Monday, January 4, 2010

Muhamed Hadziefendić

Muhamed Hadziefendić born in Tuzla in January 1898. After graduated from Merchant Academy in Sarajevo, he decided on a military career and joined the Bosnian regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army during WWI, ending the war with the rank of lieutenant.

During the Kingdom of Yugoslavia days, Hadziefendić continued his military education at the Yugoslavian Military Academy and in 1938 received the rank of major. Instead to follow the order of the Yugoslav Army Command to fight the invaders during the German invasion in April 1941, he deserted and organized the local population in Vodice near Sibenik, Dalmatia, to fight against the disintegrating Yugoslav Army. After the proclamation of the NDH on 10 April 1941, he returned to his native Tuzla.

In December 1941, Hadziefendić visited the Croatian Field-Marshall Slavko Kvaternik, and requested permission to create a Domobran formation that would consist of Tuzla area Moslem Croatians. Permission was granted, and on 22 December 1941, with material assistance from the NDH government, the Dobrovoljacki Odjel Narodnog Ustanka Bojnika Hadziefendića (Major Hadziefendić Volunteer Revolutionary Group) was formed. The “group” became the Zdrug Dobrovoljacke Legije Hadziefendića (the Brigade of Hadziefendić’s Volunteer Legion) in March 1942. In July of 1942, it became the Domobran Volunteer Regiment (DOMDO), but was commonly known as the Hadziefendićeva Legija (Hadziefendić Legion). The Legion was almost 6000 strong, and operated in the Tuzla area (northeastern Bosnia), where they defended Moslem local towns and villages in the area from Chetniks and Partisans menace.

Some Moslem autonomists saw the Legion as a base for a future Bosnian army and made offering to Hitler in theirs famous Memorandum to put the formation under control of the Nazis. Thus, in the spring of 1943, the Germans used the Legion as a core to build the SS ‘Handzar’ Division. Hadziefendić notified the Croatian Army Command in Zagreb of the readiness of his men to join with the Waffen-SS, and at the beginning of July, 1943 became an SS officer. Some of Legion’s men refused to join the SS and deserted—mostly because they wished to remain near theirs homes). In October 1943, Hadziefendić was in his home in Tuzla, awaiting orders to join the SS ‘Handzar’ Division. However, on October 6, 1943, Partisans of the 18th East Bosnian Division attacked and occupied Tuzla. Hadziefendić was arrested, charged with treason, and executed.

Copyright © 2006 by Nino Oktorino

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