Rexhep Mitrovica

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Rexhep Mitrovica
Rexhepmitrovica.jpg
18th Prime Minister of Albania
In office
November 4, 1943 – July 18, 1944
Preceded by Mehdi Frashëri
Succeeded by Fiqri Dine
Minister of Education
In office
1921–1923
Personal details
Born 1887
Mitroviça, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died 21 May 1967(1967-05-21) (aged 80)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political party Balli Kombëtar
Occupation Teacher
Religion Islam

Rexhep Mitrovica (1887 – 21 May 1967) was the Prime Minister of Albania's government under Nazi Germany. A staunch nationalist, he was elected head of the Second League of Prizren.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Rexhep was born to a wealthy land-owning family from Mitroviça, currently Kosovska Mitrovica, in the Ottoman Empire. He studied in Usküb and Istanbul.[2] He was one of the leaders of the Kosovo uprising of 1912, together with Isa Boletini and Hasan Prishtina. Also in 1912, he took part in the declaration of Albanian independence as the representative of Peć.[3] From 1921 to 1923, he served as Albanian minister of education.

By 1921, Kosovo was within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes against the will of the Albanian population.[4] Albanian resistance had been largely crushed in Drenica in November 1920. The Serbian government's Decree on the Colonization of the New Southern Lands was now facilitating the takeover by Serb colonists of large Ottoman estates and of land seized from Albanian rebels.[4] It is within this context that Rexhep Mitrovica, along with Bedri Pejani, tried to seek help from the western powers.[4]

After the fall of the government of Fan Noli in December 1924, he took part in a failed plot to overthrow Ahmet Zogu, spent a couple of years in exile in Austria and France, but was amnestied with seventy other figures on 21 September 1927.[2][3]

He returned to Albania after the Italian invasion and joined the Balli Kombëtar resistance movement in 1942. He spent much of the Italian period in prison in Porto Romano near Durrës.[2]

Prime minister[edit]

After the capitulation of Italy, Rexhep Mitrovica was head of the Second League of Prizren, which supported Greater Albania, i.e., unification of all territories with substantial Albanian population.[3] After German occupation of Albania, on November 6, 1943, Berlin announced that the regents and the assembly had formed a government headed by Rexhep Mitrovica, an active member of the Balli Kombëtar from Kosovo. Mitrovica's cabinet, most of whom had credentials as nationalists as well as some German or Austrian connection, included Xhafer Deva, who had studied at the Robert College of Istanbul and in Vienna, as minister of the interior and Rrok Kolaj, a Catholic from Shkodër who had studied at the University of Graz, as minister of Justice.[1] Austrian educated Vehbi Frasheri was appointed as foreign minister. The Orthodox Elbasaner, Sokrat Dodbiba, the nephew of Lef Nosi, became minister of finance.[1]

In his first address to the National Assembly, Mitrovica noted that four and a half years of Italian domination had left anarchy and chaos in Albania. The pre-1939 state apparatus had been completely dismantled. The Italians had destroyed the army, the gendarmerie, the police, and the Foreign Ministry; they had changed the flag, altered personal greetings, renamed cities, and even reassigned family names.[1] To reestablish the state, Mitrovica set down an ambitious plan that included reestablishing local government on the pre-1939 basis, gaining foreign recognition, reorganizing the economy, introducing effective agrarian reform, and creating a military force.[1] The general goal of the government, and this was repeated at every available opportunity, was to protect Albania's territorial integrity within its ethnic borders.[1] With the land reforms for the peasants and a very effective German propaganda emphasizing the return of Kosovo, the Germans managed to extract considerable support from the regime.[1]

With control over Kosovo and the creation of an Independent State of Albania, Mitrovica exacted revenge on the Serb colonists,[5] killing and expelling thousands of Serbs.

On July 18, 1944, Rexhep Mitrovica resigned due to illness.[6] Hermann Neubacher, Hitler's political expert for Balkan problems, came to Tirana and persuaded Fiqri Dine to form the next government [6]

Exile and Death[edit]

During the communist takeover in November 1944, though he was ill with tuberculosis, he managed to escape to Croatia with Xhafer Deva and Rexhep Krasniqi, and in December of that year, carried on over the mountains to Austria to reach Vienna. With Deva’s assistance, the ailing Mitrovica spent time in a sanatorium in Feldkirch in western Austria.[2] In 1947, he accompanied Deva and Krasniqi to Genoa where, with the help of a Turkish diplomat of Albanian origin, he was able to immigrate to Turkey. He died at the German hospital in Istanbul as head of the Albanian community in exile.[3][2]

His grandson, Redjep Mitrovitsa is an actor of Comédie-Française.

Quotes[edit]

Mitrovica identified the Albanian communists as un-Albanian since he argues that:
"Albanians, as Aryans of Illyrian heritage, could not ignore tradition and would be saved from the hydra of communism."[1]

Source[edit]

  • Owen Pearson, Albania and King Zog: Independence, republic and monarchy 1908-1939, London, Tauris, 2004, ISBN 1-84511-013-7.
  • Owen Pearson, Albania in occupation and war: From fascism to communism, 1940-1945, London, Tauris, 2005, ISBN 1-84511-014-5.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bernd Jürgen Fischer. Albania at war, 1939-1945. p. 262. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Elsie, Robert (2012). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. 6 salem road london w2 4bu: ib tauris & co ltd. p. 314. ISBN 978 1 78076 431 3. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d Robert Elsie. Historical dictionary of Kosovo (1 ed.). p. 122. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Robert Elsie. "Rexhep Mitrovica and Bedri Pejani: A Kosovar Protest". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Cyprian Blamires. World fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b the east european revolution. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Mehdi Frashëri
Prime Minister of Albania
4 November 1943 – 18 July 1944
Succeeded by
Fiqri Dine

See also[edit]