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"Himmler was their Defender!"
The SS Handzar Division Lives on in Bosnia
by Dan Chukurov, Petar Makara and Jared Israel

[Posted 9 January 2003; footnotes revised by Jared Israel, April-May 2006]

The photos below were published in the weekly magazine, Svijet, or World, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1997.

The photos were taken during World War II, but they provide a glimpse of the truth about what really happened during the recent Bosnia war, and what is happening today. The issue of what *really* happened in Bosnia is crucial to understanding the role of aggressive Islam in all parts of the world, and of those who sponsor it.

During the Bosnian war we were constantly told by the media that the Serbs were racists who persecuted Muslims and fought against the supposedly moderate Bosnian Muslim government of Alijah Izetbegovic. Citizens in the NATO countries believed this media fiction about Bosnia because it was all they heard and saw, or thought they saw. And seeing is believing.

We were told Mr. Izetbegovic was a great moderate, and the Sarajevo weekly magazine, Svijet, supported Mr. Izetbegovic. So isn't it curious that Svijet's pictures and captions, scanned and posted below, fondly remember a World War II Nazi SS Division made up entirely of Islamic Fundamentalists from Bosnia?

This SS division was called Handzar, which means Scimitar, the curved sword of the Ottoman Empire. The US-backed Bosnian leader, Mr. Izetbegovic, was enamored of Handzar. He even set up an army division, commanded by Islamic terrorists from Albania, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Arab countries, and called it Handzar. According to a recent Dutch report, the US sponsored the Islamic terror specialists who traveled to Bosnia to train and indoctrinate Izetbegovic's troops. (1)

Svijet's Handzar nostalgia articles were published October 26th, and November 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, in 1997. The captions have been translated verbatim. We wrote some explanatory notes which appear in red.

The translation was done by the linguist and culture historian, Peter Maher (2), who also provided information for the notes. When we were about to post this page, Prof. Maher pointed out that we hadn't explained the significance of the fez, the hat which was part of the Handzar uniform. The fez was widely worn in the Ottoman Empire and symbolized both Muslim fanaticism and Ottoman power, under which Bosnian Muslims ruled over Orthodox Christian Serbs and Jews. These Christians and Jews were what is known under Muslim religious law as dhimmi people; their inferior status had legal sanction. By setting up a division of Muslim troops wearing the fez, the Nazis were appealing to Islamic fanaticism, and promising a return to the Ottoman spirit. (To show how seriously Himmler and Hitler took their alliance with Islamic fanatics, one of Svijet's captions makes a special point that even the Handzar division's German commanding officer was required to wear the fez.)

Regarding the Handzar division, the "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" writes:

"These Muslim volunteer units, called Hanjar (sword), were put in Waffen-SS units, fought Yugoslav partisans in Bosnia, and carried out police and security duties in Hungary. They participated in the massacre of civilians in Bosnia and volunteered to join in the hunt for Jews in Croatia..."
-- Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Edition 1990, Volume 2, page 707

The civilians whom Handzar massacred were mainly Serbs and Roma ('Gypsies'). They also slaughtered Jews, wherever they could find them.

When Mr. Izetbegovic resurrected this Waffen SS division he was telling Serbs, Roma and Jews: "Handzar is back!"

Jared Israel, Petar Makara and Dan Chukurov



Emperor's Clothes Note: All English text is a translation from the original Serbo-Croatian except for Jared Israel's comments, which are in red.

The English text below is the translation of the text to the left. 
The Fez, which was part of the Handzar division's uniform, is the same one Bosnian soldiers wore in the Austro-Hungarian military. Only the emblems were changed. The photo shows a field gray jacket with emblems on the collar and on the camouflage uniform.






    The [German] Commander of the Handzar division, SS-brigadier general Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, was required to wear the same fez.

Parade of the Handzar division

Officers of the division present themselves to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.[Emperor's Clothes Note: The Arab agitator, Haj (or Hajj) Amin al-Husseini, organized an anti-Jewish massacre in Palestine in 1920. Apparently in an effort to foment antisemitism among Arabs, and to disrupt Jewish-Arab cooperation, the British colonial government made him 'grand mufti' of Jerusalem, with considerable funding and powers. In 1936, al-Husseini organized the Arab Higher Committee which launched a revolt, in the spirit of the  Spanish Fascists, targeting Jews and antifascist Arabs. During World War II, al-Husseini was an important Nazi figure, working out of offices in Berlin. At one meeting, Hitler promised  al-Husseini that as soon as the Nazis controlled the southern Caucasus, he would be put in charge of the Middle East with authority to wipe out Middle Eastern Jewry. (3) Until his death in 1972, Al-Husseini and his Arab Higher Committee played a defining role in the Arab effort to 'liquidate' the state of Israel.  (For example, Yasar Arafat presented himself as Haj Amin al-Husseini's protégé. (4))
-- Jared

On the 10th of February of 1943 Hitler gave the green light for the creation of a division made up of Bosnian Muslims, whose main purpose would be fighting Tito's partisans in Bosnia. On the 13th of Feb., Himmler gave an order to SS Gruppenfuhrer (division-level general) Arthur Phleps, [German] commanding officer of the "Prince Eugene" SS division, which consisted of Yugoslav Volksdeutsche [Germans living outside post-Bismarck Germany. - J.I.] to immediately start recruiting. 

SS Divisions:

The 'Viking' SS Tank Division
Composition: German and Nordic volunteers.
Logo: Sun in the shape of a swastika.

The Prince Eugene SS Volunteer Mountain Division. Composition: Volksdeutsche from Serbia and Croatia.

The Northland SS Volunteer Tank Division. Composition: Formed out of remainder of Danish, Norwegian and Dutch legions. Logo: Swastika in a circle.

The SS-mountain division, Handzar, consisted of Balkan Volksdeutsche and Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Logo: Handzar (which means Scimitar, the curved sword of the Ottoman Empire).

SS Infantry division, "Galicia". Formed in 1943 from Ukrainians from Galicia and Rutenia (under-karpatian Ukraine) and ""Reichsdeutsche." [Germans living in post-Bismarck Germany, the Second Reich, were called "Reichsdeutsche."- EC]

SS Infantry division, "Lettland" (Latvia). Formed in the beginning of 1944. Consisted of Latvians and Baltic Germans.

SS Infantry division, "Latvia." Formed in 1944. Made up of Latvians and "Volksdeutsche." [Germans living outside Bismarcks's Germany were called "Volksdeutsche," that is, ethnic
Germans.- EC]

SS Infantry division, "Estonia." Formed in 1944. Made up of Estonians and Volksdeutsche. Logo: Letter "E" and a double-edged sword.

SS Mountain division, "Skenderbeg". Formed in 1944. Made up of Albanians. Logo: Albanian double eagle.

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

High school grounds, a home of 240 Bosnian soldiers from the 13th SS Engineers Batallion, 14 August 1943 

Bosnian volunteer hanging a picture of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. [See Note, above.]
A group of Muslim volunteers from the Handzar division. All wear the fez. Their logo consists of a skull and crossbones and an SS eagle. The fez was worn by the Muslim soldiers and their German officers alike. There were different models of fez in different colors (green or red and with or without the tassel). A scimitar or curved sword and a swastika were engraved on uniform collars.
Foreigners in Waffen SS (Balkans and Centr. Europe)
Slovenians 6,000
Albanians 4,000
Serbs 4,000
[As noted elsewhere in the text, these were in fact Volksdeutsche, that is ethnic Germans, not Ethnic Serbs, though they lived in Serbia. See below]
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: The table above refers to 'Serbs.' As everyone familiar with Balkans WWII history knows, and as the text states several times, these people were ethnic Germans, or Volksdeutsche, living in Serbia. They lived particularly in the province of Vojvodina, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire before W.W.I. These Volksdeutsche tended to be pro-Nazi. Many did join the Waffen SS during WWII.]

In the Bosnian mountains. The Handzar division was trained and armed as a mountain unit.

Himmler: "Muslims responded to the call of Muslim leaders and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for, above all -- Our Fuehrer."

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

On the left side of the Fez, mountaineer division members wore the Alpine flower, Edelweiss.

Soldiers of the Handzar division

During the 1944 fighting.

Footnotes & Further Reading:

1) "Dutch Report: US Sponsored Foreign Islamists In Bosnia," at http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/used.htm

2) Peter Maher, Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University, is author of "'Kosovo' or 'Kosova'? What's in a Name?" at

3) To read the German Foreign Ministry's record of the meeting between the Mufti and Hitler, go to
Author: Germany. Auswärtiges Amt. [Foreign Office] Title: Documents on German foreign policy, 1918-1945, from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik. English Publisher: Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1949- Description: Book v. fold. maps. 24 cm.; Series D, Vol. XIII no. 515.

4) An interview with Yasar Arafat can be found on many websites.  The text is as follows:

“Interviewer: ‘I have heard voices from within the [Palestinian] Authority in the past few weeks, saying that the reforms are coordinated according to American whims…’

Arafat: “We are not Afghanistan…We are the Mighty People. Were they able to replace our hero Hajj Amin al-Husseini? ... There were a number of attempts to get rid of Hajj Amin, whom they considered an ally of the Nazis. But even so, he lived in Cairo, and participated in the 1948 war, and I was one of his troops.”

The apparent source of the text is an interview translated by Palestinian Media Watch, which attributes it to "Al Sharq al Awsat, a London Arabic daily, reprinted in the Palestinian daily Al Quds, Aug, 2, 2002."

I have found PMW to be a useful and accurate source, but since this is a damning statement, I would be more comfortable without the ellipses (...) and with a photo copy of the original. Why do I call Arafat's statement damning? Because, if accurately quoted, it means that, in addressing Arab media, Arafat was not the least defensive about associating himself with Haj Amin al-Husseini.  Rather, he boasted of their connection, meaning that he viewed that connection as a mark of status for his Arab audience.  And he mentions the charge that Haj Amin was an ally of the Nazis casually, meaning he is not worried that it will offend his Arab audience.

Absent a full translation of the original text, how should we evaluate this politically defining quotation?

a) To begin we might ask, is it reasonable to believe that Arafat was able to evaluate the accuracy of the charge that Haj Amin was "an ally of the Nazis"?

The answer is, first of all, that Haj Amin was not an ally of the Nazis, he was a leading Nazi. The transcript of his meeting with Hitler (3) suggests Haj Amin was Hitler's favorite Arab.

Did Arafat know that?  He was born in 1929, so he was 19 in 1948, when Haj Amin al-Husseini was a key Arab leader in the war against Israel and when, according to the quote, Arafat was "one of his troops."  At that time Haj Amin al-Husseini's Nazism was a matter of common knowledge, especially among Arabs.  After all, his Arab Higher Committee had operated out of Berlin offices during the war.  Even in the US his Nazism was fairly well-known.  Consider this New York Post editorial from 1948:


New York Post



Ex-Mufti, Criminal Ally

State Dept. Conceals Promised White
Paper Book; Uses Whitewash Instead


On Mar. 19, 1942, the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem spoke to the Arab world by Rome radio and said: “If, God forbid, America and her allies are victorious in this war . . . then the world will become hell, God forbid. But Allah is too just and merciful to grant such murderous violators any victory.”

After a long struggle and supreme sacrifices, the “murderous violators” became victors. They entered Germany while the ex-Mufti was still there with the bags of gold he had received from Hitler. He escaped to Switzerland, was expelled from there back to Germany, was captured by the French army and placed under house arrest; then he escaped from France to Cairo on a false passport, and became the head of the Arab Higher Committee.

On Aug. 28, 1946, Dean Acheson, then Acting Secretary of State, announced that “the State Dept. is preparing a White Paper concerning the activities of the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem.” Acheson said the publication would be in the form of a book, which would cover all the documents concerning the ex-Mufti seized from German files.

This White Paper has not yet been published, although 17 months have passed.

What keeps the State Dept. from publishing it? Who is interested in the delay? Are all the documents safe?

* * *

In October, 1941 Gen. Wavell, commander of the British Middle Eastern forces, offered a $100,000 (25,000 pounds) reward for the capture of the ex-Mufti, dead or alive. This offer has not been withdrawn and therefore it still stands. Nevertheless, the British Government allies itself with the ex-Mufti and the Arab Higher Committee which he heads, and follows him on everything that concerns Palestine.

In August, 1945, Yugoslavia asked that the ex-Mufti be placed on the official list of war criminals. What is the reason for the failure to bring him to trial in Germany, where he was captured when Germany collapsed?

If the State Dept. is not subservient to this war criminal, why does it keep back documents it is bound to publish? Officials of the State Dept. who conceal documents that would be useful at present during the trials of war criminals are guilty of shielding the criminal and become fellow culprits.

What, can be the facts that the friends of the ex-Mufti in the State Dept. should find It necessary to add the information to the unpublished archives, instead of releasing it without delay, as I promised by Dean Acheson over 17 months ago? This protected person is a fugitive from justice, and has been since 1937, being under a still valid warrant of arrest of the Palestine government for the assassination of Jews, Arabs, and British, including Galilee Commissioner Andrews. Since then he has lost his Muftiship, to which he was never elected by the Arabs, but merely appointed, ignoramus that he is (he never finished a single course in the Cairo Theological University and was expelled) through the intrigue of Gen. Storrs, later of evil Cyprus fame.

* * *

The ex·Mufti escaped from Jerusalem and Palestine in the garb of a woman. In Syria he was on Mussolini’s payroll. When, with the beginning of the war, his position in Syria, a French mandate, became ‘insecure,’ he escaped to Iraq. There he worked hard and succeeded in bringing Iraq into the war against the Allies, the declaration of war having been made on May 2, 1941. At that time the Nazis’ entered Greece and Egypt.

When the revolt was crushed (mainly by the Jewish volunteers from Palestine), the ex-Mufti escaped to Iran and hid himself in the Japanese Embassy there. From Teheran he escaped to Italy, where his arrival was announced by the Fascist radio as a “great and happy event;” in November, 1941, he arrived in Berlin and was received by Hitler. In 1942 the ex-Mufti organized the Arab Legion that fought the American invasion in Africa (on Apr. 10, 1946, Representative Celler referred to 3,000 members of the Arab Legion that were held prisoners of war at Camp Opelika in Alabama).

* * *

On Dec. 29, 1942 the ex-Mufti sent a telegram of congratulations to Emperor Hirohito, assuring the latter that the Arabs were “praying for the final victory of Japanese arms.”

By the end of 1943 the ex-Mufti had organized Bosnian “Black Legions” to fight the Allies. He also bears a heavy responsibility for the annihilation of European Jewry, according to Nazi testimony given at Nuremberg. He visited the gas chambers; he wrote to the Cabinet Ministers of Hungary and Romania asking them to send the Jews from their countries to the concentration camps in Poland.

Thus according to the Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, the ex-Mufti is a criminal on all three counts, for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

If the ex-Mufti is not only not brought to Nuremberg, but is permitted to continue his murderous career, then we will do well to reflect once more upon his words quoted at the beginning of this article. Did not the world really become hell?

'Observer' [Immanuel Velikovsky], "Ex-Mufti, Criminal Ally. State Dept. Conceals Promised White Paper Book; Uses Whitewash Instead", New York Post, Monday, February 23, 1948.

Reproduced from The Immanuel Velikovsky Archive, where the above article is posted at http://www.varchive.org/obs/480223.htm

Between November 1947 and June 1949 Immanuel Velikovsky, under the pseudonym 'Observer,' published 57 articles in the New York Post dealing with the Middle East and Israel.

As the Post noted, "In August, 1945, Yugoslavia asked that the ex-Mufti be placed on the official list of war criminals."

All considered, it is certain that Arafat and other Palestinian Arab leaders knew the politics of their leader.

b) Regarding the validity of the Arafat quote, we might ask: is there other evidence, especially from Arab sources, that Arafat boasted that he was linked to the Mufti?  Yes there is. The following is from Al Ahram, the semi-official newspaper of the Egyptian government, writing after Arafat's death:

"Arafat wanted it known that he was connected to Jerusalem through more than his maternal lineage. He always stressed the connections between his family name and the prominent Jerusalem family of Al-Husseini, specifically to Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, mufti of Palestine and the undisputed Palestinian political leader from the 1920s to 1948." (my emphasis)
-- http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/717/profile.htm

So there you have it. Independent of the quotation form the interview, whose validity we are considering, we know that a) Arafat had to be aware that the Mufti was a top Nazi and b) he stressed their connection. This verifies the point made in the quotation, i.e., that Arafat celebrated - and expected Arabs to respect - his boasted connection with a top Nazi.

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