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Carl Savich | Columns | serbianna.com Bosnia and the Kama Division

By Carl Savich

Himmler inspecting Bosnian Muslim troops. Before Bill Clinton, Heinrich Himmler was the main sponsor of Bosnian Muslims.
Introduction: Proxies and Surrogates

The US was not the first to recruit and exploit Islam and the jihad or Islamic holy war in its proxy wars against Communism and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo-Metohija. Zbigniew Brzezinski was not the first foreign policy and national security strategist to exploit and manipulate Islam to advance military and geopolitical agendas. Brzezinski developed the mujahedeen and armed, trained, and funded Ossama bin Ladin to wage a jihad in Afghanistan against Soviet forces. In the 1990s, US policy would allow mujahedeen and Al-Qaeda forces to infiltrate Bosnia and Kosovo. But did this policy of exploiting and manipulating Islam under a divide and rule strategy originate with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton?

Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler developed and originated this strategy or policy of using Islam to advance their geopolitical objectives. The precursors to this policy can be found in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s exploitation and manipulation of Bosnian Muslim, Albanian Muslim, and Sandzak Muslim troops to advance its agendas in the Balkans. Hitler and Himmler developed this concept most fully and completely in the 20th century. The historical antecedents and origins of Zbiniew Brzezinski’s policies in arming and training the Afghan mujahedeen and Ossama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda can be traced to Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. Bill Clinton was not the first to exploit the Islamic jihad to serve a national interest by allowing Al-Qaeda to infiltrate Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and then Kosovo in 1998. The precursors and antecedents of this policy go back to Himmler and Hitler.

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem greeting Bosnian Muslim recruit in the Nazi Waffen SS. 
The Kama Division

The Kama Division was the second Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division formed by Heinrich Himmler. The first Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division was the Handzar Division formed in 1943. The Kama and Handzar Divisions were formed by Himmler and Bosnian Muslim political leaders to advance the goals of Bosnian Muslim nationalism by achieving “autonomy” for a Bosnian Muslim state. Kama and Handzar were perceived as the armed forces of a newly-emerging Bosnian Muslim autonomous statelet. Kama and Handzar are essential to any understanding of the development of Bosnian Muslim nationalism.

The Nazi roots of Bosnian Muslim nationalism are covered-up today. The role of Alija Izetbegovic during World War II has likewise been suppressed. Izetbegovic was a member of a pro-Nazi, pro-fascist Muslim ultra-nationalist terrorist organization called The Young Muslims or Mladi Muslimani. Radovan Karadzic has stated that "today everyone knows that during W.W.II Izetbegovic wore a German uniform. Before the start of the war in Bosnia, Izetbegovic wrote a book in which he said that Bosnia should become a Muslim Islamic state. There can be no mistake about it, his words were clear."

The Kama Division emerged from the plan to form an independent or “autonomous” Muslim state within the NDH. Bosnian Muslim nationalists sought the assistance of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in creating this Muslim state.

On November 1, 1942, Uzeiraga Hadzihasanovic, a prominent member of the Yugoslavian Muslim Organization (JMO), Mustafa Softic, the then major of Sarajevo, and Suljaga Salihagic of Banja Luka, wrote the "Memorandum of the National Muslim Committee" which they sent to Adolf Hitler requesting that Bosnian Muslims be made a part of the Nazi New Order in Europe. In this memorandum, Adolf Hitler is referred to as "Our dear leader". The Bosnian Muslim leaders wanted Adolf Hitler to create a Bosnian Muslim state. They wrote that Serbs and Croats had accused them of being a Fifth Column that “desired and worked to ease the German destruction of Yugoslavia."

They explained to Adolf Hitler that Bosnian Muslim were not a part of the lower, subhuman Slavic race. Instead, the Bosnian Muslims are part of the master race, the Aryans, as descendants of Germanic tribes known as Goths who migrated to Illyria in the 3rd century AD. They wrote that Serbs and Croats had accused them of being a Fifth Column in Yugoslavia that “desired and worked to ease the German destruction of Yugoslavia.”

SS Untersturmfuehrer Alfred Berger of the Kama/Handzar/Batschka Nazi SS Divisions. 
They made eight requests to Hitler. First, they requested of Hitler that the area of operations of the Muslim "Bosnian Legion" under the command of Major Muhamed Hadziefendic should be increased. The Muslim Legion was a Bosnian Muslim military formation under Nazi control. It would later form the core for the Handzar Division. The Legion should be renamed the "Bosnian Guard" according to the request. Second, the Bosnian Guard would include all Muslim military formations in Bosnia/NDH excluding Bosnian Muslim volunteers on the Eastern Front, such as those in the 369th Reinforced Infantry Regiment that was fighting at Stalingrad at that time, and Bosnian Muslim troops in the Ustasha formations. The third request was that the "Bosnian Guard" would be supplied, armed and commanded by the German Army. The fourth request was that the costs of German actions be taken from the revenue from Bosnian mines and forests. The fifth request was that all Ustasha actions and units in Bosnia be controlled and accounted for. The sixth request to Hitler states that a distinct and separate Bosnian Muslim state would be formed by Hitler within the NDH: "On this territory 'Zupa Bosna' would be formed with its capital in Sarajevo. Its chief would be named exclusively by Hitler". The seventh request was that Hitler form a National Socialist or Nazi Party in Zupa Bosna or the Bosnian Muslim state. The eighth request was that Bosnia be given a warm water port on the Adriatic in Ploce. They wanted control over southern Bosnia where Italian and Montenegrin forces were dominant. Finally, the Bosnian Muslim mayor of Sarajevo in 1942 and a prominent Bosnian Muslim political leader requested that Bosnia be made a part of the Nazi New Order in Europe under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

The Bosnian Muslim leaders stated Bosnia had to achieve freedom and autonomy or independence which was denied by world Jewry, English imperialism, Communism, and the Free Masons: "Bosniak-Muslims are a part of the 300-million Islamic nation from the East, which can achieve its liberation only in the struggle against English imperialism, world Jewry, Free Masons and Bolshevism, led by the German people under the leadership of its Fuehrer.” The Bosnian Muslims emphasized that they were part of the larger Muslim world, or Muslim Caliphate. They perceived themselves as being part of this larger Muslim global bloc. They were identifying with a Muslim Caliphate, a global Muslim community, rather than with Europe or with Slavs. Their identification was based on an ideological or religious basis, Islam. They rejected their common ethnic identification with Serbs and Croats as Slavs and saw their identity in religious terms, as Muslims.

The Bosnian Muslims objected to the fact that the Ustasha leaders of the NDH had taken a dominant position at the expense of the Bosnian Muslims. The Bosnian Muslims assumed a secondary role in the Ustasha/NDH regime. This aroused resentment and hostility. The Vice-President of the Ustasha NDH Nazi proxy state was a Bosnian Muslim. They also complained of victimization by both Serbs and Croats.

The "National Committee" further explained to Hitler that "in spite of the anti-Muslim attitude" of the Croatian Roman Catholic Church, the volunteers from NDH on the Eastern front were actually Bosnian Muslims "whose example was followed by Muslim men and women who had gone to work as volunteers in Germany to prove their trust and love for the German people".

Berger with his company from the Kama Division, some wearing fezzes, helmets, and caps.
The authors of the Memorandum, Uzeiraga Hadzihasanovic, a prominent member of the Yugoslavian Muslim Organization (JMO), the largest Bosnian Muslim political party, and a former member of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Army, K.u.K., Mustafa Softic, the mayor of Sarajevo in 1942, and Suljaga Salihagic of Banja Luka, sought to establish the Bosnian Muslims as worthy members of the Aryan master race or herrenvolk: "We, Bosnian Muslims do not express loyalty to the German people because of current interests. Although we live in this country where the majority population is of Slavic origin, although we speak Bosnian language which is similar to Serbo-Croatian, racially and by blood we are not Slavs, but hail from Goths. We Bosniaks came to the Balkans in the third century AD as a Germanic tribe..."

Some Bosnian Muslims identified on ethnic grounds with Serbs and Croats. Dzafer-beg Kulenovic, the Bosnian Muslim Vice-President of the Nazi/Ustasha NDH from November, 1941 to April, 1945, identified with Croatia and saw himself as a Croat in ethnic terms. He saw his Muslim identity as secondary to his primary ethnic identity as a Croat. There were other Bosnian Muslims that identified with Serbs. There were Bosnian Muslim troops in General Draza Mihailovich’s Chetnik forces in Bijeljina in eastern Bosnia. Mihailovich had maintained good relations with the Bosnian Muslim and Sandzak Muslim communities. The dividing lines between Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Croats were not always so clear-cut and black and white.

The Bosnian Muslim leaders appealed to Adolf Hitler’s pseudo-scientific racism/racialism in arguing that Bosnian Muslims were Goths while "Slavs arrived to our land in the sixth century" and that anthropological differences between newly arrived Slavs and Muslim "Goths" are still obvious. They argued that 90 percent of Bosnian Muslims/Bosniaks had "thin, blond hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion" while 80 percent of Serbs and Croats have "thick black hair, black eyes and a dark complexion". Finally, "Bosniaks are known as a people of open character while Slavs are prone to be enslaved by others."

Berger with his company of Bosnian Muslims from the Kama Division, 1944.
While Hitler did not act on the Bosnian Muslim request that Bosnia be annexed to the Nazi Third Reich, Heinrich Himmler took a different view. Himmler wanted to form two Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Divisions to restore “an old Austrian tradition”. In a letter to General Edmund Gleise von Horstenau, the German military commander in the NDH, of March 3, 1943, Himmler wrote:

I hope to reach out to a people who today stand apart from the Croatian State and have a long tradition and attachment to the Reich, which we can utilize militarily.

Himmler’s and Berger’s goal was to rally the entire Muslim/Arab world to the Nazi cause. Berger stated:

Through the Croatian-Bosnian division, it is our desire to reach out to Muslims all over the world, who number around 350 million people and are decisive in the struggle with the British Empire.

Himmler wanted to retain the Islamic customs of the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS troops in Kama and Handzar. The Muslims, referred to as Mujos, performed the daily ritual Islamic prayer, salaah or salat. The Bosnian Muslims prayed collectively before sunrise or Fajr, after midday or Dhuhr, in the late afternoon or Asr, at sunset or Maghrib, and when the there is darkness or Isha’h. After the ablution, they are wudhu, they recite the prayer in Arabic and give praises to Allah, the shahada, and recite the first chapter of The Koran, al Fatihah. They had to kneel bare-foot towards Mecca five times each day, bending forwards and touching their foreheads three times on prayer mats or rugs which they spread out before them. On Fridays, there is the congregational mass prayer, Jum’ah or Jumu’ah, performed at midday which is required for all men but not for women. The Waffen SS also instituted rules against pork and alcohol. Himmler approved of these special regulations for Muslims in the SS. In fact, this had been the procedure for Bosnian Muslim troops in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the Hapsburg period. Himmler clearly wanted to invoke a jihad or holy war.

Himmler promulgated special guidelines for Muslims in the Waffen SS in an August 6, 1943 letter to Artur Phleps:

“All Moslem members of the Waffen-SS and police are to be afforded the undeniable right of their religious demands never to touch pork, pork sausages nor to drink alcohol. In all cases, a diet of equal value will be assured to them.

I hold all commanders, company commanders and other SS officers, especially those officers and NCOs involved with economic administration, responsible for the most scrupulous and loyal respect for this privilege especially granted to the Moslems.

Berger and his company from Kama. 
They have answered the call of the Moslem chiefs and have come to us out of hatred for the common Jewish-Anglo-Bolshevik enemy and through respect and fidelity for he who they respect above all, the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler.

I do not wish that through the folly and narrowness of mind of an isolated person, a single one of the tens of thousands of these brave volunteers and their families should suffer from ill humor and feel deprived of the rights which have been granted to them. The meddling frugality of administration….which there is in so many cases….can only do more harm than good.

I therefore command that every breach of my order shall be taken with neither compromise nor consideration, punished and reported to me.

Moreover, I forbid the jokes and facetious remarks about the Moslem volunteers which are so much enjoyed in groups of comrades. There will no longer be the least discussion about the special rights afforded to the Moslems in these circles.

Heil Hitler!
(signed) H. Himmler.”

The Bosnian Muslims troops in Kama paraded singing the marching songs “Moj Schetzi dilo, moj schetzi dalo”, and “Marschirala, marschirala Hitlerowa garda” (“March, march, Hitler’s Guards”). The Bosnian Muslims in Kama certainly perceived themselves as “Hitler’s Guards”, as the vanguard of the New Order in Europe. They were not just foot soldiers with no ideological foundations. They were committed Bosnian Muslim nationalists who clearly saw themselves as at the forefront of Nazism and Hitler’s New Order.

Sandzak Nazi Muslim Legion: Karl von Krempler, on left, the SS Commander of the Nazi Sandzak Muslim Legion. 
Himmler developed close relations with Haj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The concept of “muselgermanen” or “Muslimo-Germans” was developed by Himmler. In Islam und Judentum, Islam and Jewry, a pamphlet issued by the Waffen SS to Bosnian Muslim SS troops, an “ancient enmity” between Muslims and Jews was posited. On November 2, 1943, on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Mufti made a speech denouncing a proposed Jewish Homeland in Palestine:

This people [Jews] has been the enemy of the Arabs and Islam since it came into being. The Holy Koran expressed this old enmity in the following words: "you will find that the most hostilely-disposed toward the believers are the Jews." They tried to poison the praiseworthy Prophet, put up resistance to him, were filled with hostility to him and plotted against him. This was the case over 1300 years ago. Since then, they have never ceased to hatch plots against the Arabs and Mohammedans.

Haj Amin el Husseini was the self-declared leader of global Islam. His objective during the war was to support the Nazi Final Solution to prevent the settlement of then Palestine by European Jews. He established close relations with Bosnian Muslim leaders Mehmet Spaho, the president of the JMO and his close deputy and aide, Azeiraga Hadzihasanovic, in the 1930s. Both Spaho and Hadzihasanovic had attended the Mufti’s Pan-Islamic Conference in Jerusalem in 1931. He came to Sarajevo in 1943 to ensure that Bosnian Muslims were recruited into the Waffen SS.  He was photographed on the balcony of the Sarajevo Presidency building with prominent Bosnian Muslim leaders with a Nazi banner reading “Victory for Europe”. The Presidency building had been constructed in 1884-86 during the Austro-Hungarian occupation under Benjamin von Kallay, the “governor” of Bosnia, who had a role like that of Lord Paddy Ashdown in the post Dayton Accords Bosnia. The architect was Josip Vancas. The German occupation troops hoisted the Nazi swastika flag over the Sarajevo Vijecnica or City Hall when they occupied the city on April 16, 1941. The Vijecnica was built in 1896 during the Austro-Hungarian occupation. German occupation troops also hoisted a Nazi swastika flag over the bascarsija, or head market place or bazaar or pazar, the old Ottoman Muslim market quarter where they were welcomed by Sarajevo Muslims. German occupation forces, along with Sarajevo Bosnian Muslims, had destroyed the Sephardic synagogue in Sarajevo in 1941. This fact was carefully censored and suppressed by the US media machine during the civil war.

Nazi "liberation" of Sarajevo: Nazi swastika flag raised over the Sarajevo city hall, April, 1941.
The Grand Mufti’s connection to Bosnia began in 1931. From December 6 to 17, 1931, the Mufti organized and was the leader of an international Pan-Islamic Conference in Jerusalem. Muslim representatives from 22 countries, including Bosnian Muslims from Yugoslavia, attended. The Conference was held on the 27th of Rajab in the Islamic calendar to mark Al-Isra Wal Miraj, which celebrated Mohammed’s travel from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven. The Conference adopted anti-Zionist positions, opposing the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

This was the first contact of the Mufti and Bosnian Muslim leaders. Mehmet Spaho, the president of the JMO, the largest and most important Bosnian Muslim political party, and his deputy and aide Uzeiraga Hadzihasanovic attended the Jerusalem All-Muslim Conference that the Grand Mufti had convened. What is rarely noted in Western analyses of Bosnian Muslim nationalism is the fact that Bosnian Muslim nationalists rejected the secular vision for Islam and the Islamic state that Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk had espoused. Bosnian Muslim nationalism followed the radical Islamic path and course set by the Grand Mufti, not by Ataturk. This is a salient point that is sedulously covered-up and falsified in US and Western research. An obvious way to see this fact is in photographs of Bosnian Muslim leaders and citizens. They are all shown wearing the Ottoman Turkish fez. Ataturk had outlawed the fez in 1925. Similarly, Alija Izetbegovic followed the course set by the Grand Mufti, not Ataturk. The Big Lie of US propaganda is that Izetbegovic was a follower of Ataturk. This is a total falsification of the facts. This proves how inane and mindless and transparent US propaganda was.

The Kama division had Muslim imams in each battalion, and a mullah in each regiment, as did the Handzar division. The Kosovo Albanian Muslim Skanderbeg Division also had imams or hodzas.

There was also animosity between German troops and Bosnian Muslim troops because the Bosnian Muslims were Slavic, regarded as subhuman, untermenschen, under Nazi racial concepts. It was difficult for German SS troops indoctrinated in Aryan racial doctrines to accept the Slavic mistmenschen/untermenschen as equals.

There was also the religious and cultural animosity because of the differing practices and customs and beliefs between Islam and Christianity.

When SS Untersturmfuehrer Hans Villier was transferred to the Kama Division, he recalled the Bosnian Muslim troops in the Kama Division:

“On one occasion, my Muslims entered a village and shot all the pigs! The Hungarian farmers were furious. I too was angry and raised hell with them about it. Ali, my interpreter, told me that this was normal, and that pigs were dirty animals anyway.

There was a Muslim festival that was celebrated by firing shots into the air. I wanted to obtain blank ammunition and prohibited the use of live rounds for this purpose. The Muslims ignored my order and used live rounds anyway, whereupon I too became ‘live’ and nearly came to blows with them.

Late that night, I awoke to find Ali seated near me with his dagger drawn. At first I was startled and thought that he was going to kill me, until he told me that he was there for my protection, as many of the comrades were quite angry at me.”

Villier would later command Platoon III in the signals battalion of the successor division to Kama, the Batschka Division. He had earlier been a member of the SS Cavalry Brigade and had fought on the Eastern Front at Rzhev.

Welcoming the Nazis: Nazi swastika raised in bascarsija or market in Sarajevo as Bosnian Muslims welcome Nazi forces. 
The Bosnian Muslim troops engaged in mass assembly Islamic prayer services called Jumah conducted by Bosnian Muslim imams, or Muslim clerics who were attached to the Kama Division. Some of the German SS personnel and trainers and instructors could not “relate” to the Bosnian Muslims and their “unfamiliar customs”. There were volksdeutsche troops in Kama from Croatia who translated between the reichsdeutsche and the Bosnian Muslims in the division. The volksdeutsche functioned as “stiffeners”, stiffening morale and cohesiveness in the division. In September, 1944, volksdeutsche from Hungary were also incorporated in the Kama Division.

The insignia for the Kama Division consisted of a collar tab and shield symbol that consisted of a sun with sixteen rays that emanated from the center, although some renderings of the insignia show more than sixteen rays. This was the symbol of Alexander the Great of ancient Macedonia. The Kosovo Albanian Muslim Skanderbeg Division also had a connection to Alexander the Great, whose name in Turkish is Iskander or Skander. The official headgear for the Bosnian Muslim Kama Division, like with its sister division Handzar, was the Ottoman Turkish fez with tassel. This was the Ottoman fez Ataturk had abolished and outlawed in 1925. The fez was field-gray with the service uniform, and maroon with the dress uniform. The troops in Kama also wore khaki tropical uniforms because of the hot weather in Bachka. Troops from Handzar who were transferred to Kama retained their collar patch showing a hand holding a dagger or handzar/handschar with a swastika. The fez and Kama/Handzar insignia was transferred to the Batchka Division during the initial formation phases before new insignia could be devised.

Bosnian Muslim volunteers for the Kama Division were inducted at Waffen SS recruiting centers or depots in Bosnjaci in eastern Bosnia and in Sombor in Bachka in Vojvodina. The Bosnian Muslim recruits were mustered and trained and drilled at these depots. They were then inducted into the Kama Division. When the Kama Division was disbanded in October, the German personnel at the Sombor center in Vojvodina were transferred to the 13th Company of the Batschka Division’s newly-formed 80th Regiment.

The unexpected event that precipitated the collapse of the German military front in eastern Europe occurred on August 23, 1944 when King Carol of Romania signed an armistice with the USSR. An entire Germany army group was trapped and German defensive lines along the Carpathians collapsed. In three weeks, Soviet forces reached the Hungarian border. The Soviet offensives against Hungary put the Kama Division in jeopardy because it had not had time to train and form.

Heinz Hummel, a zugfuehrer or platoon leader in the pioneer battalion, recalled the Bosnian Muslim troops in the Kama Division:

“There were a number of shady characters among the Muslims. Several of the ethnic Germans believed that these individuals were actually partisans who had volunteered for the division simply to receive military training, and would desert back to the partisan ranks after the return (to Bosnia). An example:

(1/Pi. Btl. 23) was quartered in a Stiechowice school. I bunked with two NCOs, Werner Rauner from Thuringia, and a Muslim. We knew that this Muslim had contacts with local Czechs. One day he took leave of us; he had received a furlough. His last words were that he would not be returning. We took this as a joke. In fact, never saw him again.”

An ethnic German member of the 31st Batschka Division wrote:

“Some of the Bosnians attempted to desert. Untersturmfuehrer Fiedler tried to stop them and stood in their way. They just shot him and threw his body in the water!

Sturmbannfuehrer Sepp Syr believed himself forced to let them go. They took a large number of weapons, including machine guns and a considerable amount of ammunition with them.”

The SS Volunteer Grenadier Regiment 79 of the Batschka Division consisted of six company commanders. One of the company commanders was SS Untersturmfuehrer Alfred Berger, who was a Sudeten German from Czechoslovakia. He had earlier been a part of the 6th SS Gebirgs Division “Nord” in Karelia in Finland from which he was transferred to the Handzar Division. He was photographed wearing a Bosnian Muslim fez with tassel and Waffen SS insignia. He was also photographed with a company of Bosnian Muslim and German soldiers from the Kama Division.

On September 24, 1944, the decision was made to reorganize the Kama and Handzar Divisions. The order:

“Under command of the staff of the IX SS Corps, all available men and material from the ‘Handschar’ Division and the Bosnians from existing elements of the ‘Kama’ will be reorganized and formed into two new divisions:

     13th Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS ‘Handschar’ (Croatian Nr 1) (Staf, Hampel)
     23rd Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS ‘Kama’ (Croatian Nr 2) (Staf. Raithel)

The formation of the ‘Kama’ Division in Hungary is hereby cancelled. All [Bosnian] officers, NCOs, and men are to be transferred to [Bosnia] … All other personnel [i.e. the German officers, NCOs, and men] as well as material are to remain in their present sector to form an SS infantry division…. SS-Oberfuehrer Lombard … is charged with this task.”

Nazi/Ustasha Vice-President of the NDH, Bosnian Muslim Dzafer-beg Kulenovic, on right. 
The Bosnian Muslim troops in Kama were to be transported by rail to eastern Bosnia, to the Gradiste-Zupanja-Bosnjaci region to form a new Kama Division. There was a delay in the transfers. The Bosnian Muslims remained in the Bachka region. For a brief time, the Kama Division and the 31st SS Division Batscha existed simultaneously.

The Bosnian Muslim troops in the Kama Division actually were engaged in combat for a brief period. In early October, as part of the Kampfgruppe Syr, Bosnian Muslim troops from Kama were deployed in combat along the Tisza River in Bachka. The Bosnian Muslim troops from Kama, commanded by German officers, fought rapidly advancing Soviet Red Army troops. The Bosnian Muslim troops were engaged in this combat for a week before being disengaged and transferred to Bosnia and the NDH.

The Soviet advance in Hungary inflicted heavy casualties on German forces. The impending German military defeat demoralized the Bosnian Muslim troops of Kama. Some Bosnian Muslim troops from Kama deserted from their units when they were released to return to Bosnia. They wanted to defend their own families and towns and cities in Bosnia, not volksdeutsche and Hungarians in the Bachka. One group of Bosnian Muslims from Kama mutinied against German leaders, murdering one German SS soldier before they got to Bosnia/NDH.

The Bosnian Muslim troops in Kama were inducted into the Handzar Division when they reached the NDH. The Kama Division was officially dissolved on October 31, 1944.

Jews of Bosnia in a prison camp around Sarajevo, 1941.
The evidence that the Kama Division saw combat action in World War II is provided by a telegram of October 9, 1944 from the Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS Hungary. In this dispatch, it was noted that “the combat-ready parts of SS-Oberfuehrer Lombard’s new division, together with the Bosnians of the ‘Kama’ are to be thrown into the battle.” This is the first proof or evidence that the Bosnian Muslim Kama Division fought in World War II, although military orders and the reality on the ground do not always correspond. It cannot be corroborated or conclusively established that Bosnian Muslims were part of these military operations, even though the command orders referred to Bosnian Muslim troops. A telegram from October 7, 1944 from the Befehlshaber noted that “combat-ready parts of Division Lombard, including the Muslims of the ‘Kama’ Division (2,600 men) deployed on the Theiss to protect the Batschka.” The unit of the Batschka Division deployed was the Kampfgruppe Syr, which according to the dispatch, included Bosnian Muslims.

The SS and Polizei Selbshutz Regiment “Sandschak”

German recruitment of Muslims into Waffen SS and Police and Wehrmacht forces did not stop with the Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanian Muslims. German occupation forces in the former Yugoslavia sought to exploit the Muslim manpower in all regions of Yugoslavia. In addition to Bosnia, and Kosovo, the Germans focused on the Sandzak or Rashka region of Serbia, which contained a Slavic Muslim population and Albanian Muslims.

In Sandzak, German occupation forces created the Sandzak Muslim Legion, the SS and Police Self-Defense Regiment “Sandschak”. SS Standartenfuehrer Karl von Krempler commanded the Sandschak Muslim Legion, or the SS and Polizei Selbschutz Regiment or Self-Defense Regiment “Sandschak” from September, 1943 to June 1, 1944. The Sandzak Muslims consisted of Slavic Muslims who were known as “Bosniaks” and Albanian Muslims. These Sandschak Muslims had been part of the Nazi-formed Muslim Harun al Rashid militias, named after Aaron the Upright, the Abbasid Caliph from 786 to 806. There was also SS Standartenfuehrer Harun al Rashid Bey, a German by birth who dad converted to Islam when he trained Turkish troops, who commanded the Ostturkischen Waffen Verbande der SS in 1944. Herbert von Obwurzer had also recruited Sandzak Muslims for the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Nazi SS Division, which also included a Kosovar Albanian Muslim Battalion.

Karl von Krempler was born on May 26, 1896 in Pirot, Serbia. He spoke Turkish, Serbian, and German. He escaped prosecution for war crimes after the war. He died on April 17, 1972 in Salzburg, Austria. Krempler was instrumental in the formation of the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Nazi SS Division. He had been a member of the Prinz Eugen Division. He was one of the key people, along with Franz von Scheiger and Dzafer Deva, who was involved in the formation of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim Second League of Prizren, which revived the Greater Albania ideology under Nazi sponsorship. He spoke fluent Turkish and was the Islamist specialist in the SS. He was known as the Sandzak Prince because of his formation of the Sandzak Muslim Legion, the SS and Police Self-Defense Regiment.

Krempler was replaced by SS Oberfuehrer Richard Kaaserer, who commanded the Sandschak Nazi Regiment from June 21, 1944 to November 28, 1944. Kaaserer had been a member of the Austro-Hungarian Army in World War I. He was extradited to Yugoslavia after the war and was tried and executed in January, 1947 for war crimes. Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig committed suicide on October 20, 1946, while in British custody at the Neuengamme POW camp, a holding camp primarily for SS officers. The post-war Yugoslavian government sought to extradite him to face trial for war crimes in Yugoslavia while he commanded the Handzar SS Division and the IX SS Mountain Corps. August Schmidhuber, the commander of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim Skanderbeg SS Division, was extradited after the war to Yugoslavia, tried and convicted of war crimes, and hanged on February 19, 1947. Josef Fitzhum, the first commander of the Skanderbeg Division in Kosovo, died on January 10, 1945 in an automobile accident near Vienna. Hellmut Raithel, the commander of the Kama Division, died in 1990. Gustav Lombard, the last commander of the Kama Division, was a Soviet POW and was incarcerated in a Soviet prison from May, 1945 to October 10, 1955.

Bosnian Muslim troops as part of Serbian Chetnik forces under Draza Mihailovich in Bijeljina in eastern Bosnia.
Admitting Nazi Past

The Bosnian Muslim political and national leaders have refused to admit their Nazi past. Their US, European, and Arab/Muslim sponsors have covered up their Nazi past. Instead, their sponsors, in the US/Europe/West and the Arab/Muslim world, have sought to create some sort of phony and manufactured Serbian Nazi past. Absurdly, they have covered up the real Nazi past and manufactured a fake or phony Nazi past. The Bosnian Muslims, the Kosovar Albanian Muslims, and the Sandzak Muslims never had to de-Nazify. There was no de-Nazification for Bosnian Muslims or Kosovar Muslims or Sandzak Muslims, which allowed them to engage in the charade that they had no Nazi pasts and even to celebrate and glorify their Nazism.

Miles Lerman, the former head of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, sought to force the Bosnian Muslim to admit to their Nazi past and their role in the Holocaust. He admitted that the Museum was engaged in a cover-up to help the Bosnian Muslims. The story appeared in the Friday, August 11, 1995 Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Matthew Dorf, “Holocaust museum head tells Bosnia: Admit Nazi past”:

“WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has taken the Bosnian government to task for failing to admit to the Bosnian history of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.

Miles Lerman, chairman of the museum's memorial council, reproached Bosnia-Herzegovina's ambassador to the United States after an ecumenical prayer service designed to call attention to the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia.

"Tell your prime minister to acknowledge Bosnia's past or else I'll do it myself and it will be much stronger," Lerman told Ambassador Sven Alkalaj in the presence of a reporter after the half-hour ceremony.

"We have done more for your country, more than anyone else in the world," said Lerman, under whose leadership the Holocaust museum has been out front in condemning the atrocities in Bosnia.

"Unless your present government is prepared to acknowledge that some Bosnians were collaborators with Nazi Germany and wore the uniforms of the SS, this support cannot last forever."

During his exchange with Lerman, Alkalaj agreed to take the message back to Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic.

After the confrontation, Alkalaj said his government is "not denying the atrocities committed against Jews in World War II."

"The prime minister will make such a speech when he comes to this holy place on his next trip to Washington," Alkalaj pledged, referring to the Holocaust museum.

Silajdzic plans to come to Washington before the end of the year, Alkalaj said.

An estimated 60,000 Jews perished in the former Yugoslavia during World War II, according to the Holocaust museum. Most were victims of Nazi collaborators in Croatia and Bosnia.”

Although the evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable, the Bosnian Muslims and their sponsors in the US and the West refuse to admit their Nazi past.
Suppression and Censorship of History

Why is the World War II history of Bosnia and Croatia unknown in the so-called West? Is this by accident or is it a conscious and willful case of suppression and censorship? Bosnian Muslim historian Enver Redzic wrote about the planned and systematic genocide against Serbs in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia during the Holocaust as follows:

"The establishment of the Independent State of Croatia under the protection of German and Italian occupying forces was accompanied by systematic pogroms against the Serbian population throughout the entire Croatian territory. Bosnia-Hercegovina was transformed into a slaughterhouse in which unbridled hatred raged against Serbs. The outbreak of rebellion could not have been prevented by any military force or by the threat of wholesale extermination."

Redzic has written several important books on the history of Bosnia during the Holocaust. He is the foremost Bosnian Muslim historian and scholar. Yet his seminal book on Muslim autonomy and the 13th SS Division “Handzar” has not been translated into English. Redzic’s book Bosnia and Hercegovina in World War II has been translated into English, but the much more important analysis of the Handzar Division has not. Is this by accident? Why not translate the work of the most important Bosnian Muslim historian into English? Why does what he writes deserve suppression and censorship? Similarly, Alija Izetbegovic’s The Islamic Declaration has not been translated into English and remains virtually unknown in the West. Izetbegovic’s major opus and most important intellectual and scholarly works remain neglected and underappreciated. Why is this so?

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, has willfully and systematically censored and suppressed any record of the Bosnian Muslim Kama and Handzar Divisions. Is this because they don’t know the history or because it is difficult to find? The reason for the cover-up by the US Holocaust Museum is because to reveal the accurate and complete history of Kama and Handzar would undermine the US State Department propaganda position on Bosnia. The US State Department provides the major funding for the US Holocaust Museum. Therefore, the US Holocaust Museum engages in a conspiracy of willful silence and falsification.

Why is the real history of Bosnia suppressed and censored while a phony, manufactured history is preferred? Are fiction and lies and outright government propaganda more marketable that scholarly research? With a public with an insatiable appetite for the Holocaust and World War II, it is odd that Enver Redzic is selectively translated into English. The history of Bosnia is carefully manipulated and falsified. Why go to all this trouble to falsify and cover-up history? Why are they doing it?

Conclusion: Balkanization and Divide et Regna

Nazi Germany pursued a policy of “Balkanization” and divide et regna, divide and rule, during the World War II occupation of Yugoslavia. This policy entailed recruiting and mobilizing the Bosnian Muslim, Albanian Muslim, and Sandzak Muslim populations in Yugoslavia. The policy that Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler pursued was divide et regna. This policy meant that Islam was exploited and manipulated to advance the goals and objectives of Nazi Germany and the New Order in Europe. This policy of divide et regna would later be applied by Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1979 in Afghanistan where US policy was to exploit Islam to advance US geopolitical goals against the Soviet Union. In 1992 to 1995, this policy was applied by the George Bush and Bill Clinton Administrations in the civil war in Bosnia. US policy was to allow Afghan/Arab mujahedeen and Al-Qaeda volunteers to infiltrate Bosnia. During the Kosovo conflict, the US similarly allowed mujahedeen and Al-Qaeda forces to set up bases in Albania and Kosovo.

On September 11, 2001, there was “blowback” to the US from this Islamic sponsorship by the US government. The origin of the policy of exploiting and manipulating Islam to achieve geopolitical objectives was in Adolf Hitler’s and Heinrich Himmler’s recruitment and exploitation of Bosnian, Albanian, and Sandzak Muslims during the Holocaust. This policy of divide et regna exploiting Islam was developed by Hitler and Himmler. While the precursors were in the Austro-Hungarian recruitment of Bosnian Muslim and Albanian Muslim troops before and during World War I, it was with Hitler and Himmler that this policy was fully developed and implemented.

This divisive exploitation and manipulation of Islam in the Balkans has not been addressed in Western analyses on the Balkans conflicts. Moreover, no one has traced the roots of this policy to its origins with Hitler and Himmler. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Ronald Reagan were not the first to exploit Islam to achieve their military and geopolitical agendas. This is another reason while the World War II history of Bosnia is so meticulously covered-up, suppressed, and falsified in the West. This is why nothing is ever revealed about the Kama and Handzar Divisions in Bosnia, the Skanderbeg Division in Kosovo, and the Muslim Legion in Sandzak. The objective is to conceal the parallels and similarities between US policy and the policy pursued by Hitler and Himmler in the Balkans.


Bender, Roger James and Hugh Page Taylor. Uniforms, Organization and History of the Waffen-SS. Mountain View, CA: Bender Publishing, 1969.

Kumm, Otto. 7. SS-Gebirgs-Division “Prinz Eugen” im Bild. Osnabruck, Germany: Munin-Verlag, 1983.

Lepre, George. Himmler’s Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division 1943-1944. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1997.

Michaelis, Rolf. Die Waffen-SS: Fotografien und Documente. Erlangen, Germany: Michaelis-Verlag, 1997.

Pencz, Rudolf. For the Homeland! The History of the 31st Waffen SS Volunteer Grenadier Division. West Midlands, UK: Helion & Co., 2003.

Redzic, Enver. Muslimansko autonomastvo i 13. SS Divizija: Autonomija Bosne i Hercegovine i Hitlerov Treci Rajh. Sarajevo, Yugoslavia: 1987.

Redzic, Enver. Bosna i Hercegovina u drugom svjetskom ratu. Sarajevo, Bosnia: 1998.

Carl Savich
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