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Soldiers of the 13th Waffen Mountain Division

The 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) was a German mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS during World War II. Raised in the Independent State of Croatia, it was given the title Handschar after a fighting knife carried by Turkish policemen when the region was part of the Ottoman Empire. From March to December 1944, it fought a counter-insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces. The first non-Germanic Waffen-SS division, it was composed of Bosnian Muslims with some Catholic Croat soldiers and mostly German and ethnic German officers and non-commissioned officers. It swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler and the Croatian leader Ante Pavelić. It established a designated "security zone" in north-eastern Bosnia but fought outside the zone on several occasions. It gained a reputation for brutality and savagery during combat operations and atrocities against Serb and Jewish civilians. After late 1944, non-German members began to desert in large numbers, particularly once they had retreated inside the Reich frontier. Others surrendered to British forces. Thirty-eight officers were extradited to Yugoslavia, and ten were executed. (Full article...)

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Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks is an oil on canvas painting completed by Ilya Repin from 1880 to 1891. It depicts Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Host replying to an ultimatum from Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV with a stream of vulgarities and invectives. The 203 cm × 358 cm (80 in × 141 in) work is now held at the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Painting: Ilya Repin

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