The roots of Kosovo fascism 
by George Thompson 


"The Serbian population in Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible. 
Serbian settlers should be killed." (Albanian fascist leader Mustafa 
Kroja, June 1942.) 


"He, like many KLA officers, says openly that he dreams of a Kosovo 
without Serbs." (Description of KLA death squad commander "the Teacher", 
Agence France Presse, August 19, 1999) 
"As Germany overtook Yugoslavia in 1941, the Kosovar people were 
liberated by the Germans. All Albanian territories of this state, such 
as Kosovo, western Macedonia and border regions under Montenegro, were 
re-united into Albania proper. Albanian schools, governmental 
administration, press and radio were re-established." (From 
, a Kosovo Liberation Army-affiliated affiliated website) 
Mussolini's Italy occupied Albania proper in April, 1939, and 
established a collaborationist regime with the apparent enthusiasm of 
most Albanians.(1) After Hitler invaded and occupied Yugoslavia in 
spring 1941, the bulk of current Kosovo was placed under 
Italian-Albanian collaborationist control and annexed to Albania.(2) 
When Italian forces moved into Kosovo they were accompanied by Albanians 
from Albania. Albanians living in Kosovo joined the invasion force as it 
made its way North and West, and also ambushed Yugoslav Army units 
moving to meet the invaders. These Albanians, natives of both Albania 
and Kosovo, instituted a campaign of murder and expulsion of Serbs. 
Initially, the mayhem was carried out by disorganized "kachak" 
(irregular) units. These were Albanian brigands from both sides of the 
border who had fought Yugoslavia throughout the 1920s and 1930s.(3) 
However, soon a native Kosovo militia was formed. This militia, called 
the Vulnetari, and various gendarme units, began more systematic 


Italian authorities in Kosovo seemed a bit distressed by the terror 
against Serbs and occasionally intervened to prevent Albanian attacks, 
at least in urban areas. Thus a Serbian historian wrote: "Italian troops 
were stationed in the towns of Kosovo and acted as a restraining force 
..."(5) And Carlo Umilta, a civilian aide to the Commander of the 
Italian occupation forces, described several instances where Italian 
forces fired on Albanians to halt massacres of Serbs.6) 
Because of manpower limitations and the de facto alliance between 
Albanians and the Axis powers, these efforts at restraint were limited. 
Nevertheless, the Italian occupiers reported their disgust at Albanians' 
actions to the authorities in Rome. The Italian army reported that 
Albanians were "hunting down Serbs", and that the "Serbian minority are 
living in conditions that are truly disgraceful, constantly harassed by 
the brutality of the Albanians, who are whipping up racial hatred."(7) 
Carlo Umilta described some of the atrocities in his memoirs and 
observed that "the Albanians are out to exterminate the Slavs."(8) His 
words were echoed by those of German diplomat Hermann Neubacher, the 
Third Reich's representative for southeastern Europe: "Shiptars (i.e., 
Kosovo Albanians) were in a hurry to expel as many Serbs as possible 
from the country."(9) 
The atrocities were deliberate, part of a plan to create a Serb-free 
"Greater Albania". In June 1942 the fascist puppet president of Albania, 
Mustafa Kroja, declared his goals candidly before his followers in 
"The Serbian population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible 
. . . All indigenous Serbs should be qualified as colonists and as such, 
via the Albanian and Italian governments, be sent to concentration camps 
in Albania. Serbian settlers should be killed." (10) 
Similar sentiments were expressed by a Kosovo Albanian leader, Ferat-bey 
"time has come to exterminate the Serbs . . . there will be no Serbs 
under the Kosovo sun."(11) 
The anti-Serb pogroms intensified after Italy's collapse in September 
1943. The German Nazi's assumed control of Albania, including Kosovo. 
Italian military units pulled out and were replaced by three divisions 
of the German XXI Mountain Corps. The German presence freed the 
Albanians of restraint. 
Kosovo Albanian nationalist militias called the "Balli Kombëtar" (or 
"Ballistas") carried out a campaign of deportation and murder of Serbs 
in 1943 and 1944. Then, on Hitler's express order, the Germans formed 
the 21st "Waffen-Gebirgs Division der SS" - the Skanderbeg Division. 
With German leaders and Kosovo Albanian officers and troops, Hitler's 
hoped that using the Skanderbergs Germany could "achieve its well-known 
political objective" of creating a viable (i.e., pure) "Greater Albania" 
including Kosovo.(12) 
In general, German policy was to organize volunteer military units among 
Nazi sympathizers in occupied countries. Of all the occupied nations 
only the Serbs, Greeks and Poles refused to form Nazi volunteer units. 
Rather than joining the Nazis, as the Albanians in Kosovo did, the Serbs 
organized the largest anti-Nazi resistance in Europe. Both the Communist 
Partisans and the Royalist Chetniks were mainly Serbs and both groups 
fought the Germans and their local allies throughout Yugoslavia. 
The Germans recruited the 9,000 man Skanderbeg division to fight these 
resistance groups But the Skanderberg's Albanians had little interest in 
going up against soldiers; they mainly wanted to terrorize local Serbs, 
"Gypsies" and Jews. Many of these Kosovo Albanians had seen prior 
service in the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian SS divisions which were 
notorious for slaughtering civilians. 
What explained this passionate hatred for non-Albanians? A big factor 
was militant Islam. The Fundamentalist "Second League of Prizren" was 
created in September 1943 by Xhafer Deva, a Kosovo Albanian, to work 
with the German authorities. The League proclaimed a jihad (holy war) 
against Slavs. They were backed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, El Haj 
Emin Huseini, who was pro-Nazi and had called for getting rid of all 
Jews in what was at that time British-occupied Palestine. Albanian 
religious intolerance was shown by their targeting Serbian Orthodox 
churches and monasteries for destruction.(13) 
No one is certain of human destruction suffered in this Fascist Albanian 
Holocaust. Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 Serbs murdered. At 
least 100,000 were driven from Kosovo and replaced with "immigrants" 
from Albania proper.(14) 
In justifying current Kosovo Albanian demands to secede from Serbia, the 
media has repeated, like a mantra: 90% of the population is Albanian. 
While this figure is most likely exaggerated (nobody knows for sure 
because Kosovo Albanians boycotted the census for years!) - the province 
has been largely Albanian. But a major cause of the current demographic 
imbalance: was the Albanians' success as Hitler's willing executioners 
during World War II.(15) 
And their attention was not limited to Serbs. Unknown numbers of Roma 
("Gypsies") were liquidated. And Kosovo Albanians, acting alone as well 
as under German direction, eliminated many of Kosovo's Jews. 
The definitive work on Hitler's "Final Solution" in Yugoslavia (16) 
estimates that 550 Jews lived in Kosovo Hitler took over Yugoslavia. 210 
of them, or 38 percent, were murdered in Kosovo, mainly by Albanians. In 
fact, the Skanderbeg division's first operation was to act as an 
"einsatzgruppen" against the Jews, and its second was a similar 
extermination foray against the Serb village of Velika where more than 
400 Serbians were murdered.(17) 
Ceda Prlincevic, head of the Jewish community in Pristina and an 
executive of the provincial archives, has explained to Emperors-Clothes 
that the Jews who were not murdered outright were sent by the Skanderbeg 
division to the German death camps Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen. One 
train, on its way to the latter camp, took the wrong track and was 
intercepted by advancing Russian soldiers. According to Mr. Prlincevic, 
were it not for that fortunate detour, the entire Jewish population of 
Kosovo would have been eliminated. 
Although KLA supporters now claim that no Jews were killed in Kosovo and 
that Jews were sheltered by the Kosovo Albanians, such claims are false 
and should be treated the same way we would treat other Holocaust 


The Germans surrendered in 1945, but the remnants of the Kosovo Albanian 
Nazi and fascist groups continued fighting the Yugoslav government for 
six years, with a major rebellion from 1945 to 1948 in the Drenica 
region. (Drenica was the hotbed for KLA recruiting in 1998-99). That 
rebellion was under the command of Shabhan Paluzha; it is called the 
Shabhan Paluzha rebellion. Sporadic violence continued until 1951. It is 
literally true to say that the last shots of World War II were fired in 


This past summer, as Germans entered Prizren in Kosovo for the first 
time since World War II, an NBC correspondent reported: 
"I was at dinner with a kind Kosovo Muslim family the other night when 
talk turned to the German NATO troops that rolled into town to make the 
city the headquarters of its peacekeeping district. The patriarch of the 
family, a man old enough to remember the last time German troops rolled 
into Prizren, said they all felt safe now. 'The German soldiers are 
excellent,' he said. Then he added, 'I should know, I used to be one.' 
Then he raised his arm in a Nazi salute and said, 'Heil,' and laughed 
merrily. (NBC, June 18, 1999)  


(1) Professor Nikalaos A. Stavrou, KFOR: Repeating History, The  
Washington Times (August 11, 1999).  
(2) Hugo Wolf, Kosovo Origins (1996) chapter 10. Portions of northern  
Kosovo, from Mitrovica to the provincial border with Serbia, were  
administered by Germany from the outset, primarily to exploit the mines  
in the area. An eastern sliver of Kosovo was ceded to Bulgaria.  
(3) Dr. Smilja Avramov, Genocide in Yugoslavia, Part 2, Chapter 5,  
"Genocide in Kosovo and Metohija" (1995): "The crimes were begun by the  
'kachak' guerrilla detachments which had been sent into Kosovo from  
Albania, but members of the Shqiptar minority quickly joined in. Judging  
from Italian reports, at first the situation resembled more the  
marauding of bandits than a deliberate policy."  
(4) Dr. Dusan Batakovic, The Kosovo Chronicles (1992); Avramov, supra.  
(5) Dr. Smilja Avramov, supra.  
(6) Carlo Umilta, Jugoslavia e Albania, Memoire di un diplomatico  
(1947), in Avramov, supra, note 141.  
(7) Dr. Smilja Avramov, supra, note 117.  
(8) Carlo Umilta, Jugoslavia e Albania, Memoire di un diplomatico  
(1947), in Avramov, supra, note 137.  
(9) Hermann Neubacher, Sonderauftrag Sudost (1953), quoted in Dr.  
Slavenko Terzic, Old Serbia and Albanians.  
(10) Dr. Slavenko Terzic, Kosovo, Serbian Issue and the Greater Albania  
(11) Batakovic, supra, citing H. Bajrami, Izvestaj Konstantina Plavsica  
Tasi Dinicu, ministru unutrasnjih poslova u Nedicevoj vladi oktobra  
1943, o kosovsko-mitrovackanm srezu, Godisnjak arhiva Kosova XIV-XV  
(1978-1979) at 313.  
(12) Avramov, supra, note 151.  
(13) Avramov, supra, note 148, citing Bishop Atanisije Jevtic, From  
Kosovo to Jadovno.  
(14) Batakovic gives a conservative estimate of 10,000 dead while Dr.  
Slavenko Terzic cites a contemporary American intelligence report that  
10,000 died in the first year of occupation alone. Terzic, supra, citing  
Serge Krizman, Maps of Yugoslavia at War (1943). Carl Kosta Savitch, in  
Genocide in Kosovo: Skanderbeg Division, quotes a wartime account that  
30,000 to 40,000 Serbs were killed by Albanians. In addition, an unknown  
number of Serbs dies in the German-operated work camps of Pristina and  
Mitrovica, or were killed by the Germans as reprisals against resistance  
The reported number of expelled Serbs also varies depending on the  
source. Dragnich and Todorovich cited the figure of 70,000-100,000,  
based on a review of wartime refugee records. Dmitri Bogdanovich  
estimates 100,000, but acknowledges that the exact number has never been  
determined. Dmitri Bogdanovich, The Kosovo Question: Past and Present  
(1985). Dr. Avramov notes that wartime records showing 70,000 refugees  
from Kosovo counted only those persons in need of government assistance  
who registered with the Commissariat for Refugees in Belgrade. Records  
of those who did not register, or who fled to Montenegro, apparently do  
not exist. Avramov, supra.  
(15) Before world war 2 Serbs constituted a slight majority of the  
Kosovo population. Avramov, supra. In addition to the murder and  
expulsion of Serbs, the relative ethnic population balance was further  
skewed by the entrance of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians from  
Albania proper during the war. Relying on Italian records from the time,  
Dr. Avramov estimates that 150,000 to 200,000 Albanians moved into  
Kosovo between 1941 and 1943.  
(16) The Crimes of Fascist Occupants and Their Collaborators Against the  
Jews of Yugoslavia (1952, revised 1957) (published by The Federation of  
Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia).  
(17) Avramov, supra.  

from the Emperor's Clothes