A pre-war photo of the Orthodox Seminary in Prizren
SMOKE, TEARS AND PAIN
The other face of the UN run Kosovo Province
Issue 2576, May 11, 2000
in a seminary
claims of Dr. Kouchner and General Ortuni that Pec, Djakovica or Prizren
proof that multiethnicity exists in Kosovo and Metohija simply are not
the Serbs in those cities live as if they were in prison
doors of the armoured transporter opened and the Italian soldiers, specialists
for riot control, hurried Father Petar Ulemek of the Pec Patriarchate
"translator" to run ten steps through a narrow alley which
led to the seminary in
Prizren. In front of the gate itself, in a labyrinth of walls created
of gravel and sand, a German soldier demanded that the newcomers show
identification. The monk took a cross out from under his cloak, held
it before the
soldier's eyes and without any explanation passed by the guards. The
that is, NIN's reporter was ready to follow the monk's example but was
- she displayed her driver's license instead of KFOR's accreditation.
into the yard which barely covered 200 square meters there were
approximately 50 people - Serbs, Croats, Albanians, Romanies and their
Without a moment's hesitation Dobrila Jovanovic (born in 1933) asked
where the guest
hailed from and when she understood with whom she was talking asked
have an apartment in Pariska komuna street number 39 and I want to exchange
for an apartment in Serbia. I beg you, put an advertisement in the paper
and I will
give you half of the apartment". She then added that she had come
to the seminary
only on October 1.
"For four months I hid at my neighbor's. One day he
went to market and he did not
return. They must have kidnapped him. Two days later my daughter-in-law
told me they
were accepting people in the seminary and I came here. I left everything
apartment. I only took some documents and photographs," says Dobrila
Jovanovic and asks: "Can you please take my picture with my friends
here, may God grant you long life?"
camera clicked a couple of times and at that moment Father Miron Kosac
A professor of ancient Greek and English, he remained to comfort and
heal those who
remained in Prizren. Behind him stood, in two perfectly formed rows,
little boys and
girls with their puppies, ready to have their picture taken.
the guests climbed the stairs, Father Miron explained that the renovation
the seminary had been completed immediately prior to the bombing.
there were 130 students in the seminary; now I have no one to teach.
seminary was transferred to Nis," says Father Miron and adds that
among his biggest
problems are the Romanies who live on the third floor. "They demolished
floor. They broke the tiles, tore out the sinks and water heaters. They
everything they could get their hands on. The only one I cannot complain
Skender Gasi from Kijevo," says Father Miron and while unlocking
his room, adds:
"But that is not the worst of it. KFOR will not allow us to step
out of the yard and
what is even worse they will not allow anyone to enter. If they had
known you were a
reporter, they would not have allowed you to enter; they do not even
reporters from Germany to enter here. Serbs, relatives, our neighbors
are also not
allowed in to see us but they do send us every Gypsy and Albanian with
Place for all equally - Prizren Seminary
of a kidnapped man
Miron's room looks more like a warehouse than a room. Everything is
medicines, radio stations, many books, packed canned food. At a table
all sorts of goodies which have appeared from somewhere - Easter eggs,
candies, coffee and Turkish delight (rahat-lokum) - sits a gray-haired
lived in the Dusanovo settlement which is close to the city periphery.
captured by the KLA while riding down a road on my bicycle. It was July
13 at 8:15
a.m. I could see all of them plainly but this did not do me a lot of
good because I
could not recognize any of them. One of them approached me from the
back and hit me
in the head with a gun and I lost consciousness. I awoke in a garage
but I do not
know where exactly because I could not see; I do know that it was a
With me there were five other Serbs, two Albanians and one Muslim. They
every two hours, slapped us, kicked us, hit us with police batons; when
released me, I could not walk for a month. They mistreated us by sticking
our ears, our mouths... everywhere. Then one night they took us to the
the old Secretariat of Internal Affairs in central Prizren. Gojko Arsic
who was with
me said that they were going to execute us. There were many people there;
tell you how many because I cannot guess. But some of the foreigners
and they barely had time to shove us into the prison cells. Later while
it was night
they put us, I think, into a darkened van and took us back to the garage,"
Srecko Jaksic and adds that to this very day he cannot understand why
the members of
the Kosovo Liberation Army allowed him to live.
they released me, then Gojko, who is a pensioner just like me, and later
released the remaining seven as well," says Jaksic. Skender Gasi
suffered a worse
fate, escaping from the execution site. "When they brought me there,
I could only
move my eyes. I managed to get away into the night," says Gasi
who claims that the
KLA kidnapped him only because he is a loyal citizen of Yugoslavia.
KFOR protection, the Serbs who remain, one can freely say, imprisoned
in Prizren would not survive. However, how secure they really are even
protection can best be judged by the disappearance of five tons of marble
KFOR has the key to the big gate. They keep guard. A month ago, when
marble disappeared, we found the padlock undamaged. We found only pallets.
of marble, to my best knowledge, can be taken out in two loads with
a tractor or
with a truck. I am convinced that KFOR was involved in the whole dirty
deal as well.
I reported the theft to them after which they must have conducted an
says Father Miron. "Yesterday the marble disappeared, today or
tomorrow, God forbid,
people may start disappearing from the seminary, too."
the period when the Dutch members of KFOR protected the Holy Archangels
Monastery, built in the fourteenth century, the life of the monks was
simple. Since the Germans have taken over the guard about twenty days
ago, the army
no longer sleeps in the monastery as was frequently the case in the
the new soldiers have come, we have water every day," says Father
Vorgucic, the prior of the Holy Archangels Monastery. Before that, the
only the bottled mineral water which they received from the soldiers.
difficult to determine when the water was boiling for coffee and not
comfortable washing one's face with mineral water. According to the
bottles which we
kept I would say that in the past ten months we have used approximately
five tons of
mineral water," says Father Nektarije.
Dutch refused to transport the monks as far as Prizren and when they
accompany them 600 meters to the closest water source so they could
for liturgy, the monks lodged a protest but it did not help much.
really could not use mineral water for liturgy," explained Father
When asked how they managed to do the laundry, the prior of the Holy
Monastery adds through laughter: "I enlisted the help of most of
Kosovo and once I
even took dirty laundry to Nis."
reason for Father Petar's arrival was in fact a meeting with General
Cater, the commander in chief of KFOR forces for sector south. In the
building which houses the general staff of the German forces stationed
Father Petar related how among the ruins of the Zociste Monastery which
was set on
fire some icons were recently found.
a cloak was found first one half, and then the other as well, of the
icon of Saints Cosmo and Damien to whom the monastery was dedicated;
then of Christ;
and it appears that underneath one plate there is also an undamaged
icon of the
Mother of God," says Father Petar, who was the prior of the Zociste
1994 to 1996. Father Serafin from the Devic Monastery, Father Antonije
and Father Petar are prepared to begin renovating the monastery but
at least in the
beginning, the defense of KFOR is essential. "I believe that even
the Albanians who
live in Zociste would not object to the renovation of the monastery.
They, too, used
to come to the monastery in order to be healed."
Cater's answer did not promise much.
will help you to the best of our ability but as you know we do not have
soldiers. We are overbooked with requests for accompaniment," says
General Cater. "I
am not in a position to guarantee round the clock protection for you
such as the
monks in the Holy Archangels Monastery have nor some sort of checkpoint
in front of
the Zociste Monastery. The best that I can do for now is to have my
you in their rounds during the day."
General Cater was not able to answer the concrete requests of Father
the questions of the NIN reporter who wanted to learn why relatives
people who live in the seminary and accredited reporters are not allowed
movement, the general enabled the monk to return to Pec by helicopter
and placed an
entire squadron of paratroopers at his disposal. In the transport helicopter
flew to Pec in a little under 23 minutes, Father Petar said that KFOR
where the prisons for Serbs and other non-Albanians were located but
that they were
cooperating with the Albanians and "letting them get away with
Jose Caracas from the G2 unit, which is primarily concerned with crime
investigation, told me that according to classified information he learned
prison for Serbs was located in the village of Vrelo near Istok. He
ordered that the
village be surrounded and a minute before they entered the village he
order to pull back! A few days later, KFOR again entered the village
but did not
find the people," says Father Petar and adds that the Spanish captain
did not doubt
the information which he received. The prison in the village of Vrelo
been the sixth prison for kidnapped Serbs which is mentioned also in
the reports of
Sefko Alomerovic, the president of the Helsinki Committee of Sandzak.
Father Petar told the paratroopers all there was know about the churches
comprising the Pec Patriarchate, he did not miss the opportunity to
also tell the
soldiers, who liked to drink grape brandy (loza), everything he knew
about the theft
of the granite from the Orthodox cemetery in Pec, and about the situation
approximately ten refugees from Krajina. "This is the fifth time
that they are
refugees; first, they were forced to leave Dalmatia, then Kninska Krajina,
Banja Luka, then they came to Pec via Belgrade, and now they are here
Patriarchate," says Father Petar.
Elderly Serbs are the greatest victims in the post-war
ladies from Djakovica
the German soldiers were able to see for themselves, the situation in
Monastery is better than in other places in Metohija. On the eve of
itself, the monastery managed to purchase approximately 20 hectares
of land which
was taken from it following World War II by nationalization.
Albanians are not before our walls and so we are secure, and the Italians
good care of us. The only thing is that requests for accompaniment must
48 hours in advance," says Father Pajsije.
the sentry house of the church in Djakovica eight more women moved in
Poleksija Kastratovic. The nine of them lived in peace until a few days
Zacir Morina threw a chair at Vasiljka Peric.
did toss the chair at me and ever since I reported it to the Italians,
afraid to step out into the yard. He is threatening to kill me and says
he has a
paper that says his nerves are poor and that they will not be able to
even if he kills me," says Vasiljka Peric. Morina and his wife
Ruza were brought
here three months ago. "They did not ask anyone for permission;
they just threw
their things in here one day. They told us that Zacir would be staying
here for only
a week. After him Sonja moved in with her three children."
does not deny that he attacked Vasiljka and says that he does not live
church yard because he wants to but because he has to.
was kidnapped by the KLA. For a month I was kept imprisoned in wine
beat me every day. I did not kill anyone or steal from anyone, they
kept me only
because I was not against this country. That is where my nerves grew
weak. The mind
is no joking matter, I never know when I will lose mine," says
Morina who would most
like to leave the country and live somewhere else as a refugee.
though Father Petar requested several days ago that one of the appropriate
representatives of the international community come and resolve the
before blood is shed, no one had come as of May 6 even though they had
are just like our politicians. They promise us everything, and in the
get nothing. Some of them are even angry with us," says Vasiljka
Peric. "Before they
came, I was free to go to the store, our salaries and pensions which
we have not
seen since Christmas came regularly. I didn't need anyone to protect
me then, and
now there is no one who can protect us except our army which they way
will come in
June to liberate Kosovo and Metohija."
by Snezana Lazovic (May 16, 2000)
Diocesan Bulletin, Feb 10, 2000
Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Orthodox Seminary sheltering displaced Serbs, Roma and ethnic Albanians
under the same roof
than thousand people have found refuge in the Serbian Orthodox Seminary
in Prizren since the end of Kosovo war in June, says Fr. Nectary (left),
one of the remaining Orthodox monks in Prizren.
than thousand Serbs, Roma, ethnic Turks and Albanians have found refuge
within the walls of the Serbian Orthodox Seminary "St. Cyril and
Methodius" in Prizren since the end of Kosovo war in June 1999.
They asked protection in the Seminary running away in front of unruly
Albanian gangs and paramilitaries which began raiding the city of Prizren
immediately after the KFOR deployment in Kosovo. Some displaced families
were temporarily accommodated in this religious institution but later
with KFOR assistance they were evacuated to Serbia proper. However about
100 displaced persons still live in the Seminary because, as they say,
they have nowhere to leave.
Serbs leaving Prizren under KFOR escort
the Kosovo war Prizren was known as one of the exemplary multiethnic
cities in the province with Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Turks and Roma
living together in tolerance and mutual respect. Its beautiful churches,
mosques, Turkish baths and other cultural monuments were the pride of
all citizens. In the Middle Ages Prizren was the capital of the Serbian
medieval Kingdom and the important trading center. During the war (1998-1999)
the city did not suffer any destruction. As soon as the peace agreement
was reached and the Yugoslav troops withdrew armed ethnic Albanin paramilitary
groups in KLA uniforms began ethnic purges of the city killing innocent
civilians, elderly, burning houses and destroying religious monuments.
More than 40 Serbs have been killed by Albanians since June, including
16 elderly Serbs victims in the neighboring Dojnice village which was flattened with the ground by KLA rebels in July.
Lukic was abducted in the streets of Prizren
during the first days of "freedom". According to the witnesses
it was done by armed men in KLA uniform. Since then nothing is known
about him or any other Serb abductee from that area. Out of 10.000 Serbs
who lived in Prizren before the war, now less than 200 remain living
in a kind of house-arrest deprived of basic human rights and the freedom
of movement. Thousands Romas were driven away too, their houses being
looted and set on fire. Serb speaking Slav Moslems known as "Goranci"
were also exposed to attacks, especially grenade attacks on their homes
and shops. The Orthodox Seminary was a place in which all groups found
only safe place thanks to the hospitality of the clergy and the efficient
KFOR protection. It is no wonder that endangered civilians found shelter
in an Orthodox religious institution. During the war Serb Orthodox Monks
in Decani Monastery sheltered many Albanians and distributed food and
clothing to the needy. The nuns in Sokolica also helped many Kosovans
in need. (more) especially:
Monastic Refuge For Kosovars, June 16
Serb Monastery Protects All Peoples, June 17
Maria Filipovic and other Serbs in the Seminary dormitory
Serbian Orthodox Church and some other NGO's are making great efforts
to bring supplies to the Seminary. A few monks based in the neighboring
Holy Archangels monastery are taking care of the people who make a colorful
the moment the majority of our "guests" are Serbs and Romas,
but there are three ethnic Turks and seven Albanians too. They have
been living here more than six months, says Fr. Nectary. During these
months at least 100 Albanians found refuge in the Seminary running away
from the terror of their belligerent compatriots. Many Albanians who
refused to join the rebel army or failed to financially support their
struggle are exposed to terror and persecutions as "Serb collaborators".
are treating all people equally, no matter to which religion they belong,
Christian or Moslem. Our gates are open for all who are in need and
danger, says Fr. Nectary.
the cobble stone paved courtyard we met seventy years old ethnic Albanin
Idriz Imeri from the neighboring village of Zym, who came to the Seminary
on July 11 together with his six year younger wife Ferida.
"My house was set on fire by an armed Albanian gang, out of vengeance,
because I have always lived well with everyone except with gangsters
who were setting the villages on fire. I did not want to ask protection
from my fellow Albanian villagers because they themselves would be killed
because of me. My two sons live in Serbia and my daughter in married
in Bosnia. You ask me how I live here.... It is definitely not as at
home but we have here now everything we need. We have food, clothing
and what is most important the priests here are consoling us that all
this will be over soon and that we could go home. I believe them and
hope that all who were doing crimes on both sides will be brought to
justice, both divine and human, says elder Idriz.
one of the rooms we found two Serb children. Their aunt was with them
but she was too emotional to speak about the tragedy in which her family
was found. We could only learn that she had previously lived in one
of Prizren suburbs. She also said that among 48 Serbs in the Seminary
there are four more members of her family Stojanovic.
Elias told us that a little four months old Serb Andrew was a good and
thriving baby. The child has immediately become the favorite of the
The couryard of the Prizren seminary. August 1999
Bishop Artemije visited the Serminary with KFOR officers several times
Serbs there are 39 Romas here, a Turkish family and 7 Albanians. We
are all living together and are equally sharing all we have. The monks
are cooking food for us in the Seminary kitchen. I do not ask where
they get the food from. Probably from the Church or the Red Cross, says
Emine Shaiti, a Roma girl.
introduced to us her friend Sanela J. who spent several days living
in a cellar under the ruins before she found refuge in the Seminary.
Albanian extremists burned our house, they raped me and pushed me into
the flame which was spreading from the roof downstairs. They thought
that I would die there but I managed to reach the cellar and hide there.
As soon as the roof was consumed by flames the house stopped burning
because the concrete ceiling could not burn. I remained in the cellar
that night and the next day I somehow managed to slip to the Seminary",
these poor people came here very traumatized. Especially women suffered
all kinds of humiliation and pain", Fr. Nectary told us.
the moment out of 10.000 Serbs in Prizren only 71 person remains living
in the city out of the Seminary. They have survived all kinds of intimidation
and discrimination but were adamant to stay despite of great danger.
They are mostly elderly people who wanted to stay in their homes and
die there, Fr. Radivoy Panich said.
Serb houses burning in Prizren, foreground:
Hundreds of Serb and Roma houses were set on fire after the war in
the neighbouring area called "Sredacka Zupa", twenty kilometers
south-east from Prizren, almost all local Serbs were driven out by Albanians.
Out of few thousand Serbs who lived in the villages of Drajcici, Lokvice
and Sredska only 59 Serbs remain. The Serbs who were still living in
Drajcici village, high in the mountains of Shara, were forgotten by
everyone and had to leave their homes and come down to Musnikovo and
Zupa where they found shelter among the Slav Moslem families. While
they were in Drajcici no one brought them food and they could not move
freely in fear of Albanians.
few young Serbs left Drajcici two months ago and managed to reach the
neighboring Serb enclave in Strpce walking through the forests. Later
they managed to reach Central Serbia. One other youth from Kostic family
passed over snow capped mountains to the next Serb village. When he
came to Belgrade he phoned to Kosovo Polje and asked the radio-amateurs
to inform his parents that he is alive", Fr. Panich told us.
Chapel of St. Nicholas in Prizren mined by Albanian extremists on Sep
NOWHERE TO GO....
of the last few Serbs remaining in Prizren
homes in Prizren surrounded by barbed wire
After the War
(from an OSCE Report)
of Prizren has escaped either the violent or chronic
violations since K-Day 1/8June 21, when KFOR fully deployed
in Kosovo). However, the villages of the Zupa Valley, where
many of the remaining Kosovo Serbs live or sought
protection, have been especially badly hit. In addition to the
killing, kidnapping and burning, there has been extensive
looting, stealing and a general lawlessness that could only
add to the fear and insecurity of the villagers. The elderly
have been a particular target, and there is some evidence that
children have been used to set houses on fire and have been
involved in acts of intimidation. . . .
feature in Prizren since the end of the conflict has
been the house burnings. In the town they have nearly
exclusively been Kosovo Serbian properties burned with the
obvious intention of preventing any returns, but they have
also been used to signal to the international community and
the moderate part of the Kosovo Albanian population who is
result is that far more damage has been caused in
Prizren town after the war than during it. . . .
By the end
of October, nearly 300 houses have been burned
in Prizren and surrounding villages. The result of this pressure
on the Kosovo Serbs is clear: 97 percent of the prewar
population have left. . . .
incident, particularly when offset against the
pattern of targeting the elderly, is the story of Dojnice, 100
percent Serb prior to the conflict. Eighteen elderly people
stayed in the village after K-Day. Two of them left the village
on 27 June, returning a few hours later to find the village
absolutely empty and completely destroyed by fire. No bodies
were ever found. . . .
clear is that the atmosphere in Prizren provided the
space and freedom for a consistent campaign of harassment
aimed at driving out the remaining minorities, and purported
leaders of the community did nothing to stop or even
condemn this campaign. O.S.C.E. could find no evidence that
K.L.A. "police" or K.L.A. representatives tasked by
self-styled authorities with protecting streets and buildings
made any attempt to stop the harassment. . . .
a local saying: "As Prizren goes, so goes Kosovo."
that saying is true, the pattern of violence since K-Day, and
effects on some of the minority populations, paint a picture
a much more homogenous Prizren, and a much less diverse
SEMINARY CLOSED FOR STUDENTS FIRST TIME
IN ITS HISTORY
Seminarians singing in the Prizren Cathedral of St. George
Photo taken before
Prizren Seminary was founded in 1880
and worked continuously in the Ottoman period as well as during
the World wars. Due to intensive ethnic discrimination and the pogrom
which our people in Kosovo is passing through the Seminary had to
be closed. More than 150 seminarians are now studing in Nis, Karlovci
and Srbinje (Central Serbia and Republika Srpska). This is the first
time in the history of this school that it had to be closed. The
Irony is that it occurs in the time which the international community
calls "peace" with several thousand German soldiers in
Prizren and its surrounding. The Seminary has been transferred to
Central Serbia in Nis.
daily, 12. 2. 2000)
Terror in Prizren Continued
in Prizren critical: A child raped and then stabbed
- The day before a 12 years old Turkish girl Izabela Tamniku was killed
downtown Prizren. The unknown attacker tried to rape the girl and as
she was trying to defend herself he killed stabbing her with knife in
the last 7 days 24 Serbian and 12 Turkish houses were burnt in Prizren
area. The house of Dragan Dosljak was first attacked by a bomb and then
by stones. The doors and windows were broken and Dosljak had to leave
his home temporarily. A mine was found in the yard of Antic`s house.
Several tens of Albanian young men yesterday tried to beat about
20 Serbian school children. They broke several windows on the school
day before an agreement was reached with UNMIK about restoration of
the monument of Milos Obilic destroyed by the extremists. Italian Police
had to return to Obilic due to increased number of terrorist attacks
after their departure.
Web Site of the
Diocese of Raska and Prizren