03 November 2016

0195 | Photo | 13. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Handschar" (kroatische Nr. 1)



Operation "Full Moon". On the night between 8 and 9 June 1944, the Partisan XVI Vojvodina Division fiercely attacked Lopare, Zajednice and Brezovača, which were resiliently defended by the I Battalion of the 28th Regiment and the 7th and 6th batteries of the Artillery Regiment, 13th SS Mountain Division "Handschar". The fighting lasted all night, from the early evening until the early morning hours – when the decisive charge was made, and when howitzers, bombs and machine guns got replaced with rifle butts and bayonets (the following quotes were taken from books "A Youth Given For Freedom" by Nikola Božić and "Himmler's Bosnian Division" by George Lepre). A memoir of Partisan Milenko Novaković Brale (a political commissar): "The confused 'fez-wearers' were jumping out of the burning houses, half-dressed, bitterly fighting to save their lives. It was one of the most horrific night combats, hand-to-hand, that I experienced during the war. There were houses, vehicles and trench roofs burning everywhere. The centre of Lopare turned into a real battlefield. Rifle butts and knives were primarily used. I came out of a clash with a skinned cheek. Some tall SS guy hit me with the butt of a German Mauser rifle, but only a moment later he fell too, pierced by the bayonet of a fighter next to me." A memoir of SS soldier Eduard Roth (a German, radioman): "I was engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with fixed bayonet when one of my comrades was shot through the throat. I carried him to the first-aid tent. Upon my arrival, the medical orderly received a gunshot wound in the arm, which I bandaged. I then crawled back to my radio position [...]. I was alone. In the meantime, a wild shootout had broken out at the pack animal collection point [...]. As we later learned, the enemy killed most of our mules and horses. The Partisans were virtually on top of my position, but as I had only four rounds of ammunition left, I could do little. Had I fired even once I would not be alive today. To be honest, I didn't think that I would make it through that night." Partisan Milenko Novaković also wrote: "Indignant by all the things that they heard about the outrageous crimes committed by members of this division in the southwestern Syrmia and Majevica, the Syrmians simply burned with impatience to grab the villains by their throats [...]" (The SS men who defended Lopare were in fact mostly inexperienced, newly-mustered recruits.) SS NCO Heinz Stratmann (a German, artilleryman) hinted: "I won't go into detail about how gruesomely our dead had been mutilated by the enemy, but I will say that even during my two years of combat in Russia I had never experienced anything so horrible." A memoir of Partisan Ante Bralić (a political commissar): "I spotted a Kraut under a truck pointing his rifle at me. I yelled at him to come out or I'll shoot him. He got up, raising his hands in tears, and started begging in Serbian language not to shoot him. He claimed he was Bosnian, that he was conscripted into the army and that he would like to stay with us and fight against the occupiers. After consulting with comrades, we decided to accept this German soldier, a Muslim from the 13th SS Division, into our ranks. We assigned several members of the Party and SKOJ to keep an eye on him. In the battles that followed, he even carried a German machine gun and proved to be a good fighter. However, we were wrong, he took the first opportunity to desert and flee back to the Germans." Milenko Novaković Brale continues: "During our first withdrawal to the starting positions, in all that mess and hand-to-hand combat, I had a mishap. I don't know how nor when, in all the confusion I lost my commissar bag with confidential political material and lists of fighters [...]. Feeling a great responsibility and guilt, I went back to search for it. The comrades tried in vain to hold me back and talk me out of such a crazy idea. Soon I realised that they were right. Only a few hundred metres from our positions, I ran into an enemy rifle squad that took cover. 'Get him, Mujo!'... 'Catch him, Alaga!' – I heard them shout and simultaneously saw several 'fez-wearers' jumping out in front of me, trying to catch me alive. I barely managed to escape them, by jumping into a gully, and to return to my comrades again." SS NCO Stratmann mentioned another comrade who survived the attack: "He was unwilling to discuss that horrible night. He was only eighteen years old at the time and suffered from nightmares for over a decade thereafter. He feared that talking about it would bring back all of those terrible memories." Pictured, Ilija Bogdanović Čiča, commander of the I Vojvodina Brigade, (XVI Vojvodina Division,) with hands behind his back and a cigarette in his mouth, passes by the destroyed Kübelwagen vehicles of the 7th Battery, Artillery Regiment, "Handschar" Division, near the village of Zajednice (in the vicinity of Lopare).

Text © Ivan Ž. / Nikola Božić / George Lepre.

Photographer: unknown.
Date: 9 June 1944.
Location: Zajednice (Lopare), Yugoslavia.
Original caption: unknown.

File source: Nikola Božić, "Mladost slobodi darovana" (p. 96/97)

NOT ALLOWED: removing source credits from the files – using text without crediting the original author – using files and information for political propaganda and commercial purposes.


Operacija "Pun mesec". U noći između 8. i 9. juna 1944. godine, partizanska XVI vojvođanska divizija silovito je napala Lopare, Zajednice i Brezovaču, koje su žilavo branili I bataljon 28. puka i 7. i 6. baterija artiljerijskog puka 13. brdske SS-divizije "Handžar". Borbe su trajale celu noć, od ranih večernjih do ranih jutarnjih časova – kada je izvršen odlučujući juriš, i kada su haubice, bombe i mitraljeze zamenili kundaci i bajoneti (sledeći citati preuzeti su iz knjiga "Mladost slobodi darovana" Nikole Božića i "Himlerova bosanska divizija" Džordža Leprea). Sećanje partizana Milenka Novakovića Braleta (političkog komesara): "Zbunjeni 'fesaroši' iskakali su iz zapaljenih kuća poluodeveni i ogorčeno branili svoje gole živote. Bila je to jedna od najstravičnijih noćnih borbi, prsa u prsa, koju sam doživeo u ratu. Na sve strane gorele su kuće, vozila, nastrešnice u rovovima. Centar Lopara pretvoren je u pravo razbojište. Najviše su radili kundaci i noževi. Iz jednog takvog udara i makljaže izašao sam oguljenog obraza. Neki dugajlija esesovac zakačio me je kundakom nemačke mauzerke, ali je već u sledećem trenutku i on pao proboden bajonetom borca do mene." Sećanje SS-vojnika Eduarda Rota (Nemca, veziste): "Bio sam usred borbe prsa u prsa, sa bajonetom na pušci, kada je jedan od mojih drugova prostreljen kroz grlo. Odneo sam ga u šator za prvu pomoć. Tek što sam stigao, bolničar je pogođen u ruku, koju sam previo. Potom sam otpuzao nazad do svog položaja [...]. Bio sam sam. U međuvremenu je nastala divlja pucnjava na mestu na kojem su bila sabrana naša tovarna grla [...]. Kako smo kasnije saznali, neprijatelj je pobio većinu naših mula i konja. Partizani su bili bukvalno iznad moje glave, ali, pošto mi je bilo preostalo još samo četiri okvira municije, nisam mogao mnogo da učinim. Da sam samo jednom opalio, ne bih bio živ danas. Da budem iskren, nisam mislio da ću preživeti tu noć." Partizan Milenko Novaković takođe je zapisao: "Ozlojeđeni na sve što su čuli o nečuvenim zločinima pripadnika ove divizije u jugozapadnom Sremu i na Majevici, Sremci su prosto goreli od nestrpljenja da dohvate za guše ove zlikovce [...]" (Esesovci koji su branili Lopare većinom su zapravo bili neiskusni, tek pristigli regruti.) SS-podoficir Hajnc Štratman (Nemac, artiljerac) je nagovestio: "Neću detaljisati koliko su jezivo naši poginuli bili unakaženi od strane neprijatelja, samo ću reći da ni za dve godine provedene u borbama u Rusiji nisam iskusio nešto tako užasno." Sećanje partizana Ante Bralića (političkog komesara): "Ispod jednog kamiona spazih Švabu sa puškom uperenom prema meni. Dreknem na njega da izlazi inače ću ga ubiti. On izlazi, diže ruke plačući i na srpskom jeziku poče moliti da ga ne ubijem. Tvrdi da je Bosanac, da je mobilisan u vojsku i da bi ostao kod nas i borio se protiv okupatora. Posle dogovora sa mojim drugovima, rešili smo da ovog nemačkog vojnika, muslimana iz 13. SS-divizije, primimo u naše jedinice. Zadužili smo nekoliko članova Partije i SKOJ-a da pripaze na njega. U sledećim borbama nosio je čak nemački 'šarac' i pokazao da je dobar borac. Ipak, prevarili smo se, prvom prilikom je dezertirao i ponovo prebegao Nemcima." Milenko Novaković Brale nastavlja: "Prilikom prvog našeg povlačenja na polazne položaje, u onoj gužvi i borbi prsa u prsa, desio mi se i jedan maler. Ne znam kako i kada, u tom metežu otkinula mi se komesarska torbica sa poverljivim političkim materijalom i spiskovima boraca [...]. Osećajući veliku odgovornost i grižu savesti, pođem nazad da je tražim. Drugovi su uzalud pokušavali da me odvrate i zadrže od takve besmislene namere. Brzo sam se i sam u to uverio. Već na nekoliko stotina metara od naših položaja naleteo sam na zalegli neprijateljski streljački stroj. 'Drži ga, Mujo!'... 'Hvataj ga, Alaga!' – začuo sam i ugledao istovremeno nekoliko 'fesaroša' kako iskaču pred mene i pokušavaju da me uhvate živa. Jedva sam uspeo da im se izmigoljim, uskočivši u neku vododerinu, i ponovo [da] se vratim među svoje drugove." SS-podoficir Štratman je pomenuo još jednog druga koji je preživeo napad: "Nije želeo da razgovara o toj užasnoj noći. Imao je tada samo 18 godina i posle je više od decenije patio od noćnih mora. Plašio se da bi razgovor o tome vratio sva ta strašna sećanja." Na slici, Ilija Bogdanović Čiča, komandant I vojvođanske brigade (XVI vojvođanske divizije), sa rukama na leđima i cigaretom u ustima, prolazi pored uništenih kibelvagena 7. baterije artiljerijskog puka "Handžar" divizije, kod sela Zajednica (pored Lopara).

Tekst © Ivan Ž. / Nikola Božić / Džordž Lepre.

Fotograf: nepoznat.
Datum: 9. jun 1944.
Mesto: Zajednice (Lopare), Jugoslavija.
Originalni natpis: nepoznat.

Izvor fajla: Nikola Božić, "Mladost slobodi darovana" (str. 96/97)

NIJE DOZVOLJENO: uklanjanje naziva izvora sa fajlova – korišćenje teksta bez navođenja izvornog autora – korišćenje fajlova i informacija u političko-propagandne i komercijalne svrhe.