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The above headline appeared in Sarajevo Muslim's weekly magazine, "Svijet". The original, "Bosnian" language headline was "Himmler ih je stitio."

The series of articles about this dark period of Bosnian Muslim's WWII history was printed on: Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23. of 1997. I got my hands on Nov 2, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 issues. The articles will eventually be scanned, translated into English and posted to this site. For now, I'll just present you with the photos printed in the three issues above. 

Above left: 
Fez which was a part of "Handzar" division's uniform is completely same as the one Bosnian soldiers wore in Austro-Hungarian military. Only the amblems were changed. The photo shows the "Feldgaru" jacket with amblems on the collar, and camouflage uniform "Tarnhemd"

Commander of the "Handzar" division. SS-brigadier general Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig also was required to wear the same fez.

Defile of "Handzar" division

Officers of the division introduce themselves to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem


On 10th of February of 1943 Hitler gave a "green light" for creation of the division made up of Bosnian Muslims, whose main purpose would be fighting Tito's partisans in Bosnia. On 13th of Feb. Himmler gave an order to SS Gruppenfuhrer (division-level general) Arthur Phelps, commanding officer of the "Prinz Eugen" SS division, which consisted of Yugoslavian folksdojcers, to immediately start recruiting. 


SS Divisions:

SS-Panzer division "Viking"
Made up of Germans and Nordic volunteers
Logo: Sun in an image of swastika.

SS-Volunteer mountain division "Prinz Eugen". Made up of folksdojcers from Serbia and Croatia.

SS-volunteer panzer division "Nordland", formed out of remainder of Danish, Norwegian and Holland legions. Logo: Swastika in a circle.

SS-mountain division "Handschar", consisted of Balkan folksdojcers and Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Logo: "handzar" (sword).

SS Infantry division "Galicia". Formed in 1943 from Ukranians from Galicia and Rutenia (under-karpatian Ukraine) and "Reich"-Germans.

SS Infantry division "Letland". Formed in the beginning of 1944. Consisted of Letonians and Baltic Germans.

SS Infantry diviosion "Latvia". Formed in 1944. Made up of Letonian and folksdojcers.

SS Infantry division "Estland". Formed in 1944. Made up of Estonians and folksdojcers. Logo" Letter "E" and a sword.

SS Mountain division "Skenderbeg". Formed in 1944. Made up of Albanians. Logo: two-headed Albanian eagle.

Branko Slavini (in uniform) and Kasim Silajdzic, two Bosnian soldier who deserted 16th September. Before them, Kazimir Silajatovic also deserted.

High-school grounds, a home of 240 Bosnian soldiers of 13. SS engineering batallion 14. August 1943 

Bosnian volunteer hanging a picture of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
A group of Muslim volunteers of "Handzar" division. All wear fez caps. Logos are skull with crossed bones and SS eagle. Fez was worn by the Muslim soldiers and their German officers alike. There were different models of fez in different colors (green, red, with or without the tail). The uniform collars had a curved sword and swastika engraved on them.
Foreigners in Waffen SS (Balkan and Centr. Europe)

Slovenians 6,000
Albanians 4,000
Serbs 4,000
Bosnians 20,000
Greeks 1,000
Czech 5,000
Hungarians 40,000
Bulgarians 3,000
Rumanians 5,000

Special armed formations of fascist Germany (Waffen-SS) until the end of war created all together 38 divisions, 18 of which were staffed by pure German and 20 by foreigners. Among them was a "Handzar" division staffed by Bosnians, claims the French magazine "Istoria" (Number 32, year 1973.). 

[Note by the Srpska Mreza webmaster: The Serbs in the table above were not the Serbs at all, it was the Germans living in Serbia's province of Vojvodina, which used to belong the pre-WWI Austro-Hungary.]

In Bosnian mountains. The "Handzar" division was trained and armed as a mountain formation.

Himmler: "Muslims responded to the call of Muslim heads and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for the one we place above all -- towards Fuhrer."

SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler and SS Brigadefuhrer Karl G. Sauberzweig examining "Handzar" division.

On the fez, on the left side, mountaineer division wore a flower.

Soldiers of the "Handzar" division
During the 1944 fight.



Last updated: 02/05/2004