Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eduard Matutinovic

Eduard Matutinovic was born in Zaostrog (Croatia, Dalmatia) on September 15, 1923. He studied economics in Sarajevo at an economics school. In summer 1941, Matutinovic joined with the Croatian Domobranstvo. Later he was send to Stockerau, Germany, (it appears as if he volunteered or was conscripted into one of the German-Croatian Legion Divisions). On December 31, 1942, he was promoted to Fähnrich (Infanterie).
After finishing his training, he was send to his homeland to fought the guerillas. During early 1943, he engages the communists near Slavonski Brod.

On May 2, 1943, Matutinovic volunteered for the ‘Handschar’ Division. He was send to Villefranche-de- Rouergue for training in August. However, he became depressed when he convinced that the division was to be engaged in Russia, not in his homeland. He latter participates in his unit mutiny on September 17. He avoids capture by the Germans by hiding in a canal. He eventually winds up in a German labor camp in Wuppertal. He made an escape, makes his way back to France, and joined with the French Resistance. He serves with them until the Liberation and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the French army.

In the end of 1944, he come back to his homeland. He joined with the Partisan 9th Dalmatian Brigade. He was sent to Trieste. In 1945, during a Partisan movement to Vojvodina, he drowns in the Danube under mysterious circumstances. He was buried in Vinkovci on July 7, 1945.

Copyright © 2006 by Nino Oktorino

Bozo Jelenek

Bozo Jelenek was born in Kutina (near Zagreb) 1920. He was an NCO in Royal Yugoslav Army; after German ocupation, he lived in Osijek. He was a member or supporter of Communist Party and joined with the SS 'Handzar' Division to disturbed its forming.

His part in a mutiny of 'Handschar' battalion in Villefranche-de-Rouergue creating many debates. Some sources said that he was a same person with Eduard Matutinovic, the others said not. According George Lepre, the authorative historian of the division, the confusion about the two came from the fact that after the war, Jelenek returned to Villefranche-de-Rouergue for a visit and (falsely) claimed to be one of the ring leaders in the mutiny.

Lepre himself didn't have any doubt that Jelenek certainly deserted from the division in Villefranche-de- Rouergue , as several French civilians remembered him after the war. But there is no mention of him in the German reports on the incident. None of the captured mutineers mentioned him during their interrogations, and he is not listed in the German Fahndungsnachweis for France. Matutinovic, on the other hand, is listed. Lepre also said Semso Alihodzic, who is still alive and was forced to assist the mutineers for a time, has no knowledge of him. Thus, the historian personally think that Jelenek might have been present on 17 September before his desertion, but after the war he has greatly overstated his role.

Copyright © 2006 by Nino Oktorino

Halim Malkoc

Halim Malkoc born in 1917 around Bihac. He serve as an imam of Yugoslavian Kingdom Army during pre-war time. He actively helped the SS during theirs attempt to recruited Bosnian Moslems into their's ranks. He later joined with the new 13th SS Division and served as an imam. He became a vital instrument in puting down the mutiny of a ‘Handschar’ battalion in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, where he got the EK I for his action.

Malkoc was captured by Partisan in 1945. Later Military Court in Sarajevo sentenced him to 11 years in prison for his role to suppressed ‘Handschar’ mutiny in Villefranche-de-Rouergue. However, another military tribunal in Bihac gave him a death sentence on November 5, 1946. He was shot on February 8, 1947.

Copyright © 2006 by Nino Oktorino

Desiderius Hampel

Desiderius Hampel born on January 20, 1895 in Sisak, Bosnia-Hercegovina. He became a cadet of Austro-Hungarian Army in mid-October 1914. Assigned to Inf.Rgt. 16 (kroatische), he commanded a platoon between April to 1 May 1915. Then Hampel was commissioned as a lieutnant and given command of 14.Kompanie until autumn 1915. After that he assumed command of 4.(MG) Kompanie and hold that post to mid-September 1918, when he advanced to deputy battalion commander. From 1 May 1917, as an oberleutnant he led - with three other officers - a security unit against the Serbs toward the end of the war. After the war, Hampel was interned by Serbs for a year. He later escaped to Vienna, then Budapest.

After hold a series of jobs - estate worker; forestry student at University of Munich, 1925-28; forestry worker to December 1937 - Hampel joined with Hungarian Army on December 1937. He served in Budapest until March 1941, when he commanded an air defense unit at Csepel to time of his discharge, November 1941. A military born, after retired from Hungarian Army, Hampel joined with Croatian Army as Major (Bojnik) and intelligence officer with IV. Army Corps. He remained in that post until 15 May 1942, when he was transferred to the Waffen-SS.

Hampel was joined with the Bosnian SS 'Handchar' Division and assumed command of Regiment 27 shortly after its arrival at Neuhammer. Born to German parents in Bosnia, Hampel was uniquely suited to the division, for he not only spoke his mens' native tongue, but, unlike most of his fellow ex-Habsburg officers now in SS uniform, was a capable leader. After Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, the second 'Handschar' Division commander, was appointed to a higher position, Hampel replaced him as commander of the Bosnian SS division.

Hampel lead the 'Handschar' Division until the end of the war and surrendered to British. His name was included in the list of 'Handschar' men that Partisan wanted. At first, the Partisan tried to persuade him to return to Yugoslavia to face a trial. He declined the offer however. Then, with help from some his German comrades, he made an escape from the POW camp. He later settled in Graz, where he lived until his death in 1981.

Copyright © 2006 by Nino Oktorino

Monday, November 23, 2009

Michael Pridon Zulukidse

Born on October 8th 1894 in Tiflis, Georgia, Zulukidse join Czarist Army and served on the Rumanian front as a battalion commander during WWI. After captured by the Austrian-Hungarian troops, he decided to join Central Powers’ sponsored Georgian regiment to liberate Georgia from Russian rule. After some fighting for Central Powers and earned the Kaiser Wilhelm Order of Anna medal (3rd and 4th class) in his homeland, Zulukidse fought with White Russian forces against Bolsheviks who tried to conquer Caucasus. Defeated, Zulukidse flee to Turkey and then immigrated to France.

His anti-Bolshevik conviction made Zulukidse joined the Franco army during Spanish civil war and then French-Vichy army in Syria. When the Germans formed the LVF for anti-Communist French who wanted to fight Soviet Union, Zulukidse enlisted in the legion. However, he never went to Soviet Union with the legion because the Germans transferred him to Reich Ostministerium, which entrusted him to form a Caucasian formation camp guards from Soviet POW’s. After some anti-partisans and guarding mission, Zulukidse and his men were send to France. As an Waffen-StandartenfĂĽhrer der SS, Zulukidse later appointed as commanding-officer of Georgian contingent in Kaukasicher Waffen Verband der SS.

He died on November 12th 1960.

Copyright © Nino Oktorino, 2009