Zuroff: The Kosovo dream is for the Serbs to emigrate

Efraim Zurof
Source: Kosovo Online

Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff, says for Kosovo Online that there was no genocide in Kosovo and emphasizes that it is obvious that the Kosovo dream is for the Serbs to emigrate.

"I'm not an expert on the situation of the Serbs in Kosovo, and it's very difficult for me to make any serious claims. But it's obvious that the dream of Kosovo is for the Serbs to be moved, to emigrate," Zuroff said.

Zuroff assessed that it was important that the difficult situation of the Serbian community was discussed in the UN Security Council.

He emphasizes that the authorities in Pristina did not have arguments that a crime of genocide had been committed against their people, and the same applied to Belgrade.

"It is important for the United Nations to be aware of what is happening in Kosovo and the discrimination against the Serbs in Kosovo. But there is no basis for a genocide lawsuit. There is no genocide in Kosovo, at least not so far. And I hope it never happens," Zuroff said.

He warns that the term 'genocide' is increasingly being misused for political purposes.

"People often try to accuse others of genocide because it's the gold standard of tragedy, the gold standard of discrimination. And as you well know, if you remember the example of Srebrenica, which the Americans immediately declared as genocide, and it wasn't genocide because Serbian forces let women and children go home, they saved their lives. On the other hand, Americans refused to call genocide what happened in Rwanda when the Hutus committed genocide against the Tutsis. So, it's all politics. It's a very harsh reality for a community fighting for human rights," Zuroff assesses.

Zuroff assesses that the Albanians are trying to compare themselves to the Jews from World War II in order to gain sympathy from the world, but such comparisons have no basis.

"Do you know how many people try to claim that their tragedy is identical to the Holocaust? Why do they do that? Because it's the worst tragedy that has ever happened in the history of mankind. So, if their tragedy is similar to the Holocaust, then they deserve empathy, support, and help... But abortion is not the Holocaust, cruelty to animals is not the Holocaust, and what the Albanians claim is also not the Holocaust. So, there is no basis for such comparisons with Jews," Zuroff states.

Asked to comment on the fact that the house of Xhafer Deva had been placed on the List of Cultural Monuments of Permanent Protection of Kosovo last November but was now named "Old Clinic", Zuroff says that this sends the worst possible message.

"Firstly, I didn't know what they were trying to do. Secondly, by renovating that house into a cultural center, they are sending the worst possible message. Deva was a Nazi collaborator, involved in the deportation of Jews in Albania and Kosovo. He does not deserve to be celebrated but to be condemned," Zuroff says.

He warns of a trend in recent decades of glorifying individuals who collaborated with the Nazis.

"You have to understand that Kosovo is not the only country, if it is even a state, that glorifies people who collaborated with the Nazis. Over the past 20 years, I have been facing and fighting against lies in Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Poland... These lies constitute a fabricated narrative that glorifies the role of local Nazi collaborators, and in some cases, these individuals have become national heroes," Zuroff said.

He explained that the main reason for this was that many countries had turned to fighting against the Soviet Union after World War II, glorifying wartime figures who had also fought against the Soviets during the war.

"But these people collaborated with the Nazis and killed Jews," Zuroff emphasizes.

The Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Institute also warns that the Albanians from Kosovo should confront their role in World War II, especially regarding the Skanderbeg SS division.

When asked why there was no such confrontation with the past, Zuroff says it's a part of the phenomenon of historical revisionism and denial.

"And who do you think would speak about it? The Albanians from Kosovo? Well, they were in that unit. They don't want to admit their crimes, and that's all a part of the phenomenon of historical revisionism and denial. My latest book is entirely dedicated to lies in Lithuania".

He stated that in that book he had shown 40 sites of mass executions of Jews and that by interviewing survivors together with his colleague from this country, he had found out that Lithuanians were the ones who had done it, but that the narrative of the authorities and historians of this country was completely different.

"If you listen to the narrative of the Lithuanian government and the narrative of Lithuanian historians, they will say that the Germans did it, that they came and killed. They do not deny the Holocaust and they do not deny that it is a huge tragedy, but a tragedy in which the Nazis killed Jews and that they have nothing to do with it. That's a pure lie. Thousands of Lithuanians participated in it. For God's sake, they killed their neighbors. Poland was even worse, Hungary too," Zuroff said.

He noted that the strengthening of revisionism was a key problem and that the West must understand that.

"It was a plague and if the Western world does not understand that it must seriously tackle and fight against Holocaust denial, it will be terrible. And we see that constantly and constantly because it is allowed for such people to exist. It's all a bunch of lies. Just take for example October 7th last year when Hamas invaded Israel, killing, torturing, raping, burning, and committing horrible things to thousands of Israelis, killing more than a thousand people. And now they say that we actually did it to ourselves. It's completely absurd, complete madness. Unfortunately, many people want to believe in such lies. In Lithuania, they are very convinced that they had those heroes. It's the same with Estonia and Croatia... The story about (Xhafer) Deva is the same story," Zuroff says.

Commenting on the increasingly frequent announcements about the possible formation of Greater Albania, Zuroff states that it would produce new wars in the Balkans.

"It is clear that this will cause trouble. It would produce a very sad, but also very bad situation and could again open up wars in the Balkans".

When asked about the strengthening of right-wing parties in the European Union, Zuroff does not believe that this necessarily should be associated with the possibility of the resurgence of Nazi ideology in Europe.

"I do not see significant growth of any party that could be called Nazi. That will not happen. But, on the other hand, there are reasons why right-wing parties are growing in Western Europe. The problem is Muslim immigration. The fact is that it is mostly about religious fundamentalists who have no intention of accepting Western values, human rights, and so on. This is a natural reaction to these phenomena. Look at what is happening in the Netherlands. You have the highest number of right-wingers compared to all previous elections who are fighting against Islamic fundamentalists," Zuroff says.