I don’t want to discuss the musical merits of who should have won the recent Eurovision amateur song contest in Stockholm. It’s brazenly clear that the Ukrainian ethnic Tatar Jamala won in a rigged contest to make a political intervention. As she subsequently openly admitted, it was between the actions of Stalin in World War II against Crimean Tatars and the actions of Moscow in 2014 in Crimea. The song of Jamala was blatantly political and by Eurovision rules ought to be grounds to strip her of the title regardless of her singing talent or lack of same. What is conspicuously absent from Western media coverage in what is seen by many as a blatant politicization of the music festival is who those 1944 Crimean Tatars were fighting in the mourning song of Jamala. The answer may surprise some.
Jamala’s song, 1944, mourns the hardship suffered by Crimean Tatar Muslims who were deported in the thousands by Stalin to Central Asia. The image left by Jamala is of barbarian cruelty by the Soviet dictator against innocent Tatars. Hoever to give an historically accurate picture, the Tatars of Crimea during that war were hardly innocent civilians. Tens of thousands of them had been organized on orders from Hitler into Crimean Tatar SS brigades.
The issue at hand is not whether Stalin reacted to the Tatar situation in 1944 with brutality. Even the Soviet Union acknowledged that was so after Stalin’s death. What the current media scrupulously ignores is what was the historical reality in 1944 that the song of the 32-year-old Crimean Tatar Jamala leaves out.
After Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941, Crimea fell under Nazi occupation. Its population then consisted of ethnic Tatars and ethnic Russians.
According to an archive account by the Russian newspaper Pravda Report, the background to the deportation of tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by Stalin was motivated by the fact that the Nazi Wehrmacht and Nazi occupation forces had organized thousands of Crimean Tatars to armed resistance to liberation of Crimea by the Red Army: “In April-May of 1944, the Crimean Tatar battalions took part in battles against the Red Army in the Crimea. The units that were evacuated from the Crimea in June 1944, were compiled into the Tatar mountain-Jaeger three-battalion SS Regiment. A month later, the group became the first Tatar-mountain-Jaeger SS Brigade (2,500 troops) under the command of SS Standartenführer Fortenbah. On 31 December 1944, the unit was disbanded to become a part of the East Turkic branch of SS as the Crimea battle group: two infantry battalions and one hundred horses.”
In his Nüremburg Tribunal testimony, German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein testified about the usefulness to the Nazis of the ferocious Tatar batallions: “Most of the Crimean Tatar population was very friendly to us. We could even form armed self-defense companies from the Tatars, whose task was to protect their villages from guerrillas that were hiding in the mountains. The powerful guerrilla (pro-Soviet-w.e.) movement appeared in the Crimea from the very start, and it was causing us great trouble. The reason for the movement to appear was the fact that there were many Russians among the population of the Crimea.”
Von Manstein continued, “The Tartars stood on our side at once. In December 1941, Muslim Tatar committees supporting the German occupation administration were established in the Crimea. The Central Crimean Muslim Committee started working in Simferopol. Their organization and activities were carried out under the direct supervision of SS.”
Crimean Tatar soldiers of the Muslim SS brigades who fought the Russians from 1941 until the Red Army recaptured Crimea in 1944 and Stalin ordered deportation of 240,000 Muslim Tatars (Source: Bundesarchiv)
The SS’ Radical Muslim Terrorists
In my newest book, The Lost Hegemon: Whom the gods would destroy, I describe the little-known but highly important background history of the relations of the Third Reich with certain Muslim groups. At the beginning of the war, in 1941, the leading Muslim Brotherhood figure, Amin al-Husseini, then the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was welcomed in Berlin by Hitler and Himmler. He spent the duration of the war there organizing anti-Jewish propaganda and forming pro-Nazi brigades of fanatical Muslims in the eastern parts of the Soviet Union, in Egypt and Palestine and elsewhere to fight on behalf of the Third Reich.
In Berlin, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Grand Mufti played one of the least-known and most gruesome roles in the Nazi extermination of millions of Jews. He became close friends with Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the dreaded Nazi death cult known as Schutzstaffel (SS). Himmler was the one perhaps most directly responsible for the Third Reich’s implementation of the Holocaust.
The Grand Mufti shaking hands with Himmler in 1943.
At his Nuremburg trial testimony after the War, Dieter Wisliceny, deputy to Adolf Eichmann, testified before being sentenced to hang for crimes against humanity: “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan. . . He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.”
The Grand Mufti was commissioned by Himmler to organize the Muslim SS brigades such as those of the Crimean Tatars. He organized them in Bosnia and throughout Nazi occupied parts of Eastern Europe including Crimea. Significantly, as I detail in the book, the fanatical Al Qaeda, ISIS and other radical Muslim terrorist groups of today can be directly traced back to the Nazi Muslim SS networks of the war, including Crimean Tatar terrorism and Turkish and Bosnian.
In war there are no winners. However, in the interest of historical accuracy and honesty, the Swedish Foreign Minister and others in the West who praised Jamala and her song, 1944, would do well to complete the picture. But then the intended political effect of the propaganda division of NATO to further demonize Vladimir Putin and Russia for agreeing in 2014 to incorporate Crimea following an overwhelming 93% yes vote by the Crimean people, would lose its punch. Wouldn’t that be sad? The Hedda Hopper of today, State Department war-maker, Victoria Nuland, or Defense Secretary Ash Carter, or Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman “Fightin Joe” Dunford and the US military industry complex would be very unhappy were that to happen.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”