About the Destruction of Waqf Buildings in the Second World War Based on the Material from the Archives of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Archives of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as one of the library stocks of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Library in Sarajevo, contain original material for scientific research into the phenomenon of the destruction of waqf buildings during the Second World War (1941-1945). Based on this material, as reliable answers as possible can be given to the question of the extent of the destruction, and who destroyed these buildings, to what extent and with what goals. The Islamic Religious Community (Islamska vjerska zajednica- IVZ), in the absence of national institutions for Bosniaks and as a consequence of their being reduced to a religious group within the political framework of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (since 1929 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia), was the only institution for the Bosniak Muslims that in an organized and systematic way collected data on their immense suffering during the Second World War.
The Bosniaks’ material losses, which in addition to other forms of losses were also manifested in the destruction of waqf buildings, were determined by the Islamic Religious Community (IVZ) according to commission reports from the afflicted areas by occasionally taking photographs of the destroyed/damaged buildings, by sending questionnaires to district commissions on the prescribed form about the damage caused to the Muslim settlements and population, by taking statements from witnesses of war crimes, by making statistical reviews at the request of the authorities, etc. From the collected material, the collections of documents were formed and stored in the library stocks of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Library in Sarajevo, which had been already partly used in the works on the genocide committed against the Bosniak Muslims during the Second World War.
This paper makes use of segments of several collections of documents so as to prove, through statistical processing of the data they contain, the claim from an archival document of the Ulama Majlis in Sarajevo that more than half of the waqf buildings were destroyed during the Second World War, and to show the structure of military formations that participated in their destruction. The massive destruction of waqf buildings, a symbol of the Bosniak Muslim identity, was linked to destructive ideologies and other conditions contributing to it, which provided a theoretical framework for explaining why the Bosniak Muslims had such losses and why the presented archival material of the Islamic Religious Community (IVZ) on documented war crimes against the Bosniak Muslims during the Second World War was never disclosed in socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1992).