Kosovo stops renovation of house linked to Nazi collaborator

People walk through a street in Mitrovica, Kosovo, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
People walk through a street in Mitrovica, Kosovo, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Authorities in Kosovo suspend the restoration of an old house linked to an Albanian official who was a notorious Nazi collaborator during World War II.

The project, funded by the European Union and Kosovo’s Culture Ministry, has become a target of criticism from Germany and of antisemitism accusations. Kosovar authorities say they will seek alternatives for a new cultural center that had been planned for the restored property.

“The sole purpose of restoration of this building is to serve the community and not whitewash the history or rehabilitate any historical personality or historical event,” says Culture Minister Hajrulla Ceku.

The house, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Kosovo’s capital in the city of Mitrovica, was owned by the family of Albanian Interior Minister Xhafer Deva during World War II. Deva is accused of collaborating with Nazi Germany when it invaded Kosovo and Albania.

The German ambassador to Pristina, Joern Rohde, says he is very concerned about the plan to renovate “Xhafer Deva’s house.”

“No history whitewashing! Don’t distort the truth about the Holocaust or war crimes committed by the Nazis and local collaborators,” Rohde tweets.

The European Commission, Kosovo’s Culture Ministry and the United Nations Development Program, which the EU picked to implement the project, say they will try to find “alternatives for the future benefit of the local community and inter-community dialogue.”

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