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Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

Article about: Here's the link which contains most important information. I must add something... When division was forming, there weren't enough volunteers so they had to recruit people. Since there weren

  1. #1

    Default Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    Here's the link which contains most important information. I must add something... When division was forming, there weren't enough volunteers so they had to recruit people. Since there weren't enough Muslims, Catholics were also in division. After forming, part of divison was sent to Villefranche de Rouergue to finish their training.
    After the war comunist government said that guys that started rebellion were comunists, but that was red propaganda.

    Villefranche-de-Rouergue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    More detailed story, found here
    wwii axis reenactment forum • View topic - Illustrated history of the Handschar Division


    During the Division’s recruiting phase many partisans tried to infiltrate it’s ranks, some were immediately caught and turned over to the military authorities but in the end an unknown number would remain. They were answering Tito’s call to “report for police duty in Croatia” as there they could find weapons, uniforms, equipment and superior training than the partisans could offer them.
    Some like Ferid Dzanic, actually volunteered out of captivity still in a prisoner of war camp. In Dresden, during the summer of 1943, he met Bozo Jelenek (under the pseudonym Eduard Matutinovic) and Nikola Vukelic at the pionir leaders course. Their plans were to “either desert or organize an uprising against the Germans” Another lesser known ring leader was Luftija Dizdarevic.
    The ambitious plan was to have all of the German officers in the town arrested and executed, disarm all of the remaining Bosnians and Germans, assemble them and depart towards the town of Rodez (1st Regt garrison) with the sympathetic French police and deal with the rest in a similar manner. Further plans called for the liquidation of the entire divisional staff. Dzanic spoke of two options following the success of the mutiny, sailing to Northern Africa and putting themselves at the disposal of the western Allies or crossing the Alps and liberating Croatia.
    The evening prior to the mutiny (Sept. 16) Dzanic was chosen as the garrison duty officer, Dizdarevic meanwhile chose sympathetic Bosnians and posted them as guards. Final instructions were issued at 2200.
    One German officer later recalled he had no clue of the operation.
    The operation started shortly after midnight with the armed mutineers storming into the quarters of the two pionir training companies, disarming all of the German NCOs and men. Following this, the battalion headquarters (in the town of Villefranche) were then secured. Some of the Bosnian enlisted men were told that the war was over and the British and Free French forces were to arrive at any moment.
    Unit physician Dr. Willfried Schweiger recalled:
    “ At about 0410 hours, I was awakened by the rumbling in the hall. There was then a knock on my door. As I opened it, Jelenek (Matutinovic) and Vukelic entered with pistols in hand, followed by a few guards. They said “Excuse me doctor you are under arrest. Where is your weapon?” They continued, “Do not be afraid nothing will happen to you. We need a doctor and you’re coming with us. Get dressed and come to Room #4 (the commander’s sitting room).” As he spoke, my pistol was taken. While dressing, I asked what was happening. They answered, “Look how the situation can change within twenty-four hours!” Fully armed soldiers occupied the corridor and steps.
    As I entered the sitting room, several officers were already present. Others followed. After fifteen minutes we were led to battalion headquarters under guard. There, we were held in the commander’s office, which was guarded by three men. All together the following were present: SS-Ostubaf. Kirchbaum, SS-Hstuf. Kuntz, SS-Ostuf. Kretschmer, Galantha, Michawetz Wolf, SS-Hscha. Fromberg, SS-Strm. Weiss and myself.
    We were forced to sin the room for about thirty minutes. A short circuit had put the lights out. SS-Ostubaf. Kirchbaum was them called out of the room and shortly thereafter a rifle and subsequently a pistol shot was heard. The same occurred with SS-Hstuf. Kuntz. Wolf was led out but was brought back in and shortly after. As Michawetz was led out, a lot of shooting could be heard and we in the room were told not to move.
    SS-Sturmmann Weiss recalled the scene more vividly:
    Kuntz asked (the other German officers present) if they knew the whereabouts of the Imam (Halim Malkoc). When someone answered that he was not present, Kuntz said that he was our last hope.
    At about 0530 hours, Kirchbaum was led out by an enlisted man. Once outside, he was asked in Croatian, “Are you with Germany or with us?” After a few minutes we heard a shot and another shortly thereafter. The commander had told them that he was with Germany. Kuntz then said to the other officers, “We’re going to be shot one after the other” and soon the mutineers called him out. He said “Adieu, children” and departed. Not long after he left several shots rang out. Wolf was called out next but was sent back in. Then Michawetz was called. After he left the room, we immediately heard gunfire and assumed that he had escaped.
    As Michawetz was led out, he struck the guard to his gront and rear and took off running, followed by a hail
    of bullets. He leaped over a low wall into the street and jumped into the Aveyron River and swam to safety.

    SS-Ostuf. Alexander Michawetz, commander of 1./ SS-Gebirgs Pioneer Battalion 13. The man who’s unit was targeted and almost hijacked by communist spies, and more importantly one of the few survivors of the executions that took place in the commander’s office

    Following Michawetz’s escape the mutineers shot Galantha and Wolf, sparing Dr. Schweiger.

    SS-Ostuf. Imam Halim Malkoc
    It was Dzanic that returned to Hotel Moderne to look for the battalion’s Imam.
    “Early on 17. September 1943, Dzanic entered my room. I saw him as I awakened with a pistol in his hand. Surprised, I sprang out of bed. Dzanic said. “Imam, get dressed quickly and come with us. All of the German officers are under arrest and will be shot by the mutinying party. Come with us, for all of them men are on our side.” I asked him just who this “mutinying party” was. He answered “This party consists of Vukelic, (Matutinovic), and Dizdarevic.” He then said “Imam, come with us, for if you don’t you are our enemy.” He was armed with a sub-machine gun, a pistol, and a knife.
    Dzanic then left my room. I was well aware what consequences of this action would be and made the decision to hinder further calamity and save the enlisted men. I knew that the enlisted men were with me and that they would follow me. I dressed and went to First Company to find the mood of the men. It was clear to me that they were being deceived and were unaware as to what situation they found themselves in.”

    Malkoc reached 1st Company’s courtyard where all the men were assembled ready to depart. While under surveilance the Imam talked to several men he trusted and assured them they were being deceived, they in return offered their loyalty. Imam Malkoc and Dr. Schweiger were then taken to Hotel Moderne by Dzanic where they waited in Michawetz’s office, while the mutineers plotted their next steps. They agreed on a plan in which Malkoc would attempt to bring the Bosnians over to the his side against the mutineers and Dr. Schweiger would attempt to escape in the direction of Toulouse to gather reinforcements. At 0700, both of them slipped out of the hotel unnoticed.
    Malkoc recalls his arrival to the 1st Company’s courtyard:
    “All of the men looked at me as if they were praying for my help, or hoping that I would protect them. They wanted to hear my word. I stood before them, explained the entire situation, and demanded that they follow me. At this time I took command. I then freed the German men, who were being held in a room. They looked at me with astonished eyes and apparently had little faith in me. I called out to them “Heil Hitler! Long Live the Poglavnik!” and told them that all weapons were to be turned against the communists. They then followed me.”

    (17. September 1943 - Pioneer battalion members hunt down Jelenek)

    Dr. Schweiger in the meantime took off with two Bosnian enlisted men, Ejub Jasarevic and Adem Okanadzic, who were orderlies of the murdered officers and outraged by the mutiny.
    They encountered a close call when they ran into the ring leaders. Schweiger recalls:
    “The ring leaders angrily asked where we were going. I lied that I was en route to the tailor shop to retrieve my clothing. Believing that Jasarevic and Okanadzic were on their side, the rebels told the pair “not to let me out of their sight” and after the clothing was retrieved, we were….to return to 1st Company to move out.”

    With 1st Company under Malkoc’s control, Vukelic was soon arrested at Hotel Moderne, Dizdarevic, was killed attempting to raise his pistol at a German NCO who in turn shot and killed him with a rifle. Dzanic was the only one who put up a fight but soon he fell in front of the hotel.
    Dr. Schweiger, along with Jasarevic and Okanadzic made it safely to a nearby post office from where he contacted the liaison staff at Rodez, informing them of the situation and requesting reinforcements , who then notified the divisional headquarters at Mende.

    Matutiovic was the only ring leader to escape, he was hidden by sympathetic Frenchmen on Rue Marcelin Fabre until the 22nd, once he received his forged identity card he safely reached Toulouse.

    The commander of the battalion (Michawetz) who had recently experienced a close call, retreated into the hills above Villefranche, believing the mutiny was successful. He remained hidden until dusk.

    “As he was not given any assistance by the French, he began to speak Croatian and made himself out to be Bosnian. He was then hidden in a cloister and provided with civilian clothes, in which he continued on his way (to Toulouse)”

    Martial law was declared in Villefranche by Sauberzweig and soon the reinforcements were rolling in to take control of the situation.

    Hans Hanke was appointed as city commander. It was obvious to the Germans that the towns people aided the rebels. Civilian traffic in the streets from 2100 to 0600 was prohibited, anyone found in possession of a weapon would be shot. A surrender of all civilian owned weapons was also requested. In the end it was discovered that the nine rifles, a sub machine gun, and a pistol of the murdered officers were never recovered.

    When questioned, Vukelic proclaimed that he and other Croatian members of the Division were fanatical for a new Croatia under Kvaternik, allied with the western Allies. Trials also revealed an interesting fact about the Bosnian mutineers.
    Hartmut Schmid:
    “….were simple soldiers: they were completely under the influence of the ring leaders and had merely obeyed their orders. I remember that several of the Mujos had even fought previously against the communists in their homeland, and at least one if not two displayed wounds they had received in this fighting to the court. I am now firmly convinced that some of them were in way aware of the consequences of their doings, they were merely obeying orders.”

    On the day of the execution, Renner taunted Vukelic, screaming: “You swine, You were to become a German officer? We wont shoot you, you swine, we’ll hang you!”

    The following were executed for killing German officers:
    Mujo Alispahic
    Jusup Vucjak
    Zemko Banjic
    Ephraim Basic
    Ismet Cefkovic
    Zeir Mehicic
    Meho Memisevic
    Philipp Njimac
    Ivan Jurkovic
    Alija Beganovic
    Mustafa Moric
    Sulejman Silejdzic
    And…Nikola Vukelic.

    The mutineers were buried on the spot, in shallow graves because of the rocky ground. Their remains were unearthed by wild dogs. The mayor’s complaints about the stench brought a group of Germans, almost a month later to fix the problem.


    SS-Ostuf. Imam Halim Malkoc, Dr. Willfried Schweiger and Schwarz received the Iron Cross, Second Class from Himmler.

    SS-Jager Ejub Jasarevic seen here in Bosnia (1944) and SS-Jager Adem Okanadzic were among five additional soldiers to be decorated for their actions on 17. September 1943.


    “I knew there was a chance that a few traitors might be smuggled into the division, but I haven’t the slightest doubt concerning the loyalty of the Bosnians. These troops were loyal to their supreme commander twenty years ago, so why shouldn’t they be so today?”
    - Heinrich Himmler

    This subject needs further study to fully understand the foreign elements that caused the first mutiny within the Waffen-SS, and how four men with communist ideals nearly hi-jacked an entire battalion. The citizens of Villefranche were never proven of collaborating with the communists but after the war they were known to proudly say that Villefranche was the first city in France to be liberated. Even naming the street the mutiny took place on: “Avenue des Croates”

    Himmler decided that southern France wasn’t best place to train his new division and ordered it’s transfer to a more appropriate place in Germany without all the “outside influences.”

    It was merely some Bosnian and Croat communist infiltrators (3-4) that instigated it.
    It never grew beyond battalion level thanks to SS-Imam Malkoch
    And in the end it was the Bosnians he rallied that stopped it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    I would reconsider the fact that mutiny was organized by comunists. That's well done manipulation.
    And that link You've posted.... Below 5th picture stands that in the front are deserters. How could that be possible???

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    The fact that it was done by a 3 communists and 1 accomplice is a well known fact and it wasnt denied.
    The men they armed (as stated) were merely following orders. Some have fought the communists in Bosnia before volunteering for the SS, and were only following Dzanic's orders.

    What deserters?
    I dont understand what you're saying.

    The last two pictures are the only ones I could find on the SS men that were awarded for their part during the 1943 mutiny.

    Napisi u Hrvatskom ako nemozes u Engleskom.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    BandenKampfer, a well known incident that many of us know about, but i doubt few know how it happened in such detail !, great thread, thanks for sharing !

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    This is the most talked about event of the division. So it's known in greater detail.
    Documents and actual proof, prove the common beliefs wrong, about the unit's ineffectiveness and murders.

    Here are some of it's operations

    One of the largest counter-insurgency operations of WW2

    more can be seen here
    wwii axis reenactment forum • View topic - Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

    more maps and info can be expected, I havent had the time to do the rest of the operations.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    Quote by BandenKampfer View Post
    The fact that it was done by a 3 communists and 1 accomplice is a well known fact and it wasnt denied.
    The men they armed (as stated) were merely following orders. Some have fought the communists in Bosnia before volunteering for the SS, and were only following Dzanic's orders.

    What deserters?
    I dont understand what you're saying.

    The last two pictures are the only ones I could find on the SS men that were awarded for their part during the 1943 mutiny.

    Napisi u Hrvatskom ako nemozes u Engleskom.
    Ispod pete slike na stranici čiji si link poslao, piše da su u prvom redu dezerteri, što nikako ne može biti istina. Nadam se da sad razumiješ.....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    Usput budi rečeno, svaka čast na kartama i cijelokupnoj priči.

    Btw, well done for the maps and whole story!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Mutiny of 13.SS HANDSCHAR division

    Thank you
    to explain the deserters:

    In the first days when everything was voluntary, Bosnian NCOs and regular soldiers from the Domobran units were deserting their posts to join this division.
    Even Pavelic's bodyguard left their posts in those weeks to join the Waffen SS.
    Before their officers came to pick them up.

    Later on when the initial recruitment goal wasnt reached, the Germans demanded the release of their Bosnian Muslim men. There was a huge argument between the SS recruitment office and the Croatian state officials because entire Domobran units were weakened when they sent their men into the SS.

    Prvi dobrovoljci (sa uniformama) su bili dezerteri, u tim danima je bilo i Zagrebacki Ustasa sto su napustili svoje poslove za ovu sansu.

    Mozda mjesec poslije su Nijemci iskali da svi Bosanci iz Hrvatski jedinica budu odpusteni i poslani njima. Broj pod-oficira je bio malan.

    A small number of the first volunteers were actually authorized to switch units
    The Imams were among the first to get their uniforms. Some of them transferred from Ustasa units.

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