History revisionism in Bosnia, Honoring Nazis: The Bosnian Muslim Government Named an Elementary School After a Nazi SS Officer

Posted on July 16, 2013 by

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The following article was written by Carl Savic on serbianna.com After reading it I tried to understand several things, and the ‘lightest one’ was: Is it possible to have something like inborn prolixity? Proxy nations? If not, how to explain that always the same ‘actors’ took side of foreign invaders and NWO (Hitler’s, Tito’s or the American one)?

One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. One person’s war criminal is another person’s war hero. Nothing exemplifies this better than the case of Husein Efendi Dzozo. Dzozo was a high ranking Bosnian Muslim Hauptsturmfuehrer and imam in the Waffen SS. He was not a rank and file member forcefully conscripted into the Waffen SS. He joined voluntarily and was an ideologue and instructor in the Waffen SS division that was formed, made up of Bosnian Muslim troops. He advocated and espoused Nazi ideology. He was tried and convicted of war crimes and of collaboration with the Nazis after the war by the Yugoslav Communist government and served five years in prison. How did this hardcore Nazi ideologue and avowed anti-Semite get a school named after him in Bosnia?

Imam in Heinrich Himmler’s Waffen SS

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Bosnian Muslim SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Husein Efendi Dzozo, the divisional imam, second from left, in his Waffen SS uniform, with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, with members of the Handschar SS Division, Neuhammer, Germany, 1943.

Husein Efendi Dzozo (1912-1982) was born in Bare in the Gorazde district of eastern Bosnia in 1912. He graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He studied Islamic theology and Sharia law. He was a member of the El Hidaja Organization in Bosnia in the 1940s, a Bosnian Muslim nationalist group. He volunteered for the Handschar Division in June, 1943, becoming an imam in the division. He was photographed with the Grand Mufti when he inspected the division. He spoke Arabic fluently.

Dzozo was the divisional imam in Handschar, a member of Regiment 28. Dzozo had the rank of SS Haupsturmfuehrer, or captain. Dzozo was photographed in 1943 wearing an SS collar tab denoting an officer’s rank in the SS. He also wore the specially made Waffen SS fez with the skull and crossbones insignia of the SS under the Reichsadler, the national emblem or Hoheitzeichen of Nazi Germany, depicting an eagle holding an oak wreath containing a Nazi swastika. Dzozo was one of the highest ranking Bosnian Muslim members of the Handschar division.

Husein Dzozo personally wrote Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler a letter in German thanking him for the donations made to the Bosnian family members, for an increase in troop rations, and the establishment of an Imam school:

“These deeds signify the great benevolence for us Muslims and for Bosnia in general. I therefore consider it my duty to extend our thanks to the Reichsfuehrer-SS in the names of the division’s Imams as well as an in the names of the hundreds of thousands of Bosnia’s poor in that I pledge that we are prepared to lay down our lives in battle for the great leader Adolf Hitler and the New Europe.”

Dzozo, thus, shared the goals and objectives of Heinrich Himmler, “the architect of genocide”. He perfectly understood what those goals and objectives were. He was not a mere “collaborator”, but an actual perpetrator. He did not help or assist the Nazis, but was, in fact, a Nazi himself, who swore his allegiance to Adolf Hitler, fully knowing and comprehending what his role entailed.

Himmler’s Willing Volunteer

Dzozo was not a mere recruit or rank and file member of the Waffen SS, but a leader with command and control responsibility. Dzozo was a Nazi ideologue, writing letters to Heinrich Himmler and developing his own views and policies on how to establish and maintain Adolf Hitler’s New Order in Europe. He was an SS officer with the rank of captain in the Waffen SS, or Hauptsturmfuehrer.

Dzozo worked not only with Himmler, but with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini. Himmler made Dzozo the main instructor at the Guben SS School for Imams in Germany.

Dzozo was an outspoken anti-Semite who declared a jihad against Jews in Israel in 1968, voicing his support for Palestinian Muslims. Dzozo’s self-professed main enemies during World War II were the Jews, Britain and the US, and the Soviet Union.

Nuremberg Trials

At the Nuremberg Trials, the Waffen-SS was declared a criminal organization. An exception was made, however, for conscripts who had been forced to join against their will subsequently to 1943.

Dzozo admitted that he volunteered to join the Handschar SS Division in June, 1943. He joined voluntarily and of his own free will because he supported Nazi Germany and Nazi goals to create a New Order in Europe. Moreover, he was not a conscript but achieved the rank of an officer in the Waffen SS. He fully understood the genocidal policies of the German regime he served. Dzozo was thus a member of a criminal organization during World War II. He was a war criminal based on the judgments of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals.

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Bosnian Muslim SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Husein Efendi Dzozo on far left, with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, and SS Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen SS Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, eating at a table under a large Nazi swastika and a banner of the SS runes. 1943.

Nazi Ideologue

Dzozo was a Nazi ideologue who developed a world-view that he imparted to the Bosnian Muslim troops in the division. Dzozo wrote an article in the German periodical for the division Handzar entitled “Zadaca SS-vojnika”, “The Tasks of the SS Soldier”, Folge 7 (1943):

“Never in history has a soldier been entrusted with a greater burden than today’s SS man. It is not easy to overthrow an old world, and from its ruins create a new one with new perceptions in a place where only negative and destructive forces have worked. It demands the highest physical, mental, and spiritual efforts. Today’s SS man has two tasks:

1) To remove all negative forces from the present life that stand in the way of a better and happier future for Europe and all humanity.

2) To create a new world in which everyone is valued in the community in accordance with his own merit and achievements.

As for the first task, Germany and her allies decided four years ago to liberate Europe from all hostile enemies. From 1939 up until the present, the most decisive battles have been fought. Communism, capitalism, and Judaism stand shoulder to shoulder against the European continent. After bitter suffering in our Croatian homeland, but particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was learned what it means when the enemies of Europe rule. This cannot be permitted to occur, and for this reason, Bosnia’s best sons are serving in the SS. They shall liberate the Croatian homeland, and ensure that neither communism nor some other enemy ever gains control of the land.

After victory is achieved, a new, important task must be completed—the implementation of the New Order. Thus victory is not the final goal of the SS man. To him it is simply a path to achieving even higher goals, towards the cultural and spiritual rebirth of Europe.

Through the Versailles-Diktat, Europe was thrust into a totally senseless foundation, and under the name of democracy, Jews and Freemasons played key roles in political and societal life. … It will not be easy to liberate Europe from these enemies, but the SS man … shall build a better future for Europe.”

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(Click on image to enlarge.) Bosnian Muslim SS Hauptsturmfuehrer and divisional imam Husein Efendi Dzozo second from right. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in center. Neuhammer Training Center, Germany, November, 1943. Volksdeutsche Waffen SS Standartenfuehrer Franz Matheis is on the far right. Members of the Handschar reconnaissance battalion set up the base plate for their mortar.

Heinrich Himmler ordered that a new institute for imams was to be created in the town of Guben, located 100 km southeast of Berlin. Husein Dzozo was appointed to direct the course for Bosnian imams from “Handschar” and, later, the “Kama” division. Mullahs and imams were integrated into both divisions.

On April 21, 1944, the Imam Institute for the SS was established in Guben, Germany, located in a hotel owned by the SS. The Grand Mufti, Gottlob Berger, the head of Waffen SS recruiting, Bosnian Muslim divisional imam Haris Korkut, and Dzozo were in attendance during the invocation ceremony. Husseini thanked Himmler “to whom the establishment of the institute was owed.” The Mufti stated that “National Socialist Germany has no better or more loyal friend than the Muslims.” He commended the imams and their role in the division:

“The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Division, which at present is bravely battling the enemy in its homeland, was the first tangible example of this cooperation. It is with great pleasure that I see several comrades from this division present today, who, in addition to performing their military duty, are fulfilling yet another equally important task. They have assumed the moral leadership of their unit, a moral leadership that possesses the same or an even greater effect as the most modern weapons in the world.”

Dzozo was in charge of the operations of the institute. He also spoke at the ceremony, emphasizing the Bosnian Muslim commitment to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler’s New Order:

“This institute will bear the great honor of further strengthening the friendly relations between the Islamic world and National Socialist Germany. You, your Eminence, lead the Islamic world in the best direction and labor with all of your power to perform the finest service, regardless of whether it involves your homeland or ours. The institute is visible proof of this and through your visit today, your interest and concern for us and our Bosnian homeland is expressed in the most suitable manner.

We see ourselves equally as obligated to express our heartiest thanks to the Reichsfuehrer-SS and to you, Obergruppenfuehrerfor the sincere friendship toward us and all Muslims. I can think of no better way of expressing our thanks, both my own and that of the faculty and students, than in stating the following: We are prepared and staunchly determined to extend our greatest efforts towards the realization of the New Order.”

Imams in the Waffen SS

Heinrich Himmler regarded the imams as vital for the success of the division. Himmler called them his “ideological teachers in the battalions”. A total of 14 Bosnian Muslim imams were members of the division: Imam Husein or Husejin Efendi Dzozo, Imam Ahmed Skaka, Division Imam Abdulah Muhasilovic, Imam Haris Korkut, Imam Dzemal Ibrahimovic, Imam Hasan Bajraktarevic, Imam Salih Sabanovic, Imam Fikret Mehmedagic, Imam Sulejman Alinajstrovic, Imam Muhamed Mujakic, Imam Halim Malkoc, Imam Kasim Maric, Imam Hasim Torlic, and Imam Osman Delic.

Haj Amin el Husseini told the imams in a speech in 1943:

“You, my Bosnian Muslims, are the first Islamic division.”

The Handschar Division was the first Muslim division in the Waffen SS, no. 13, following the 12th Panzer SS Division “Hitlerjugend” or “Hitler Youth”. The division was revolutionary and groundbreaking. There had been other Muslim formations in the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS but Handschar was the first division. Moreover, Handschar was the first Slavic Waffen SS Division, although it was followed by the Ukrainian 14th SS Division made up of Ukrainian Slavs. All 12 of the first Waffen SS Divisions were made up of Germans or members who were Germanic. Handschar was made up of Slavs.

Thousands of Muslims fought for Nazi Germany during World War II in the following formations: Two Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS Divisions, an Albanian Waffen SS Division in Kosovo-Metohija and Western Macedonia, the 21st Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS Skanderbeg, a Muslim SS self-defense regiment in the Rashka (Sandzak) region of Serbia, the Arab Legion (Arabisches Freiheitskorps), the Arab Brigade, the Ostmusselmanische SS-Regiment, the Ostturkischen Waffen Verband der SS made up of Turks, the Waffengruppe der-SS Krim, formations consisting of Chechen Muslims from Chechnya, and a Tatar Regiment der-SS made up of Crimean Tatars.

In his speech to the imams in 1943, Husseini defined the enemy of the Bosnian Muslims as not the Communists, Partisans, Croatians, or Soviets, but the Serbs.

Why would the Serbian population of Bosnia be the main enemy of the Bosnian Muslim SS division?

Where would the division be deployed? Sarajevo? Mostar? Bihac? Banja Luka? The division would be deployed to Brcko, Bijeljina, and Zvornik in proximity to the Bosnian border with Serbia along the Drina River. The division would operate exclusively in eastern Bosnia. That is, in the eastern Bosnian border region with Serbia which contained Serbian Orthodox majority areas.

Eastern Bosnia had large Serbian Orthodox majority areas. Why would the Waffen SS engage Communist guerrillas that it knows it can destroy at will? So was the objective of the division to occupy and take control of the Serbian majority areas of eastern Bosnia or to fight and kill Partisan guerrillas which it could do with ease with no strategic military value?

The Mufti clearly saw the wider and long-term strategic implications for the division in eastern Bosnia, a majority Serbian Orthodox region. His focus was more on the demographics. The Bosnian Serb population in eastern Bosnia was a threat to Bosnian Muslim control. Eastern Bosnia, with its Serbian majority population, had to be subdued and controlled.

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Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS Hauptsturmfuehrer and divisional imam Husein Efendi Dzozo is in center. The Grand Mufti is to the right. They are inspecting Waffen SS troops in Neuhammer, Germany, 1943. German SS officer Emil Kuhler is on the far left. The two Waffen SS troops in front are mortarmen.

El Hidaja

Dzozo was the imam of Regiment 28 of the Handschar Division, volunteering to join the Waffen SS in June, 1943. Dzozo was the Divisional Imam when Abdulah Muhasilovic was absent. Before joining the Waffen SS, he had been a prominent member of the El-Hidaja Organization in Bosnia, a Bosnian Muslim nationalist group.

El or al Hidaya is Arabic for “showing the way to” or “leading and guiding to” the wanted or the desired, or “guidance”. Hidaya, or Guidance, is the gift of Allah to His creation. It entails both explanation and direction. It also means helping and supporting a person to reach his goal.

The El Hidaja Organization was formed in 1936 in Sarajevo and began publishing a journal in December, 1936.

Mehmed Handzic led the organization from August, 1937 to July, 1944. Handzic had graduated from the Al-Azhar University in 1931 and taught at the Gazi Husrev-beg madrasa or Islamic school in Sarajevo. From 1939 he taught at the Islamic Theological School on Higher Islamic Shari’a. He replaced Muhamed Pandza who was the editor from December, 1936.

In 1941, El Hidaja announced officially its support of the Ustasha Independent State of Croatia government, the NDH. This support was announced by Handzic in the organization’s journal on July 14, 1941 in an editorial entitled “El Hidaja in the New Circumstances”.

The organization later condemned atrocities and mass murders against non-Muslims and distanced itself from the NDH regime. El Hidaja withdrew its support of the Ustasha NDH regime later but this was only after Mile Budak and Ante Pavelic refused to give the Bosnian Muslim community autonomy within the NDH. The board of El Hidaja wrote Budak and Pavelic requesting autonomy. When refused, their backing of the Ustasha state lessened. But Handzic remained in his position as head of El Hadija until his death in 1944.

After the War

Husein Efendi Dzozo was found guilty of collaboration with the Nazis by the Yugoslav Communist government and served five years in prison as noted by Alexander Kissler in “In Hitler? Ach So”, Focus magazine, Monday, November 8, 2010. He was tried and convicted of war crimes as a Nazi collaborator in a trial held in Sarajevo in 1945. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was released from prison in 1950. He subsequently became an Islamic scholar and author in Bosnia. Dzozo received an amnesty and was “rehabilitated” by the Communist regime. He became a prominent Bosnian Muslim Islamic reformer, theoretician, and a university professor.

He was elected President of the Ulemas Association in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1964. Ulemas are Islamic scholars.

Dzozo was of service to the Communist regime in Yugoslavia. He was fluent in Arabic. He was Josip Broz Tito’s interpreter when he made Yugoslav state visits to Arab nations.

He met with the Grand Mufti again in October, 1968 at the fourth Islamic Conference in Cairo, Egypt. Dzozo pledged “on behalf of the Yugoslav Muslims” to contribute volunteers and donations for the “victory of jihad in the Middle East.” The 34 nation conference was focused on Israel and support for the Palestinian Arabs.

At this conference, Dzozo backed the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj-Amin el-Husseini, then living in exile in Lebanon, with whom he had worked with when he was an imam in the Handschar Division. He supported the Mufti’s call for a jihad against Israel at the Muslim cleric’s congress in Cairo. He vowed that the Muslim religious community of Yugoslavia would recruit volunteers and contributed funds for the Palestinian people.

Dzozo remained an outspoken anti-Semite. He focused his antagonism against the Jews of Israel.

Laslo Sekelj, in “Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity in Serbia: After the 1991 Collapse of the Yugoslav State”, Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 1997 acta no. 12, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote that Dzozo had called for an Islamic holy war or jihad against Israeli Jews:

“At the World Congress of Ulemas, Cairo 1968, Hadzi Husein Dzozo of Sarajevo, in the name of all Yugoslav Muslims, proclaimed a jihad on Jews.”

Was this the kind of moderate and reformist Muslim cleric and scholar whom one should honor by naming an elementary school after?

Benjamin Idriz, a Muslim cleric born in Skopje, Macedonia, an Imam in Penzberg, Germany, south of Munich in Bavaria, stirred up controversy in 2010 by extolling Dzozo as a “pioneer Islamic reformer in Bosnia and Hercegovina”.

Islamic Scholar

Dzozo was of service to the Communist regime, establishing a modus vivendi. He was an opportunist and gradualist, advocating that Bosnian Muslims adapt and reform. A Bosnian Muslim nationalist, he supported whatever strengthened the Bosnian Muslim community. If that meant working and collaborating with the Communist atheistic regime in Belgrade, he was in favor. He wrote theoretical books and articles on the role of Islam in modern society.

He wrote the book Islam u vremenu, Islam in Time, which was published in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia in 1976 by Izdanje Ilimijje za SR BiH. He also wrote Snage licnosti – sjecanje na merhum hadzi hafiz Bedri ef. Hamida, “Glasnik VIS-a”, XLIII/1980, 5, 273-282. Fetve (Pitanja i odgovori), priredili Mehmed Bećović i Džemo Mujović ( Novi Pazar: Publik Press, 1996), 185-186, were originally published as a series of fatawa in the “Glasnik Vrhovnog islamskog starješinstva” during the period between 1965 to 1977 and 1979.

Ijtihad versus Taqlid

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In the 1960s, Dzozo became the main proponent of the ijtihad orientation for Bosnian Islam. In this regard, he was perceived as a reformer who advocated accommodation, adaptation, and change within the Islamic community. He was seen as a religious reformer and a moderate. He advocated the ijtihad approach for Bosnian Islam, advocating an independent approach with an emphasis on change and adaptation. This was in contradistinction to the taqlid approach, which espoused following Islamic traditions and precepts rigidly and uncritically and unthinkingly.

Ijtihad comes from the same Arabic root verb as “jihad” and means “independent reasoning” or “the utmost effort an individual can put forth in an activity.” Taqlid means literally in Arabic “to follow (someone)”, or “to imitate”. Maqasid al-Sharia means in Arabic to seek the goals or objectives of Islamic law.

Dzozo emerged as one of the leading Islamic thinkers after World War II in Bosnia. He founded the Islamic newspaper Preporod in 1970. He was then the president of the Association of Ulama (Udruzenje ilmijje) in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The leaders of the Islamic Religious Community (Islamska vjerska zajednica) in the former Socialist Yugoslavia were forced to separate religion from the political and social affairs of the country or society. There was, in effect, a separation of religion from the state. All religious publications in the former Yugoslavia had to focus on religious matters only and not delve into politics and the government.

Dzozo wanted to change this state of affairs. He sought to integrate religion or Islam in the daily lives of Bosnian Muslims or Bosniaks. He wanted to revive and to revitalize the role of religion, of Islam, in a secular, communist society where religion was perceived as backward and outmoded in the 20thcentury.

In Preporod, Dzozo addressed the issues of the role of Islam in education, ethnicity and religion, Islamic rules and regulations appropriate in a secular and atheistic state, the role of Islamic institutions in Bosnia and Yugoslavia, the role of Muslims in society, and the current patterns and trends in the Muslim world.

In short, Dzozo sought to preserve and maintain the Islamic identity of Bosnian Muslims in an increasingly secular, modern, multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic Socialist Yugoslavia.

Honoring the Waffen SS

There have been controversies with regard to Western nations honoring and commemorating former Waffen SS troops. In 1985, U.S. President Ronald Reagan stirred up controversy when he commemorated German war dead from World War II at Bitburg in West Germany.

Accompanied by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President Ronald Reagan presided over a wreath-laying ceremony at the graves of 2,000 German soldiers, including 49 SS troops. The Kolmeshöhe Cemetery contained the graves of 49 members of the Waffen SS.

“That place,” Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel told President Ronald Reagan during a nationally televised White House ceremony, “is not your place. Your place is with the victims of the SS.”

Despite protests by Wiesel and other Holocaust survivors and American veterans’ groups, Reagan went ahead with the ceremony.

Helmut Kohl was attempting to rehabilitate and rewrite the history of the Waffen SS. Ronald Reagan sought to equate the victims of the SS with the perpetrators.

Reagan explained that the Waffen SS troops were forced conscripts, thus not “war criminals” under the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials decisions:

“These [Waffen SS troops] were the villains, as we know, that conducted the persecutions and all. But there are 2,000 graves there, and most of those, the average age is about 18. I think that there’s nothing wrong with visiting that cemetery where those young men are victims of Nazism also, even though they were fighting in the German uniform, drafted into service to carry out the hateful wishes of the Nazis. They were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps”.

Reagan’s comments reflected the ambiguity and ambivalence towards the Waffen SS in the U.S. and the West. The U.S. Government under Reagan would finance and arm Ossama bin Laden and the Mujahedeen “Freedom Fighters” in Afghanistan in the 1980s when they were fighting Afghan Government and Soviet troops. When the Mujahedeen turned against the U.S., they were immediately rebranded from “Freedom Fighters” to “terrorists.” Similarly, the Albanian Muslim KLA separatists in Kosovo went from “terrorists” to legitimate “freedom fighters” all in the space of less than a year. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. It always depends on who you ask and when and why.

In 1999, Martti Ahtisaari stirred controversy when his government sought to fund a monument to Finnish Waffen SS troops who fought during World War II in the Soviet Union. After protest from Jewish groups, the Ahtisaari government did not fund the project. The issue raised a heated debate and controversy, however, over the role of the Waffen SS in World War II and their legal status. Were troops in the Waffen SS war criminals or ordinary troops? The conclusion rested on whether the troops were meant to advance the national agenda of a particular group. If so, then they were merely regular troops. If they fought for us, they are not war criminals. If they fought against us, then they are war criminals. This was the standard used.

During the Bosnian civil war of 1992-1995, the Bosnian Muslim government even recreated the Waffen SS Division Handschar by incorporating a unit entitled “Handzar Divizija” into the armed forces of the regime. The reformed “Handzar Divizija” was integrated into the ranks of the Bosnian Army and participated in offensive operations in central Bosnia. This blatant and arrogant revival of Bosnia’s Nazi past was contemptuously and brazenly done right under the noses of the U.S. and global media.

This trend continued in Kosovo. Kosovo Albanian Muslim Bedri Pejani, a Nazi collaborator who worked with Heinrich Himmler in forming the Kosovar Nazi Waffen SS Division Skanderbeg, also had a school named after him in Kosovo. He personally wrote Himmler to request he form a Nazi SS Division. Bedri Pejani has a street in Pristina and a high school in Pec named after him.

Elementary School Husein ef. Dzozo

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Osnovna skola “Husein ef. Dzozo”, Elementary School “Husein ef. Dzozo”, Gorazde, Bosnia-Hercegovina.

In the 1990s, the Bosnian Muslim Government renamed an elementary school in his honor in Gorazde in eastern Bosnia, the Husein Ef. Dzozo elementary school. The elementary school had been named after Nikola Tesla. After the 1992-1995 civil war, the Bosnian Muslim government changed the names of schools, streets, and institutions, that bore the names of non-Muslims. As an ethnic Serb, Nikola Tesla, although an international figure, was erased and cleansed because he was a non-Muslim. This occurred in all the areas of the former Yugoslavia as the different groups sought to honor and recognize their own. As their own national, ethnic, and religious identities were threatened, the groups reverted to an exaggerated sense of community and national consciousness. The result was a narcissistic display of national vanity, ethnocentrism, and a historical egocentrism that placed one’s own ethnic group at the center of all points of reference. The Bosnian Muslim government took it to the extreme and absurd point, however, by honoring and commemorating a former Nazi SS officer, indeed, an anti-Semite and a Nazi ideologue.

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A corridor and staircase in the O.Š. „Husein ef. Đozo”, elementary school, Gorazde, Bosnia-Hercegovina.

This national narcissism was most evident in the changing of school names. Lynne Jones described how the name of the school was changed to commemorate a Nazi in Then They Started Shooting: Growing Up in Wartime Bosnia, Harvard University Press, 2004:

“The primary school where this class took place, a large, graceful, and solid building built by those same Austro-Hungarian occupiers, had largely withstood the shelling. It had been beautifully refurbished by a Swedish relief agency. It too had changed its name, from Nikola Tesla, the Serbian inventor, to a local religious intellectual, Husein Efendija Djozo. In Foca, meanwhile, as the primary school switched Croatian partisan for Serbian saint, the high school retained Nikola Tesla. The ghosts of the past were also returning to their ‘ethnic homelands’.”

Jones was ignorant of the fact that Husein Efendi Dzozo had been a high ranking officer in the Waffen SS, an SS Hauptsturmfueher, an imam in the Bosnian Muslim SS Division “Handschar”. The irony was totally lost on her. She most likely would not be able to grasp it even if she knew the actual history of Bosnia.

The building which contains the primary school “Husein ef Đozo” was built in 1886 by the Austro-Hungarian Empire for the army. The building was known as the Health or “old hospital”. The school was known as “Nikola Tesla” before the change to “Husein Efendi Dzozo”. The elementary school was located in this building since 1973.

During the 2010-2011 school year, the total number of students enrolled was 960. The elementary school is located on Seada Sofovića Sofe Street, br.4, Number 4. The principal or Direktor of the school was Salim Detlić. The school secretary was Aida Čengić.

Conclusion: One Person’s War Criminal

By honoring a member of the Waffen SS, an SS officer and Nazi ideologue, the Bosnian Muslim government has demonstrated its contempt for the Holocaust and world public opinion. Dzozo was not an involuntary recruit in the ranks of the SS, but a knowing volunteer, an ideologue and proponent of Nazism and Adolf Hitler’s New Order in Europe. Dzozo worked closely with Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler, the “architect of the Holocaust” and the “architect of genocide”. Honoring such a Nazi shows the hypocrisy and moral cynicism and nihilism of the Bosnian government. They also counted on the fact that no one will know. No one will care. And if anyone notices, we will argue that we honor not his anti-Semitism and role in the Waffen SS, but his role as an Islamic scholar and religious thinker. One person’s war criminal is another person’s war hero. The judgment or conclusion always depends on whose perspective you see it from.

Carl Savic for Serbianna.com on 28. Juny 2013.