17 November 2014

Muslim Members of Handschar Division at Prayer during their Training in Germany

Image size: 1600 x 1086 pixel. 301 KB
Date: Tuesday, 9 November 1943
Place: Neuhammer, Silesia, Germany
Photographer: SS-Kriegsberichter Falkowski

Muslim soldiers from 13. SS-Freiwilligen-Bosnien-Herzegowina-Gebirgs-Division (Kroatien) at their morning prayer during Eid al Fitr celebration in Truppenübungsplatz (Training Ground) Neuhammer, 9 November 1943. The prayer was led by SS-Sturmbannführer Abdulah Muhasilović, the official Imam of the division, while behind him are two muslim officers from Handschar. Muhasilović would be replaced by SS-Obersturmführer Halim Malkoč in 21 October 1944 after led a mutiny at Cerna). The Division itself had at least nine Bosnian Muslim officers, the highest ranking of whom was SS-Obersturmbannführer Husejin Biščević Beg, who had been a Muslim officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army when Bosnia was under occupation. The romantic notions that Himmler had about the Bosnian Muslims were probably significant in the division’s genesis. He was personally fascinated by the Islamic faith and believed that Islam created fearless soldiers. He envisioned the creation of a Bosnian SS division constituted solely of Bosnian Muslims in a manner similar to the Bosnian divisions of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many of these soldiers came from Bosnia, and it was a conscious decision to fight the Communist Partisans and the nationalist Chetniks. The Nazis tried to cater to the Muslim religious needs of their recruits, but the soldiers themselves cared more about protecting their homeland (as promised by the Nazis), than anything else the SS and Himmler told them about racial equality/superiority to the inferior Jews. Riots and desertions were commonplace among the soldiers, often to the Communist Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito, who promised the soldiers amnesty if they joined the Partisans. The soldiers were only interested in protecting their homeland in Bosnia, so any incursions into Croatia or Serbia to help the Nazi allies or war effort there met with consternation among the soldiers, and even more desertions.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1977-137-20

No comments:

Post a Comment