Best in black! Father and son wearing the Black Panzer Uniform. His son wears the popular black version of the officer’s field cap. The Black, two-piece Panzer Uniform were worn by armored troops and personnel.

Best in black! Father and son wearing the Black Panzer Uniform. His son wears the popular black version of the officer’s field cap. The Black, two-piece Panzer Uniform were worn by armored troops and personnel.

SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, commander of the Handschar Division, on the right photographed in 1944. 

Before the division entered into Bosnia in mid-February 1944, Sauberzweig told his men:
"We have now reached the Bosnian frontier and will (soon) begin the march into the homeland.
I was recently able to travel throughout almost all of Bosnia. What I saw shocked me. The fields lay uncultivated, the villages burned out and destroyed. The few remaining inhabitants live in cellars or underground shelters. Misery reigns in the refugee camps as I’ve never before seen in my life. This must be changed through swift and energetic action. 
The necessity of our task has only become greater through what I have witnessed. The task demands that each and every one of you perform your duty - only then can we carry it out. The Führer has provided you with his best weapons. Not only do you (have these) in your hands, but above all you have an idea in your hearts - to liberate the homeland. 
I also saw some of your fathers. Their eyes, when I told them that I was your division commander, shined as brightly as yours….
Before long, each of you shall be standing in the place that you call home, as a soldier and a gentleman; standing firm as a defender of the idea of saving the culture of Europe - the idea of Adolf Hitler. 
I wish every one of you “soldier’s luck” and know … that you will be loyal until the end.”

SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, commander of the Handschar Division, on the right photographed in 1944. 

Before the division entered into Bosnia in mid-February 1944, Sauberzweig told his men:

"We have now reached the Bosnian frontier and will (soon) begin the march into the homeland.

I was recently able to travel throughout almost all of Bosnia. What I saw shocked me. The fields lay uncultivated, the villages burned out and destroyed. The few remaining inhabitants live in cellars or underground shelters. Misery reigns in the refugee camps as I’ve never before seen in my life. This must be changed through swift and energetic action. 

The necessity of our task has only become greater through what I have witnessed. The task demands that each and every one of you perform your duty - only then can we carry it out. The Führer has provided you with his best weapons. Not only do you (have these) in your hands, but above all you have an idea in your hearts - to liberate the homeland. 

I also saw some of your fathers. Their eyes, when I told them that I was your division commander, shined as brightly as yours….

Before long, each of you shall be standing in the place that you call home, as a soldier and a gentleman; standing firm as a defender of the idea of saving the culture of Europe - the idea of Adolf Hitler. 

I wish every one of you “soldier’s luck” and know … that you will be loyal until the end.”

SS-Hauptscharführer Kurt Stegemann from the German cadre of the Handschar Division. This view shows the fez and its regulation machine-woven insignia as well the special collar patch to good advantage. Note also the Edelweiss on the right sleeve patch. He was in the signal battalion of the division.

SS-Hauptscharführer Kurt Stegemann from the German cadre of the Handschar Division. This view shows the fez and its regulation machine-woven insignia as well the special collar patch to good advantage. Note also the Edelweiss on the right sleeve patch. He was in the signal battalion of the division.

Hauptscharführer of the Handschar Division at Neuhammer Training Grounds in November 1943. The division was organized, trained, and equipped as a mountain formation.

Hauptscharführer of the Handschar Division at Neuhammer Training Grounds in November 1943. The division was organized, trained, and equipped as a mountain formation.

Himmler with officer and divisional staff of the Handschar Division during the visit on 21 November 1943 at Neuhammer Training Grounds. 

First picture from right to left: Emil Kuhler, Erich Braun, Willi Christiansen, Götz Berens von Rautenfeld, Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig (the commander of the division), Himmler, unknown. Second picture in foreground, from left to right: Himmler, Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, Desiderius Hampel.

Handschar Division supply troops in Neuhammer delivering the uniforms for its members. Special dispensation was given for the wearing of the traditional Muslim fez in place of the field cap. This was produced in field-grey for field wear and in dark red for dress wear; in both cases, standard machine-woven SS eagle and death’s-head insignia were applied. A special colar patch was introduced for this division showing a hand holding a scimitar (Handschar) and a small swastika.

Members of the 13. Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS Handschar (kroatische Nr 1) at prayer during their training at Neuhammer Training Grounds in November 1943. The Muslim troops were unique within Waffen-SS in being permitted to have their own religious teachers (imams) serving with them. Waffen-SS troops were not forbidden to hold religious views, but the officially approaved status was “Gottglaubige” or “believer in God”, as opposed to declared membership of a specific faith.

Members of the 13. Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS Handschar (kroatische Nr 1) at prayer during their training at Neuhammer Training Grounds in November 1943. The Muslim troops were unique within Waffen-SS in being permitted to have their own religious teachers (imams) serving with them. Waffen-SS troops were not forbidden to hold religious views, but the officially approaved status was “Gottglaubige” or “believer in God”, as opposed to declared membership of a specific faith.

SS-Obersturmführer Helmut Scholz, who earned first the Knight’s Cross and then the Oak Leaves as a company and later battalion commander with SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 „De Ruyter“ of the Volunteer Legion Nederland (Freiwilligen Legion Niederlande). He rose to command this Dutch Volunteer Legion in February-May 1943, shortly before it was withdrawn from the front to be enlarged into 23. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederländische Nr 1).

SS-Obersturmführer Helmut Scholz, who earned first the Knight’s Cross and then the Oak Leaves as a company and later battalion commander with SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 „De Ruyter“ of the Volunteer Legion Nederland (Freiwilligen Legion Niederlande). He rose to command this Dutch Volunteer Legion in February-May 1943, shortly before it was withdrawn from the front to be enlarged into 23. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederländische Nr 1).

SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Jürgen Wagner (left), winner of the Knight’s Cross and commander of 23. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederlandische Nr 1), talking to some of his young soldiers on the occasion of their decoration with the Iron Cross Second Class for bravery in combat, May 1944. Formed in Croatia in the autumn of 1943, it was transferred to the Leningrad area in January 1944 and took part in the battles around Narva in the summer. All of them are wearing the M44 camouflage drill uniform except for the man standing at the back who wears the trousers only with his “Plane Tree” pattern smock and Wagner, who wears the tunic only. 

SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Jürgen Wagner (left), winner of the Knight’s Cross and commander of 23. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederlandische Nr 1), talking to some of his young soldiers on the occasion of their decoration with the Iron Cross Second Class for bravery in combat, May 1944. Formed in Croatia in the autumn of 1943, it was transferred to the Leningrad area in January 1944 and took part in the battles around Narva in the summer. All of them are wearing the M44 camouflage drill uniform except for the man standing at the back who wears the trousers only with his “Plane Tree” pattern smock and Wagner, who wears the tunic only. 

Cleaning and maintaining the weapon is a good way to stay alive and kill the enemy. This was the first thing SS soldiers had to learn how to strip, clean and reassemble their weapons. Here, two Dutch soldiers from 23. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederländische Nr 1) cleans the MG 42 machine gun and the Lafette 42 tripod before going out in battle. Spring of 1944, Narva.

Cleaning and maintaining the weapon is a good way to stay alive and kill the enemy. This was the first thing SS soldiers had to learn how to strip, clean and reassemble their weapons. Here, two Dutch soldiers from 23. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederländische Nr 1) cleans the MG 42 machine gun and the Lafette 42 tripod before going out in battle. Spring of 1944, Narva.