Projekat Rastko Gracanica-PrizrenElektronska biblioteka kulture Kosova i Metohije
Projekat Rastko Gračanica - Peć: Istorija: The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija


"At the beginning of the sixties, the Serbs suddenly started emigrating, leaving their homes. For days, drawn carts piled up with possessions, clothes and food passed through our village and by my house. None of the authorities wondered why these people, who even during the war had stood by their homes, were now abandoning their hearths. I went out in front of them and said: 'Stop, people, where are you going? Don't leave your land, homes, Kosovo-and the answer was always the same: 'We can't take the terror anymore, friend; they attack every day, women, children, old folks, property, they hit and swear; I'm leaving so that my children can live freely.'"

(Farmer from a Serbian village, age 80)


Emigration is a complicated, difficult process for any household. First the idea of emigrating arises, then the decision. The two may coincide in time but usually they do not. The idea is discussed, the opinions of the household members heard, weighed and assessed, the possible consequences of staying versus leaving are considered, and only then is a decision taken. There is always a certain time lapse between the idea and decision, and the actual act of moving away, a period during which psychological and objective preparations are made for leaving.

Many of the factors analyzed in the previous chapter fall one way or another within the sphere of psychological preparations, and therefore we shall not discuss them here.

Objective preparations can be divided into those in the place of departure and those in the place of arrival, and there is often a time overlap between the two. The most frequent form among our respondents of breaking with the place of residence and preparing financially for a new environment is selling the land and house, but there are other factors as well: waiting a year or two until retirement, waiting to finish school, waiting to be transferred to another office, waiting for various reasons including the one given by a household which put off its emigration for several years until the death of the grandfather who had refused to leave because he did not want to die away from his native place and his family did not want to leave him or force him to go.

The first step in preparing to resettle is to decide where to move to, and here three or four factors played a crucial role. First the ethnic makeup of the place. Then, people who had already moved there, especially relatives, who wrote about their new place of residence, invited, took in and helped the newcomers. There was the employment factor, which had to provide employment opportunities for at least one member of the household. And finally, there was the possibility of resolving the housing problem.

After all the above factors were met, the move was made. It was sometimes made all at once and sometimes in stages. All the household members set off together or they came one by one over a period of several years. At the time of this research project some of the households had completely moved while others still had family members in their former place of residence. The household either remained whole as upon arrival, or split up into two or more separate households.

With some households this process could take several years, and with others only a month or two; on the one hand, there were households that built houses and found employment before moving, and on the other, those that moved into sublets, with no jobs. There were households that would have emigrated even had social circumstances in Kosovo been different, and there were those that, by their own admission, "fled" or were "chased away".

We shall try to examine this process carefully and highlight some of its general traits, always bearing in mind that every household is a story in itself.

The emigration of the households embraced by this sample spans a period of two decades, from 1965 to 1985, from the time when the reasons for emigration were concealed from the public to the time when they were in the public eye. This is a long enough stretch of time to gain insight into the process of emigration.

a. The idea of emigrating

"It occurred to me in 1969 when I heard two Albanians talking. One said to the other: 'We have to pressure the Serbs into moving out so that our children have room to spread out's.

(Farmer, emigrated from a largely Serbian settlement)

In order to understand the contemporary migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija it is necessary to understand the many problems that emerge when contemplating emigration and its effects. On the one hand, the inception of the idea of abandoning one's hearth shows that the pressure has reached its peak and can no longer be tolerated. It points to an out-of-the-ordinary socio-psychological situation forcing entire families to move away. It is a warning that the disturbed ethnic and political relations have reached a point where an answer must be found to the created system of domination and discrimination. It attests to the birth of a new mental revolt against living under such a system, and insists on its own freedoms and rights. On the other hand, the massive scale of the idea of emigrating and its emergence in various parts of Kosovo and in different segments of society draw attention away from individual situations to the collective socio-psychological climate affecting all segments of society, regardless of ethnic divisions. It bespeaks mounting civil disobedience condensed in mental rebellion against Albanian chauvinism and those who give it open or concealed support. This reveals a deep rift in the official ideology and severe ethnic and political tensions which turn against the political and state bureaucracy in Kosovo. Individual ideas about leaving Kosovo and Metohija may but need not be fulfilled. However they will work to create a collective awareness of resistance and change.

Asked about when the idea to leave Kosovo arose and what actually set it off, various replies were given.

In the majority of cases, the answers can be read more as giving reasons for deciding to leave than as explaining how the idea of leaving arose. The questionnaire did not envisage separating the two (because the idea precedes the decision) because the importance of the difference was not fully perceived and because this would have required more intricate research instruments. Secondly, many of the interviewees did not distinguish between these two moments, and in many cases the two overlapped in both time and substance. Thirdly, these questions were asked considerably before the questions about the reasons for emigration, so that in many instances the answers were more about the reasons for emigration than about the actual trigger. Lastly, the answers were sometimes lapidary and sometimes very picturesque: on the one hand there are answers about an idea that developed with time, and on the other there is the idea sparked by the "last straw".

As compared to many concrete answers reflecting relations in Kosovo and the position of Serbs and Montenegrins there, there are highly generalized answers, citing "pressure", "national relations", the "general situations Here, other questions had to be taken into account in order to define the pressure as direct or indirect, verbal or physical, etc. Both elaborate and terse answers were reduced to a common classification, wherein two of the mentioned reasons were listed. It should be said here that 246 households gave only one reason, 247 gave two or more, while in 7 cases the household head could not or would not state the immediate reason.

30. Motive for Contemplating Emigration
Motives No. of answers % in number of
answers households
Total 740 100 100
Indirect pressure 259 40.6 51.4
Direct pressure, total 154 20.8 31.8
- verbal 62 8.4 12.4
- material 55 7.4 11.0
- physical 37 5.0 7.4
Motives tied in with children 154 20.8 30.2
Unemployment, impossibility of empl. 135 18.2 27.0
No answer 7 - 1.4

Listed under indirect pressure, which is mentioned in half the interviewed households (a quarter of those that gave just one motive), are answers relating to fear, uncertainty, the departure of other Serbs and Montenegrins, etc. One third of the households mention direct pressure as the motive, Direct verbal pressure includes curses, arguments, threats, insults, etc. Direct material pressure has two subgroups: one is material discrimination against employed persons, such as firing, abolishing jobs, transfer to lower paid and lower qualified jobs; the other concerns the home and farm where damages are done, there is theft, the harvest is destroyed, the cattle killed. Finally, direct physical pressure groups statements about threats to the physical well-being of the household members.

One third of the households gave different motives related to children. Sometimes its "because of" and sometimes "for" the children; these answers could have been grouped in other categories of answers, but were put into a separate group because of the importance of children, their position and future in Kosovo, and affect on peoples' motives for moving away.

The third group includes motives related to employment or the impossibility thereof; it accounts for 27% of the households, and in half the cases this was the only motive they gave. The residual group included answers that could not be unambiguously classified into one of the four listed groups or that referred to special circumstances (such as: "They gave my father a good price for his property", "The air in Mitrovica is polluted" "The doctors here are better", "This is a passive region"). This kind of answer is given in only 20 questionnaires.

The following examples give a true picture of how the idea of emigrating arose and how the decision to move was taken.

- 1973. The conditions were bad. There was no work, there was nothing to buy or sell on the market, in the shops you'd be the first to enter and the last to leave, and it was the same with doctors.

- 1968. When the Turks started moving out and the Albanians moving in.

- 1970. After the demonstrations in 1968 Montenegrins began selling their houses and we felt left on our own. When our next-door neighbor sold his house, that was it.

- 1968. The fear that we'd be left on our own, because Serbs had begun selling (their homes and property).

- 1978. Because of the children, because of the school (8 kilometers away) and neighborhood (they were the last Serbian family left in the village). God forbid that somebody should have died, I wouldn't have had anyone to help with the funeral. I had nobody to celebrate with, just me and my family at home.

- 1976. There was no direct motive, I saw no future for my children or for myself. The children were in question.

- 1980. When the children came home from school in tears because some Albanians had slapped them around.

- 1980. When our child told us that he was getting beaten up.

- 1972. We always lived well with them (Albanians), and we still do. But everybody moved away and, to tell you the truth, I had daughters and I didn't want them marrying Albanians.

- 1968. During the first demonstrations in Vucitrn, the electricity was cut off at night and that terrified us, we lived in constant fear.

- 1968. After the demonstrations we were afraid to go out into the street,

- 1966. Because of the inequality; people in the shops and offices wouldn't serve you if you spoke Serbian.

- 1976. The repairman wouldn't fix the cupboard because I didn't speak God's language - Albanian.

- 1976. I had a car accident. It wasn't my fault but I was sentenced to eight months in prison.

- 1975. Because I was wrongly accused of some shortage in the warehouse, and was kept from working for four years (reinstated by the court).

- 1970. I was fired from work (a school in the town where they lived) and sent to work in a remote village, although there were jobs open in town.

- 1978. When they transferred me to a job 100 kilometers away (railway worker) because I was supposedly needed there.

- 1973. After they started moving my wife around in different jobs.

- 1982. My son and daughter-in-law left their jobs, they couldn't stand it anymore, the abuse at work, in public transport, on the street, in the shops.

- 1978. When Albanian emigrants (from Albania who moved to the settlement), killed our cow after it crossed into their field.

- 1979. When an Albanian neighbor started threatening us to make us sell him our house. Nobody wanted to move, but we had to.

- 1968. An Albanian neighbor let the cattle into the wheat, saying: "Get out of here, you I won't kill but I'll kill your son".

- 1969. Albanians from Buduze, six brothers, sued me for cursing the Albanian flag and threatened me. Why should I worry about them coming after me and killing me.

- 1981. After the demonstrations the pressure was unbearable, thirty of them attacked my house and there was no other way. Nobody wanted to emigrate, but we were pressured into doing so. As soon as I bought a plot of land (in Serbia), we all fled.

- 1969. My life was in danger, I wasn't allowed to go to my fields; they (Albanians) piled wheat up on (my) road, cut down my plum trees, let cattle into my property.

- 1976. They attacked my son with knives.

- 1971. Because of attacks on my sister.

- 1963. An Albanian challenged me with a gun to fight.

- 1972. After a terrible fight with Albanian neighbors.

- 1968. When my eldest daughter was injured. She went to school in Pristina (from a nearby village) and came upon the demonstrations, she was hit by an air pistol and barely survived.

- 1980. When my brother, who was beaten up by Albanians, left for Kragujevac, because I knew that Kosovo would be left without Serbs in a couple of years.

- 1968. Our Albanian friend told us to move as soon as possible (Albanians killed one brother-in-law, the other survived).

- 1968. When, as a member of the Internal Affairs Secretariat, I saw that former demonstrators were taking everything into their own hands.

- Much earlier, but I definitely decided in 1978 when Albanians were given their own flag. That didn't look like Yugoslavia anymore, it looked like Albania. And when the Internal Affairs Secretariat began buying off prime land from Serbs for emigrants from Albania.

- There's no joint life with Albanians the way they are now. If you're not an Albanian all you can do is pray to God that you don't fall ill, that you don't need the help of the police. The situation in industry, health care, education is terrible, and people have to find a way out, and the only way out is to leave Kosovo.

- 1957. When I bought a neighboring plot and house from a Serb, an Albanian came to me and said: 'You'll leave both what you bought and your own". And, unfortunately, that's what happened. The repeatedly evident connection between the ethnic composition of the commune and relations within the commune is once again obvious here, when examining what prompted the idea of moving the family out.

31. Indexes of Association Between Motives for the Idea of Emigrating and Share of Montenegrins and Serbs in the Commune, 1971
Motives for the idea % of Serbs & Montenegrins in commune
Up to 9.9 10-19% 20-29% 30% and more
Unemployment, impossibility of finding a job 0.76 1.24 0.77 1.47
Indirect pressure 0.95 1.26 1.04 0.81
Motives connected with children 1.17 0.83 0.96 0.70
Direct pressure 1.22 0.78 1.01 0.90

The connection increases markedly in communes with the lowest share of Serbs and Montenegrins, where the indexes grow with the gravity of the motive, and then in the second group of communes (Vucitrn and Prizren) where their value declines. Unemployment appears least often in communes where Serbs and Montenegrins account for 20-29% of the population, and the other motives are equally represented. If one abstracts from this group the commune of Prizren (which has a large number of Serbs and Montenegrins), one can see that indirect pressure was an extremely important factor in emigrating; the motives in other communes of this group were connected with children and direct pressure. In communes with 30% and more, the impossibility of finding employment appeared relatively more often than in other groups. The conclusion to be drawn is clear: Motives with the strongest presence of ethnic discrimination increase as the percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population decreases.

b. Reasons for Emigrating

"Looking for freedom, personal dignity and security".

(White collar worker, 32 years old)

As we already said. after the detailed analysis given in the previous section concerning the degradation of the position of Serbs and Montenegrins and growth of Albanian aggression, there is hardly any need to highlight the reasons for emigrating. The gist of the problem is clear: various forms of discrimination, from indirect psychological pressure to drastic cases of violence, from spontaneous discrimination to discrimination carried out in the system's institutions. As one respondent put it:

"You should ask the Serbs who are still there why they haven't yet moved out of Kosovo".

Asked why they emigrated, 81 households gave just one answer, 128 gave two, 147 gave three, and 145 gave four or more reasons. Nine households gave no answer; although it could have been extracted on the basis of the other answers, this was not done out of respect for the respondent's desire to refrain from answering. The first four reasons given were taken into consideration. The following analysis is based on 1,358 statements regarding the reasons for emigrating.

32. Reasons for Emigrating
Reasons for emigrating No. of reasons % in number of
Answers Households
Uncertainty, deprivation, lack of security & freedom, fear, loss of hope 319 25.5 63.8
Reasons connected with children 255 18.8 51.0
Impossible to get a job 200 14.7 40.0
National discrimination 165 12.1 35.0
Discrimination at work 146 10.8 29.2
Social climate, departure of others 111 8.2 22.2
Damages to property, seizure of harvest and land 80 5.9 16.0
Physical danger 60 4.4 12.0
Lack of protection and discrimination by authorities 22 1.6 4.4
Total 1,358 100.0 100.0

The most frequently mentioned reasons are "uncertainty, the lack of security and freedom, fear and the loss of hope", followed by reasons connected with the children, 319 mentioned by 255 households. The inability to find employment was mentioned in 200 cases. National discrimination was mentioned 187 times, and discrimination at work 146 times. The social climate and departure of other Serbs is mentioned 111 times as a reason, followed by threats to property and the physical well-being of the household members themselves. Twenty-two households firmly cited discrimination by the authorities as their reason for leaving.

Here as some examples of the reasons given by the respondents for leaving:

- Employment. My father made me go, while he stayed behind in Kosovo.

- Very small salary, the household head (a mason) got 1.8 million old dinars, whereas here, as soon as he switched to the same job, he got 9 million.

- Because of finding employment for my son (the son is blind, works now as a telephone operator).

- I wanted to come back home (worked abroad for 15 years as an unskilled laborer), and there was nothing there for me in Kosovo;

- I wanted to build a house in a safe place.

- No freedom, safety or security. Whenever I went to the commune offices to get something done, it was impossible, they wouldn't look at me or listen to why I had come.

- Because of national intolerance, the poor social climate, because of the pressure that is in a way invisible, intangible and yet exists, can be felt. We watched others leave.

- The main reason why I moved away was that Albanians started moving in all around me, they even bought my own house. There were no arguments, but they often asked whether I was going to move away like the others and sell my house. (The settlement was once completely Serbian and is now completely Albanian. The household head and his wife are school teachers, they were unemployed and would have moved away even if they had gotten the jobs they wanted. Here in Serbia the husband works as a manual laborer).

- Our son was the one who wanted to move most of all, so that the children would learn Serbian and wouldn't have any trouble. I didn't want to go, I was born there and my entire family is buried there.

- Serbs and Montenegrins were a national minority, Albanian was spoken at all meetings, nobody asked you whether you understood it or not, it was as if you were in the heart of Albania, not Serbia.

- The general situation, the children's future, so that we could freely go out into town, talk freely in our own language, so that the children could learn the history of Yugoslavia, not Albania.

- Security and the children's education. Especially on May 1, 1981; guns were fired in town (Djakovica), you didn't dare stand by the window, people got shot standing in their own homes by the window. On the night between May 1st and 2nd it was like war. There was shooting all over town. It was terrible. I had to hide the family in the comers of the rooms so that nobody would fire a bullet through the window.

- Fear of Albanians.

- Pressure, no faith in the authorities, fear. What's there to say when everybody knows, the authorities are to blame for it all, and the people have to suffer.

- I could go on and on about it. I fared well considering how other Serbs did. After the demonstrations it became impossible (stoning, poisoning the dogs, Albanians let the cattle into the crops, the son and household head were beaten up at night two times).

- Emigration was inevitable because we had become second class citizens, without any rights whatsoever. (The child was hit in the eye with a stone, it did not see for a month and had to have an operation. After complaining about the abuse and children fighting, the police said: "Children will be children, they get into fights, what can we do"). They hung a board up on the house saying: "This house will be for sale" and there were various slogans "Serbs go to Serbia", "Brotherhood-Albanian, Unity-Albanians". The pressure mounted. They destroyed the fields. We could never keep the summer harvest. At night they attacked the house with axes and stones, they stole and killed the cattle. In 1944 they killed his uncle. They swore and said: "When will you move out of Kosovo? We are having lots of children to force you outs.

- Because of security and the children. (During the demonstrations they couldn't go out into the street for days; they used to spend time with their Albanian neighbors, but this came to a complete stop after the demonstrations. They didn't have any trouble themselves but they will never forget what they went through).

- Uncertainty and insecurity. I wasn't free to go wherever I wanted, I was afraid of the police who, instead of protecting me, beat me up for no reason.

- Mistreatment by the authorities and the wrong medical treatment by an Albanian doctor.

- I was pregnant.

- When my daughters started growing up, I was afraid for them and that's the main reason why we left. (Principal of a high school, talks about assaults by Albanian students on Serbian girls at school - an Albanian boy even threatened his daughter with a knife and murder unless she went out with him).

- The most important reason was the fear that somebody would hurt my wife and children. That was awful.

- To give the children peace and quiet.

- Constant abuse, fights, fear for the safety and security of the children. (A young Albanian tried to rape the daughter on her way to school).

- They threatened to kill my sons.

- They ran after my child to cut its throat.

- We moved because of the blood feud. (When the respondent's uncle was a boy he was adopted by an Albanian with no children, and the whole family knows Albanian. When the foster father died, he had to leave the house and return to his parent's home. The respondent's parents were attacked out in the fields by the foster father's relatives, an uncle who always carried a gun killed one of the assailants, and then they all had to make a run for it).

- I was the secretary of the local Party committee, they threatened they would kill me, so I handed in my Party membership card and moved away.

- It's better to run than to be killed.

- The main reason was to save my neck.

As with previous findings, here again one must assess the connection between the reason for emigrating and the ethnic structure of the settlement.

The highest index of association is shown by those households that moved away from Serbian settlements that were still Serbian at the time of the poll. Here the impossibility of finding a job is given as a reason for moving twice as often as in the entire sample, and the strongly related reasons for the children are explained in this group by saying that schooling, especially the continuation of education, was a problem. Other reasons are mentioned lass often than in the sample, and the worst forms of discrimination are seldom mentioned.

In other types of settlements we see that three types of connections appear.

33. Indexes of Association Between Assessing the Ethnic Composition of the Settlement and the Reasons for Moving Away
Reason Assessment of Ethnic Composition
Reasons related to the children 1.45 1.14 0.98 0.84
No jobs to be found 2.23 0.96 0.94 0.85
Discrimination at work 0.44 0.91 1.06 1.05
Social climate, departure of others 0.71 0.96 1.16 1.16
Insecurity, fear 0.61 0.97 1.00 1.13
Discrimination, inequality 0.79 1.03 1.00 1.01
Damage to property, seizure of land 0.39 0.75 0.95 1.41
Physical abuse 0.40 1.18 0.91 1.17
Note: Assessment of Ethnic Composition
I - Serbian settlement, remained Serbian;
II - Serbian or predominantly Serbian with a growing number of Albanians;
III - mixed, with a declining number of Serbs and Montenegrins;
IV - Albanian or predominantly Albanian with a declining number of Serbs and Montenegrins.

The indexes of association between the reasons connected with children gradually taper off with the declining share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population of the settlement. The differences in the size of the indexes are small when it comes to answers that cite "the social climate", "the departure of others", "discrimination at work", "insecurity", "fear" and "national discrimination", and it can be concluded that general reasons for emigrating prevail in the three groups of settlements. The third type of association comes from "damage to property and seizure of land", with the indexes growing as the share of the Albanian population in the settlement grows. Differences in the indexes of association are not big when it comes to physical abuse as the gravest reason cited; the highest is the index for the II'nd group of settlements, with a predominantly or all Serbian population, which rapidly change their ethnic composition as Albanians move in and Serbs and Montenegrins move out. This is also the highest index in this group of settlements.

Generally speaking, if one abstracts Serbian settlements that remained Serbian, there is no pronounced connection with the ethnic composition of the settlement as there was with other indicators of relations in Kosovo. Obviously, the reasons for emigrating given by the respondents were common for all immediate frameworks of life, for Kosovo as a whole.

When emigration became more massive, public attempts were made to explain the migration of the Serbs and Montenegrins on the grounds of purely or primarily economic reasons, unemployment, lower salaries, a lower national income, lower living standard, in short, on the grounds of Kosovo's economic under-development. Indeed, official evidentation of the migration, as conducted both in Kosovo and in Serbia, was numerically dominated by the answers of emigrant-immigrants who cited economic reasons for moving away.

Hence, households whose members had unsuccessfully looked for jobs in Kosovo before moving away were asked whether they would have moved if they had found jobs in Kosovo.

Five out of 182 households said they did not know how they would have reacted, and 78 said they would not have moved away. Asked "why would you not move away", 22 were unable to formulate an answer ("how do I know?" ...), which brings their statement about staying into question. Another 29 households replied that they would stay in their native region ("this is where I was born", "I've got family there"), and 27 said they would not move just because of employment ("I would have had a jobs, "I would have moved to where there are Serbs and stayed").

Ninety-nine households said that finding jobs would not have kept the family in Kosovo. They cited the same reasons as those given for emigration: insecurity, the children, the bad situation. As one of them put it: "I wouldn't have stayed because economic reasons were not why I left in the first place."

If to this one adds the fact that more than 300 emigrant household members left behind jobs in Kosovo, a matter we shall discuss in greater detail later, then the affect of unemployment on emigration, as one of the strongest economic factors, is virtually negligible, and where it was relevant, it acted as an additional, not a decisive factor. The main reason was usually discrimination.

c. The Year When the Idea of Moving Came Up

According to the findings of the poll, the idea of moving came up in 1958 as the earliest date, and 1983 as the latest. This means that over a period of twenty-five years, time and again families worn out by the living conditions, began thinking of leaving their native region. But, this exceptional ethnic-political situation, which has been progressively belaboring the entire society of Kosovo, Serbia and Yugoslavia, does not end with the dates indicated in the poll. Given the fact that the information was provided by households that had moved to Serbia, and that there is a considerable time lapse between the idea of moving and the actual act of moving, between 1980 and 1983 there were certainly a number of new initiatives, and the thought of moving continued even after 1983.

As can be seen from the above, initially few people thought of moving. The total and average number of households that started contemplating this idea grew markedly in the next period, and soared from 1967 to 1969. Then the situation began settling down, although the average annual number of households that thought of moving away remained high between 1970 and 1979. Figures for the last period had to be corrected, because families that thought about moving in 1982 and 1983 were hard to include in the poll, and this was also partly the case for those in 1981. It is impossible to say by how much the total and average number of households in this period should be increased, but it can be assumed that their average annual number would be closer to the average for 1967-1969 than for 1975-1979.

34. The Year When the Idea of Moving Came Up
Time when the idea came up No. of households % Yearly average
Total 500 100 20
1958-1964 21 4.2 3
1965-1966 53 10.2 26.5
1967-1969 123 24.6 41
1970-1974 120 24.0 24
1975-1979 113 22.6 22.6
1980-1983 60 12.0 22.6
Undefined 10 0.2 -

Switching now to the frequency of this phenomenon in individual years, we observe an abrupt rise in 1966, when 30 households thought for the first time of moving. The highest level was in 1968, with 79 households. Then come oscillations at a lower level and in 1979 there is a jump to 28, and in 1981 to 30 households. As we said, after the poll, a number of other households for whom 1981 had been critical, probably moved away, so that the second highest level was recorded in this year. Observation of the annual dynamics of how the idea emerged for moving away shows that this first mental stage in migration is conditioned by the escalation of Albanian chauvinism and separatism, and their growth into open conflict with the Yugoslav order.

Taught by the findings of association between the ethnic structure of settlements and communes on the one hand, and various forms of disturbed ethnic relations and discrimination against the Serbian and Montenegrin population on the other, we can expect a corresponding association in this case as well.

Since unfavorable ethnic relations, and frequent pressure and endangerment of the Serbian and Montenegrin population were the earliest, the most frequent and the most serious in predominantly or completely Albanian settlements and communes and, conditionally speaking, later, rarer and less serious in communes and settlements with a large number and percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, it can be presumed that the idea of moving away arose that much earlier when Serbs and Montenegrins were fewer in number in the settlement or commune, and vice versa.

In the entire sample (abstracting the 10 households that could not fix a date for the idea), by 1969 the idea had come up in 40.6% of the cases. However, in communes with the lowest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins this figure is 61.7%, and in those with the highest percentage it is only 29.5%. Conversely, in the period from 1980 to 1983, the idea is twice as uncommon in communes with the lowest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins as it is in the entire sample: 6.2% versus 12.2 %, and somewhat more common in communes where they account for more than 20% of the total population.

35. Time When Idea of Emigrating Arose According to the Percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Communes' Population, 1971 and Indexes of Association
% of Serbs & Montenegrins 1971 Time When Idea Arose
Up to 1969 1970-79 1980-83 No ans. Total
Up to 9.9% 50 26 5 - 81
10-19% 24 22 5 3 54
20-29%, total 87 116 33 3 239
- Pristina 32 37 21 2 92
- other communes 55 79 12 1 146
30% & more 36 69 17 4 126
Total 197 233 60 10 500
Indexes of Association
Up to 9.9% 1.519 0.838 0.508    
10-19% 1.160 1.158 0.803    
30-29, total % 0.928 1.567 1.147    
20-29%, Pristina 0.874 1.104 1.909    
20-29%, other 0.967 1.404 0.680    
30% and more 0.726 1.525 1.139    

The connection between the ethnic composition of the commune and the idea of emigrating becomes clearer in the index of association. Among people who left communes with the lowest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, the idea was prominent up to 1969, and rarest between 1980- 1983; when the Serbs and Montenegrins account for 10-19% of the population in the commune, then the trend covers the entire span up to 1979, although less prominently than in the former case. In cases where communes have the highest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, the period from 1970 to 1979 is pronounced, and becomes somewhat less so from 1980-1983. In communes with Serbs and Montenegrins accounting for 20-29% of their population we find marked differences if we abstract from the group Pristina, the capital of Kosovo (and commune with the highest number of households and people who have moved away and emigrated), the idea arose latest of all in Pristina, whereas the latest it arose elsewhere was 1970-79. Obviously, both percentage and absolute numerical size play a role here. We can therefore conclude the following:

The bigger the number and percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the total population of the commune, the later the idea of emigrating arises.

The assessment of the ethnic composition of the population in the settlement is connected in a similar way with the time when the idea of leaving Kosovo arose. Half the households that emigrated from Albanian settlements, and approximately a third of those from Serbian or predominantly Serbian settlements, came upon the idea before 1970. On the other hand, from 1980 to 1983, the idea arose more often among households from Serbian or predominantly Serbian settlements than in other types of ethnic composition.

Since the numerical size of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the settlement had a protective effect vis-a-vis pressures, the idea of emigrating arose later in big urban centers (Pec, Pristina, Mitrovica). For instance, only three out of 68 emigrant households from urban settlements in the commune of Pristina came upon the idea of moving out before 1966, 19 households came upon the idea between 1967-69, and another 19 between 1980 and 1983, and 18 households came upon the idea between 1970-74 and 1975-79. This diverges noticeably from the general distribution in the sample.

36. Time When the Idea of Emigrating Arose and Assessment of Change in the Ethnic Composition of the Settlement

Ethnic Comp. Time of Idea
Up to 1969 1970-1974 1975-1979 1980-1983 No. ans. Total
I Serbian settl., remained Serb 12 15 13 14 2 46
II Predominantly Serbian, growing number of Alb. 19 13 24 1 1 58
III Mixed-growing no. of Alban. 103 67 44 33 6 253
IV Alban. or predominantly Alb. - declining no. of Serbs & Mont. 57 21 27 15 1 121
Doesn't know, can't say 6 4 5 7 - 22
Total 197 120 113 60 10 500
Indexes of Association
  Time of Idea
Up to 1969 1970-79 1980-83
I Serbian settl. remained Serb. 0.69 1.37 1.40
II Predomin. Serb., growing no. of Albanians 0.81 0.92 1.82
III Mixed - declining no. of Serbs & Montenegrins 1.02 1.09 0.77
IV Alban. or predominantly Alb. - declining no. of Serbs & Mont. 1.16 0.70 0.97

Tying in the time when the idea of emigrating arose with the type of settlement that was left shows that the earliest period, up to 1969, is almost equally represented in all types of settlements (0.8 and 1.00). But, after that the idea becomes noticeably differentiated. In towns, the period from 1970-1979 is noticeably less frequent, whereas the latest period, 1980- 83, is more than three times as frequent as in rural settlements.

Since the idea of emigrating usually arose earlier in villages, it was bound to arise earlier in farming and mixed households. The figures from the poll and the indexes of association show a strong connection between the social position of the household head and the time when the idea of emigrating arose.

37. Time When Idea Arose in Towns and Other Settlements and Indexes of Association
Time of Idea
  Up to 1969 1970-1979 1980-1983 No answer Total
Households, total 197 233 60 10 500
Emigrated from towns 78 75 41 6 200
Emigrated from village 119 158 19 4 300
Indexes of Association
Emigrated from towns 0.98 0.80 1.71    
Emigrated from village 100 1.30 0.52    

When observing workers as a group, the idea was rare before 1969, with a low index of 0.77, more frequent from 1980 to 1983, and pronounced from 1970 to 1979. If we divide them into unskilled and skilled workers, an important difference emerges. In both subgroups, the idea is relatively rare before 1969, noticeable from 1970 to 1979, but somewhat more pronounced among unskilled workers; the idea of emigrating was rare among unskilled workers in the last period, but pronounced among skilled workers. Among white collar workers in general, the pronounced periods are before 1969 and from 1980 to 1983 - surges which appear throughout the sample, especially in towns, but even they have differences depending on the degree of professional training. Among those with high school and university degrees, the pronounced period is from 1980 to 1983 with indexes 1.26 and 1.28; it seems that the pressure on them came later and was certainly more often indirect than in other segments. White collar workers with grade and high school education stress the period up to 1969 with the same relative frequency as farmers, followed by the 1980-1983 period, but less so than university educated respondents. This emphasis in the former case on the earliest period was probably connected with finding jobs for the young who were hardest put to find employment (because here an occupation does not automatically mean having employment as well).

In fact, the idea of emigrating arose first among present household heads who prior to emigrating were school pupils and students, members of the young generation, mobile and less tied down by family. This category means to leave the land if its family background is in farming, it finds it harder to reconcile itself to inequality and pressure, especially given the obvious problems in finding employment in Kosovo. With the oldest generation, i.e. pensioners, the idea of emigrating arose most often during the period from 1970 to 1979, but it should be remembered that in many cases these were two- and three-generation households in Kosovo, and the idea of another household member was bound to carry weight.

38. The Time When the Idea of Emigrating Arose and the Occupation of the Household Head
  Time When Idea Arose
Up to 1969 1970-79 1980-83 No. ans. Total
Total 197 233 60 10 500
Farmer 55 29 3 2 70
Unskilled worker 45 64 10 2 121
Skilled, highly skilled worker 37 81 20 4 134
White collar worker with high school degree 17 10 5 0 32
White collar worker with univ. degree 26 26 14 0 68
Pupil, student 24 20 4 0 48
Pensioner 10 13 2 0 27

Indexes of Association

Farmer 1.39 0.86 0.36
Unskilled worker 0.77 1.25 0.66
Skilled, highly skilled worker 0.78 1.13 1.26
White collar worker with high school 1.39 0.62 1.28
White collar worker with univ. degree 1.00 0.82 1.69
Pupil, student 1.42 0.74 0.68
Pensioner 0.97 1.11 0.60

On the basis of the general theory about migrations under hardship conditions, immigrants would move more quickly than the native population, and the descendents of immigrants would be quicker to move than people whose roots go back several generations. Let us see whether this holds true for households that emigrated from Kosovo, viewed in terms of the native roots of the present household head and those of his father.

The differences in the time origin of the idea of emigrating between Kosovo-born and non-Kosovo-born household heads are neither pronounced nor systematic. Moreover, the latest dates for the idea appear relatively least often among household heads who moved to Kosovo before World War II, and most often among those that settled there after the war. This does not, therefore, confirm the starting premise. The deviation is influenced by the occupation, because the proportion of non-farmers and urban dwellers is higher among those who settled in Kosovo later on.

However, the native origin of the household head's father shows a stronger tie with the time when the idea of emigrating arose, because among Kosovo-born fathers the idea came markedly later than among the descendents of settlers or first generation settlers. The native origin of the father and of the household head often clash regarding the time when the idea of emigrating arises. Why? First of all, there are very few farmers and rural folk among first generation settlers, whose fathers did not live in Kosovo, and household heads who settled there after World War II. But the most important thing is that this is not a matter of normal migrations, conditioned by general economic and social reasons; the main reasons for moving away lie elsewhere. In terms of their strength, timing and form, the pressures brought to bear on the native and immigrant population were uneven, a point made by many respondents.

39. Indexes of Association Between the Idea of Emigrating, the Native Roots of the Household Head and of his Father
  Time Before When Idea Arose
1969 1970-1979 1980-1983
Household head is Kosovo-born 0.99 1.02 0.97
Household head settled in Kosovo
- total 1.01 0.90 1.14
- before 1940 0.98 1.22 0.16
- 1941 and later 1.14 0.50 2.36
Father Kosovo-born 0.74 1.15 1.23
Father not Kosovo-born
total 1.33 0.79 0.69
- Father settled in Kos. 1.33 0.85 0.46
- Father did not live in Kosovo 1.33 0.39 2.19


Finally, it should be said that there are no pronounced differences in the time when the idea of emigrating arose that can be linked to nationality, although the earliest and the latest periods for the idea are somewhat more pronounced among Montenegrins - who lived more often than Serbs in urbanized settlements.

Connecting the year when the idea of emigrating arose with the afore-mentioned motives for emigrating shows that all the motives were present throughout the period, but in some cases there is a tangible connection between these two variables as indicated by the indexes of association.

Motives connected with the children and direct verbal pressures - threats, curses, insults, calls to leave Kosovo - were more or less equally present throughout the period under observation and were therefore obviously permanent features of life for Serbs and Montenegrins and their emigration from Kosovo. Unemployment and the impossibility of getting a job, direct material pressure and other motives are less present at the extreme ends of the time span, and are more pronounced in the period from 1970 to 1979. This is not just a matter of temporary employment difficulties but of years of trying to find a job and losing hope in ever finding employment in Kosovo. This same »saturation« point is to be found in relation to direct material pressure, especially the kind brought to bear on land-owners.

40. Year When the Idea of Emigrating Arose and Motive for Thinking of Emigrating
  Time When Idea Arose
Before 1969 1970-1979 1980-1983 No ans. Total
Motives, total 314 386 90 11 740
Unemployment, imposs. to get a job 41 77 13 4 135
Motives related to the children 63 66 18 3 151
Indirect pressure 128 88 39 2 257
Direct verbal press. 29 36 7 0 62
Direct material press. 17 31 5 2 55
Direct physical press. 21 12 4 0 37
No answer 6 1 0 0 7
Households, total 197 233 60 10 500
Indexes of Associations
  Time When Idea Arose
Before 1969 1970-1979 1980-1983
Unemployment, imposs. of getting a job 0.74 1.28 0.80
Motives related to the children 101 0.99 0.98
Indirect pressure 1.19 0.79 1.23
Direct verbal press. 111 0.92 0.92
Direct material press. 0.76 1.23 0.92
Direct physical press. 1.35 0.71 0.87
Other motives 0.44 1.57 0.75

Indirect pressure appeared most often as a motive for thinking of emigrating at the extreme ends of the time period under observation, i.e. 1980 to 1983 and before 1969. With the same distribution of other observed factors - the number of Serbs and Montenegrins in the commune and settlement, the type of settlement - this constitutes an integral whole in different social frameworks. Finally, the most serious form of pressure, direct physical threats, while it is a running thread throughout all periods, is somewhat more pronounced with the earliest thought given to moving and is connected with the small number of Serbs and Montenegrins in predominantly Albanian and rural settlements.


The coincidence between emigrating from Kosovo and settling in Serbia Proper raises the familiar question regarding the protagonists, time, place, factors and circumstances of moving; in other words what is more crucial for defining them: the act of moving out or the act of settling in? These are not academic questions because, despite the interrelatedness of this act, it is important to identify the traits of all elements of emigration and immigration, especially those that are territorialized and must be treated differently. So far, all the categories of migration from Kosovo and Metohija have been treated as categories of emigration because in the overall balance of elements and factors, the significance of those compelling the Serbian and Montenegrin population to leave is far greater than the factors that attract it to resettle. That is how we shall treat them in the following chapter as well, although, when necessary, we shall also approach them as a category of immigration.

Consequently, the actual act of moving is considered here to be the final stage in the process of moving away. As we said earlier on, this stage comes after the idea of moving arises, which we have already discussed, and after the decision to move the household, which has not been studied so carefully as a phenomenon.

The unity of the emigration-immigration duality is strong during the time of moving. The year of settling in the present place of residence in Serbia Proper is also the year of leaving Kosovo. Only 56 household heads had previously been in some other place, usually for a brief period of time, leaving mostly because of the problem of providing housing for the family which was waiting in Kosovo to join him. In some other cases, the reason was employment in companies which worked outside Kosovo.

In 357 cases, all the household members moved out together (abstracting the presence of non-emigrant members) or within an interval of several months up to a year. In the remaining 143 households, the move lasted from one to several years, and here the year when the first member moved away is taken as the year of emigration by the household.

The grouped facts about emigration show that with time the number of emigrant households and the number of their members grew. The last five-year period is an exception; here the average number of emigrant households is smaller than in the two previous sub-periods, whereas the average number of emigrant members is smaller only in the previous sub-period. But, even this exception is probably natural because of the previously cited reasons concerning the completeness of figures for the last three years. The ungrouped figures in table 19 for the years 1983, 1984 and 1985 seem to confirm this.

41. The Number of Emigrant Households and Members Per Year of Moving Away
  No. of Departed Annual Average
Households Members Households Members
Total 500 2,109 13.8 72.7
Before 1969 74 204 5.7 102.6
1970-74 134 513 26.8 102.6
1975-79 141 630 28.2 126.0
1980-85 151 726 25.1 121.0


Although they must be considered with great care, the annual figures draw attention to the following facts. The year 1966 saw an unquestionable rise in the number of households that started thinking about moving away; in 1968 that number went up more than twenty times over. However, a more pronounced trend towards moving away did not become evident until 1969, 1971 and 1972, as what one might call a delayed reaction to the increase in uncertainty and fear following the Brioni Plenum and Pristina demonstrations. The more pronounced trend toward emigration in 1978 and 1979 was not preceded by a new wave of mental preparation to migrate: the migrations now seemed to be the cumulative effect of previous decisions on the one hand, and the increased Albanization of Kosovo and Metohija after the 1974 Constitution, on the other. Lastly, the chauvinistic demonstrations and other hostile actions in 1981 caused a new leap in the number of households that started thinking about leaving, and also a major growth in the number of emigrant households, reaching a maximum in 1981, and a very high level in 1982. However, the fact that both mental preparation and actual migrations increased with time should not be forgotten. The upward trend in emigration, combined with abrupt leaps in certain years, shows that the process was carefully orchestrated with a view to dispelling any doubts in the ultimate outcome of the drive for an ethnically pure Kosovo.

The lapse between the time the idea arose and the time of actual emigration was less than a year in 85 households, nine years and more in another 85 households. The remainder lie between these two extremes, and their number gets smaller as the lapse gets longer, so that, for instance, there is a two-year lapse in 79 cases, and an eight-year lapse in 13 (10 households were unable to date their idea of moving and so the time interval could not be determined).

The earlier the idea of moving, the longer the interval before moving. This is evident from the figures on the average time interval and percentage of households that moved immediately (within less than a year). For instance, for those who came upon the idea of moving in 1968, the average time lapse before actually moving was 5.9 years, whereas it was only 2.7 years when the idea arose in 1976. In the case of households that came upon the idea of moving in 1969, 29% moved within a period of less than a year, whereas ten years later, in 1979,40.7% of those who thought of moving did so immediately. The connection between the date of the idea and of the move becomes even clearer when one compresses the years into time intervals.

42. Time Interval Between the Idea and the Act of Moving
On the Part of the First Household Member
Year of idea % that moved immediately Average time lapse
Before 1969 8.2 5.27
1970-1974 17.9 4.28
1975-1979 21.8 2.20
1980-1985 32.7 1.27


In other words, the sample households reveal the following- as the general process of migration by Serbs and Montenegrins continued, individual processes of migration by households were accelerated This unquestionably points to expanding circumstances and the increased workings of the factors that prompted people to emigrate over the past two decades, and to the cumulative effects of these factors over time.

The effect of the number and percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population of the commune on the time when the households decided to move proved to be strongest before 1969 and from 1980-1986, wherein migration from communes where there were not many Serbs or Montenegrins usually started earlier. This connection is more pronounced when one abstracts from the communes with the lowest percentage of non-Albanians the commune of Podujevo, which had over eight thousand Serbs and Montenegrins in 1961 The figures for the other communes of this group show that the earliest migration appears three times more often than in the entire sample At first glance, migration from the group of communes where Serbs and Montenegrins account for 20 to 29% of the population seems to have started later than in the group with 30% and more Serbs and Montenegrins But when one abstracts from the first group the commune of Pristina, with its large number of Serbs and Montenegrins, then the connection between earlier migration and the ethnic composition of the commune becomes obvious. Equally evident is the connection in the latest migration, but in the opposite sense.

The pronounced connection between the ethnic composition of the commune and the time of migration, and the lack of connection with the ethnic composition of the settlement are due to the fact that migration was a Kosovo-wide not a local process. Serbs and Montenegrins were not only exposed to direct discrimination in their places of residence, they were also exposed to all the forms of discrimination at work in Kosovo itself. Even when relations with Albanians in the settlement were without either direct or indirect pressure, the overall social situation had a strong effect.

As we have seen, the household's social stratification was tied in with the time when the idea to emigrate arose and with the time of actual emigration The better the social position of the household, the later the move to emigrate.

All the reasons for moving away appear throughout the twenty years under observation, but not with the same frequency. Reasons relating to the lack of protection and to discrimination by the authorities are often cited by households that were among the last to leave. This is understandable, because these reasons took time. Reasons related to property, such as damage, the seizure of land and so on, were most frequent in the earlier and least frequent in the later period, which is tied in with early pressure on farmers and rural residents Reasons related to employment and the impossibility of getting a job are more frequent in the first sub-period than later, although somewhat less pronounced than in the previous case. These reasons probably became less important later as other reasons gained weight.

Physical threats are often cited in the period before 1969 and from 1980 to 1986. In the first subperiod, this especially refers to households that moved out of communes with a small percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, and in the latter to households from communes with the highest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins. In both cases, they coincide with the strong surge of terror and pressure.

Pressures and conflicts at work are especially cited in the period before 1969, and then evenly mentioned, albeit somewhat less pronouncedly. Albanian intolerance of Serbs and Montenegrins, general discrimination and national inequality were cited less often among those who moved out before 1969, but subsequently are given growing importance. Reasons related to the children, such as insecurity, no safety, fear and loss of hope are less often cited before 1969, and afterwards equally mentioned, with minor variations.

43. Indexes of Association between the Time and the Reasons for Emigration
Reason Time
Before 1969 1970-79 1980-86
Damage to property 1.63 0.99 0.71
Imposs. to get a job 1.30 1.00 0.83
Discrimination at work 1.22 0.93 1.00
Reasons related to children 0.83 1.06 0.96
Physical threats 1.49 0.78 1.15
Lack of protection and discrimination by authorities 0.31 1.16 1.06
National discrimination 0.83 0.94 1.14
Insecurity, fear, loss of hope 0.72 0.87 1.04


All in all, the following regularities can be observed. In the first half of the observed time of emigration the reasons given are more often related to the concrete household and individual, reasons such as physical threats, damage to property, pressures and conflicts at work and the impossibility of getting a job. In the second half, the reasons are more often connected with the general situation, reasons such as: the social climate, loss of faith in the authorities, national intolerance. Unlike the afore-mentioned reasons, reasons connected with the children, with the feeling of insecurity and fear seem to be more equally distributed throughout the entire period under observation. This is obviously not by chance; on the one hand it corresponds with the development logic of social disturbances, and on the other it points to the spread of organized action by the anti-Serbian and anti-Montenegrin movement.


Preparations to move away from the old area and move into the new include the decision to move and a number of other big and small matters in the place of origin and the place of destination which are crucial for carrying out the decision. Since emigration was not thought of as temporary (which is not to say that it was necessarily thought of as permanent), the preparations had to be thorough because a familiar, if disputed situation was being replaced with another, full of hope.

Agreement among members of the household to move was a kind of psychological preparation that was very important for the household at large and for each individual member. Here there was seldom a conflict of views or desires; rather the internal cohesion of the family was reinforced. Indeed, family cohesion had to be strong, because of the traditional customs in the way of life and because of the external pressure brought to bear by Albanian chauvinism.

The exceptional concord among the emigrant household members in deciding to move can be seen from the fact that only 55 households had members who did not want to move. Most often these individuals did not oppose the move, they just wanted to put it off for some particular reason, such as waiting to retire, finishing school, selling the land, etc. There was concord in 455 emigrant households, and in 448 all the household members were in favor of moving. In seven households not one of the members wanted to move; these families consider themselves to have been driven out, rather than forced or prompted to leave. Among the few members who opposed moving away, the most frequently cited non-material reason was the feeling of being tied to their roots, as embodied in the patrimony, the graves of their ancestors, relatives and friends.

Existential, material and personal preparations for moving varied and were many, but they were not always relevant for understanding the Kosovo migration. Instead of dwelling on all these preparations, the poll took a somewhat different approach. It assumed that in terms of their intricacy and the obstacles to be hurdled, these preparations would be functionally connected with the time separating the original idea of emigrating from the act itself. Consequently, while this assumption is certainly open to criticism, the respondents were asked about the time interval between these two critical moments and the reasons that conditioned this' interval.

The reasons cited for the time interval between the idea and the act of emigrating can be divided into two groups. One is tied in with Kosovo and the other with conditions in Serbia.

The most frequent reason given is the sale of real estate in Kosovo - 140 households, or one third (33.8%) of those who moved away after an interval. In 109 cases this was the only reason cited, and in 42 households it was combined with securing living conditions outside of Kosovo. Next, among the reasons connected with Kosovo came hope that conditions would normalize ("we kept hoping things would get betters), that was in 27 cases. The other reasons connected with Kosovo were: waiting to be transferred officially and waiting to retire, ties to the area, family and other reasons.

Along with these, reasons related to Kosovo appeared in 211 households, and reasons related to Serbia in 219.

All answers related to Serbia refer to employment and resolving the housing problem, either separately or together. Employment appears a bit more often, in 154 households, whereas housing is mentioned by 139, especially when housing includes answers ranging from the purchase of a building site to building a house or getting an apartment from the firm. This is to be expected because jobs were harder to find than temporary housing for relatives and friends who had immigrated earlier.

Finally, in 15 cases the time interval was not defined, usually because the respondents were unable to do so. As one of them put it: "one thing today, another tomorrow, and time flies before you know it.

44. Reasons for the Interval Between the Idea and Act of Moving Households
  Number Structure %
Less than a year or immediately 86 17.2
Looking for job outside of Kosovo 81 16.2
Resolving housing problem outside Kosovo 65 13.0
Looking for job & housing outside Kosovo 42 8.4
Looking for job & housing outside Kosovo and selling property 31 6.2
Sale of property in Kosovo 109 21.8
Hope that sit. in Kosovo would normalize 27 5.4
Ties to roots 13 2.6
Awaiting transfer at work or pension 16 3.2
Family and other reasons 15 3.0
Can't say 15 3.0
Total 500 100.0


The small number of answers citing "ties to roots" does not mean that this reason was seldom given by the respondents but rather it was the main reason slowing down the emigration of these households. A point worth noting is that this answer was given mostly by young households, although, generally speaking, the oldest and old generations felt the greatest longing and sorrow for their native roots. Clearly, in the case of older generations, ties to their roots were surmounted by other reasons, usually concern for their children and grandchildren.

a. Sale of Property

The sale of property is the most frequently cited reason for the time lapse between the idea and the act of emigrating. It is also an act by which the household severed ties with its native home. But, it provided a source of funds for the household to resolve the basic problem of having a roof over their heads in their new place of residence. Since we have already discussed the social circumstances of selling property, here we shall just dwell on how widespread it was.

114 of the property-owners did not sell anything (26.3%), 54 sold a part (12.4%), and 266 sold everything they had. The complete sale of property was most frequent among those who had only a house and those who owned a bit of land, while partial sale and holding on to property was usually the case among people who had bigger holdings. However, differences exist among households which sold nothing: ties to ones roots ("I want to have something of my own there"), household members who remained behind working the land, the need to emigrate quickly, leaving no time to sell, low offering prices or no purchase offers at all (especially in remote villages with unfertile land), in the case of those who moved later there were restrictive regulations making it impossible to sell, and finally there were those cases where the land had been appropriated by Albanian neighbors.

The connection between the possession, sale or retaining of property and the ethnic composition of the commune or settlement from which the household was emigrating is similar to the demonstrated role played by the number and share of Serbs, Montenegrins and Albanians in social relations when emigrating.

There are two reasons why, among the households that emigrated from communes with the lowest or a low share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population in 1971, there were very few who did not own land and homes, whereas there were somewhat more in other groups. First of all, those communes where Serbs and Montenegrins accounted for 20% and more of the population, had a higher level of urbanization, so that land ownership was relatively less common. This is clearly illustrated in the commune of Pristina. Secondly, even there where they were less numerous, the future emigrants constituted what was mostly the native population, going back several generations. But, the relationship was very clear when assessing the ethnic composition of the settlement: the fewer the Serbs and Montenegrins in the settlement, the bigger the number of emigrant households without land or homes.

The sale of property, regardless of whether it was voluntary or not, made it possible to buy some kind of plot as the first step in resolving the housing problem in one's new place of residence.

b. Choice of Place of Immigration

The first and most important step in preparing to emigrate is the choice of place, after which information is sought about the possibilities it offers.

The most important source of information comes from earlier emigrants from Kosovo. In 230 cases, information about the possibilities of immigrating was obtained from emigrant relatives, in 110 cases from emigrant friends, making a total of 340 or two-thirds of the observed households.

In 102 cases information about immigration possibilities was obtained via job ads, but information about the actual job ads usually came from earlier emigrants, those who kept an eye on job opportunities and notified their family and friends back in Kosovo.

Therefore, the influence of earlier emigration can be dismissed as a decisive factor of information about the place of immigration in only 55 households, where the household head first visited a number of places in Serbia before deciding (one of them said he had looked at almost fifty rural and urban environments). Here too, of course, there were those who had settled down earlier and in some cases provided information about the place, especially about possibilities for buying land, but there was a certain selection of settlements.

The influence of previous emigrants on the later arrival of Serbs and Montenegrins lends a special tone to their emigration because this is not a collection of mutually unrelated trends and wishes, but a connected system of relations showing that future emigration from Kosovo will largely move towards already created centers of immigration in Serbia.

45. Information About Immigration Opportunities
Number %
Total 500 100.0
From close relatives who already emigrated 41 8.2
From emigrant relatives 189 37.8
From emigrant friends 110 22.0
From job ads 102 20.4
From visits to various places 55 11.0
No answer 3 0.6


When discussing the reasons why they chose their particular place of immigration, respondents were guided by three kinds of considerations. The first is tied in with the place itself and the opportunities it afforded for resolving such existential needs as: employment for at least one member of the household, the possibility of buying land, or getting an apartment, and the actual kind of settlement it was: a town, an educational center, a social center, transportation and communication links, etc. The second group of considerations included family reasons, especially if somebody from the family had already moved there. The third group actually included the reasons of emigration rather than immigration, such as reasons related to the children, to peace and quiet and finally to moving "anywhere".

Out of 500 households 213 cited just one reason, 284 cited two, and three households did not answer, so that a total of 784 reasons was obtained. Predominant among them are employment possibilities (implying opportunities before moving in), cited by 244 households, out of which 86 gave this as their only reason and 57 linked it with the peace and sense of security in the settlement. The possibility of purchasing land is cited much less often, and the possibility of getting an apartment in only 15 households. If one puts all these basic reasons together, they account for almost half the total number of answers. The other features of the settlement (those that do not have only to do with securing existential conditions, but also with certain amenities) were cited by only 63 households.

Relatives who had moved there earlier were listed in 131 households as their reason for choosing the place, and in half the cases as the only reason. But this desire "to be together" has not only emotional, family ties and a sense of security but also the implication of being able to count on help in the early days. Relatives not only provide information about the settlement, follow job ads and employment possibilities, they not only provide information about the prices of land and houses, but also take the newcomers in until they find jobs and roofs over their head, especially in the case of the first one to emigrate.

Clearly, there was little room for satisfying the desires of the household when selecting the settlement. The choice was governed by elementary living conditions and the basic objective circumstances necessary for survival, as the households often sought support from their own relatives who had moved there earlier. Indeed, with such strongly "repulsive" factors making people leave Kosovo there was no real need for any factors of "attraction" to move to the concrete place in Serbia.

46. Reasons for Moving to Present Place of Residence
  Number Structure
Total 784 100.0
Employment opportunities 244 31.2
For reasons of peace and security 152 19.4
Family had moved there 131 16.7
Reasons connected with the children 98 12.5
Possibility of buying land 65 8.3
Features of the actual settlement 63 8.0
Would move anywhere 16 2.0
Possibility of getting an apartment 15 1.9
No answer - -


One might wonder whether there was a tendency toward concentrating the immigration of the households observed. The answer is provided by linking the commune of emigration with the commune of immigration.

We shall take as the strongest degree of concentration those cases where three-quarters or more of the households that moved out of a kosovo.netmune went to a commune in Serbia, abstracting, of course, communes with few emigrants. This kind of high concentration is shown by households from the communes of Kacanik, Lipljan and Suva Reka, which settled in the commune of Smederevo. For instance, there is the group of eight households from the commune of Kacanik, all of which settled in Batocina, on the outskirts of the settlement, "across the tracks", next to each other, as a clear example of how closely tied together emigrants are and how they occupy a special position in their new place of settlement.

A strong concentration of a second type - in two communes - is revealed by households that left the communes of Kamenica and Gnjilane. Half the households that left Kosovska Kamenica went to Obrenovac, and just under half to Krusevac; half the households that moved away from Gnjilane went to Smederevo, and a quarter to Krusevac.

The differences that existed in the households' socio-professional composition at the time of emigration were in part transferred from Kosovo to their new places of residence in Serbia. This is because in quite a number of households there was a change in the socio-professional composition, mostly due to the household's deagrarianization. On the other hand, the time of immigration and, hence, length of residence in Serbia works to bring about changes in the household and in the conduct of the new residents.

c. Separation in the Course of Emigration

As we have Seen, in 146 households there were not only those who emigrated but also those who at the time of the household's departure (or that of the last member to emigrate if the household members moved at different time intervals) stayed on in Kosovo, and their traits formed an integral part of the households in Kosovo. One quarter of them, 117 people moved, were not in Kosovo at the time of the interview however they were not part of the previously emigrant part of the household. This was usually the case with households numbering more than one family.

At the time of the interviewing, 114 households still had members residing in Kosovo, who were considered part of the emigrant household and their future immigration was highly probable. The main reason for remaining in Kosovo was waiting to find a job outside of Kosovo, i.e. in the new place of residence, waiting to retire, waiting to sell property, resolve the housing problem outside of Kosovo and, in some cases, waiting another year or two to finish school or university. In 12 households, the other members postponed moving for the distant future; these were usually households living in Serbian settlements. Consequently, the reasons for splitting up households were more or less the same as those for the time lapse between the idea and the act of moving.

The fewer the Serbs and Montenegrins in the population of the commune, the fewer the household members remaining behind. In communes where in 1971 they accounted for 9.9% of the population, only 10.7% of the households had members staying behind; in communes where the percentage was 10-19%, 21.1% had members staying behind, and in communes where Serbs and Montenegrins accounted for 20% or more, one out of every three emigrant households still had members staying behind. These proportions are self-explanatory.

The interval between the idea and the act of moving proved to be connected with the year the idea occurred, and it can be assumed that there is also a connection between the year of emigration, the intervals in the departure of individual members and the length of this interval.

47. Emigration of Households Members and the Year the Idea Occurred
Year idea occurred No. Interval in years of members emigrating
interval % 1-2 3-4 5-8 9 & more Total Average years of interval1
Before 1969 153 77.4 21 5 5 13 197 4.81
1970-74 81 65.7 19 7 6 7 120 3.92
1975-79 85 75.2 17 3 5 3 113 3.75
1980-84 32 53.3 17 9 2 - 60 2.25
Undefined 6 60.0 - 2 2 - 10 -
Total 357 71.4 74 26 18 25 500 4.12
1 For households where there was a lapse in the year of emigration by the first and other members.


The earlier the idea of emigrating arises, - and it tends to arise earlier in communes with a small number and percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, in mixed and predominantly Albanian settlements in villages, among farmers and the young after completing school - the longer the interval until the emigration of all members, but usually the household emigrated immediately. On the other hand, households that left communes with a high percentage and number of Serbs and Montenegrins, households that emigrated from cities, highly skilled and university-educated people, tended to come upon the idea of emigrating later, but the interval between the idea and act of moving (preparations for moving) was shorter, and they were more prone to register a short interval in the arrival of household members.

Whether the household would move out of Kosovo gradually or at once, integrally or in part, depended on numerous circumstances, both those set by the household itself and those set by the places of emigration and immigration. It is virtually impossible to systematize the diversity of conditions and reasons for earlier and later, permanent and temporary separation. It is especially hard to judge how much of this process was caused by moving and how much by substituting stages in the development of the family. Here are some of the statements given by the respondents.

Movement within Kosovo, for the same reasons that would later lead to moving out of Kosovo.

- We first moved after the demonstrations in 1968 from Ajvalija to Kosovo Polje, and then after the demonstrations in 1981 from Kosovo Polje to Serbia.

- We first moved in 1968 from Glogovac to Kosovo Polje, because, Novo Celkatovo, where we lived, had turned from a purely Serbian into an Albanian place, and from there we moved in 1979 to Serbia.

Settling the entire family

Preparation: a family of eight, the head of the household is university educated; the household consists of the husband and wife, three unmarried sons, a married son with his wife and child (another grandchild was born after emigrating). They settled in their new place of residence in 1978 - the decision to move had been taken in 1968 and over a period of ten years, land had been bought, a house built and the household head had found a job in their place of immigration.

No preparation: usually after a dramatic event or physical threat to members of the family: a family of three, after discovering that their child had been beaten up at school.

Settling the entire family within a short period of time

- They kept telling us that there was no room for us in Kosovo, and when we wanted to move, then they tried to stop us and made it difficult. That's why we had to leave in secrecy. When I left, nobody knew about it. I took my vacation and said I was going to a spa, and didn't go back to work. My family came shortly afterwards. Later they took me to court for incurring damages to the firm, but what was important was that I left Kosovo.

Settling the entire family over a large time interval

Family of eight; first the head of the family settled in 1975, then his wife and four children, and much later his parents.

Temporary separation of multifamily households

A two-family household numbering 11 members. First the eldest brother with his wife and children resettled in 1978, built a house of 30 m2 in size, then in 1980 the younger brother, his wife and son moved here, after which another two children were born here. Staying behind in Kosovo were the parents (and two younger sisters), who will move when they get their pension (unskilled worker) and sell their 50 m2 house.

- The owner of the family house here is the household head who still lives with his wife in the family house in Kosovo, and with 1.5 hectares of land, a worker in a transport company outside of Kosovo, so he has no problem at work. Since the family lived in a settlement where relations had badly deteriorated, he decided to move the children away. He heard from a friend about the possibility of buying land here. He built a house and from 1974 to 1984 gradually moved his children in after finishing school. Living here now are his son, unmarried daughter and married daughter with her husband (did not resettle from Kosovo) and child. The parents still won't move from Kosovo.

Split-Up of Multi-Family Household

a. Gradual settlement of split-up households

- In Kosovo the household consisted of three married couples, three brothers, (whose father was horn in Kosovo), their wives and two children. The first to resettle was a brother, the head of the interviewed household. That was in 1973. He lived as a sub-tenant with friends who had immigrated here earlier, found a job, bought land and started building the first house. The others came in 1975. Now they consist of three four-member families - married couples with two children each (four of them born in Serbia), living in three separate houses sharing the same yard.

- The household was divided into four. First the parents and their youngest married son came here, which is where their grandson was born; the two older brothers and their families also moved away and separated into houses of their own. The eldest son and his family are still in Kosovo but will come after they sell the house.

- I have six children, we all moved away. Two daughters married and moved away with their families - one in 1975 and the other in 1979, my eldest son moved away with his family in 1979, and the two of us and our three youngest children moved in 1981.

- The household now consists of the 81-year-old head of the household, and his considerably younger wife. A farming family in Kosovo, with three sons. As each grew up, looked for a job and failed to find one in Kosovo, they left. They are all here in the same place with their families as separate households.

b. Permanent Separation into Families in Serbia and Families in Kosovo

- The household numbered 12 members in Kosovo and divided into four: two stayed in Kosovo, two moved to different places in Serbia.

- The household head moved away after he broke with his father who was opposed to emigrating from Kosovo Polje, because his "father (the grandfather of the household head) had been given the land as a World War I veteran and he'd give it up over his dead body". Consequently, before moving, the household head and his wife left his parents' home, lived as subtenants for a few months until he got a job in Serbia.

So, emigration went hand in hand with major changes in the actual traits of the households which often emerged under difficult or awkward circumstances In extreme cases, the collapse of the household saw relations in the family suffer, causing unavoidable pain and trauma which could he registered by a poll such as ours.

V. New Circumstances and New Problems in Serbia >>

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