For the German Nazis, Islam was a religion of warriors, a religion whose followers were good recruiting material. For this reason they supported Gailani's anti-British rebellion in Iraq in May 1941, worked closely with the wretched Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Husseini and recruited tens of thousands of Muslims from the USSR, but also from North Africa and the Middle East.
The Arabs, Hitler's Jihadists , joined two new units the Sonderverband 287 and the Sonderverband 288. The Arabs were also trained in a camp in Sounio, Attica. The second unit was more Arabic in name. He eventually fought in North Africa against the Allies and surrendered in Tunisia in 1943.
Sonderverband 287 has a more interesting history. The unit was officially called the "Free Arab Legion". It was formed on August 4, 1942 with the help of Mufti al-Husseini and its men came mainly from Iraq, Syria and Palestine.
The 3rd Battalion of the Sonderverband 287 was sent to the Eastern Front and fought in the Caucasus. It was then sent to Tunisia where it was destroyed. Those who survived, together with North African Muslims formed the 845 Battalion and were sent to the Peloponnese, joining the German 41st Garrison Division, where the Arabs slaughtered and burned Greeks, fighting alongside the Germans in "anti-partisan operations".
After the evacuation of Greece the battalion was transferred to Yugoslavia where it was reinforced with personnel from other disbanded Arab units and fought against Tito's forces, attached to the German 104th Fighter Division. The other two battalions of Sonderverband 287 which formed the 92nd Grenadier Regiment also fought in Yugoslavia. The regiment suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of Belgrade in October 1944. Surviving Arabs continued to fight for the Germans until May 1945 where they were handed over to the Allies in Austria.
Osttürkischer Waffen-Verband SS
The Germans also conscripted tens of thousands of Turks from the Soviet Union as early as 1941. It is estimated that nearly 200,000 Muslims served under the Germans. In the fall of 1941, the Turkish general a.a. Hussein Erkilet had contacts with the Hitler regime for the formation of Turkish divisions by the Germans.
Herkilet even visited the Ukraine, together with General Ali Erden and met with the German Marshal von Rudstedt for the same purpose. Then the two Turks went to Germany and met with Hitler. The aim of the Turks was, with the support of the Ankara government, to promote pan-Turanic plans to create a vast "Turkish" state from Mongolia to the Adriatic!
The Osttürkischer Waffen-Verband SS (Eastern Turkish SS Combat Unit) was formed in 1944 with the support of Grand Mufti al-Husseini. Its original name was Ostmuselmanisches SS-Regiment (Eastern Muslim SS Regiment) and with this name it was founded in 1942 including in its ranks men mainly from Turkestan, but also other Muslim regions of the USSR. The unit was initially regimental level and later brigade level .
The unit was transferred in February 1944 to Belarus where it took part in "anti-partisan operations", i.e. massacres of civilians and transport security missions. After a mutiny the German regimental commander executed 78 men. The regiment was then transferred to Poland and joined the infamous Dirlewanger Brigade, mercilessly slaughtering Poles in Warsaw.
In the autumn of 1944 the unit was transferred to Slovakia. There, the Azeris were removed from the unit and transferred to their own Caucasian unit, while the Osttürkischer Waffen-Verband SS was reinforced with Tatars . The unit ended the war in Austria and at its peak numbered 8,500 men. These units did not excel on the battlefields. They "excelled" only in hunting the heads of rebels and civilians. Despite the expectations of Hitler and Himmler and the latter's "love" for Islam, the German military did not have much confidence in the abilities of the "jihadist" fighters.
Arab of the "Free Arab Legion" in Greece. (Photo:German Federal Archives).
Arabs of the German army in Greece.