Death Toll: 120,000 – 270,000 Albanians of both sexes and all ages.
255,878 Albanians expelled.
According to the Serbian documents, 239,807 people were expatriated from October 1912 until March 1914, without accounting the children up to six years old. By august 1914 this number had increased to 281,747, again not counting those less than six years old. The vast majority of these were Albanians. Serbia and Montenegro plundered 381,245 hectares of land in Kosova and Macedonia. In Kosova 228,000 hectares of land were taken for colonists, and it was settled by 15,943 families. The ‘Serbization’ of Kosova continued until 1941. In this way the territory for the Serbian national element was created.
On the eastern banks of the Adriatic, a mere three days journey from Vienna, live an autochthonous people who for centuries have been fighting for their freedom and independence against enemies and oppressors of all types. This nation has clung steadfast to its roots through countless wars and the cataclysms of history. Neither the great migrations nor wars with the Serbs, the Turks and other invaders have hindered the Albanians from maintaining their nationality, their language, and the purity and originality of their customs.
The history of this nation is an unbroken chain of bloody battles against violent oppressors, but not even the most unspeakable of atrocities have managed to annihilate this people. Intellectual life has flourished among the Albanians even though their oppressors endeavoured to cut off all cultural development at the root. This nation produced great generals and men of state for the Ottoman Empire. Albanians were among the best judges in Turkey and among the greatest authors of Turkish literature. Almost all the merchants of Montenegro were Albanian, as were many fine businessmen in the major cities of Romania. The Albanians played an important role in Italy, too. Crispi was one of them. Greece’s bravest soldiers were of Albanian blood.
In the wake of the cataclysms wrought by the Balkan War, the ancient dream of freedom and independence for this people is now becoming a reality. The Great Powers of Europe have decided to grant Albania its national autonomy.
But the Serbian thirst for conquest has now found a means of destroying the fair dream of this courageous and freedom-loving people before it can be realized. Serbian troops have invaded Albania with fire and sword. And if Albania cannot be conquered, then at least the Albanian people can be exterminated. This is the solution they propose.
– Excerpt from a work by Leo Freundlich: “Albania’s Golgotha: Indictment of the Exterminators of the Albanian People”
Houses and whole villages reduced to ashes, unarmed and innocent populations massacred en masse, incredible acts of violence, pillage and brutality of every kind — such were the means which were employed and are still being employed by the Serbo-Montenegrin soldiery, with a view to the entire transformation of the ethnic character of regions inhabited exclusively by Albanians.
– Report of the International Commission on the Balkan Wars
In the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the Albanian region of Kosova for five centuries, was in disarray. Filling the vacuum, Serb troops invaded the territory to claim and occupy it for Serbia, and to cleanse it of its Albanian population.The Ambassadors’ Conference in London proposed drawing the borders of Albania according to ethnic and religious statistics to be gathered on site by a commission. The Serbs hastened to prepare the statistics for them with machine guns, rifles and bayonets.
When Serbian imperialists invaded Kosova, they informed the world that they would return again their historical rights they had in 1389 (the battle of Kosovo fought by the Serbian Empire against the invading Muslims). Basing themselves on these “historical rights,” Italy, France, Greece or Turkey could rise and request to get half of Europe, as they once had these regions in their hands. Furthermore, France could request a part of Russia, as Napoleon went once to Moscow in 1812.
In fact, Kosova, known these days as “Kosovo” is historical Albanian land, belonging to the Illyrians since 1200 B.C. Albanians are descended from the Illyrians and are the indigenous inhabitants of Kosova. The Albanian language, which belongs to the Indo-European group, has distinctive vocabulary, morphology and phonetic rules which have engaged the attention of many philologists, of whom several have confidently asserted its descent from ancient Illyrian. Kosova is a colonized Albanian region, and at the time has only 10% to 15% Serbian population that was settled there from older times, around the sixth century A.D.
During the Balkan Wars of 1912, most of Kosovo was taken from the Ottoman Empire by the Kingdom of Serbia while the region of Metohija (known as the Dukagjini Valley to ethnic Albanians) was taken by the Kingdom of Montenegro.
Fittingly enough, the Serbs did to the Albanians what the Ottomans would soon do to the Armenians. In connection with the news report that 300 unarmed Albanians of the Luma tribe were executed in Prizren without trial, the Frankfurter Zeitung writes:
“In the case in question, it seems to have been regular Serbian troops who committed the massacre. But there is no doubt whatsoever that even the heinous massacres committed by irregulars were carried out with the tacit approval and in full compliance with the will of the Serbian authorities.”
At the beginning of the war Leo Freundlich was told quite openly by a Serbian official: “We are going to wipe out the Albanians.” He wrote:
“Despite European protests, this systematic policy of extermination is continuing unhindered. As a result, we regard it as our duty to expose the intentions of the Serbian rulers. The gentlemen in Belgrade will then indignantly deny everything, knowing full well that journalistic propriety prevents us from mentioning names.”
It is evident that we would not make such a report if we were not fully convinced of its truth. In the case in question, the facts speak louder than any full confession could do. One massacre after another has been committed since Serbian troops crossed the border last autumn and occupied the land inhabited by the Albanians.
The first victims of Serbian imperialism were Macedonia and Kosova. However, pan-Serbian imperialists, although forced by the more powerful imperialists to draw back from the Albanian coast, have kept the best and more fertile place of Albania: Kosova. While the Great Powers recognized Albania as a sovereign State on 29 July 1913, Kosova, Dibra, Ohrid and Monastir remained under Serb military rule and on 7 September 1913, King Peter I of Serbia proclaimed the annexation of the conquered territories.
During the occupation, the Serbian army committed numerous crimes against the Albanian population “with a view to the entire transformation of the ethnic character of these regions.” The crimes included massacres, ethnic cleansing, systematic rape and genocide.
The crimes were usually carried out on ethnic and religious grounds and were primarily directed against civilians. The aim of these crimes was to create an ethnically pure Serbian state, or “Greater Serbia”, encompassing Serbia as well as the Serb-populated areas in the Balkans. The Serbian government officially denied reports of war crimes.
In the Albanian town of Luma the massacres were especially bad. General Janković of the army of the Kingdom of Serbia saw that the Albanians would notallow Serb forces to advance, the Serbian army massacred an entire population of men, women and children, not sparing anyone, and burned 27 villages in the area of Luma.
Reports spoke of the atrocities by the Serbian army, including the burning of women and children related to the stack of hay, within the sight of fathers. Subsequently, about 400 men from Luma surrendered to Serbian authorities, but were taken to Prizren, where they were murdered.
The Daily Telegraph wrote that “all the horrors of history have been outdone by the atrocious conduct of the troops of General Jankovic“.
Italian daily newspaper Corriere delle Puglie wrote in December 1913 about official report that was sent to the Great Powers with details of the slaughter of Albanians in Luma and Debar, executed after the proclamation of the amnesty by Serbian authorities.
The report listed the names of people killed by Serbian units in addition to the causes of death: by burning, slaughtering, bayonets, etc. The report also provided a detailed list of the burned and looted villages in the area of Luma and Has.
In northern Albania, Serbian and Montenegrin fighters turned whole villages into crematoriums, where women, children, and the disabled were burned alive.
Their brutality was vividly portrayed in the eyewitness accounts of M. Edith Durham, a British war correspondent and nurse, who administered care to Montenegrin soldiers.
Durham reported that Montenegrins and Serbs routinely mutilated the Albanian, Turkish, and Bosnian Muslim [Bosniak] civilians, and she particularly noted their practice of cutting off the noses and upper lips of their still-living victims:
“[The Montenegrins] all gloried in their bestiality, and related in detail their nose-cutting exploits, imitated the impaling of a Turk upon a bayonet, and the slicing off of his nose and upper lip, and they shouted advice to the still living man: ‘Go home and show your wives how pretty you are!’ All, with very few exceptions, had taken noses. An old man of seventy had only taken two, but excused himself on the grounds of having fallen ill at the beginning…
A Russian surgeon, the only foreign doctor who had been allowed in the Kosovo district, came to work with us for a few days, and corroborated the [Montenegrins’] statement that they had scarcely left a nose on a corpse between Berani [Montenegro] and Ipek [Kosovo.]
Some warm partisans of Montenegro have declared that they do not see anything horrible in the mutilation of dead bodies… but the men’s own account was that they mutilated the wounded before giving them a final bayonet prod…
A report came to me that… in Kosovo [region] the ground in many places was simply strewn with the bodies of women and children… I did not… attach much belief to the report till a Serbian officer turned up at the dinner table, and related, with glee, the valorous deeds of the Serbs. ‘We have,’ he boasted, ‘annihilated the Ljuma tribe.’”
We have carried out the attempted premeditated murder of an entire nation. We were caught in that criminal act and have been obstructed. Now we have to suffer the punishment…. In the Balkan Wars, Serbia not only doubled its territory, but also its external enemies.
After returning from the Balkan war, he published his influential book Serbia and Albania: A Contribution to the Critique of the Conqueror Policy of the Serbian Bourgeoisie, which analyzes the roots of Serbian-Albanian conflict.
Unlimited enmity of the Albanian people against Serbia is the foremost real result of the Albanian policies of the Serbian government. The second and more dangerous result is the strengthening of two big powers in Albania, which have the greatest interests in the Balkans.
Even one Serb Social Democrat who had served in the army previously commented on the disgust he had for the crimes his own people had committed against the Albanians, describing in great detail heaps of dead, headless Albanians in the centers of a string of burnt towns near Kumanovo and Skopje:
…the horrors actually began as soon as we crossed the old frontier. By five p.m. we were approaching Kumanovo. The sun had set, it was starting to get dark. But the darker the sky became, the more brightly the fearful illumination of the fires stood out against it. Burning was going on all around us. Entire Albanian villages had been turned into pillars of fire… In all its fiery monotony this picture was repeated the whole way to Skopje… For two days before my arrival in Skopje the inhabitants had woken up in the morning to the sight, under the principal bridge over the Vardar- that is, in the very centre of the town- of heaps of Albanian corpses with severed heads. Some said that these were local Albanians, killed by the komitadjis [Chetniks], others that the corpses were brought down to the bridge by the waters of the Vardar. What was clear was that these headless men had not been killed in battle.
A report of the International Commission cited a letter of a Serbian soldier, who described the punitive expedition against the rebel Albanians:
“My dear Friend, I have no time to write to you at length, but I can tell you that appalling things are going on here. I am terrified by them, and constantly ask myself how men can be so barbarous as to commit such cruelties. It is horrible. I dare not tell you more, but I may say that Luma (an Albanian region along the river of the same name), no longer exists. There is nothing but corpses, dust and ashes. There are villages of 100, 150, 200 houses, where there is no longer a single man, literally not one. We collect them in bodies of forty to fifty, and then we pierce them with our bayonets to the last man. Pillage is going on everywhere. The officers told the soldiers to go to Prizren and sell the things they had stolen.”
Durham further described how Serbian troops had tortured civilians with slow death, simply for their own entertainment. The following episode occurred in the village of Arzi from 1912 to 1913:
“When passing through the village in November, the Serbs had merely disarmed the people who had not resisted. But when the troops returned in April, they amused themselves by bleeding some of their defenceless victims to death. [The villagers attested:] ‘Not quickly, as you do sheep, but slowly. They made little cuts on the wrists and elbows and on the necks so that they should be a long time dying.’ Some women, with hideous and vivid pantomime, described the manner of the cuts and how the Serbs had danced round the dying victims and imitated their last shudders… Nor were the Serbs themselves ashamed of their exploits, for a Serb officer told a doctor I know, that he had helped to bury people alive in Kosovo.”
As a result of the Treaty of London in 1913, which legally awarded the former Ottoman lands to Serbia, Montenegro and Greece (namely, the large part of the Vilayet of Kosovo being awarded to Serbia), an independent Albania was recognised.
As such, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro agreed to withdraw from the territory of the new Principality of Albania. The principalty however, included only about half of the territory populated by ethnic Albanians and a large number of Albanians remained in neighboring countries.
Official Report Submitted to the Great Powers
We are the first in Europe to be able to publish the full list of atrocities committed by the Serb Army in the Districts of Dibra, Lower Dibra and Luma in northern Albania after the amnesty accorded last October by the government in Belgrade, following the revolt of the Albanian malisors (mountain people).
It is a document of extraordinary importance and has just been handed over to the government of one of the Great Powers by its own plenipotentiary delegate, who personally compiled the notes and names at the sites of the atrocities and terror.
Here is the full version of the official report.
District of Dibra
In Klos, Serb gangs bayoneted Ahmet Aliu and his brother, as well as Nezir Sulejmani and Mehmet Salihu. The whole village was ransacked.
In Valikardha, in middle of the day and in the presence of all the inhabitants, Ymer Halili, Osman Qira, Qerim Zejneli, Ismail Alushi and Sul Hoxha (Muslim priest) were slain by bayonet and were reduced to unrecognisable corpses. Their houses were burnt down after having been pillaged.
In Peladhia, house-to-house inspections were carried out under the pretext of searching for weapons caches. Many houses were plundered. That of Hasan Pata was burnt down and its owner had his throat slit in the presence of his elderly mother, his wife and his children.
In Krajka, the house of Muharrem Dervishi was torched after having been pillaged.
In Zerqen, all the houses were pillaged and burnt down.
In Sopot, the village was completely ravaged and plundered. Many of the houses were burnt down. All the animals were stolen, and the following persons: Ali Kamberi, his servant, Hamza Disha and Salih Selimi, were bayoneted.
In Dibra (town), several hours before the malissor attack, the local prefect and the military commander arrested eighteen leading townsmen, who were executed without benefit of trial: Ramiz Karanfili, Sheh Husejni, Numan Hasani and Safet Bey. The others only survived thanks to the malisors who by that time had entered the town that the Serb Army had to evacuate hastily.
On their return to Dibra, the Serbs pillaged the whole town and carried off over a million Turkish lira of booty. Many houses were put to the torch, in particular those of Ali Bey. Rakip Qatibi and Kurtish Aga. With incomparable cruelty, the Serbs also massacred many other people, among whom were those minding their own business at home who had not part in the insurrection. Among those massacred were: Kurtish Aga, Behxhet Efendi, Haxhi Syreja Efendi, Reshid Efendi Kusari and Sadullah Shtrazimiri.
At the present time, the town of Dibra is virtually deserted because the inhabitants have fled into the mountains. In the town itself, there are only two or three hundred individuals left of both sexes.
In Gjorica, the day after a visit by an officer delegated by the Austrian Government, who was passing through to verify the Serb evacuation of the region, the Serbs re-appeared in the village and killed a woman and a five-year-old child. They also wounded another woman.
In Homesh, only three of the 150 houses originally standing in the village remained. All the others were torched after having been pillaged. After they surrender, the Serbs killed: Musa Ismajli, Shemsedin Bajrami and Halit Sulejmani who had returned to the village after the amnesty. The first time, they took 1000 head of sheep, 150 head of cattle and 40 horses. The second time, they took 50 head of sheep, nine head of cattle and nine horses.
In Shupenza, after robbing the houses and taking all the valuables and supplies, the Serbs massacred: Alis Myslimi and his brother Abdi, Hasan Abazi and Dalip Elmazi.
In Okshatina, only one house remains intact of the original 74. They were all pillaged and torched. Two men called Ferhat and Nazif were bayoneted. All the animals were carried off.
In Topojan, a village of 68 homes, there was general plundering and burning. A man called Abdullah Xhaferri had his throat slit as he was not able to come up with the sum of five Turkish lira (115 Italian lira), the ransom demanded by the Serb officer commanding the detachment. The Serb soldiers carried off all the animals.
At Kovashica, Malik Bajrami, Aziz Haxhi, Ahmet Ramadani, Leka, Destan Jashari, Sejfedin Elezi, and Sulejman Ramadani were massacred. 150 head of sheep, 41 head of cattle and 13 horses were stolen. A man called Rashid Rexhepi was only spared for a sum of 150 Turkish lira (about 3450 francs) paid as ransom to the commander of the Serb detachment.
In Gjurica (a hamlet near Topojan), 14 men were massacred, among whom the village syndic. Two women were also killed: Naile Seferi and Zemane Ibrahimi, as well as an eight-year-old boy called Ismail Mehmedi, a ten-year-old called Bajram Elezi, a seven-year-old called Rrahman, two twelve-year-olds called Hasan Ali and Elias, and the daughter of Husein Çoka.
In Golevishta, the whole village was ransacked. 74 houses were torched and two men called Halil Numani and Nuredin Mustafa had their throats slit. As to the animals, the Serbs took 1000 head of sheep, 30 head of cattle and 35 horses the first time, and 23 horses, 40 head of cattle and 500 head of sheep the second time.
In Kërçisht, the only two Muslim homes in the village were torched. In addition, 60 head of sheep, two bulls and four cows were stolen.
In Bllata, the Serbs torched 75 houses and massacred Rexhep Lleshi with his brother Abdi and the latter’s son Bajram, as well as the wife of Islam Kuarana. The village was completely pillaged and the remaining animals, being 90 head of sheep and 50 head of cattle, were carried off.
In Zogjaj, the villages was looted. All valuables, winter supplies and animals were carried off. The Serbs torched 124 houses and, while the fire was reducing everything to ashes, they threw the following people into the flames alive: a woman called Rihane, two girls called Fazile and Myslime, and a seven-year-old lad called Bajram. They also bayoneted Haxhi Myslimi, Nezir Azizi, Halil Numani and Zejnel Hasani. Returning to Zogjaj for a second time, the Serbs massacred: Mustafa Myslimi, Aziz Jusufi, Adem Shabani and Edin Nurka. They also stole seven cows and six sheep that had escaped the first looting.
In Maqellara, 10 houses were pillaged and torched. In addition, the Serbs bayoneted: Elmaz Selmani and his son Selman, Malik Rexhepi and his son Murat, Hasan Sulejmani, Abdullah Qehaja, Hajredin Hasani and his three sons Ymer, Ramiz and Tevfik, his brother Rakip, his father Hasan, Rrustem Mehmeti, Numan Shemsedini, Ramadan Bajrami and Ejup Edhemi. The other inhabitants of the village were forced to hand over 50 head of cattle, two cows and 113 goats in order not to be slaughtered.
In Poçest, the Serbs murdered Muharrem Muharremi and his son Behxhet. They carried off 100 head of sheep and nine head of cattle, as well as a sum of 150 Turkish lira (about 3450 francs) which they discovered in the pockets of the villagers.
In Kërçisht i Poshtëm, the Serbs looted the home of Mehmet Ejupi after having slit the throat of the owner in front of his family.
In Çerenec, they torched 23 houses and massacred Hasan Abazi and his wife, Ramadan Salihu and Rrustem Sulejmani. They pillaged the whole village and carried off all valuables, supplies and animals.
In Bllaca, the village was completely burnt down after having been pillaged. The inhabitants were all put to the sword, quite without cause, so there was no opportunity to compile a list of victims. On their return to Bllaca, the Serbs discovered 250 head of sheep, 37 cows and 28 horses which they carried off, having slain the shepherds.
In Spas, they pillaged all the houses and torched ten of them. They carried off all the animals they could catch, being 150 head of sheep, four horses and 13 head of cattle.
In Klobuçishta, after looting all the homes, they set fire to them. Thirty houses were reduced to ashes. In addition, in the presence of the villagers, they murdered: Adil Bilhali, Ahmed Abazi, Mustafa Murteza, Xhelaledin Destani and his brother Musa, Hajredin Maksuti, Lutfi Fejzullahu, Reshid Murteza and his son Fetah, Gazanfer Zejneli and others. The Serbs also stole 150 sheep and goats, 11 head of cattle and one donkey.
In Pulçishte (Poçest?), the Serbs carried off 103 head of sheep, 15 head of cattle, 14 horses, seven donkeys and 65 Turkish lira in gold (about 1500 francs). Returning a second time, they caught and carried off five head of sheep, 10 head of cattle and one horse.
In Obok, the whole village was looted and the village leader, Ramadan Bajrami, had his throat slit. While passing through the first time, the Serbs carried off a herd of 120 sheep and, the second time, they took away 25 sheep, two bulls, one horse and two donkeys.
In Pesjaka, they burnt down or destroyed all the houses. Of the inhabitants, they murdered the following: Jahja Ismajli, Malik, Mahmut, Sejfullah, Abaz and Vehbi Sulejmani. The Serbs also carried off 14 head of cattle, 50 sheep and one donkey.
In Erebara, the whole village was looted and the following persons were massacred: Ibrahim Osmani, Junus Kurtishi, Xhafer Demiri and Destan Ishaku. They also carried off three horses, one donkey and eight head of sheep. The Serbs also took a herd of 150 sheep belonging to Shukri Bey from a pasture near the village.
In Vojnika, the Serbs looted and torched all the 51 houses and, while the flames were devastating the village, Serb soldiers bayoneted everyone they could find. Among the victims were Sinan Ibrahimi, Nazif Numani, Ali Selimi and Idriz Shabani. In addition, a woman called Shame was tortured and had her throat slit in the presence of her children. All the animals, being 100 head of sheep, eight head of cattle and nine horses, were carried off.
In Allajbegia, the Serbs pillaged the whole village and torched 65 houses. They massacred the following persons: Ibrahim, Zejnel Dalipi, Salih Ahmeti, Ali Selimi, Hajdar Shabani and his brother Hajredin, Hajredin Muça, Ali Osmani, Numan Elmazi, Sejfedin Selimi, Zejnel Saipi, Salih Sulejmani, Fazli Abazi, and the women Shame, Qamile, Alie, Nimetallah, Hibe, Zaide, Fatime and a five-year-old girl. All the animals in the village and on the surrounding pastures were carried off.
In Avalan, the village was pillaged and four houses put to the torch. The head villager Ismajl Ismajli has his throat slit, and the animals, being 90 head of sheep, 6 horses and 1 donkey, were carried off.
In Çanka, after the village was looted, nine houses were put to the torch. Of the inhabitants of the village, the Serbs bayoneted the following: Beqir Rrustemi, Husejn Abazi, Shahin Numani and Zejnullah. They also carried off 13 animals.
In Kovaçica, the whole village was plundered and 32 houses were torched. Massacred were: Elias Dauti, Nuredin Nurçe, Salih Osmani and Zejnel Troza. The Serbs carried off two bulls, 30 head of sheep and nine cows.
In Bllata e Epërme, the whole village was plundered and 18 houses were torched. Abdul Azizi and Abdurrahman were the only victims of the Serbs. In addition, 42 head of sheep and two horses were carried off.
In Bllata e Poshtme, after being looted, 25 homes were reduced to ashes by the fire. A man called Ali Bllata and his two sons died in the flames. The Serbs also carried off 30 head of sheep, four cows and three horses.
In Lishan, after being looted, the whole village was put to the torch and all the animals found in the stables and out grazing were carried off.
District of Lower Dibra
In Rabdisht, the village was looted and completely devastated. 38 houses and about thirty stables were torched. 65 men were massacred, as usual by bayonet. In addition to them was a six-year-old boy, the son of a local leader, who was throw alive into the flames. The Serbs also carried off 400 head of sheep, 150 goats, 60 cows and 22 horses. A search of the pockets of the inhabitants who were spared death produced the sum of 20 Turkish lira (about 450 francs) which the Serbs confiscated.
In Zimur, the Serbs pillaged and torched seven houses. They bayoneted: Ahmet Shabani, Mulajm Elmazi, Sulejman Zeqiri, Veisel Riza and Salih Shabani. The animals they carried off consisted of 245 head of sheep and 12 bulls.
In Staravec, the whole village was pillaged and 42 houses were reduced to ashes. The victims here were: Husejn Muça, Reshid Rrahmani and a woman called Zobejda. The Serbs caught and carried off 300 sheep and goats, 30 head of cattle and four horses.
In Bahutaj, the Serbs forced Ramadan Mehmeti and his companions to perform balancing acts and then cut their throats. They carried off 10 horses.
In Tomin, the village was pillaged and two houses, a dervish lodge and a mosque were torched. Mazllum Jusufi and a boy of ten were slain. All the animals found were carried off.
In Dohoshisht, after the sacking of the village, 55 houses were torched. Among the victims who were horribly massacred, one could recognize the bodies of: Malik Bajrami, Ramadan Ahmeti, Ymer Sadiku, Zejnullah Hasani, Halil Junuzi, Musa Bajrami, and Shaban Halili. The Serbs carried off 400 head of sheep and 200 horses.
In Zagrad, the soldiers torched eight houses and stole three horses.
In Bellova, the Serbs pillaged the whole village and carried off everything they could transport.
In Grazhdan, 22 houses were ransacked and torched. Aziz Shemsedini, Hasan Zekiria, Xhafer Jusufi, Emrullah Mahmuti, Mont, Beqir, Hasan Durmishi, Rrustem Hasani and his brother Zekiria, Bexhet Nuri and his wife, Ismail Xhelili and his son Elias, Elez Hasani, Emrullah Demiri, Sinan Xhaferi, Aziz Kurtishi, Maksut Numani and Ferhat were bayoneted in the presence of their families. The Serbs also carried off all the animals.
In Muhurr, they looted all the homes and set 14 of them on fire. When they passed through the first time, they took 200 head of sheep, 100 lambs, 30 cows and 15 horses, as well as over 300 Turkish lira (about 7000 francs) they discovered in the pockets of the inhabitants. The second time they passed through the village, Serb troops stole 10 sheep, 10 lambs and one horse. They also bayoneted eleven village leaders.
In Luznia, all private homes were looted. The Serbs then torched five of the main homes. They carried off all the animals they could find in the stables, over 1500 sheep and goats, and 200 head of cattle. The human casualties, all bayoneted to death, amounted to 45 persons, whose names were carefully verified and recorded.
In Çetush, four houses were torched and the following persons: Asma Hasani, Zejnel Shabani and Osman Numani were massacred. Three horses were stolen.
In Brezhdan, the Serbs pillaged and torched 17 houses. They massacred the following persons: Abedin Osmani, Shahin Mehmeti and Salih Kadri. They also carried off 25 horses.
In Ushtelenca, the whole village was ransacked and thirteen houses were reduced to ashes. The following persons, Numan Rrustemi, Muslim Zeki and Mehmet Gota were massacred. The animal carried off amounted to 17 horses and six bulls.
In Deshat, the Serbs torched 15 houses and threw a ten-year-old boy, a seven-year-old boy and two women alive into the flames. They stole 50 head of cattle and 500 head of sheep.
In Sohodoll, they set three houses on fire and massacred four men: Abdullah Abedini, Tusun Dalipi, Sulejman Bahtiari and Dalip Ismajli, as well as a woman called Belure and her six-year-old son called Mazllum. They also stole 200 sheep and 30 horses.
In Borovjan, the Serbs torched two houses and slit the throat of Rrustem Muharremi in the presence of his family. They also carried off 27 head of cattle, 119 sheep and 5 horses.
In Rashnopoja, they pillaged all of the houses thoroughly, but were not able to burn any of them down. They bayoneted six leading villagers: Bajram Mehmeti, Malik Rakipi, Selman Rakipi, Behxhet Behluli, Osman Azani, Hajredin Maliku, and stole 20 bulls.
In Cerjan, the Serbs torched the houses and killed three men: Fazli Sulejmani, Jashar Hejbati and Bektash Arsllani, and one woman Zobejda. They carried off 14 horses and 60 head of sheep.
In Pilaf, all the houses were looted and five of them were torched. The Serbs bayoneted Dalip Ramadani in the presence of his elderly mother.
In Pilaf-Mahalla, they ransacked all the houses and torched eight of them. They murdered Hasan Fetahu, Salih Jusufi and his six-year-old daughter Fatime. In addition the Serb soldateska hurled a five-year-old boy called Shukri and a four-year-old called Hasan, into the flames. 100 head of cattle, 200 head of sheep and eight horses were carried off.
In Pollozhan, the village was completely ransacked and three houses were torched. There were eleven victims: Hajredin Vehta and his brother Aziz, Jusuf Uka, Hajredin Shkurti, Husejn Zejneli, Hajredin Halili, Said Pasha, Emin Shahini, Elez Numani and his brother Osman and the latter’s son. As to the animals, they carried off 50 head of sheep, 12 bulls and four horses.
In Gliçes (Blliçja?), all the houses were pillaged and five of them were torched. The Serbs cut the throats of three men (Xhafer Rrustemi, Destan Hasani and Xhemal Salihu) and of one woman (Ajshe). They carried off 250 head of sheep and 30 horses.
In Limjan, the whole village was ransacked. Among the inhabitants who were slain by bayonets were Hasan Shahini, Sejfullah Ibrahimi, Abdurrahman Fetahu, Qerim Sadiku and Bajram Xhelili. Also carried off were 200 head of sheep, 20 cows and 10 horses.
In Peshkopia, after all the houses in the village were pillaged, 57 of them, among which the most important houses, were torched. Massacred were: Xhelaledin Abazi, Ali Ymeri, Xhelman Selmani, Hasan Arsllani, Hajredin Shabani and Murat Demiri. 180 head of cattle, 450 sheep and goats, 15 mules and 20 horses were carried off.
In Trepça, the village was looted and Zejnullah Ahmeti has his throat slit savagely in the presence of his family. Two horses and 57 head of sheep were carried off.
In Çidhna, thirty houses were reduced to ashes. Three men were among the victims: Kitan Keloshi, Hasani Hani and Arsllan Sadiku. 500 sheep and goats, 200 head of cattle, 13 horses and 3 donkeys were carried off.
In Renz, the Serbs torched five houses, slit the throat of Zejnel Ahmeti on his doorstep, and carried off 100 sheep and goats, 12 cows and 5 beasts of burden.
The tale of the massacres carries on and as does the horrifying list revealing the martyrdom of the young Albanian people. Details have also been furnished of the atrocities committed in other parts of the District of Lower Dibra in northern Albania, such as:
In Dipjaka, general pillage, murder of a man called Beqir Sulejmani and a ransom of 45 Turkish lira paid by the inhabitants to the Serb commander to stop the massacre. All the animals were carried off.
In Venisht, pillage and torching. The throats of Beqir Asimi and Idriz Tahiri were slit, and the animals carried off.
In Sllatina, 30 houses were torched. Bahtial Idrizi was burnt alive and 1365 head of cattle were carried off.
In Trojak and Velesha, 41 houses were reduced to ashes. The following men: Zaim Idrizi, Abas Huseini and Salih Kadri were murdered. 660 animals were carried off.
In Kalla, 30 houses were torched. A woman called Daveshe was cast alive into the flames. Bajram Rrustemi had his throat slit on the doorstep of his home. 576 animals were carried off.
In Sllova, there were no victims since the population, not trusting the Serb amnesty, fled into the mountains. The village was completely ransacked, 32 houses were reduced to ashes and 319 animals, caught while grazing, were carried off.
In Dardha, general pillaging. Two victims: Nuredin Sulejmani and Ramadan Sinani. 380 animals were carried off.
In Reç, general pillaging and the carrying off of 600 animals.
In Shumbat Palaman, pillaging, torching of eight houses. Three women, Rihane, Selvie and Ajshe, and three men, Jusuf, Bajram and Bajram, were murdered. Over 1340 animals were carried off.
District of Luma
No less terrifying were the horrors perpetrated in the District of Luma, in particular:
In Shullan, general pillaging, torching. All the population had their throats slit, with the exception of three persons who, hearing the screaming and trepidation of the women and children, understood what was going on and took flight into the forest.
In Dodaj and Kiushtan, the houses were pillaged and torched. There were 13 victims.
In Tropojan, the houses were reduced to ashes and the population of over 500 souls was exterminated.
In Çerem, everything was pillaged. Over 350 animals were carried off. There were 23 victims, among whom were seven religious leaders.
In Krusheva, on the orders of Loglop, secretary of the Serb Government in Prizren, the family of Haxhi Ibrahimi, composed of eight members, among whom were three women and a one-year-old baby, two four-year-old girls and one six-year-old girl, were killed in cold blood by the soldateska.
In Bushtrica and Bilush, pillaging and torching of everything. The population, irrespective of gender and age, was put to the sword or burned alive. The animals, caught while grazing, were carried off after the shepherds were slaughtered.
In Çaja and Matranxh, general plundering. About 600 animals were carried off.
In Vasiaj, Palush, Gjabrec and Draç, general plundering. All supplies and all objects having any value whatsoever were stolen. Over 800 animals were carried off.
In Gjinaj, Lusna, Kalis and Vila, in addition to looting, 71 houses were torched, 123 people killed – men, women and children – and 2121 animals were carried off.
In Ujmisht, plundering and torching of 21 houses. 15 victims, among whom a woman, a three-month-old baby, a little boy of four, one of five, and two of eight. 480 animals were carried off.
In Xhaferraj, Brekija, Nimça, Lojmja, Përbreg, all the houses were raised to the ground. The population encircled by the Serbs was ruthlessly massacred. Several were hanged from the branches of trees, most of them had their throats slit. Some were cast into the flames and other suffered even worse torture before perishing. In Brekije alone, a large village of over 150 houses, there were over 1300 victims – men, women and children. In Përbreg, the number of victims probably exceeds 400. Of the whole population of these five villages, only two inhabitants of Xhaferraj and five of Nimça managed to escape extermination.
Other scenes of savagery and carnage took place in Surroj where 130 houses were torched and 55 men and 2 women were slain.
In Bardhovca and Novoseja, these two villages were burnt to the ground. The population fled up into the mountains, except for the wife of Islam Hanxhi and her four small children and the family of Ramadan Jusufi, who were burnt alive. The 1620 animals caught while grazing, among which 320 large ones, were carried off.
In Sula e Fushës and Arrëza, 34 houses were torched. There were 11 victims and all the animals, 610 of them, were carried off.
[From the daily newspaper Corriere delle Puglie, Bari, XXVI, 354, of 21 December 1913, reprinted in: M. D. Skopansky Les atrocités serbes d’après les témoignages américains, anglais, français, italiens, russes, serbes, suisses, etc. etc. (Lausanne: Librairie Centrale des Nationalités 1919), p. 148-161. Translated from the French by Robert Elsie.]
Genocide against Albanians in the First Yugoslavia
The Expulsion of the Albanians
“The Expulsion of the Albanians” is a memorandum authored, prepared and presented to the Royal Yugoslav government by Serb intellectual and political figure Vaso Cubrilovic (1897-1990) in Belgrade in 1937. It outlines the methods to be used for removing the Albanians from Kosova – a blueprint for ethnic cleansing.
As a student in 1914, Cubrilovic had participated in the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, the event which precipitated the First World War. Between the two wars, he was professor at the Faculty of Arts in Belgrade and acted as an advisor for the Royal Yugoslav government. After World War II, Vaso Cubrilovic became a member of the Communist Party and as held various posts in the Federal Yugoslav government – the revisionist national-chauvinist government of Josep Broz Tito.
DR. V. CUBRILOVIC
on March 7, 1937
The Expulsion of the Albanians
The problem of the Albanians in the life of our country and people did not arise yesterday. It played a major role in our life in the Middle Ages, but its importance only became decisive towards the end of the seventeenth century, at a time when the masses of the Serbian people were displaced northwards out of their former ancestral territory of Rashka / Raška, supplanted by Albanian highlanders. Gradually, the latter came down from their mountains to the fertile plains of Metohija and Kosovo. Spreading northwards, they continued in the direction of southern and western Morava and, crossing the Shar mountains, descended into Polog and, from there, towards the Vardar. Thus, by the nineteenth century was formed the Albanian triangle, a wedge which, with its Debar-Rogozna axis in the rear, penetrated as far into our territories as Nish / Niš and separated our ancient land of Rashka from Macedonia and the Vardar Valley.
In the nineteenth century, this wedge, inhabited by wild Albanian elements, prevented the maintenance of any strong cultural, educational and economic links between our northern and southern territories. This was also the main reason why, until 1878, Serbia was unable to establish and maintain continuous links with Macedonia through Vranja and the Black Mountain of Skopje and thus to exercise its cultural and political influence on the Vardar Valley, to the extent that one would have expected in view of conducive geographical factors and historical traditions in these regions. Although the Bulgarians began their life as a nation later than the Serbs, they had greater success initially. This explains why there are permanent settlements of southern Slavs from Vidin in the north to Ohrid in the south. Serbia began to slice off pieces of this Albanian wedge as early as the first uprising, by expelling the northernmost Albanian settlers from Jagodina.
Thanks to the wide-ranging national plans of Jovan Ristic, Serbia sliced off another piece of this wedge with the annexation of Toplica and Kosanica. At that time, the regions between Jastrebac and southern Morava were radically cleared of Albanians.
From 1918 onwards, it was the task of our present state to suppress what remained of the Albanian triangle, but it did not succeed. Though there are a number of reasons for this, we shall examine only the most important of them.
1. The fundamental mistake made by the authorities in charge at that time was that, forgetting where they were, they wanted to solve all the major ethnic problems of the troubled and bloody Balkans by Western methods. Turkey brought to the Balkans the customs of the Sheriat, according to which victory in war and the occupation of a country conferred the right on the victor to dispose of the lives and property of the subjected inhabitants. Even the Balkan Christians learned from the Turks that not only state power and domination, but also home and property could be won and lost by the sword. This concept of land ownership in the Balkans was to be softened somewhat by laws, ordinances and international agreements brought about under pressure from Europe, but it has, to a good extent, remained a primary instrument of leverage for Turkey and the Balkan states up to this very day. We need not evoke the distant past. It is sufficient to refer to a few cases which have taken place in recent times: the transfer of Greeks from Asia Minor to Greece and of Turks from Greece to Asia Minor, or the recent expulsion of Turks from Bulgaria and Romania to Turkey. While all the Balkan states, since 1912, have solved or are on the point of solving their problems with national minorities through mass population transfers, we have stuck to the slow and cumbersome strategy of gradual colonization. The result has been negative, as evident from the statistics of the eighteen districts which make up the Albanian triangle. These figures show that the natural growth of the Albanian population in these regions is still greater than the total increase in our population from both natural growth and new settlers (from 1921 to 1931, the Albanian population increased by 68,060, while the Serbs showed an increase of 58,745, i.e. a difference of 9,315 in favour of the Albanians). Taking into account the intractable character of the Albanians, the pronounced increase in their numbers and the ever-increasing difficulties of colonization will eventually put in question even those few successes we have achieved in our colonization from 1918 onwards.
2. Even the strategy of gradual colonization was not properly applied. Worse still in a matter of such importance, there was no specific state plan for every government and regime to adhere to and implement. Work was intermittent, in fits and starts, with each new minister undoing what his predecessor had done and himself creating nothing solid. Laws and regulations were amended but, weak as they were, were never implemented. Some individuals, especially deputies from other regions, who could not manage to secure a mandate at home, would go down south and butter up the non-national elements to gain a mandate there, thus sacrificing major national and state interests. The colonization apparatus was extremely costly, inflated and loaded with people who were not only incompetent, but were also frequently without scruples. Their activities are indeed a topic in itself. Finally, one need only total up the huge sums this state has invested in colonization and divide them by the number of families settled to prove how costly every new household established since the war has been, regardless of whether or not this expenditure was met by the settlers themselves or by the state. Likewise, it would be interesting to compare the amounts paid out for personal expenditures and those for materials needed for colonization. In the past, Serbia went about this matter quite differently. Karageorge, during the first uprising, as well as Miloš, Mihajlo and Jovan Ristic had no special ministry of land reform, no general land inspectors, or costly apparatus, and still, they managed to purge Serbia of foreign elements and populate it with our own people who felled the endless forests of Shumadia (Šumadija), transforming them from the wild state they were once in to the fertile Shumadia we know today.
3. Even those few thousand families who were settled after the war did not remain where they were originally located. There was more success in Kosovo, especially in the Lab / Llap valley, where the Toplicans penetrated of their own accord from north to south. Our oldest and most stable settlements there were established with elements from various Serbian regions. In Drenica and Metohija we had no success at all. Colonization should never be carried out with Montenegrins alone. We do not think that they are suitable as colonists because of their pastoral indolence. This applies to the first generation only. The second generation is quite different, more active and more practical. The village of Petrovo in Miroc north of the Danube, the most advanced village in Krajina, is inhabited exclusively by Montenegrins. In Serbia today, there are thousands of other flourishing towns, especially in Toplica and Kosanica, which were established by Montenegrins of the first generation who mixed with more advanced elements. The foregoing consideration, nonetheless, still applies in Metohija where, since the settlers are on their own ancestral lands, old customs still abound. A visit to any coffee-house in Peja / Pec is sufficient proof. This is why our colonization has had so little success throughout Metohija. It must be admitted, on the other hand, that these colonies were poorly situated on barren, scrub-covered land, and were almost totally lacking in basic agricultural equipment. These people should have been given more assistance than other colonists because they were among the poorest Montenegrin elements.
4. Without doubt, the main cause for the lack of success in our colonization of these regions was that the best land remained in the hands of the Albanians. The only possible means for our mass colonization of these regions to succeed is for us to take the land away from them. This could have been achieved easily during the rebellion after the war, when the insurgents were active, by expelling part of the Albanian population to Albania, by refusing to legalize their usurpations and by buying up their pasture land. Here, we must refer once again to the gross error committed in our post-war strategy, that of the right to own land. Instead of taking advantage of the strategy used by the Albanians themselves for ownership of the land they usurped (scarcely any of them had deeds issued by the Turks, and those who did, got them only for land purchased), we not only legalized all these usurpations to the detriment of our state and nation, but worse still, we accustomed the Albanians to western European attitudes to private property. Prior to that, they could never have understood such concepts. In this way, we ourselves handed them a weapon with which to defend themselves, keeping the best land for themselves and rendering impossible the nationalization of a region of supreme importance to us.
It is apparent from the above that our colonization strategy in the south has not yielded the results which ought to have been achieved and which now impose themselves upon us as a major necessity of state. We are not criticizing this strategy merely for the sake of criticism, but so that, on the basis of our past experience, we can find the right way to solve this problem.
The Problem of Colonization of the Southern Regions
Reading the first part of this paper and comprehending the problem of colonization of the south, one realizes immediately that the primary issue at stake are the regions north and south of the Shar mountains. This is no coincidence. The wedge of Albanians on both sides of the Shar range is of great national and strategic significance to our state. We have already mentioned the way the population structure came into existence there and the importance of these regions for links to the lands of the Vardar Valley, which are firmly within the limits of our ancient territories. The strength of Serbian expansion ever since the foundation of the first Serbian state in the ninth century has lain in the continuity both of this expansion and of the expansion of ancient Rashka / Raška in all directions, including southwards. But this continuity has been interrupted by the Albanians, and until the ancient link between Serbia and Montenegro on the one hand, and Macedonia on the other, is re-established along the whole line from the River Drin to southern Morava, we will not be secure in the possession of our territories. From an ethnic point of view, the Macedonians will only unite with us, if they receive true ethnic support from their Serbian motherland, something which they have lacked to this day. This can only be achieved through the destruction of the Albanian wedge.
From a military and strategic point of view, the Albanian wedge occupies one of the most vital points in our country, the starting point from which major Balkan rivers flow to the Adriatic Sea, to the Black Sea and to the Aegean. Possession of this strategic point determines, to a large degree, the fate of the central Balkans, and in particular, the fate of the main line of Balkan communications from the Morava to the Vardar. It is no coincidence that many battles of decisive importance to the destiny of the Balkans were fought here (Nemanja against the Greeks, the Serbs against the Turks in 1389, Hunyadi against the Turks in 1446). In the twentieth century, only a country inhabited by its own people can be confident of its security. It is therefore imperative that we not allow such points of strategic importance to be held by hostile and alien elements. This is all the more true in this case in that the element in question has the support of a nation state of the same race. Today this state is powerless, but even as such, it has become a base for Italian imperialism which aims to use the country as a means of penetrating into the heart of our nation. Our people, who are willing and able to defend their land and country, are the most reliable element in the fight against such penetration.
With the exception of this block of eighteen districts, the Albanians and other national minorities in other parts of the south are scattered and, therefore, constitute less of a threat to the life of our nation and state. Nationalizing the regions around the Shar mountains would mean that we can stifle irredentism once and for all, and ensure our control over these territories forever.
Colonization from the north should be kept to a minimum in the regions inhabited by the Macedonians. Here land is scarce and for this reason, the Macedonians would resist an influx of settlers from the north, all the more so because they would regard this influx as a sign of mistrust on our part. As such, even such a minimal colonization would do us more harm than good. If we do send people down there, to the region south of the Black Mountain of Skopje, they should be people from Vranje and Leskovac, who are closer in mentality and culture to the Macedonians. By no means should we send people from the Dinaric region because their irritable and uncontrolled temperaments would only arouse the hostility of the local population. We repeat that this problem will only be solved when our colonies advancing from the north through Kosovo and Metohija in the direction of the Shar mountains and Polog have reached Macedonian settlements.
The problem of the Sandjak of Novi Pazar is solving itself and no longer plays the role it did in the life of our country before 1912. Let it suffice to mention that with the elimination of the Albanians, the last link between our Moslems in Bosnia and Novi Pazar and the rest of the Moslem world will have been cut. They are becoming a religious minority, the only Moslem minority in the Balkans, and this fact will accelerate their assimilation.
Montenegro has become a serious problem recently. This barren land cannot sustain the population which, despite resettlement, increased by 16% from 1912 to 1931. This impulsive, pastoral people has contributed many essential characteristics to our race over the centuries. Channelled in the right direction, their energy will not be destructive, and could, if directed towards the southeast, be employed for the common good of the country.
The Albanians cannot be dispelled by means of gradual colonization alone. They are the only people who, over the last millennium, managed not only to resist the nucleus of our state, Rashka and Zeta, but also to harm us by pushing our ethnic borders northwards and eastwards. When in the last millennium our ethnic borders were shifted up to Subotica in the north and to the Kupa River in the northwest, the Albanians drove us out of the Shkodra (Scutari) region, out of the former capital of Bodin, and out of Metohija and Kosovo. The only way and only means to cope with them is through the brute force of an organized state, in which we have always been superior to them. If since 1912 we have had no success in the struggle against them, we have only ourselves to blame since we have not used this force as we should have. There is no possibility for us to assimilate the Albanians. On the contrary, because their roots are in Albania, their national awareness has been awakened, and if we do not settle the score with them once and for all, within 20-30 years we shall have to cope with a terrible irredentism, the signs of which are already apparent and will inevitably put all our southern territories in jeopardy.
The International Problems of Colonization
If we proceed on the assumption that the gradual displacement of the Albanians by means of gradual colonization is ineffective, we are then left with only one course – that of mass resettlement. In this connection, we must consider two countries: Albania and Turkey.
With its sparse population, its many undrained swamps and uncultivated valleys, Albania would have no difficulty admitting some hundred thousand Albanians from our country. With its vast and uninhabited frontiers in Asia Minor and Kurdistan, modern Turkey, for its part, offers seemingly unlimited opportunities for internal colonization. Despite efforts on the part of Kemal Atatürk, the Turks have not yet been able to fill the vacuum created by the evacuation of the Greeks from Asia Minor to Greece and of some of the Kurds to Persia. Hence, the greatest possibilities lie in sending the bulk of our displaced Albanians there.
Firstly, I stress that we must not limit ourselves to diplomatic démarches with the Ankara government, but must employ all means available to convince Tirana to accept some of our displaced people, too. I believe that we will come up against difficulties in Tirana because Italy will try to hinder the process. Be this as it may, money plays an important role in Tirana. In negotiations on the issue, the Albanian government should be informed that we will stop at nothing to achieve the final solution to this question. At the same time, we should tell them about colonization subsidies available, stressing that no controls will be exercised over them. Eventually, notables in Tirana will see the material gains involved and be persuaded through secret channels not to raise any objections to the whole business.
We have heard that Turkey has agreed, initially, to accept about 200,000 of our displaced persons on condition that they are Albanians, something which is most advantageous to us. We must comply with Turkey’s wish immediately and sign a convention for the resettlement of the Albanian population as soon as possible. Concerning the resettlement of this Albanian population, we must study conventions which Turkey signed recently with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, paying particular attention to two aspects: Turkey should accept the largest possible contingent and should be given maximum assistance from a financial point of view, in particular for the swift organization of transportation facilities. As is inevitable in such cases, this problem will no doubt give rise to some international concern. Over the last hundred years, whenever such actions have been carried out in the Balkans, there has always been some power which has protested because the action did not conform to its interests. In the present case, Albania and Italy may make some protest. We have already pointed out that attempts should be made to conclude an agreement with Albania on this matter and, failing this, we should at least secure its silence on the evacuation of the Albanians to Turkey. We repeat that skilful action and money properly used in Tirana may be decisive in this matter. World opinion, especially that financed by Italy, will be upset a little. Nevertheless, the world today has grown used to things much worse than this and is so preoccupied with its day-to-day problems that this issue should not be a cause for concern. At a time when Germany can expel tens of thousands of Jews and Russia can shift millions of people from one part of the continent to another, the evacuation of a few hundred thousand Albanians will not set off a world war. Be this as it may, decision-makers should know ahead of time what they want and unfalteringly pursue those goals, regardless of possible international repercussions.
Italy, no doubt, will raise more difficulties, but at present the country is extremely preoccupied by problems of its own in Abyssinia. Austria, for its part, will not dare to go very far in its opposition. To tell the truth, the greatest danger lies in the possibility that our great allies, France and Britain, may interfere. These two countries must be given the calm and resolute reply that the security of the Morava-Vardar line is in their interests. That this is so was confirmed during the last great war and that line can only be made more secure, for them and for us, if in ethnic terms, we completely dominate the region around the Shar mountains and Kosovo.
The Mode of Evacuation
As we have already stressed, the mass evacuation of the Albanians from their triangle is the only effective course we can take. In order to relocate a whole people, the first prerequisite is the creation of a suitable psychosis. This can be done in various ways.
It is well known that the Moslem masses are generally readily influenced by religion and are prone to superstition and fanaticism. Therefore, we must first of all win over the clergy and men of influence through money and threats in order for them to give their support to the evacuation of the Albanians. Agitators, especially from Turkey, must be found as quickly as possible to promote the evacuation, if Turkey will provide them for us. They must laud the beauties of the new territories in Turkey and the easy and pleasant life to be had there, and must kindle religious fanaticism among the masses and awaken pride in the Turkish state. Our press can be of colossal assistance by describing how gently the evacuation of the Turks from Dobruja took place and how easily they settled in their new regions. Such information would create the requisite predisposition for the masses of Albanians to be willing to leave.
Another means would be coercion by the state apparatus. The law must be enforced to the letter so as to make staying intolerable for the Albanians: fines, imprisonment, the ruthless application of all police regulations, such as the prohibition of smuggling, cutting forests, damaging agriculture, leaving dogs unchained, compulsory labour and any other measure that an experienced police force can contrive. From the economic aspect, this should include the refusal to recognize old land deeds. The work of the land registry should be accompanied from the start by the ruthless collection of taxes and the payment of all private and public debts, the requisitioning of all public and municipal pasture land, the cancellation of concessions, the withdrawal of permits to exercise an occupation, dismissal from government, private and municipal offices etc., all of which will speed up the process of evacuation. Health measures should include the harsh application of all regulations, even within homes, the pulling down of encircling walls and high hedges around private houses, and the rigorous implementation of veterinary measures which will result in a ban on selling livestock on the market, etc. All these measures can be applied in a practical and effective way. The Albanians are very touchy when it comes to religion. They must therefore be harassed on this score, too. This can be achieved through the ill-treatment of their clergy, the demolition of their cemeteries, the prohibition of polygamy, and especially the inflexible application of the regulation compelling girls to attend elementary school, wherever they are.
Private initiative, too, can assist greatly in this direction. We should distribute weapons to our colonists, as need be. The old form of Chetnik action should be organized and secretly assisted. In particular, a mass migration of Montenegrins should be launched from the mountain pastures in order to create a large-scale conflict with the Albanians in Metohija. This conflict should be prepared and encouraged by people we can trust. This can be easily achieved since the Albanians have, indeed, revolted. The whole affair can be presented as a conflict between clans and, if need be, can be ascribed to economic reasons. Finally, local riots can be incited. These will be bloodily suppressed by the most effective means, though by colonists from the Montenegrin clans and the Chetniks, rather than by means of the army.
There remains one more method Serbia employed with great practical effect after 1878, that is, secretly razing Albanian villages and urban settlements to the ground.
The Organization of the Evacuation
From the attached map (1), it is apparent what regions must be cleared. They are: Upper Dibër / Debar, Lower Polog, Upper Polog, the Shar mountains, Drenica, Peja / Pec, Istog / Istok, Vuçitërna / Vucitrn, Stavica, Llap / Lab, Graçanica / Gracanica, Nerodimja / Nerodimje, Gjakova / Djakovica, Podgor, Gora (Dragash), Lugu i Drinit / Podrimje, Gjilan / Gnjilane and Kaçanik / Kacanik. Of these regions, which together form the Albanian wedge, the most important for us at the moment are: Peja / Pec, Gjakova / Djakovica, Lugu i Drinit / Podrimje, Gora (Dragash), Podgor, Shar, Istog / Istok and Drenica, all to the north of the Shar mountains, Upper Dibër / Debar and the two Pologs to the south, and the Shar mountains themselves. These are border regions that must be cleared of Albanians at any cost. The internal regions such as Kaçanik / Kacanik, Gjilan / Gnjilane, Nerodimja / Nerodimje, Graçanica / Gracanica, Llap / Lab, and Vuçitërna / Vucitrn etc. must be weakened if possible, particularly Kaçanik / Kacanik and Llap / Lab, while the others should be gradually and systematically colonized over a period of decades.
The above-mentioned methods should be used primarily in the border regions, if we wish to clear them of Albanians.
During resettlement, the following must be kept in mind:
In the first place, resettlement should begin in the villages and then move to the towns. The villages are the more dangerous, being more compact. Then, the mistake of removing only the poor should be avoided. The middle and wealthy classes make up the backbone of every nation. They, too, must therefore be persecuted and driven out. Lacking the support which their economically independent compatriots have, the poor will then submit more quickly. This question is of great importance, and I emphasize this, because one of the main causes for the failure of our colonization in the south has been that the poor were expelled while the rich remained. We were, thus, no better off because we gained very little land for the settlement of our colonists. To create a proper psychosis for resettlement, everything possible must be done to evacuate whole villages, or at least whole families. It must be prevented at all costs that part of a family is transferred while other members remain behind. Our state is willing to spend millions not to make life easier for the Albanians, but to get rid of as many of them as possible. For this reason, those who remain behind must be barred absolutely from purchasing property from those evacuated. This should be taken into consideration in the evacuation of individuals and of whole villages if we want to make things as easy as possible for them during the process of relocation.
Once they agree to move, they should be given all the assistance they require. Administrative formalities should be simplified, their property paid for on the spot, travel documents issued without the least formality, and they should be assisted in getting to the nearest railway station. Trains should be made available for them as far as Salonika, and from there, they should be transported immediately by ship to Asia. It is very important that the journey be easy, comfortable and cheap. Train travel should perhaps be made free of charge and displaced persons should be assisted with food because, whether or not large masses of people can be evacuated or not depends largely on conditions of transport. Fear of difficulties en route is a major factor in keeping people from departing. This fear must be overcome by solving all the problems connected with the journey quickly and energetically. Particular care must therefore be taken to ensure that these people have the fewest possible difficulties en route. Simple people often have trouble finding their way, so it would be advisable to have major travel enterprises study transportation systems and adapt them accordingly. The displaced person must pass from hand to hand without feeling that his movement is a burden. Only in this way will it be possible to create a proper flow of Albanian evacuees and empty the south of them.
Depopulating and Repopulating Regions
The problem of the establishment of colonies in the depopulated regions is no less important than the expulsion of the Albanians.
The first question to arise is: Who is to be settled here? The most natural thing would be to populate these regions with elements of our people from destitute areas: Montenegrins in the first place, but also Hercegovinians, Licanas and Krajšniks. The Montenegrins are the most appropriate for several reasons, and Metohija, Drenica and Kosovo are the most natural places for them to descend into from their impoverished mountain homelands. The increase of population in Montenegro has caused much poverty there which, in recent times, has given rise to continual social and political unrest. This is unfavourable for our control of the country and is very dangerous for the maintenance of law and order in the future. Giving them maize and pensions is useless. The only solution is to send them down into the fertile regions of Metohija, Drenica and Kosovo. The Montenegrins will prove to be excellent instruments to overcome the Albanians since they are akin to them in mentality and temperament. They must be settled initially in the regions north of the Shar mountains. Along with them, however, people from Lican, Krajšnica, Serbia, Cacak, Užice and Toplica should be brought in as colonists as well. This is necessary in order to create improved working habits and organization among the Montenegrins, and to break down the nomadic group mentality, the spirit of collectivity which characterizes the highlanders, by mixing and by intermarriage with people from various Dinaric regions. In this way, a new type of Montenegrin can be created with a less local and more broad-minded, Serbian outlook.
Suitable conditions should be created for southern Serbian emigrants living in the regions south of the Shar mountains so that they can take possession of the fertile lands. They are honest, hardworking people who would be grateful to the state all their lives if better living conditions could be created for them in rural areas. The rural southern Serbs have a right to expect more care and attention than we are giving them today. Settling these poor people in Polog (Upper and Lower) and Dibër / Debar and allocating pasture land to them instead of to the Albanians will give them a sense of belonging to the state and they will be more willing, accordingly, to defend its borders.
Colonization south of the Shar mountains and the Black Mountain of Skopje can also be achieved with Serbs from Vranje, Leskovac, Pirot and Vlasenica, especially those from destitute mountain villages. We repeat that the Dinarics should not be allowed to expand south of the line formed by the Black Mountain of Skopje and the Shar mountain range.
It is essential to avoid bureaucracy and petty formalities in the settlement of villages cleared of Albanians. The first and immediate step is to give the colonists deeds to the land they are settling. One of the main reasons for the failure of our colonization so far has been that settlers did not feel secure on their land because they did not receive a title to it and were thus left to the mercy of unscrupulous petty officials and local politicians. The peasant only feels secure if he knows that no one can take his land away from him. Such a guarantee should therefore be provided from the start. On the other hand, it is dangerous to give colonists the full and unrestricted ownership to land. In principle, homesteaders are carrying out a mission on behalf of the state and the nation, and must carry through with their mission if they are to keep their homesteads. They should not, therefore, have full and unrestricted ownership of the property in question. Because there are so many different types of people among them, from village workers who have lost their inner attachment to land to herdsmen who will have to adapt themselves to agriculture, their attachment to the land must have force of law. This will ensure that they begin to love their new home and region, and if they do not succeed in this, their children at least will. For this reason, colonists should be prevented by law from obtaining full ownership of the land for any period of less than thirty years, even though the deeds are handed out at the start. According to the laws of our country, women do not enjoy the right to inherit property. In order to avoid fragmentation of property into tiny parcels, women must be excluded from inheriting such homesteads except in cases where the colonist has no male descendant and plans to bring a bridegroom into the household. The properties which have been given to the colonists up to now have been small. Bearing in mind intensive farming methods here, the fall in prices for farm products, and the large size of families among the colonists, 5-10 hectares of land is insufficient to ensure the economic survival of the settlers.
It is better to settle a region with a smaller number of colonists, giving them better conditions for development, than with a large number of rural semi-proletarians. This is another cause of failure in our colonization of the south and of the north up to now.
Individuals suitable for settling land under very difficult conditions are rare among other nations. Those few successes we have achieved in our colonization strategy have been the result of the aptitude of our race for colonization. It is only our peasants who are able to survive when shifted from one environment to another and put up against scrubland which has never been used for agriculture. Think of how they would flourish if the state were to carry out its duties and provide them with everything they needed.
On 10 February 1865, the government of Prince Mihajlo passed a law on the ‘Settlement of Foreigners in Serbia’. Under this law, the Serbian government granted poor colonists from neighbouring regions 1.8 hectares of arable land, 1.8 hectares of non-arable land, a house, a yoke of oxen, a cart, two goats or sheep, a sow, necessary tools and 120 grosh in cash. In addition to this, they were of course given maize for food to last them until the first harvest. One plough was provided for every two families. These fixed and movable assets were granted to the settlers for a term of fifteen years, without the right to sell them. At the end of this period, the assets became their property. For the first five years, the settlers were exempt from all kinds of government taxes. For ten years they were also exempt from universal compulsory service in the regular army and for five years from service in the people’s militia. The response from all sides was such that within a few months all homesteads were taken and we were immediately able to colonize more land than we have been able to do for several years since the war. Had the government granted such favourable conditions for settlers after 1918, our situation in the Vojvodina and in southern Serbia would be much different. This is how we must act in the future, if we want to achieve success.
There are also lessons to be learned from the colonization of Toplica and Kosanica after 1878 when the Albanians were expelled from this region. The method of colonization here was laid down in the law of 3 January 1880. On 3 February of the same year, the People’s Council approved an amendment to the law on agrarian relations under the motto “land for the peasants.” Without hesitation, Serbia applied for its first foreign loan in order to pay Turkey for the lands taken. It did not set up any ministry of agrarian reform or costly apparatus to deal with the problem of colonization. Everything was managed in a simple and practical manner. The police distributed land to all those who were willing to work it. People came from Montenegro, Sjenica, Vranje, Kosovo, Peja / Pec etc. and, in a matter of thirty years, Toplica and Kosanica, once Albanian regions of ill-repute, gave Serbia the finest regiment of the 1912-1918 wars, the Second Iron Regiment. During that period, Toplica and Kosanica paid and repaid, with the blood of their sons, for the millions of dinars which Serbia had spent to settle these regions.
It is only by following this example and understanding what is required, sparing neither money nor blood, that our nation can create a new Toplica out of Kosovo and Metohija.
Hence, if we want the colonists to remain where they are, we must assure them of all necessary means of livelihood within the first few years and severely prohibit any speculation with the houses and property of the displaced Albanians. The government must reserve itself the unlimited right to dispose of the fixed and movable assets of the Albanians and must settle its own colonists there as soon as the Albanians have departed. This is important because it rarely happens that a whole village departs at once. The first to be settled in these villages should be the Montenegrins who, with their arrogant, irascible and merciless behaviour, will drive the remaining Albanians away. Then colonists from other regions can be brought in.
This paper deals with the colonization of southern Serbia only. The problem of the Vojvodina, in particular with the Hungarian triangle in Backa, i.e. Senta – Kula – Backa Topola, is however no less important to us. Destroying this triangle in the Vojvodina is indeed just as essential as eradicating the Albanian wedge around the Shar mountains. Tens of thousands of Hungarian farmhands have been left behind since the break-up of the big estates in the Vojvodina and constitute a great burden for the Serbian and German farm owners in the region. Some of these Hungarian and even German farm labourers and small proprietors could be sent to the south because in Backa, on the border with Hungary, they constitute a real threat, all the more so since the Serbs in Backa represent only 25% of the population. In southern Serbia, they would become good citizens by defending their property against Albania and would integrate well into our people. What is more important, since they are more progressive and of a higher cultural level than our peasants, they would provide a good example of advanced farming methods. We stress, however, that Serbs from the Vojvodina should not be sent to the south for colonization. There is still much land to be colonized in the Vojvodina so that they should be given homesteads there instead. It must be noted that in the 1928-1929 period, there was a widespread movement among Hungarians and Germans from the Vojvodina to move to southern Serbia. Not understanding the problem, our authorities were against such a movement and nipped it in the bud. Any such reaction on the part of the government today must be countered, and the public must be instructed to encourage the movement of Hungarians and Germans from the Vojvodina, especially those from Backa, to the south.
The Colonization Apparatus
Of particular importance for the solution of the question under discussion is the existence of a proper apparatus to direct the whole business. The poor work done by the apparatus implementing our colonization strategy in the past was in good part responsible for its failures. To avoid the same mistakes in the future, we must carry out a reorganization.
No other question demands such continuity of implementation as our colonization strategy. We have pointed out that one of the main reasons for the failure of our colonies both in the north and in the south has been the inconsistent work and the vacillations on policy implemented after each change of government. If this is to be avoided in the future, our colonization strategy must be entrusted to the General Staff of the army. Why? Simply for reasons of defence. Our army is intent on settling our people along the borders, especially in the most delicate sectors. To this end, it will do its utmost to secure these borders with the firmest possible settlements. The General Staff, as the prime institution for the defence of our national interests, can contribute a great deal to our colonization strategy as a whole. It will know very well how to protect the colonization strategy from the private interference of those who want to use it for their own personal interests, and from external influence. Another important fact is that it would be easier for the General Staff to convince the responsible bodies of the importance of the issue and to force them to take effective action. The People’s Council would have more faith in it and would grant the necessary credits to it more readily than to others.
The General Staff would guide all the work via a government Commission for Colonization. This Commission would be quite independent, though under the direct supervision of the Chief of General Staff, and would have under its control all bodies involved in our colonization strategy. Representatives of various interested ministries, national associations, technical organizations and scholarly institutions would also be made to take part in this Commission.
The greatest mistake of our colonization strategy in the past lay in the fact that the untrained and incompetent bureaucrats had the main say, and dealt with problems only superficially and in a piecemeal manner. We need only recall the settlement campaign carried out by volunteers from Hungary in Ovce Polje and Kadrifikovo, or the emigrants from Istria and Gorica who settled around Demir Kapija. The matter requires close collaboration between the government, private initiative and scholarly institutions. Private initiative can operate in many directions. The People’s Defence, the Sokolašas, the Chetnik Associations etc. could take action against the Albanians which would be inappropriate for the state. Associations of agronomists, doctors, engineers and cooperatives etc. could provide valuable assistance with their technical advisors in solving the many problems which will arise during the colonization campaign. Cultural associations, such as Prosveta in Sarajevo, Matica Srbska in Novi Sad, the St. Sava Associations in Belgrade etc. have their role to play, too.
Undoubtedly, our institutions of higher learning have begun to lose the prestige they once had. The main reason for this is that the university and the Academy of Sciences are becoming increasingly estranged from real life and are neglecting their main duty in a relatively backward country such as ours: i. e. paving the way for the application of the scientific achievements of the twentieth century. Many billions would have been saved in this country, many mistakes would have been avoided in our government policy, including our colonization policy, had the problems been studied seriously and objectively in advance by competent scholars before they were taken up for solution. Our policy of colonization, likewise, would have acquired a more serious approach, greater continuity and effective application, had the opinions of experts and scholars been sought in advance. To start with, the Royal Serbian Academy of Sciences and the University of Belgrade ought to take the initiative to organize scientific studies of the whole problem of colonization in our country. This would be feasible for many reasons. At the university we have experts on every aspect of colonization. Teachers and academicians at the university are independent scholars, less subject to external political influence. They already have good experience in such fields and their scholarly work is a guarantee of objectivity. They should, therefore, take the initiative of setting up a colonization institute, the task of which would be to pursue colonization studies. The government, for its part, should detach from the ministries all the institutions which have been engaged with this problem so far, and create a special institution, “The Colonization Inspection Office”
The Colonization Inspection Office would be headed by an Inspector General, appointed by decree on the recommendation of the Minister of War, the Chief of General Staff and the Prime Minister. All the work in the colonization institute and in the Colonization Inspection Office would be carried out on orders from and under the supervision of the government Commission for Colonization, while the Inspector General would be answerable to the Chief of General Staff.
The colonization institute would be divided into the following sections:
2) education and culture,
6) hygiene, etc.
In agreement with scientific, cultural and educational associations and institutions, and with national associations, the various sections would study problems of colonization and prepare directives, thus supplying our colonization policy with solid, scientifically elaborated material on the basis of which decisions could be taken. Managing this institute would be people from the Commission for Colonization, including representatives of the above-mentioned ministries, the university, the Academy of Sciences and private, national, education and cultural organizations who would be elected or appointed to this body. In this case, care must be taken not to bring in people just for honour’s sake, but only men who love and are dedicated to this great work.
The heads and employees of the institute should be selected by competition. The institute would then supply the Colonization Inspection Office with scientifically elaborated material for the implementation of our colonization strategy. Should differences of opinion arise between the Colonization Inspection Office and the institute over some fundamental question, the Chief of General Staff would have the final say.
The Colonization Inspection Office must have its executive headquarters in the territory and be made up of people selected for their enthusiasm and readiness for this work, whether or not they are employed by the government. They should, if possible, be selected by means of competition and should be appointed upon the proposal of the Chief of General Staff. Compromised or incompetent cadres must be dismissed. During its work, the Colonization Inspection Office and its organs must avoid bureaucracy as much as possible, while keeping in mind one thing only – the expulsion of the Albanians as quickly as possible and resettlement by our colonists.
The police apparatus will play a very important role in this action. It is, therefore, essential to select and second the most energetic and honest officers. Their transfer should be made with the approval of the Chief of General Staff, and for such a difficult job they should be paid from secret loans. Stern measures must be taken against anyone who commits the slightest infraction. A special commissar, who would execute the orders of the state colonization inspector, must be appointed for the whole of the eighteen districts mentioned. The prefects of the districts must be given special, wide-ranging powers for their work, as well as appropriate instructions. Our political parties should be told curtly that rivalry among them during elections in these districts is strictly prohibited, and that any interference by deputies in favour of the Albanians is categorically forbidden.
The government institute and the Colonization Inspection Office would elaborate the technical details for organizing the evacuation of the Albanians and the relocation of our settlers. It would not be bad, perhaps, if another private organization were to be created, in addition to these two official institutions. This private organization would be created out of existing associations and have the task of assisting in the implementation of our colonization strategy through private initiative. It would be best if the federation of our cultural and education associations could take over this job. Its main task would be to coordinate and assist in the promotion of links between them and the colonization institute.
Whenever our colonization strategy has been criticized for its lack of success, its defenders have always excused themselves with the inadequacy of funds the government has allocated to this work. We do not deny that this has been the case up to a point. It must be said, however, that more has been spent in our country on the maintenance of this apparatus and its irrational activities than on the work of colonization itself. Nevertheless, even though the government has not provided as much as it should have, it must be understood that every country has its own primary and secondary interests to look after. Among a country’s primary interests, without doubt, is the maintenance of its rule in regions of national insecurity by colonizing such regions with its own people. All other commitments are of an importance secondary to this. Funds can and must be found to deal with this problem. We have already mentioned the colonization of Toplica and Kosanica and the benefits derived from this. Given that the small Kingdom of Serbia did not hesitate to make great financial sacrifices, indeed did not even hesitate as a free and independent kingdom to seek its first loan for colonization, is it possible that our present-day Yugoslavia would be unable to do the same? It can and must. That it lacks the means to do so, is simply not true.
Let us calculate approximately how much it would cost our country to expel 200,000 Albanians and settle the region with as great a number of our people.
The resettlement of 40,000 Albanian families, taking an average family as having five members and an average of 15,000 dinars for each family, would cost a total of 600 million dinars. The colonization apparatus for the settling of 40,000 Serbian families might reach a total of 200 million dinars. In any case, the whole operation would not cost more than 800 million dinars. This is because:
1. The evacuated Albanians would leave behind not only land, but also their houses and implements. Thus, not only would the overwhelming majority of our colonists be settled in the homes of the Albanians but, with a little assistance in food and livestock, they would soon recover economically and become independent. We stress in this connection that absolutely no private speculation with the possessions left behind by the Albanians would be tolerated. The government must be the one to take control of these possessions and distribute them to the settlers.
2. Military forces should be employed, where required, during the setting up of new colonies, as was the case with the construction of Sremska Raca and the reconstruction of the villages destroyed by the 1931 earthquake. To this end, the army should be given the right and possibility to set up a kind of compulsory labour service for public projects, just as Stambolisky created the Trudova pronist in Bulgaria and Hitler the Arbeitsdienst in Germany, that is, by calling up reservists or extending the term of military service. It would be an especially good idea for our young people, after finishing their training and after graduating from university, to be entrusted with such work. Were this to be the case, many of them, by taking part in constructive activities in the public interest, would become more conscious and look at things from a more realistic perspective. Such a scheme could be carried out easily by giving priority in public service employment to those young people who have spent a specific period of time working on behalf of our colonization strategy. This would also help reduce unemployment among our young intelligentsia, which is an increasingly acute social problem in our country.
3. In collaboration with specialized organizations and associations, we must find the cheapest means of clearing the land of scrub, of irrigating farms, of draining swamps, etc. as well as of constructing homes. Private companies should be informed that, since the government assists them with reduced customs and railway tariffs, loans and other means for the procurement of supplies and material necessary for their work, it also has the right, considering the importance of this action, to insist that such supplies and material be made available at the lowest possible price. Supplies and material should be procured by means of cartels, in agreement with which, the government would specify the quantity, quality and price of the material in question without fictitious deals being involved. Government enterprises, the railways and, in particular, forestry enterprises such as Šipad etc. should be placed at the unrestricted disposal of the government Commission for Colonization.
4. During colonization, the government may grant settlers property on credit or for cash. Many of the settlers will purchase land in the new regions by selling their original property in their place of birth. This will enable the government to recuperate a good portion of the money it has laid out. However, we stress that land must only be sold to persons who give proof that they will settle on it permanently and work it. Land given on credit must not be too expensive. The interest rate must be minimal and repayment should be deferred for several years to give the settlers time to get established, i. e. repayment should only begin when the settlers have sufficient economic strength.
Taking this as a basis, the government, which must cover all administrative expenses for these activities from its normal revenues, can procure funds from two sources. One would be the pruning of unnecessary expenditures and expenditures earmarked for other less urgent sectors. The other possible source of funds would be loans, which would be provided by state banks, alone or with private capital on the basis of a compulsory domestic credit line. This would be backed up by securities issued by the government as well as by contributions from the settlers themselves when they become independent.
It might not be a bad idea if the financing and purchasing of land were to be arranged by agricultural banks working in collaboration with co-operatives under the direct supervision and direction of the government Commission for Colonization. However, it is still too early to make any definitive pronouncement on this matter because the conditions under which Turkey will accept the population displaced from our territories are not yet known.
Taken altogether, the sum of a few hundred million dinars is no great expense for the government when compared to the real benefits gained from such an action. By securing the most sensitive regions in the south of our country for our own people, we could save the lives of several divisions in case of war. Giving land to several tens of thousands of families from economically weaker regions, Montenegro in particular, would, on the one hand, help ease the appalling economic suffering of such regions and, on the other hand, create many new jobs during the process of colonization. It would be possible to find employment for 10,000 workers, thus giving a boost to our sluggish economy.
In view of the supreme national, military, strategic and economic significance of this action, it is clearly the duty of the government to sacrifice a few hundred million dinars. At a time when the government can spend one billion dinars on the construction of an international highway from Subotica to Caribrod, the possible benefits of which we shall only enjoy at some time in the distant future, it can and must be in a position to come up with a few hundred million dinars to give us back possession of the cradle of our nation.
In view of all that has been said, it is no coincidence that in our examination of colonization in the south, we hold the view that the only effective means of solving this problem is the mass expulsion of the Albanians. Gradual colonization has had no success in our country, nor in other countries for that matter. If the state wishes to intervene in favour of its own people in the struggle for land, it can only be successful by acting brutally. Otherwise, the native, who has his roots in his place of birth and is at home there, will always be stronger than the colonist. In our case, we must keep this fact very much in mind, because we have to do with a hardy, resistant and prolific race which the late Cvijic described as being the most expansive in the Balkans. From 1870 to 1914, Germany spent billions of marks on the gradual colonization of its eastern territories by purchasing land from the Poles, but the fecundity of Polish women defeated German organization and money. Thus, Poland regained its Poznan in 1918. Our above-mentioned statistics of the 1921-1931 period show that it was the fecundity of Albanian women which defeated our colonization policy, too. We must draw our conclusions from this, and we must do so quickly while there is still time to correct matters.
All of Europe is in a state of turmoil. We do not know what each new day and night will bring. Albanian nationalism is on the rise in our territories, too. Should a global conflict or social revolution occur, both of which are possible in the near future, leaving the situation as it is would jeopardize all our territories in the south. The purpose of this paper is to avert such an occurrence.
Dr Vaso Cubrilovic
(1) The author of the memorandum attaches to the document a detailed map of the region to be cleared [editor’s note].