A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West

الغلاف الأمامي
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010 - 318 من الصفحات
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Russia had expanded south and east. By the time the czar was deposed in 1917, almost half the country's population was made up of non-Russians. The Soviet Union inherited from the czar two large regions where Russians were in the minority: Central Asia and the Caucasus. The former is made up of present-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Back then the region was simply known as Turkestan, a Muslim part of the world whose various peoples spoke Turkic dialects. It encompassed nomadic peoples and great cities like Samarkand and Tashkent. Located far from the fighting, the region held little appeal for the Nazis. The Caucasus lay closer to Nazi interests. It was the mythic home of the Caucasian people, important in Nazi lore, and a region of impenetrable hills and mysterious legends. Noah, it was supposed, landed here after the Flood. The Greeks saw it as one of the pillars of the world, its mountains holding up the sky and marking the edge of civilization. In geographic terms, the Caucasus Mountains were traditionally seen as a dividing line between Europe and the Middle East. It was also a region Moscow had never subjugated. The area was demographically complex. The southern Caucasus had three clearly defined sectors: Georgia and Armenia, both Christian, and Muslim Azerbaijan. The north was a different story. It was mostly Muslim and dotted with small but fiercely independent peoples, such as the Dagestanis, Kalmyks, Chechens, and Ossetians. Nazi ambitions were simple. The cities of Baku, in Azerbaijan, and Grozny, in Chechnya, were then key centers of oil production. Germany had plans to take over the oil fields and use them to fuel the Reich. But unlike many parts of the Soviet Union, the Caucasus was not slated for German colonization. That let the Germans play the role of liberators - and many locals greeted them as such. Even if the people were skeptical about the intentions of the Nazis, they were glad to see someone stand up to their oppressors. This local reaction provided a glimpse of the Soviet system's fragility - something that would become apparent several decades later as the Soviet Union collapsed. In the early 1990s, these largely Muslim regions would shatter into more than a dozen countries. During the war, a similar splintering happened among individuals who felt loyal to their homeland and religion rather than to the Soviet Empire. There were hundreds of thousands of men like Sultan: Tatars, Georgians, Chechens, Kazakhs, Uzbeks. Most of them were Muslims, and many were happy to fight against the Soviet Union. In time, they would congregate in Munich, a group of bitter anticommunists who would prove valuable to the West. Trained and organized by the Nazis during the war, they would eventually be discovered after the war as potential ammunition in the fight against communism. Islamists too had designs on them: these co-religionists now located in Germany could provide a beachhead to the West. But at this moment, they were a group of men - boys, really - unformed and untrained. Sultan was sent to a prisoner-of-war camp designated for educated Soviet prisoners. The Germans were beginning to realize that they possessed a potent weapon. In October 1941, an Uzbek named Veli Kayum visited a Muslim prisoner-of-war camp in the German province of East Prussia. Conditions there were appalling. Typhus was rampant and most prisoners were near death; all were slowly starving. The men were also in shock because thousands of their comrades had been shot by Nazi liquidation squads. A young Uzbek soldier remembered thinking: "How long does it take to die?" Kayum appeared with a German major, who shocked the captives by speaking in Uzbek and promising to improve conditions. Then Kayum addressed them. "I am Uzbek. My name is Veli Kayum-Khan. I was born in Tashkent and came to Germany in 1922 when the Soviet government wanted helpers that could control Turkestan and were sending people to Germany to school. I decided to stay in Germany where we have a political organization formed to liberate Turkestan from Russia. You will hear very soon from me some good news." Kayum kept his word. Within two weeks, conditions in the camp improved dramatically. Food was suddenly plentiful, and medical care became available. Then the Germans culled the educated prisoners and sent them to a German army camp south of Berlin. There they learned to handle German weapons, breaking down and cleaning rifles, machine guns, and mortars. Most important, emigres like Kayum gave them political training, including history lessons - a topic about which many of the young Soviets were ignorant. They learned that their homelands had a long, proud history and could rise again if liberated from Soviet rule. By November 1941, these trainees were reunited with the twelve hundred Soviet Muslims who had stayed behind in the prisoner-of-war camp. Jubilant celebrations followed, tempered with fear: the men began to realize that they were being groomed to fight the Soviets. All of them hated the Soviets, but it was a shock to make such a dramatic change in direction: they now must serve their former enemies, the Germans, and become traitors to Moscow. It was a point of no return. Another Uzbek spoke to the prisoners, a schoolteacher named Baymirza Hayit. He had also been captured by the Germans and would be their chief officer, a direct liaison with the German high command in Berlin and East Prussia. The soldiers, he said, should think of themselves as an army of liberation. "You are the foundation of the Eastern Legions," Hayit said. "One day, when the eastern countries are free, you will be the backbone of the homeland." The men's fear swung back to jubilation. The next month, the Germans gave the soldiers uniforms of the German army, or Wehrmacht. They were identical to standard uniforms except that they lacked epaulettes. Instead, the men got something more powerful than a measure of rank: an arm patch with a stitched outline of the famous Ch_h-I-Zindeh mosque in Samarkand and the phrase Biz Alla Bilen - "God with us." The training was part of a little-known plan called Operation Tiger B. Kayum had put it together in close cooperation with the Wehrmacht's intelligence division, the Abwehr. While believers in Nazi racial theories held every "Asian" or "Slav" to be racially inferior, many Germans were eager to make allies out of the prisoners. The German army had already set up formations of Cossacks, feared horsemen with little love for the Soviets. Tiger B was part of this experiment. In early 1942, the soldiers were sent to the front west of Stalingrad. They acquitted themselves with distinction, following German tanks into battle and attacking Soviet troops in a pincer movement that garnered hundreds of Soviet prisoners. Tiger B was deemed a success and the idea of predominantly Muslim units was pushed forward. Other Soviet minorities would also fight for the Germans, but the Muslims were special: their identification with the Soviet Union seemed especially weak. When the first Muslim Soviet prisoners began arriving, the Germans surveyed them. Many didn't identify themselves as Kazakhs, Dagestanis, or members of other ethnic groups, let alone as Soviets. Instead, they simply said, "I am a Muslim." That made them especially interesting to the Germans; here were men fighting for a religion that was diametrically opposed to communism. Two Turkish generals had put forward the idea of Muslim units. Although Turkey was neutral in the war, the generals had traveled to Berlin and lobbied senior German military leaders for better treatment of ethnic Turkish soldiers. The Wehrmacht quickly expanded Tiger B into a regular unit, the 450th Infantry Battalion. It was staffed almost exclusively with Turkic soldiers and officers. Three other legions were soon added.

ما يقوله الناس - كتابة مراجعة

A MOSQUE IN MUNICH: Nazis, the CIA, and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West

معاينة المستخدمين  - Kirkus

An intriguing, densely packed, somewhat murky journalistic exposé of disgruntled Muslims who fled Soviet Russia and were politically manipulated over the decades by dubious Western elements.Pulitzer ... قراءة التقييم بأكمله

LibraryThing Review

معاينة المستخدمين  - philiposlo - LibraryThing

n the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years ... قراءة التقييم بأكمله

طبعات أخرى - عرض جميع المقتطفات

نبذة عن المؤلف (2010)

Ian Johnson's reporting on religious repression in China for the Wall Street Journal won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and he won a Nieman fellowship at Harvard to research this book. He is the author of WILD GRASS: Three Stories of Change in Modern China (Pantheon, 2004). He lives in China, where he'll cover the Olympics for the Wall Street Journal.

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