“Among Scipetars” – The German Occupation in Albania Cover Image
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„Unter Skipetaren“ – Die deutsche Besatzungszeit in Albanien
“Among Scipetars” – The German Occupation in Albania

Author(s): Franziska Zaugg
Subject(s): History, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949)
Published by: Südosteuropa Gesellschaft e.V.
Keywords: Albania;German occupation in Albania; Th Third Reich; World War II;21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS “Skanderbeg”;“Albanian Muslim Waffen-SS division”

Summary/Abstract: Since two years the SOG attempts to clear its own historic legacies, a process strongly linked to the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Its former president, Rudolf Vogel, was redeployed to Albania for the last two years of World War II. In his memoirs he described a plenitude of circumstances and facts, which were – until now – known only through military and diplomatic files in the archives of Germany, Albania, Serbia and Italy. The article explains the occupation of Albania by German troops in September 1943 and how these dealt with the local circumstances and the Albanian elite. One of the most important pillars of the German occupation system was the employment of the 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS “Skanderbeg”. In early 1944, Himmler obtained permission from Hitler to employ such an “Albanian Muslim Waffen-SS division”. This recruitment can be seen as a symptom of the precarious military situation and the lack of human resources on the German fronts. However, the effort to create a powerful fighting force in Albania failed. The German leaders tried to exploit local interethnic hostilities, but did not account for the Albanian social structures. Local clan chiefs and the common population as well did not act in the expected manner. Mass desertions proliferated as the Nazi withdrawal became increasingly obvious. Vogel sheds light on the post-Nazi period: There was a second Albanian division equipped with weapons of the former Albanian Muslim Waffen-SS unit. The local (civil) war still was not coming to an end.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 03-04
  • Page Range: 102-117
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: German