Bedri Pejani

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Bedri Bey Pejani
Bedri Pejani, Albanian Politician.jpg
Born Bedri Abdi Thaçi
1885
Ipek, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died 1946
Prizren, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Other names Bedri bej Ipeku
Occupation Politician
Known for Albanian Declaration of Independence
Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo
June Revolution
Second League of Prizren

Bedri Pejani (or Bedri bej Ipeku; 1885–1946) was 20th century Albanian politician. During World War II, he was one of the founders of the Second League of Prizren which cooperated with Nazi Germany.

Biography[edit]

Pejani was born in the city of İpek (now Peć) in the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire on 10 June 1885 with the name Bedri Thaçi, son of Abdi Thaçi (Pejani). To refer to his family origin he used the last name Pejani (from Ipek) as was custom for that period.

Pejani was active in the Nationalist Movement of Albanians in the Skopje region against the Young Turk administration in 1908. He was condemned to death by the Ottoman military court, and according to Sejfi Vllamasi's memories he passed a psychological shock which would affect him later.[1] He was a delegate at the Congress of Monastir of 1908, and President of the Second Congress of Monastir. At the age of 27 Pejani became a signatory of the Albanian Declaration of Independence.[2][3] He represented there the regions of Plav, Gusinje, Gjakova, and Ipek, and signed under the name "Bedri Bej Pejani". Elected at the first Albanian senate, he represented Kosovo at the Conference of Versailles in 1919.[3]

Pejani was one of the founding members of the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo, founded in Shkodër in November 1918.[4]

In 1920 he became editor in-chief of Populli ("The people") after the assassination of Sali Nivica, a newspaper based in Shkodër. During the 1921-1923 period he was head of the People's Party (Albanian: Partia e Popullit) formed by Fan Noli and other liberal-nationalists[5] and member of the Albanian Parliament.

In 1922, after failing to become Minister of the Interior, his relationship with Ahmet Zogu would aggravate. Pejani feared an assassination attempt from Zog's side and had another psychological breakdown. He was sent in a psychiatric hospital in Naples, returning shortly after being recovered. Vllamasi, a contemporary collaborator of Pejani, describes him as "maximally selfish, haughty, careless even towards his family, adventurer as a type, with an unbalanced nervous system".[1]

Pejani was one of the main participants of the June Revolution in 1924, fleeing Albania after the Conservative forces overthrew Noli's government. When Ahmet Zogu came to power, he was condemned again to death in absentia by Zogu's regime, which subsequently amnestied him.[3] Pejani joined KONARE founded by Fan Noli in Vienna. While in exile, Pejani moved up as Head of the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo, together with Ibrahim Gjakova and Qamil Bala. During this time the Committee would receive some financial support from Comintern, same as did KONARE due to Noli's and Kosta Boshnjaku's connections.[6] Pejani was a member of Comintern and kept continuous correspondence with it under the nickname Emoraj.[a]

The Italian Invasion of Albania in April 1939 would find Pejani as part of the Albanian exile community in Paris. Though an old opponent of Zogu, Pejani together with other Albanian activists and French politicians (such as Justin Godart) organized a protest meeting in Paris on April 8, 1939. The meeting strongly opposed the invasion of Albania and called for western democracies to react.[7] He had previously forwarded a memorandum to Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister of the time through the French authorities as leader of the Popular Party (French: Parti Populaire) and the Albanian community of France on April 5.[8]

Pejani came back to Albania where he was arrested for anti-fascist and bolshevist activity and imprisoned in Porto-Romano near Durrës. He was released after Italy's capitulation.

During the Nazi Occupation, Mustafa Kruja and Shefqet Vërlaci would encourage him of taking a more active role. Assisted by the German emissary of the III Reich, Franz von Schweiger, and along with Xhafer Deva, Pejani created in 1943 the Second League of Prizren in order to protect Greater Albania, which, created in May 1941, was now in danger, because of political vacuum.[3][9] Pajani's idea was that "the Albanians should be armed, so the end of the war, which was near, didn't find them unprepared and with hands up". In a document sent to the Führer from the position of the President of the Second League of Prizren, he took over to mobilize 120,000 - 150,000 Albanians under Nazi command. The German side would call the numbers "demographically impossible" and Pejani as "abnormal".[10][11]

In 1946, Pejani was captured by the Albanian partisans and handed over to the Yugoslav side after having confessed in 13 pages his actions and beliefs and handed over to Petro Marko.[12] Due to health issues he was hospitalized in Prizren, where allegedly he was poisoned.

Notes and references[edit]

Notes:

a. ^ The archive of Comintern in Moscow[13] was digitalized in 2004 after a long cooperation between International Council on Archives, Federal Archives of Switzerland, and State Archive of the Russian Federation. Stephen Schwartz, Bernhart Bayerlyen, and Shaban Sinani assisted for the transliteration and precising of the Albanian personalities. Material about Pejani found under "Albania: Collection nr. 495, Inventory nr. 188".

References:

  1. ^ a b Sejfi Vllamasi (2000), "IX", in Marenglen Verli, Ballafaqime politike në Shqipëri (1897-1942): kujtime dhe vlerësime historike, Shtëpia Botuese "Neraida", ISBN 9992771313, Bedri Peja në kohën e xhonturqve, i njohur si patriot midis rinisë patriote kosovare, i cili në Shkup ka luftuar, bashkë me shokët e tij, politikën xhonturke kundrejt shqiptarëve, ishte dënuar dikur me vdekje nga gjyqi ushtarak dhe me këtë rast pësoi një tronditje të madhe dhe ka pasur një lehtësi gjuhe të këndëshme...
    Ndërkohë ngjan një aksident rreth Bedri Pejës. Ky, pasi dështoi në planet e tij për t’u bërë ministër i Brendshëm, nga frika e një atentati eventual nga ana e Zogut, u frikësua aqë tepër, sa u anormalizua, duke shkuar deri në marri. Ndërsa Zogu, duke e njohur mirë se Bedriu s’mund të formonte një rrezik për të, as e ka shkuar ndër mend një të tillë. Por Bedri Peja, si shpërblim për komplotin e tij, u dërgua në spitalin e psikiatrisë të Napolit, ku pas disa kohësh u përmirësua. Ky ka qënë “choc cerebral”1 i dytë që ka pësuar Bedri Peja gjatë aktivitetit të tij politik...
    Bedriu ka qënë egoist në kulm, mendjemadh, i pakujdesshëm edhe për familjen e vet, një tip aventurier, me një sistem nervoz të paekuilibruar.
     
  2. ^ Michael Schmidt-Neke (16 November 1987), Entstehung und Ausbau der Königsdiktatur in Albanien (1912-1939): Regierungsbildungen, Herrschaftsweise und Machteliten in einem jungen Balkanstaat, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, p. 320, ISBN 978-3486543216 
  3. ^ a b c d Robert Elsie (2004). Historical dictionary of Kosova (1 ed.). Scarecrow Press. pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-0-8108-5309-6. 
  4. ^ Robert Elsie (November 15, 2010), Historical Dictionary of Kosovo, Historical Dictionaries of Europe 79 (2 ed.), Scarecrow Press, p. 64, ISBN 978-0810872318 
  5. ^ Mirela Bogdani, John Loughlin (May 15, 2007), Albania and the European Union: The Tumultuous Journey Towards Integration and Accession, Library of European Studies, I. B. Tauris, p. 122, ISBN 978-1845113087, The first Albanian political parties, in the western meaning of the word, appeared in the early 1920s, the most prominent being: the Progressive Party led by Ahmet Zogu, the People's Party led by Fan Noli, and the Popular Party led by Xhafer Ypi... 
  6. ^ Sejfi Vllamasi (2000), Marenglen Verli, ed., Ballafaqime politike në Shqipëri (1897-1942): kujtime dhe vlerësime historike, Shtëpia Botuese "Neraida", ISBN 9992771313, Përveç kësaj pjese, edhe emigrantët kosovarë irredentistë, të grupuar e të organizuar nën emrin “Komiteti i Kosovës”, si grup, u ndihmuan edhe ata nga “Cominterni”. Ky komitet drejtohej nga një qëndër e përbërë prej major Ibrahim Gjakovës, Bedri Pejës e Qamil Balës... 
  7. ^ "Meeting de protestation des Albanais de Paris" (22684). Aurillac, Paris: Le Petit Parisien. 1939-04-09. p. 4. OCLC 9504009. 
  8. ^ Bejtullah Destani (2003). Ethnic Minorities In The Balkan States 1860–1971. 6 (1939-1971). Slough : Archive Editions. p. vi. ISBN 978-1-84097-035-7. OCLC 643294244. 
  9. ^ Pavle Dželetović Ivanov (1988), Jevreji Kosova i Metohije, Beograd: Panpublik, p. 70, ISBN 9788674310243, OCLC 22535146 
  10. ^ Hakif Bajrami (1998), "Neubacher's Telegram, Nr. 864, 5 May 1944", Dokumente të institucioneve gjermane për historinë shqiptare 1941-1944 [Documents of German Institutions for Albanian History 1941-1944], Prishtina, p. 233 
  11. ^ Muhamet Shatri (1997), Kosova në Luftën e dytë botërore, 1941-1945 [Kosovo in World War II, 1941-1945], Tirana: Botimet "Toena", p. 195, OCLC 40159152 
  12. ^ Petro Marko (2000). Intervistë me vetveten : retë dhe gurët. Tirana: Shtëpia Botuese "Omsca". p. 444. ISBN 9789992740330. OCLC 48032169. 
  13. ^ INCOMKA

Further reading[edit]

"History of Albanian People" Albanian Academy of Science.ISBN 99927-1-623-1