “Muhammad Asad: Europe’s Gift to Islam,” ibid., 233–245; Talal Asad, “Muhammad Asad between Religion and Politics,” Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad (documentary film, dir. Georg Misch, Mischief Films, 2008).
26For an overview of his life, see “Der deutsche Muslim Dr. Hamid Hugo Marcus,” in Manfred Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa: Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft der als “Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung zur Verbreitung islamischen Wissens” bekannten internationalen islamischen Gemeinschaft (Wembley, 2008), 110–119.
27For another example, see Baer, “Turk and Jew in Berlin.”
28Gerhard Höpp, Muslime in der Mark: Als Kriegsgefangene und Internierte in Wünsdorf und Zossen, 1914–1924 (Berlin, 1997), chap. 2; David Motadel, “The Making of Muslim Communities in Western Europe, 1914–1939,” in Götz Nordbruch and Umar Ryad, eds., Transnational Islam in Interwar Europe: Muslim Activists and Thinkers (New York, 2014), 13–43; Eric Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale: Ahmadi-Lahori Networks in the Inter-War Period,” in Clayer and Germain, Islam in Inter-War Europe, 89–118, here 102.
29M. S. Abdullah, Geschichte des Islams in Deutschland (Graz, 1981); Höpp, Muslime in der Mark, 9–18; Alexandra Schäfer-Borrmann, Vom “Waffenbruder” zum “türkisch-deutschen Faktotum” Ekrem Rüştü Akömer (1892–1984), eine bemerkenswerte Randfigur der Geschichte (Würzburg, 1998); Gültekin Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree: Ein vergessenes Kapitel Berliner Kulturgeschichte (Berlin, 1983); Ingeborg Böer, Ruth Haerkötter, and Petra Kappert, eds., Türken in Berlin, 1871–1945: Eine Metropole in den Erinnerungen osmanischer und türkischer Zeitzeugen (Berlin, 2002).
30While small numbers of Muslims—especially Turkish doctoral students, laborers, and craftsmen—lived elsewhere in Germany, Berlin is unique, for it was home to the overwhelming majority of Muslim residents in Germany and their institutions. See Börte Sagaster, Achmed Talib: Stationen des Lebens eines türkischen Schuhmachermeisters in Deutschland von 1917 bis 1983. Kaiserreich—Weimarer Republik—Drittes Reich—DDR(Cologne, 1997).
31David Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit: Das soziokulturelle milieu der muslimischen Minderheit in Berlin, 1918–1939,” in José Brunner und Shai Lavi, eds., Juden und Muslime in Deutschland: Recht, Religion, Identität (Göttingen, 2009), 103–121, here 104.
32Nile Green, “Spacetime and the Muslim Journey West: Industrial Communication in the Making of the ‘Muslim World,’” American Historical Review 118, no. 2 (April 2013): 401–429, here 418–423. See also Green, “Journeymen, Middlemen: Travel, Trans-Culture and Technology in the Origins of Muslim Printing,” International Journal of Middle East Studies41, no. 2 (2009): 203–224; and Gerdien Jonker, “A Laboratory of Modernity: The Ahmadiyya Mission in Inter-War Europe,” Journal of Muslims in Europe 3, no. 1 (2014): 1–25.
33“Kurze Geschichte der Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung,” in Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 9–17; “Wer war Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?,” ibid., 18–24; Dietrich Reetz, Islam in the Public Sphere: Religious Groups in India, 1900–1947 (Oxford, 2006), 76–77, 97–98, 100–101, 139–142; Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background (Berkeley, Calif., 1989), especially 105–118.
34Shah Jahan Mosque,; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 25–39. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community retains a belief that Ahmad is the promised messiah and mahdi, and a prophet. See the organization’s homepage, This branch established a mission in the United States in 1920, the first Muslim American organization, and a journal to propagate its view, the Muslim Sunrise. It is led by an infallible caliph, to whom all members owe absolute obedience. It is not the subject of this article. The second, based in Lahore, maintains that Ahmad is the promised messiah and mahdi but a mujaddid (renewer of Islam) rather than a prophet, and rejects the idea of a caliphate. See the group’s homepage, This is the group referred to in this article with the term “Ahmadi.”
35Muhammad Ali, “Correspondence: Mosque in Berlin,” The Light 2, no. 3 (February 1, 1923): 2–3. See also “Brief History of the Woking Muslim Mission,”
36Anmeldung zur Eintragung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V., an das Preussische Amtsgericht Berlin, November 4, 1922, Akten vom Amtsgericht Charlottenburg betreffend die Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V., Landesarchiv Berlin, Rep. 42, Acc. 2147 [hereafter Akten Islamische Gemeinde], in Bibliothek Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Nachlass Professor Dr. Gerhard Höpp [hereafter Nachlass Höpp], 07.05.002.
37Majid Hayat Siddiqi, “Bluff, Doubt and Fear: The Kheiri Brothers and the Colonial State, 1904–45,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 24, no. 3 (1987): 233–263; Heike Liebau, “The Kheiri Brothers and the Question of World Order after World War I,” Orient Bulletin: History and Cultures in Asia, the Middle East and Africa 13 (2007): 3–4.
38Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 51–57.
39Hassan (Walter) Hoffmann, Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, an das Amtsgericht, Berlin Mitte, Berlin, April 17, 1929, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002; Prof. Sattar Kheiri, Berlin, an Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte, Geschäftsstelle, Abteilung 94, August 7, 1930 ibid.; Statuten der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V. 1922, Berlin, February 21, 1934, ibid.
40Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration,” pt. 1, 142–146; Nathanael Kuck, “Anti-Colonialism in a Post-Imperial Environment: The Case of Berlin, 1914–33,” Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 1 (January 2014): 134–159.
41Mansur M. Rifat, Der Verrat der Ahmadis an Heimat und Religion: Ein Anhang zu der Schrift “Die Ahmadia-Sekte” ein Vorkämpfer für den englischen Imperialismus (Ahmadis’ Betrayal of Country and Religion: A Supplement to the Pamphlet “The Ahmadia Sect,” Vanguard of British Imperialism and the Greatest Danger to Islam) (Berlin, 1923), 7. He also penned Vollständiger Zusammenbruch der Ahmadia-Sekte: Weitere Beiweise für ihre Tätigkeit als englische Agenten. Mirza Ghulam—Der geisteskranke Mirza—ausgesprochene Paranoiac (Berlin, 1924). See Gerhard Höpp, “Zwischen alle Fronten: Der ägyptische Nationalist Mansur Mustafa Rif’at (1883–1926) in Deutschland,” in Wajih ʿAbd as-Sādiq ʿAtīq and Wolfgang Schwanitz, eds., Ägypten und Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert im Spiegel von Archivalien (Cairo, 1998), 263–273.
42Dennis Washburn and A. Kevin Reinhart, “Introduction,” in Washburn and Reinhart, eds., Converting Cultures: Religion, Ideology, and Transformations of Modernity (Leiden, 2007), ix–xxii, here xiii; Gauri Viswanathan, Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton, N.J., 1998); Peter van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton, N.J., 2001).
43See; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 25–39. See also Humayun Ansari, “The Infidel Within”: Muslims in Britain since 1800 (London, 2004); and Ron Greaves, Islam in Victorian Britain: The Life and Times of Abdullah Quilliam (London, 2010).
44Ali, “Correspondence: Mosque in Berlin”; “Brief History of the Woking Muslim Mission.”
45Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch: Uebersetzung, Einleitung und Erklärung von Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, 2nd ed. (1939; repr., Berlin, 1964, 2005), xi.
46Gerhard Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg: Steinerne Erinnerungen,” in Gerhard Höpp and Norbert Mattes, eds., Berlin für Orientalisten: Ein Stadtführer (Berlin, 2001), 7–23, here 16–20. The only purpose-built mosque in Germany at that time was constructed during the war for the use of Allied POWs interned at the “Crescent” camp at Wünsdorf, an hour and a half by train from Berlin. Paid for by the German General Staff, as War Ministry and Foreign Ministry sources concede, the well-publicized construction of the mosque was nothing more than wartime propaganda and instrumentalization of Islam and Muslims, although it was used for a decade after the war by Berlin Muslims. Margot Kahleyss, Muslime in Brandenburg—Kriegsgefangene im 1. Weltkrieg: Ansichten und Absichten (Berlin, 1998); Höpp, Muslime in der Mark, chaps. 4 and 8; Cwiklinski, “Between National and Religious Solidarities,” 65–66.
47Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 61.
48Protokoll of the 1930 annual meeting, March 22, 1930, Satzungen, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft Berlin,” Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 42, Nr. 27515, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft, Berlin e.V.” [hereafter “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft”].
49Annual meeting Protokolls: March 22, 1930; September 19, 1931; September 24, 1932; September 22, 1934; September 19, 1936; August 14, 1937; October 1, 1938, ibid.
50Nasir Ahmad, comp. and ed., Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, England, 1931–1940 (Lahore, 2002), xxix.
51“Notes: The Berlin Mosque,” Islamic Review 13 (March 1925): 82.
52Thus according to Nasir Ahmad, “A Brief History of the Berlin Muslim Mission (Germany) (1922–1988),”
53Peter G. Stromberg, “The Role of Language in Religious Conversion,” in Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (Oxford, 2014), 117–139; Bruce Hindmarsh, “Religious Conversion as Narrative and Autobiography,” ibid., 343–368.
54Sadr-ud-Din, “Das Glaubensbekenntnis des Islams,” Moslemische Revue 1, no. 2 (July 1924): 91. The article was republished verbatim in every subsequent issue from 1924 to 1926. It later appeared as F. K. Khan Durrani, “Was ist Islam?,” such as in Moslemische Revue 4, no. 1 (January 1929): 41–45.
55Hindmarsh, “Religious Conversion as Narrative and Autobiography.”
56Ahmad, Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque, xxix; Dr. S. A. Khulusi, comp., Islam Our Choice (1961; repr., Woking, 1963), 234–235. See also Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale,” 99; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 85.
57Hugo Marcus, “Was ist der Islam?,” 1–10, here 4, Vorträge, Nachlass Hugo Marcus, in Nachlass Walter Robert Corti, Handschriftenabteilung, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland [hereafter Nachlass Hugo Marcus].
58Hugo Marcus, Brief an Eidgenössische Fremdenpolizei (Swiss Federal Aliens’ Police), Bern, Switzerland, January 23, 1957, Korrespondenz von Hugo Marcus an Institutionen, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
59Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 106.
60For examples of Muslim students in Berlin serving as mediators of conversion, see “Drei Europäerinnen bekennen sich zum Islam,” Moslemische Revue 7, no. 2–3 (April–July 1931): 53–59.
61Bernd Widdig, “Cultural Capital in Decline: Inflation and the Distress of Intellectuals,” in Kathleen Canning, Kerstin Barndt, and Kristin McGuire, eds., Weimar Publics/Weimar Subjects: Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s (New York, 2010), 302–317.
62Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 111; Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 19.
63Clayer and Germain, “Introduction,” 15.
64Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale,” 105; Umar Ryad, “Among the Believers in the Land of the Colonizer: Mohammed Ali van Beetem’s Role among the Indonesian Community in the Netherlands in the Interwar Period,” Journal of Religion in Europe 5, no. 2 (2012): 273–310.
65Humayun Ansari, “Making Transnational Connections: Muslim Networks in Early Twentieth-Century Britain,” in Clayer and Germain, Islam in Inter-War Europe, 31–63, here 48.
66Editor’s note, Hugo Marcus, “Muhammad’s Personality: The First Democrat-Prophet, the First Cavalier-Prophet,” The Light 4, no. 17 (September 1, 1925): 1–6. The Ahmadi boasted of converting this “scion of a high German family, a Ph.D. of Berlin University, a scholar of distinction and author of [a] good many books.” “Islam in Germany: Great German Scholar Won, First Eid Celebrated,” The Light 4, no. 10 (May 16, 1925): 1.
67Hugo Marcus, “Lebenslauf,” undated but ca. 1956, Zürich, Nachlass Hugo Marcus. Hirschfeld founded the organization in 1897 and led it until 1929. For Marcus’s relationship with Hirschfeld, see Hans Alienus (pseudonym for Hugo Marcus), “Erinnerung an Magnus Hirschfeld. Zum 30. Todestag—14. Mai 1935,” Der Kreis 33, no. 5 (1965): 6–7, here 6. On Hirschfeld, see Charlotte Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology (New York, 1986); Manfred Herzer, Magnus Hirschfeld: Leben und Werk eines jüdischen, schwulen und sozialistischen Sexologen, 2nd ed. (Hamburg, 2001); Rainer Herrn, 100 Years of the Gay Rights Movement in Germany (New York, 1997); Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld: Deutscher—Jude—Weltbürger (Teetz, 2005); Dagmar Herzog, Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton, N.J., 2005), 19–25; Elena Mancini, Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement (New York, 2010); Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement (New York, 2014).
68Kurt Hiller, § 175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! (Hannover, 1922), 1. See especially “Recht und sexuelle Minderheiten,” 105–118. Hiller led the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee from 1929 until its closure in 1933. On Marcus’s relationship with Hiller, see Hiller, Leben gegen die Zeit, vol. 1: Logos (Hamburg, 1969), 74, 107, 408.
69Ralph M. Leck, Georg Simmel and Avant-Garde Sociology: The Birth of Modernity, 1880–1920 (Amherst, N.Y., 2000), 13.
70Ibid., 15–16.
71Robert E. Norton, Secret Germany: Stefan George and His Circle (Ithaca, N.Y., 2002); Martin A. Ruehl, “Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry: Stefan George and His Circle, 1918–1933,” in Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick, eds., Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (Princeton, N.J., 2013), 240–272.
72Die Allgemeine Bildung in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft: Eine historische-kritische-dogmatische Grundlegung (Berlin, 1903); Meditationen (Berlin, 1904); Musikästhetische Probleme auf vergleichend-ästhetischer Grundlage nebst Bemerkungen über die grossen Figuren in der Musikgeschichte (Berlin, 1906); Die Philosophie des Monopluralismus: Grundzüge einer analytischen Naturphilosophie u. eines ABC der Begriffe im Versuch (Berlin, 1907); Die ornamentale Schönheit der Landschaft und der Natur als Beitrag zu einer allgemeinen Ästhetik der Landschaft und der Natur (Munich, 1912); Vom Zeichnerischen, Malerischen, Plastischen und Architektonischen in der Winterlandschaft: Zugl. e. Beitrag z. Klassifikation dieser Begriffe (Berlin, 1914).
73Marcus, Meditationen, 107, 199–200.
74Ibid., 79.
75Hiller, Leben gegen die Zeit, 1: 107; Leck, Georg Simmel and Avant-Garde Sociology, 171.
76“Islam in Germany.”
77The text can be found online at On the history of the petition, see Robert G. Moeller, “The Regulation of Male Homosexuality in Postwar East and West Germany: An Introduction,” Feminist Studies 36, no. 3 (Fall 2010): 521–527; Moeller, “Private Acts, Public Anxieties, and the Fight to Decriminalize Male Homosexuality in West Germany,” ibid., 528–552.
78Hugo Marcus, “Warum ich Moslem wurde” (1951), Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
79Compare with other conversion narratives: M. A. Rahman, “Why I Became a Muslim,” Islamic Review 29 (February 1941): 50; John Fisher, “Why Islam Appeals to Me,” Islamic Review 22 (March 1934): 61–63; David Omar Nicholson, “Some Reasons for Accepting Islam,” Islamic Review 23 (March 1935): 106–108; ʿUmar Rolf Baron von Ehrenfels, “The How and Why of Conversion to Islam,” Islamic Review 49 (June 1961): 23–24; Abdullah Robert, “Warum ich aus der römisch-katholichen Kirche austrat,” Moslemische Revue 6, no. 4 (October 1930): 106–109.
80Hans Alienus, “Erinnerung an Magnus Hirschfeld,” 7; Heike Carstensen, Leben und Werk der Malerin und Graphikerin Julie Wolfthorn (1864–1944): Rekonstruktion eines Künstlerinnenleben (Marburg, 2011), 130–131, 331.
81Sheikh Muhammad Din Jan, comp., Annual Report for the Year 1928–29 of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i-Ishaʿat-i-Islam Lahore, 17,
82There is no explanation why the journal and the society used different spellings for “Muslim.”
83For Marcus’s lectures, see Vorträge, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 114.
84The 1937 visit to the mosque of the Agha Khan was written up in the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung. “Aus Unserer Arbeit,” Moslemische Revue 13, no. 3 (November 1937): 69–71, here 70. The circulation figure of 1.85 million is from 1930. Eric Weitz, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Princeton, N.J., 2009), 211. For a Berlin society write-up of the mosque and its imam, see “Ein Gespräch mit Professor Abdullah am Fehrbelliner Platz,” Rumpelstilzchen 9, no. 14 (December 13, 1928), quoted in Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 20. For other accounts in the contemporary German press, see Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 65–69.
85Such as Geneva-based Lebanese pan-Islamist Shakib Arslan (1869–1946) in 1931. See “Empfang in der Deutsch-Muslimischen Gesellschaft,” Der Tag, January 16, 1931, 1, Beiblatt, Höpp Nachlass, 07.05.035.
86The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), German People’s Party (DDP), and Catholic Center Party (BVP). Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Basel, Brief an Eidgenössenische Fremdenpolizei, Bern, July 1, 1947, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
87Bestätigung vom 21.8.1939, Der Imam der Moschee Berlin-Wilmersdorf, S. M. Abdullah, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
88Both groups offered Islam as a panacea for Germany in crisis, presenting it as a roadmap to perpetual peace, security, and prosperity, and for the rebuilding of a shattered world. Abdul Jabbar Kheiri, “Der Untergang und die Rettung: Eine Untersuchung über Islam die Heilmittel mit aufbauender Kraft,” Islam 1, no. 1 (1922): 2, cited in Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration,” pt. 1, 138.
89See the first Ahmadi publication in Germany, the first issue of Moslemische Revue, volume 1, no. 1 (April 1924), including “Der Zweck der Zeitschrift,” 1–2; Sadr-ud-Din, “Die internationale Religion,” 3–10; and Sadr-ud-Din, “Moses, Jesus, und Mohammed sind Brüder,” 14–22.
90Sadr-ud-Din, “Eine Botschaft an die Juden,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 3–4 (July–October 1925): 4–7.
91Sadr-ud-Din, “Die internationale Religion,” 7.
92Sadr-ud-Din, “Die Christen und die Juden,” Moslemische Revue 1, no. 1 (April 1924): 41–42.
93“Islam in Germany.”
94“Die Eröffnung der Moschee,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 2 (April 1925): 2.
95“Monatliche Zusammenkünfte in der Moschee,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 3–4 (July–October 1925): 2.
96Hiller, § 175, 118.
97Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld, 379; Herzer, Magnus Hirschfeld, 230–233; Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld, 89–90.
98His brothers were Dr. Richard Marcus of Leipzig and attorney Dr. Alfred Marcus of Berlin-Charlottenburg, the latter of whom was deported from Berlin to the Theresienstadt ghetto on May 19, 1943, and died January 29, 1944. Das Gedenkbuch des Bundesarchivs für die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Judenverfolgung in Deutschland (1933–1945)
99Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 83.
100Faruq H. Fischer, “Ist der Islam ‘unmodern’? Eine Parallele zwischen der alten Religion und dem heutigen Europa,” Moslemische Revue 10, no. 2–3 (April–July 1934): 62–73.
101Ibid., 67; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 87.
102Fischer, “Ist der Islam ‘unmodern’?,” 67.
103Muhammad Ali, “Der Beitrag des Islams zur Zivilisation,” Moslemische Revue 10, no. 2–3 (April–July 1934): 44–46, here 45; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 88.
104Protokoll, September 22, 1934, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
105He joined the Nazi Party on May 1, 1932. On his position on the board, see Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 1350; for his membership in the Nazi Party, see A3340, MFOK Series (Master File, Ortsgruppenkartei, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), Roll No. A068, Frame 770, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized (Record Group 242), National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Protokoll, March 22, 1930, and September 22, 1934, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.” In the 1934 election, Marcus received thirteen votes at the meeting to Beyer’s twelve; write-in-ballots from converts Huda Schneider and von Ehrenfels gave him a more comfortable margin of victory.
106Brief, Deutsches Generalkonsulat, Kalkutta, an das Auswärtige Amt, Berlin, May 14, 1935, PArch AAB, R 78242, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.032; Brief, Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt Berlin, an das Auswärtige Amt, Berlin, June 26, 1935, ibid.
107“Die Moschee aus der Vogelschau: Dr. Abdullah vom Fehrbelliner Platz,” Rumpelstilzchen 38 (May 31, 1934), Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.028.
108Protokoll, July 20, 1935, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
109Marcus, “Lebenslauf.”
110Protokoll, September 21, 1935, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
111Ibid. Azeez had served as assistant imam in 1933, and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität. The other was Iraqi Yussuf Aboud al-Ibrahim.
112Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933–1941 (New York, 1999), 186.
113ZSg. 101/7/169/Nr. 250, March 6, 1936, in NS-Presseanweisungen der Vorkriegszeit: Edition und Dokumentation, ed. Hans Bohrmann, revised by Gabriele Toepser-Ziegert, vol. 4/I: 1936 (Munich, 1993), 249.
114Hugo Marcus, Austritt aus der Synagogengemeinde Berlin, Bescheinigung vom 18.5.1936, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
115Protokoll, September 19, 1936, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
116Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 161.
117The Nazi Beyer, by contrast, received fifteen votes. Dr. Klopp vom Hofe was elected chairman with twenty votes.
118Amin (Fritz) Boosfeld (b. 1888) had converted to Islam in 1932. “Nachruf auf Amin Boosfeld,” Moslemische Revue 12, no. 3 (November 1936): 67–72.
119A 1933 wedding photo of Beyer posing on the steps of the mosque with his new wife, Fatima, a fellow convert, appeared in Moslemische Revue 10, no. 1 (January 1934): iii.
120“Nachruf auf Amin Boosfeld,” 72.
121Protokoll, September 19, 1936, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
122Protokoll der konstituierenden Generalversammlung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, February 21, 1934, in Humboldhaus Berlin, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002.
123Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Reichsleitung, Amt für Schulung, Abteilung Verbände, Berlin, an Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, Abteilung V, Vereine, November 24, 1936, Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 1350.
124Sonderbeauftragten zur überwachung der geistig und kulturell tätigen Juden im deutschen Reichsgebiet, December 15, 1936, ibid.
125Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Reichsleitung, Abteilung Verbände an den Herrn Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, Abteilung V, Vereine, April 13, 1937, ibid.; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 123; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 96–97.
126Joseph Goebbels, “Around the Gedächtniskirche,” in Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds., The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (Berkeley, Calif., 1994), 560–562, originally published as “Rund um die Gedächtniskirche,” Der Angriff, January 23, 1928; Cornelia Hecht, Deutsche Juden und Antisemitismus in der Weimarer Republik(Bonn, 2003).
127Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 100.
128Ibid., 124–127.
129“Maulana Sadr-ud-Din verläßt Berlin,” Moslemische Revue 13, no. 3 (November 1937): 71–75. Sadr-ud-Din would succeed Muhammad Ali as the amir (leader) of the Ahmadi movement upon the death of the latter in 1951, and serve in that position until his own death thirty years later.
130Originally known as the Lahore Mission College, Forman Christian College was founded in 1864 by Dr. Charles W. Forman, a Presbyterian missionary from the United States. See the university’s website,
131Ahmad, “A Brief History of the Berlin Muslim Mission.”
132Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an die Deutsche Arbeitsfront, Amt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk, Abt. II/Vortrag, Berlin, September 27, 1938, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 27, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.033.
133Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an das Sicherheitshauptamt, Berlin, September 27, 1938, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 35, ibid.
134Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an das Sicherheitshauptamt, Berlin, October 10, 1938, ibid.
135Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an die Deutsche Arbeitsfront, Amt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk, Abt. II/Vortrag, Berlin, March 31, 1939, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 28, ibid; Film 15205, Brief der Geheimen Staatspolizei an den Reichsminister für die kirchlichen Angelegenheiten, February 11, 1939, Bundesarchiv Berlin, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.039.
136Protokoll, July 21, 1923, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002.
137Umar Ryad, “From an Officer in the Ottoman Army to a Muslim Publicist and Armament Agent in Berlin: Zekî Hishmat-Bey Kirâm (1886–1946),” Bibliotheca Orientalis63, no. 3–4 (2006): 235–268.
138Brief, Der Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, Berlin, an das Auswärtige Amt, z.Hd.d. Hernn Gesandten Luther, Berlin, December 10, 1940, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, R 101196, Nachlass Höpp, 01.21.013; Umar Ryad, Wathʾiq Tijarat al-Silah al-Almani fi Shibh al-jazira al-ʿArabiyya: Qiraʾa fi Arshif Zeki Kiram (Documents on the German Arms Trade in the Arabian Peninsula: Readings in the Archive of Zeki Kiram) (Cairo, 2011).
139Brief, Dr. Zeki Kiram, Sanaa, Yemen, an Führer und Reichskanzler Herrn Adolf Hitler, Berlin, May 19, 1936, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, R 101196, Nachlass Höpp, 01.21.013.
140Dr. Zeki Kiram, “Ein Moslem über das neue Deutschland: Hitler ist der berufene Mann,” Moslemische Revue 14, no. 2 (August 1938): 59–60, here 60; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 88–89.
141Günter Morsch and Astrid Ley, eds., Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, 1936–1945: Events and Developments, 4th ed. (Berlin, 2011), 52, 55; 1367/1/15, Bl. 080, Russian State Military Archive, Moscow; D1 A/1015, Bl. 080, formerly R 203/M 10, Bl. 147, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen.
142Morsch and Ley, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, 50.
1431367/1/15, Bl. 080, Russian State Military Archive, Moscow; D1 A/1015, Bl. 080, formerly R 203/M 10, Bl. 147, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen.
145Marcus, “Lebenslauf.”
146Jews had owned businesses on the largest nearby avenue, Hohenzollerndamm, and a Jewish family had lived on the same street as the mosque. The nearest synagogue was located at Prinzregentenstrasse 69, although the Berlin West skyline would have been marked by smoke and flames. See Jüdisches Adressbuch für Gross-Berlin 1931 (Berlin, 1931), 20–21, 316,
147Albania was to be occupied by Fascist Italy in April 1939, and by Nazi Germany thereafter. Hugo Marcus, Erteilung eines Einreisevisums für das Königreich Albanien, November 26, 1938, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
148S. M. Abdullah to British Passport Officer, Berlin, December 1, 1938, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
149Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 292.
150Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (New York, 2006), 604; Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 293.
151Quoted in Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 21.
152Anmeldung zur Eintragung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.039.
153Gerhard Höpp, “Muslime unterm Hakenkreuz: Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Islamischen Zentralinstituts zu Berlin e.V.,” Moslemische Revue 70, no. 1 (1994): 16–27.
154ʾA˙tā ˙Tāheri, Deutsche Agenten bei iranische Stämmen, 1942–1944: Ein Augenzeugenbericht (Berlin, 2008).
155Islam-Institut (Maʿhad al-Islam) zu Berlin an Polizeipräsident, Abteilung V, March 21, 1939, Satzungen, “Islam Institut,” Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 2314.
156Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Aussenpolitisches Amt an Herrn Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, August 8, 1939, ibid.
157Vorstandsmitglieder, October 30, 1940, ibid.; Protokoll, July 21, 1923, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002. Rahman was executive director from 1934 to 1936, general secretary in 1936 and 1937, and chairman in 1941 and 1942. Protokoll, Generalversammlung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin e.V., January 18, 1936, ibid.; Habibur Rahman, Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, an Amtsgericht Berlin, June 3, 1942, ibid. See also Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 110–111.
158Despite pro-Nazi actions and pronouncements, during World War II, both Habibur Rahman and Zeki Kiram were accused by other Arabs in Europe of being British agents.
159Hugo Marcus, Kennkarte Deutsches Reich, ausgestellt: Berlin, March 16, 1939, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 575.
160The decree was promulgated in October 1937. More than three hundred baptized Christians of Jewish background in Berlin were murdered in death camps. Hildegard Frisius, Marianne Kälberer, Wolfgang G. Krogel, and Gerlind Lachenicht, eds., Evangelisch getauft—als Juden verfolgt: Spurensuche Berliner Kirchengemeinden (Berlin, 2008).
161S. M. Abdullah to British Passport Officer, Berlin, March 16, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
162For example, Hans Wehr employed the German Jewish Arabist Hedwig Klein (1911–1942) from 1939 to 1942 to assist him with his German-Arabic Dictionary project, deemed essential for the German army and Nazi propaganda. It prolonged her life; at one point she was spared from a deportation thanks to the efforts of her Hamburg University employers. Peter Freimark, “Promotion Hedwig Klein—zugleich ein Beitrag zum Seminar für Geschichte und Kultur des Vorderen Orients,” in Eckart Krause, Ludwig Huber, and Holger Fischer, eds., Hochschulalltag im “Dritten Reich”: Die Hamburger Universität, 1933–1945, vol. 2: Philosophische Fakultät (Berlin, 1991), 851–864.
163Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 299, 307. Klemperer (1881–1960) had converted to Christianity.
164Ibid., 596.
165Sadr-ud-Din, Head of the Ahmadia Anjuman, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Basel, Switzerland, August 20, 1957, Nachlass Hugo Marcus. The Ahmadi gave Marcus financial support into the 1950s.
166Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 565. In spring 1941, Klemperer could still assert his commitment to Germanness. Ibid., 343, 385.
167Although Marcus had family in the United States, there is no evidence that he attempted—nor that relatives assisted him—to seek refuge there. See Else Th. Marcus, M.D., St. George, Staten Island, N.Y., to Hugo Marcus, September 23, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
168Danksagung vom 30.9.1919, Kriegsministerium Berlin, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Verleihung der Roten Kreuz-Medaille 3. Klasse, der Kommissar und Militär-Inspektor der freiwilligen Krankenpflege, Berlin, April 10, 1920, ibid.
169Verleihung “Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer” Berlin, April 9, 1936, ibid. He left the Jewish community in May. Hugo Marcus, Austritt aus der Synagogengemeinde Berlin, Bescheinigung vom 18.5.1936, ibid.
170Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 595.
171Secretary, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Herr Hamid Marcus, c/o Dr. S. M. Abdullah, Der Imam der Moschee, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany, April 19, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
172J. G. Simms, Under-Secretary of the Government of India, Home Department, Simla, to British Passport Control Officer, Berlin, May 12, 1939, ibid.
173Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch, Vorwort, x.
174Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 128–131, 146–151. Marcus was not credited by name in the 1964 or 2005 editions, either. Ibid., 77.
175Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch, Sura 2:256, 77.
176Ibid., Sura 22:40, 557.
177Ibid., Sura 5:2, 184; ibid., Sura 7:38, 260.
178Bestätigung vom 21.8.1939, Der Imam der Moschee Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
179Hedwig Klein was denied her Ph.D. in 1938 due to antisemitic legislation, and sought to flee to British India thanks to contacts through her Oriental Studies Department in Hamburg. She obtained a visa in June 1939 and was set to sail from Hamburg to Antwerp, and from there on to India, on August 18, 1939. But as the German trade ship sat in the harbor in Antwerp, it was warned to return to Hamburg because an international voyage would be too dangerous at the time. Accordingly, on August 27 it returned to Germany. As of September 3, 1939, India was at war with Germany. As a result, Klein was eventually deported to her death in July 1942 on the first direct train from Hamburg to Auschwitz. Freimark, “Promotion Hedwig Klein.”
180Hugo Marcus, Zürich, Brief an Eidgenössische Fremdenpolizei, Bern, Switzerland, January 23, 1957, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; S. M. Abdullah, The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Baselland, Switzerland, June 3, 1940, ibid.
181On von Ehrenfels’s internment, see S. M. Abdullah, The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Baselland, Switzerland, December 1, 1940, ibid.
182Chronik der Erzabtei Beuron: Advent 1977–Advent 1978 (Beuron, 1978), 4–5; Marcus, “Lebenslauf”; Max Jordan, Washington, D.C., to Hugo Marcus, Basel, Switzerland, September 1, 1941, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
183He returned to British India, where he served as general secretary of the Ahmadi in Lahore from 1940 to the end of the war, and from 1946 as imam at the Woking Mission. He revised the English translation of the Qurʾan in 1952, before passing away in England in 1956.
184Brief von Sadr-ud-Din, Lahore, an Hugo Marcus, October 24, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
185“Id-ul-Fitr in Berlin,” Moslemische Revue 15, no. 3 (December 1939): 73–76.
186Ibid., 76; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 89–90.
187Introduction, “AHR Forum: Transnational Lives in the Twentieth Century,” American Historical Review 118, no. 1 (February 2013): 45.
188For another idiosyncratic Jewish character whose life provides insight into larger historiographical issues, see Sarah Abrevaya Stein, “Protected Persons? The Baghdadi Jewish Diaspora, the British State, and the Persistence of Empire,” American Historical Review 116, no. 1 (February 2011): 80–108.
189Götz Nordbruch, “The Arab World and National Socialism: Some Reflections on an Ambiguous Relationship,” in Rethinking Totalitarianism and Its Arab Readings, Orient-Institut Studies 1 (2012), 2–7, here 3,
190On Nazi efforts to recruit Arab Muslims to serve their aims, see Nordbruch, Nazism in Syria and Lebanon; Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht; Bernd Philipp Schröder, ed., Deutschland und der Mittlere Osten im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Göttingen, 1975). For efforts to recruit other Muslims from southeastern Europe and the Soviet Union to fight in the Wehrmacht and SS, see David Motadel, “The ‘Muslim Question’ in Hitler’s Balkans,” Historical Journal 56, no. 4 (December 2013): 1007–1039; Motadel, “Islam and Germany’s War in the Soviet Borderlands, 1941–5,” Journal of Contemporary History 48, no. 4 (2013): 784–820; George Lepre, Himmler’s Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division, 1943–1945 (Atglen, Pa., 1997); Peter Heine, “Die Imam-Kurse der deutschen Wehrmacht im Jahre 1944,” in Gerhard Höpp, ed., Fremde Erfahrungen: Asiaten und Afrikaner in Deutschland, Österreich und in der Schweiz bis 1945 (Berlin, 1996), 229–238; the speech of al-Husayni before the imams of the Bosnian SS division on October 4, 1944, in Höpp, Mufti-Papiere, 219; letters from al-Husayni to Heinrich Himmler, ibid., 212, 213, 229; Abdullah, Geschichte des Islams in Deutschland, 34–42.
191On the question of the culpability of foreigners in Nazi Germany, see Wien, “The Culpability of Exile”; quote from 1.
192Marcus, “Lebenslauf.” Joachim Ungnad (1873–1942) was a member of the “Confessing Christians” (Bekennende Kirche) who opposed the Nazification of the Church and the persecution of baptized Jews, although they, too, discriminated against Christians of Jewish background and had an ambivalent relationship to Nazi antisemitism. Father Georg was the last crown prince of Saxony (1893–1943). Both men promoted ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and opposed the Nazis; the latter is credited with protecting Jews during the war. Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 220–230; Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 431. On the German Christian churches and Nazism, see Victoria Barnett, For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler (Oxford, 1992); Doris L. Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1996); Robert P. Ericksen and Susannah Heschel, eds., Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust (Minneapolis, 1999); Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, Mass., 2003); Matthew D. Hockenos, A Church Divided: German Protestants Confront the Nazi Past(Bloomington, Ind., 2004); Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton, N.J., 2008); Robert P. Ericksen, Complicity in the Holocaust: Churches and Universities in Nazi Germany (Cambridge, 2012).
193On the concept of connected histories, see the following works by Sanjay Subrahmanyam: “Turning the Stones Over: Sixteenth-Century Millenarianism from the Tagus to the Ganges,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 40, no. 2 (2003): 129–161; “A Tale of Three Empires: Mughals, Ottomans, and Habsburgs in a Comparative Context,” Common Knowledge 12, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 66–92; Mughal and Franks: Explorations in Connected History (Oxford, 2011); and From the Tagus to the Ganges: Explorations in Connected History (2005; repr., Oxford, 2011).

Gerdien Jonker, The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress: Missionizing Europe 1900–1965 (Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2016), 109–13, 144–5, 199–205.


Hugo Marcus, Die Philosophie des Monopluralismus: Grundzüge einer analytischen Naturphilosophie und eines abc im Versuch (Berlin: Concordia Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1907), 31–55.


Hugo Marcus, Frühlingsglück: Die Geschichte einer ersten Liebe (Dresden: E. Pierson’s Verlag, 1900); Hugo Marcus, Einer sucht den Freund. Gedanken zum Thema Das Ewige und der Freund (Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1961).


Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 8 (two containers). The collected papers are stored in 40 containers, numbered Box 1 to 13. The order of the papers reflects the order in which Hugo Marcus left them behind. Apart from an approximate enumeration, there is no archival development.


Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 4.


Johannes F. Everlein, ‘Erste Dinge – Reisegepäck im Exil: Eine phänomenologische Lektüre’, in Doerte Bischoff and Joachim Schlör (eds) Dinge des Exils (Munich: edition text + kritik, 2013), 23–35.


Letter from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus, dated 12 December 1939. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.2.1.


Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 11.


Apart from the 90-word entry on him in Rudolf Eisler, Philosophen-Lexikon (Berlin: 1912), 452; the other two were Anon, ‘Hugo Marcus’, in Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (2008),; Anon, ‘Hugo Marcus’, Personenlexikon des Kanton Basel-Landschaft (24 November 2014),


Burkhard Schöder, ‘Faschistischer Islam?’ Tip: Berliner Magazin Nr. 22 (17 October 1966), 62. The text consists of an interview with Gerhard Höpp and Yahya Schülzke on the history of ‘Islam and the Third Reich’.


Manfred Backhausen, ‘Der deutsche Muslim Dr Hamid Hugo Marcus’, in Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa (Wembley, UK: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore Publications, 2008), 110–9.


Marc David Baer, ‘Muslim encounters with Nazism and the Holocaust: the Ahmadi of Berlin and Jewish convert to Islam Hugo Marcus’. The American Historical Review, 120 (1), 2015, 140–71; Marc David Baer, ‘Protestant Islam in Weimar Germany: Hugo Marcus and “The Message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to Europe”’, New German Critique, 44 (2017), 163–200.


The following draws from the funeral speech, an account of the Hepner genealogy by Unknown, and a series of biographical sketches that Marcus wrote when he was applying for Restitution in 1957. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Hugo Marcus, ‘Aus fernen Tagen: Aufzeichnungen aus einer Zeit lange vor dem Krieg – kein öffentliches, wohl aber ein seelisches Interesse’ (c.1918). Private archive, Hugo Marcus, Box 4.


Norman Domeier, ‘Die sexuelle Denunziation in der deutschen Politik seit dem frühen 20. Jahrhundert’, in Andreas Pretzel and Andreas Weiß (eds) Politiken in Bewegung. Die Emanzipation Homosexueller im 20. Jahrhundert (Hamburg: Männerschwarm Verlag, 2017), 103–6.


Magnus Hirschfeld, Berlins Dritte Geschlecht (1904), edited by Manfred Herzer (Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1991), 57–69.


Hirschfeld, Berlins Dritte Geschlecht, 74, for numbers see also 174–5.


Hirschfeld, Berlins Dritte Geschlecht, 72–4. Social segmentation also characterized the women’s circles; Hirschfeld mentions a bakery in the north of Berlin where only Jewish women met.


Claudia Bruns, ‘Ihr Männer seid Männer! Maskulinistische Positionen in der deutschen Homosexuellenbewegung zu Beginn des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts: Zwischen Revolution und Reaktion’, in Andreas Pretzel and Andreas Weiß (eds) Politiken in Bewegung: Die Emanzipation Homosexueller im 20. Jahrhundert(Hamburg: Männerschwarm Verlag, 2017), 28–31.


Hans Blüher, Die deutsche Wandervögelbewegung als erotisches Phänomen: Ein Beitrag zur Erkenntnis der sexuellen Inversion (Prien: Anthropos-Verlag, 1920), 6–14.


Bruns, ‘Ihr Männer Seid Männer!’, 31–7.


Hans Blüher, ‘Die Frau und die Familie’, in Hans Blüher, Die Rolle der Erotik in der männlichen Gesellschaft. Vol. ii. Familie und Männerbund (Jena: Eugen Diederichs, 1921), 7–90.


Max Weber, ‘The iron cage and value-fragmentation’, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (2007/2017).


Kai Buchholz, Rita Latocha, Hilke Peckmann, Hilke Wolbert and Klaus Wolbert (eds) Die Lebensreform: Entwürfe zur Neugestaltung von Leben und Kunst um 1900(Darmstadt: Häusser-media, 2001).


Marion E.P. de Ras, Körper, Eros und weibliche Kultur: Mädchen im Wandervögel und in der bündischen Jugend 1900–1933 (Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus-Verlag, 1988).


Anon, Antifeminismus’, in Daniela Weiland (ed.) Handlexikon der Geschichte der Frauenemanzipation in Deutschland und Österreich (Munich: econ Taschenbuch Verlag, 1983), 24–8; Hans Blüher, ‘Die Theorie der männlichen Gesellschaft’, in Hans Blüher, Die Rolle der Erotik in der männlichen Gesellschaft. Vol. ii. Familie und Männerbund (Jena: Eugen Diederichs, 1921), 91–110; Bruns, ‘Ihr Männer seid Männer!’, 27–8.


For an overview of the different positions, see Marita Keilson-Lauritz, ‘Tanten, Kerle, Skandale: Flügelkämpfe der Emanzipation’, in Andreas Pretzel and Andreas Weiß (eds) Politiken in Bewegung: Die Emanzipation Homosexueller im 20. Jahrhundert (Hamburg: Männerschwarm Verlag, 2017), 65–78.


The following draws on Ulrich Linse, ‘Nietzsches Lebensphilosophie und die Lebensreform’, in Kai Buchholz, Rita Latocha, Hilke Peckmann, Hilke and Klaus Wolbert (eds) Die Lebensreform: Entwürfe zur Neugestaltung von Leben und Kunst um 1900 (Stuttgart: haeusser-media, 2001), 165–7; Theo Meyer, ‘Nietzsche: Lebens-, Kunst- und Kulturbegriff’, in Buchholz et al., Die Lebensreform, 161–3; Manfred Schneider, ‘Zarathustra-Sätze, Zarathustra-Gefühle: Nietzsche und die Jugendbewegung’, in Die Lebensreform, 169–73.


Quoted in Schneider, ‘Zarathustra-Sätze’, 170.


Quoted in Meyer, ‘Nietzsche’, 161.


Schneider, ‘Zarathustra-Sätze’, 171.


Alexander Gatherer, ‘The Dionysian and the Apollonian in Nietzsche: the birth of tragedy’ (2010), The Oxford Philosopher


For an overview of the most popular quotations, see Else Frobenius, Mit uns zieht die neue Zeit: Eine Geschichte der Jugendbewegung (Berlin: Deutsche Buchgemeinschaft, 1927), 35; cf. Schneider, ‘Zarathustra-Sätze’, 170.


Hugo Marcus, Meditationen (Berlin: E. Ebering, 1904).


Joachim Radkau, ‘Die Verheißungen der Morgenfrühe: Die Lebensreform in der neuen Moderne’, in Buchholz et al., Die Lebensreform, 55–60.


Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 11, reviews.


‘Ich wünsche nicht, dass Du mich liebst, / ich will auch Dich nicht lieben, / ich will, dass wir zusammen / zur höchsten Schönheit fliegen, / dass wir sodann gemein-vereint / zu ihren Füßen liegen, / in dieser Einheit scheint mir / das höchste Glück zu liegen!’, Marcus, Meditationen, 194. The poem is much longer.


Die Gegenwart (The Presence), Der Feuerreiter (The Fire Rider) and Das junge Deutschland (Young Germany).


Hugo Marcus, Das Tor dröhnt zu (Berlin: Paß & Garleb, 1915).


See the copy that is kept in the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig.


Marcus, Das Tor, 3.


Marcus, Das Tor, 7.


Marcus, Das Tor, 21.


Marcus, Das Tor, 21.


Marcus, Das Tor, 8.


Je stärker der erotische Drang, desto stärker auch die schützenden, hemmenden Saiten. Wenn wir eine Sache wollen, so ist zugleich eine Gegenbewegung in uns, die uns gebietet, dieselbe Sache nicht zu wollen. Und zwar sie nur deshalb nicht zu wollen, weil wir sie zu sehr wollen, weil wir so versklavt an sie hängen. Das ist grausam, denn wir geraten auf diese Weise niemals aus dem Zustand der inneren Gerissenheit wieder heraus: Askese aus der Scham heraus’, From: ‘Das Sexuelle Erlebnis als Schlüssel zum Weltverständnis (Innere Zerrissenheit)’, c.1920. Other articles in which Hugo Marcus addressed the subject of inner conflict were ‘Die Paradoxien des Gefühls’ (Paradoxes of feeling) (1927) and ‘Das Tantaluserlebnis’ (The Tantalus experience). Private archive, Hugo Marcus, Box 4.


Kurt Hiller, ‘Vorwort’, in Das Ziel. Jahrbücher für geistige Politik, vol. 1 (1916). Marcus contributed to vol. 5 (1921) with ‘Die Entlarvung der Tiere’ (‘Exposure of the animals’).


Arnim T. Wegner, Das Antlitz der Städte (Berlin: Egon Fleischel, 1917).


Kurt Hiller, Leben gegen der Zeit (Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1969), 74, 107, 231, 408; Arnim T. Wegner, Zeugnis (9 August 1958) and Arnim T. Wegner, Botschaft an die Freunde (1962). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


His letters to Marcus bear the return address ‘Roman Malicki, Kantstrasse 30, Berlin-Charlottenburg’. The Berlin address book of 1939 enters him as ‘Roman – Konfektionär, Charlb Kantstrasse 30’.


Letter from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus dated 25 December 1939. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Letter from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus dated 4 January 1940. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Letter from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus dated 25 December 1939. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.2.1.


Letter from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus dated 4 January 1940. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.2.1.


Uwe Westphal, Berliner Konfektion und Mode 1836–1939: Die Zerstörung einer Tradition (Berlin: Hentrig, 1992); see also Uwe Westphal collection in the Leo Baeck Institute, New York.


Some 23 letters from Roman Malicki to Hugo Marcus dated between 1940 and 1947. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.2.1.


Hugo Marcus, Biographical Sketch (1957). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Jonker, The Ahmadiyya Quest, 63–93.


Abdul Majid, Testimony (1957). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Arnim T. Wegner, Zeugnis (9 August 1958). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


A short biography was published in Jonker, The Ahmadiyya Quest, 54–5.


Hugo Marcus, Biographical Sketch (1957). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Damon Galgut, Arctic Summer (London: Atlantic Books, 2014), 20.


David Lelyveld, Aligarh’s First Generation: Muslim Solidarity in British India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 253–61.


Quotation from Lawrence James, Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India (London: Abacus, 1997), 325ff. See also Ibitsam Ahmed, ‘The British Empire’s homophobic legacy could finally be overturned in India’, Independent, 1 September 2017.


Hugo Marcus, ‘Das Wesen der Religion’, Moslemische Revue, 2 (1924), 79–84, quotations 82–3, author’s emphasis.


Eid al-Fitr is the three-day festival that brings the fasting period to an end. After morning prayers, everyone present embraces ceremoniously.


Hugo Marcus, ‘In der Moschee zu Berlin’ (c.1938). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 4.


Hugo Marcus, ‘Was ist uns der Qu’ran?’ (c.1938). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 8.


‘Fichte sagt, “ich bin ich”. Gleichweis sagt uns der Qu’ran (Sure 1)‚ “Gott ist Gott”. Jede Größe ist sich selber gleich. Die Zweizahl gleichgearteter Erscheinungen (zwei Hände, zwei Füße, zwei Ohren) ist Symmetrie und das Grundgesetz der Liebe. So besteht denn die Schönheit aus lauter heimlichen Liebesbündnissen. Und die Liebe ist Wille zur Schönheit. Gott ist Gott!’ Marcus, ‘Was ist uns der Qu’ran?’ Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 8.


‘Was aber tut die muslimische Frau? Gehorcht – schweigt – dient dem Manne. Ihr Tun ist immer Dienst nach heiliger Vorschrift, ist Gottesdienst. So ähnelt sie, mit gesenkten Augen … einen Priester. Und weil sie immer nur dient und gehorcht und nicht nach sich fragt, kennt sie eigentlich niemand und kennt niemand sie’, in Marcus, ‘Was ist uns der Qu’ran?’ Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 8.


Until 1936 Hugo Marcus published in the Moslemische Revue either with his name or his initials. After the Nazis forced him to step down as president of the German–Muslim Society, he continued under the pseudonym H.M. Schneider.


Leo Baeck Institute, 1938 project – Posts from the Past


Restitution Request 1957. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1; broader descriptions can be found in Baer, ‘Muslim Encounters’, 166 ff; Jonker, The Ahmadiyya Quest, 203–4.


Letter from Sadruddin to Hugo Marcus dated 12 December 1938. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.1.


Letter from Sadruddin to Hugo Marcus dated 12 December 1938. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.1.


Letter from Sadruddin to Hugo Marcus dated 2 February 1939. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 12.1.


Restitution claim 1957. Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Zentralbibliothek Zurich, ‘Übersicht über den Hugo Marcus private archive’, 6–15 (enumeration of the letters), internal document.


Backhausen, ‘Der deutsche Muslim Dr Hamid Hugo Marcus’, 110–9.


Wegner, Botschaft an die Freunde (1962). Hugo Marcus private archive, Box 1.


Marcus, Einer sucht den Freund, 14, 16, 50, 51, 63.

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