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Muhamed Hadžiefendić

Muhamed Hadžiefendić

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Muhamed Hadžiefendić was Croatian
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 Domobran
Croatian Home Guard
Croatian Home Guard or also, known as the "Homeland Defenders," was the name used for the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia which existed during World War II.- Formation :...

 senior officer and commander of the Croatian Home Guard
Croatian Home Guard
Croatian Home Guard or also, known as the "Homeland Defenders," was the name used for the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia which existed during World War II.- Formation :...

 unit 'Volunteer Detachment of People's Uprising' (also called Hadžifendića legija), a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Croatian Muslim militia in Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

.

Life


Muhamed Hadžiefendić was born in Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

. After primary education in his hometown, he attended the Commercial Academy in Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

. It was the wish of his father that he inherit and lead the family business but instead he showed more interest in pursuing a military career. During the First World War he volunteered for the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Infantry
Bosnian-Herzegovinian Infantry
The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Infantry was a branch of the army of Austria-Hungary, which had been granted some special and unique privileges distinct from other units...

 and returned from the war with the rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. He succeeded his father in his commercial affairs but also continued his military training, studying emergency examinations at the Military Academy in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

.

World War II


In 1938 he was appointed a reserve Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 in the Yugoslav Royal Army. In 1941 the Nazis invaded and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 (including Bosnia) became a separate state under a Fascist regime.

In April 1941 Major Hadziefendic refused to follow orders, deserted, and organised the local population to fight against the desintegrating Yugoslav Army in Vodice near Sibenik (western Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

). With the formal proclamation of the NDH
NDH
The letters NDH can mean:* The Independent State of Croatia * New German Hardness, or Neue Deutsche Härte * National Dairy Holdings L.P.* In ads for used vehicles, particularly aircraft: No damage history...

 (Independent State of Croatia) on 10 April 1941, he returned to to his native Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

, Bosnia. In December 1941 he visited the Croatian Marshall Slavko Kvaternik, and requested permission to create a Domobran formation that would consist of Tuzla Muslims. Major Muhamed Hadžiefendić was offered commission and was appointed to command the Croatian
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

 III. 8th Battalion Infantry Regiment in Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

. During a Chetnik attacks in early November 1941 the Home Guards (domobrane) of III. Battalion erupted into panic and began to withdraw in disarray. Major Hadžiefendić restored discipline and order with a gun in his hand and the Home Guards returned to the site, but the Major quickly realized that he could secure greater resolve from arming local people. Most of the Home Guard under his command were in fact conscripts from nearby Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

. He surmised that these Croat conscripts did not have much motivation to fight so far from their homes and that the armed forces of the NDH
NDH
The letters NDH can mean:* The Independent State of Croatia * New German Hardness, or Neue Deutsche Härte * National Dairy Holdings L.P.* In ads for used vehicles, particularly aircraft: No damage history...

 were not able to provide effective protection of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 population from Chetnik attacks and massacres. Therefore on 7 December 1941 Major Muhamed Hadžiefendić met with the Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n Minister of Home Guard Brigades (the Hrvatsko domobranstvo), outlining his own proposals. Ustaše
Ustaše
The Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement was a Croatian fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Nazism, and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the River Drina and to the border...

 Vojskovođa Slavko Kvaternik
Slavko Kvaternik
Slavko Kvaternik was a Croatian military commander and a collaborator with Nazi Germany. He was noted for military service in World War I, later as a deputy leader and founding member of the Croatian Ustaša movement in the 1930s who then became one of the leaders of the "Independent State of...

 agreed with this idea and Hadžiefendić returned to Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

.

On 20 December the Major met with local mayors, representatives of the military government and other prominent people to discuss forming a local volunteer force. This was formally established two days later and initially consisted of a Company deployed in the villages east of Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

 and around Živinice
Živinice
Živinice is a town and municipality in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, located south of Tuzla. It is part of the Tuzla Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.-History:The origin of the name Živinice is still not established. According to M...

, which were then directly threatened by Chetnik attacks. Less than four months later in May 1942 the Volunteers Department was renamed Hadžiefendićeva legija (Hadžiefendić Legion) and formally recognised as a special Home Guard volunteer regiment. The regiment consisted of a headquarters in Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

 and six battalions deployed in the cities and towns in northern Bosnia (Tuzla, Gracanica, Brcko, Bijeljina, Zvornik and Puračiću). The people commonly referred to it as the Hadžiefendićeva legija, whilst the Partisans and the Chetniks
Chetniks
Chetniks, or the Chetnik movement , were Serbian nationalist and royalist paramilitary organizations from the first half of the 20th century. The Chetniks were formed as a Serbian resistance against the Ottoman Empire in 1904, and participated in the Balkan Wars, World War I, and World War II...

 called it the "Muslim Legion". The formation was highly motivated and fought well, but was poorly equipped by the Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n government in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 and lacked proper military training.

In 1942 Major Hadžiefendić was sick and spent some time recuperating in hospitals in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

.

Major Muhamed Hadžiefendić was also involved in the recruitment of local Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 men into the Waffen SS in 1943. In March 1943 SS Standartenführer
Standartenführer
Standartenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was used in the so-called Nazi combat-organisations: SA, SS, NSKK and the NSFK...

Karl von Krempler
Karl von Krempler
Karl von Krempler was a senior SS Standartenführer and SS-und Polizeiführer during World War II responsible for recruiting Muslims from Bosnia and the Sanjak region into the Waffen SS....

 travelled to Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

 in central Bosnia and met with Hadžiefendić, and on 28 March Major Muhamed Hadžiefendić escourted von Krempler to Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 where he introduced him to the leader of the Islamic clergy in all Bosnia, the Reis-ul-Ulema, Hafiz Muhamed Pandža, and other leading Bosniak politicians not involved with the Ustaše
Ustaše
The Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement was a Croatian fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Nazism, and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the River Drina and to the border...

. In July 1943 Major Muhamed Hadžiefendić joined the Waffen SS and became an SS-Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

.

Over July to August 1943 there were major desertions from the Hadžiefendić Legion to the Partisans, organised by Partisan spies. Major Hadžiefendić was ambushed by Communist partisans and arrested on 7 October 1943. The Communists brought him before a kangaroo court and condemned him to death with over 50 other senior citizens of Tuzla (including Bosniaks
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

, Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 and even Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

), who the Communists deemed "hostile elements". The mortal remains of Hadžiefendić were later transferred and buried in front of the Jalske mosque in Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

.

Post war


A few years ago there were modest initiatives to Major Hadžiefendić officially rehabilitated and to have a street named after him Tuzla
Tuzla
Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 83,770 inhabitants, while the municipality 131,318. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants...

, but it failed due to a media campaign launched by a Bosnian left party.

External links

  • http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=7033