by Sasha Uzunov
Germany’s Ambassador to Australia Dr Anna Prinz has given an undertaking to pass on grave concerns to Berlin from the Australian Macedonian community over controversial World War II Albanian Nazi statues installed over the last decade in Macedonia by that country’s mainstream ethnic Albanian political parties.
An official statement from Ms Silke Mahler, Germany Embassy spokeswoman:
“On behalf of the Ambassador I would like to thank you for your email. We have passed that on to our colleagues responsible for these issues."
TEAM UZUNOV blog began an investigation into these statues - including one of Xhem Hasa (below), an Albanian nationalist who was a commander of a Nazi quisling militia, known as the Balli Kombetar, in Macedonia during World War II. The Balli Kombetar was a disparate group which included some who actively participated in the Holocaust.
According to British academic, author and Oxford University Professor, James Pettifer, Xhem Hasa (also known under the nom de guerre of Gostivari) was Fascist Italy and later Nazi Germany’s main ally in western Macedonia during World War II.
TEAM UZUNOV blog contacted Ambassador Prinz after the German Deputy Ambassador in Macedonia had acknowledged the existence of these statues in Macedonia - in particular the Gostivar region in the west of the country - and gave a bland undertaking to take action:
“Let me assure you that Germany intensively faces up to its past and particularly the history of National Socialism [Nazism].
“Germany therefore supports several initiatives and promotes a wide-ranging dialogue related to these issues, also in the countries of the Western Balkans.
We will continue to foster this important culture of remembrance in the future.” - see link here
Nothing concrete as such as happened in Macedonia. Instead there has been a deliberate silence.
TABOO SUBJECT? Political expediency?
The issue remains taboo for the simple fact of political expediency. The Albanian political bloc in Macedonia, which is responsible for these statues, is a staunch ally of the West, namely the US, and discussing these statues does not present a positive image of both Washington and its Albanian allies. The most obvious question is how can people purporting to be campaigning for “human rights” and “Euro-Atlantic values” in Macedonia evoke Nazi collaborators as heroes and build statues to them? Moreover, the Albanian political bloc supports Macedonia changing its name because of Greek nationalist demands. Greece itself has issues with rising neo Nazism, namely the extremist group Golden Dawn. Likewise, Ataka in Bulgaria.
It is an interesting juxtaposition but there are no Nazi statues in Germany, which was the birthplace of Nazism.
US Ambassador to Macedonia, Mr Jess Baily
The US Ambassadors to Macedonia and Kosovo respectively have declined to comment or even acknowledge the existence of these Albanian Nazi statues. see link here
Australia’s Ambassador to Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, Mrs Julia Feeney has expressed her concerns over these statues as well as the drift in Europe to extremism. - see link here
Macedonia’s Embassy in Australia was contacted for a response over Australian Macedonian concerns over the Albanian Nazi statues but as yet no statement has been forthcoming. - see link here
Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Bujar Osmani (above left in photo), from one of the Albanian nationalist parties responsible for erecting the Nazi statues, has also not responded. see link here
France’s Ambassador to Macedonia, Mr Christian Thimonier (photo on the left) issued a statement where he did not want to comment just yet. That was nearly two months ago ! - see link here