The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Amin el Husseini
the "Handzar" SS division


From Aleksa Djilas, The Nation That Wasn't. Appears in The Black Book of Bosnia, Nader Mousavizadeh, Ed., Basic Books, New York, 1996, p. 23.

The creation of a Bosnian Muslim S.S. division is a favorite theme of Serbian propaganda, however. Indeed, there was such a unit. The Nazis asked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, el Husseini, to lend his support to the project. He accepted, visited Bosnia, and convinced some important Muslim leaders that a Muslim S.S. division would be in the interest of Islam. In spite of these and other propaganda efforts, only half of the expected 20,000 to 25,000 Muslims volunteered. The S.S. unit was nonetheless formed, named the "Handzar" (scimitar) division, and was brutal in the "cleansing" of Serbian regions in eastern Bosnia. But it never achieved the reputation of a good fighting unit, and failed to sell the idea of a Muslim Bosnia under a Nazi protectorate.


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