Germany’s ambassador to Kosovo expressed deep concern that authorities in the country were restoring the house of Xhafer Deva, a WW II-era leader who worked with the Nazis to establish a pro-German government in Kosovo.
Ambassador Jörn Rohde told TV show KallxoPernime that a government authorized restoration of Deva’s house in Mitrovica, Kosovo must include recognizing his controversial actions during the Nazi-era.
He further said that he had no objection if the house was renovated for reasons of architectural preservation but worried that Deva’s wartime past working with the Nazis would be ignored.
“You have to put the story in context. You know that the Germans have done terrible things in the past in the Balkans as well. Massacres and dealing with the past is a very difficult issue,” he said. “If you announce something and you don’t put a controversial history figure immediately into the context, that is not the way forward.”
Deva was Albania’s interior minister from 1943 to 1944, when Albania was controlled by the Nazis. During that period, Deva worked with the Nazi occupiers, and was a founder of a local SS division, the Skanderbeg division.
“We have to go through reconciliation, something has to be accepted, and Xhafer Deva is a historical figure. He was an accomplice to the Nazi regime. He had been employed by the German armed forces since 1941,” he said.
On Twitter, Rhode slammed the renovation of Deva’s house.
“Very concerned about restoration plans for Xhafer Deva’s house, a known Nazi collaborator and protagonist of infamous SS Skanderbeg Division,” he tweeted.
The Kosovo Ministry of Culture said that the house is seen as a cultural heritage site that it is seeking to preserve as the first modern style building in Mitrovica, according to Prishtina Insight.