Stories

Read our stories by selecting a keyword, using the search field or scrolling through the list of all stories

Albania Architecture Archive Bektaschi Bektashi Border Culture Diplomacy Ecology Field research Fieldwork Graveyard Identity Islam Jews Ladino Linguistic Landscape Macedonia Memory Montenegro Monuments Multilingualism Museum Nationalism NGO North Macedonia Partisan Sarajevo Skopje Synagogue Tetovo Tirana Turkey Ulcinj Women



Read all our stories:

  • Bohoreta Women’s Club

    Bohoreta Women’s Club Der Bohoreta-Klub wurde als Frauensektion 1965 gegründet, die Gemeinde selbst sofort nach der Rückkehr der Juden nach Sarajevo mit Unterstützung des JOINT. Da es viele gemischte Familien gibt, sind keine Traditionen vorhanden, diese wurden unterbrochen, Feiertage wurden nicht gehalten oder nur in der Familie weitergegeben. Die Vorsitzende hat ihre Aufgabe von der Mutter und Großmutter übernommen. Heute sieht es die Frauensektion als ihre Pflicht an, für die ganze Gemeinde (500) die Feiertage festlich vorzubereiten, z.B. Pessach (es folgt eine Beschreibung der Traditionen), Sukkot usw. Da 1954 der letzte Rabbiner starb, gibt es keine ausgebildeten Gemeinderepräsentanten mehr. Igor, der Sohn der Vorsitzenden, leitet die Gottesdienste und möchte selbst Rabbiner werden. Unter den Frauen ist die Älteste eine Auschwitz-Überlebende, die 94 Jahre alt ist, eine einst bekannte Architektin, die seit zwei Jahren aber nicht mehr kommen kann. Die jüngsten Damen sind meist über 70, es kommen noch ab und zu zwei deutlich Jüngere dazu. Viele Mitglieder stammen entweder selbst bereits vielfach aus gemischten Familien oder deren Kinder sind mit Serben, Kroaten oder Muslimen verheiratet und verschwägert. Der Frauenclub ist deshalb auch sehr offen, es ist auch eine Muslimin (Kassima) anwesend, deren Mann Jude ist. Auch eine weitere Dame, die sich selbst als Jugoslawin bezeichnet, ist nach Auskunft von Jonna Rock keine Jüdin, sondern mit einer der Frauen befreundet. Die Gruppe ist also sehr offen, evtl. gilt das auch für die ganze Gemeinde, in der es kaum oder gar keine strenggläubigen Juden gibt. Die Vorsitzende hat eine nichtjüdische Mutter, ihren Vater Isaak hat sie nicht kennengelernt, da er im April nach Jasenovac deportiert wurde, sie selbst ist im Juni geboren. Sie und ihre Schwester hatten blaue Augen, sind in das Dorf der Mutter gegangen, haben sich dort versteckt gehalten und haben so den Krieg überlebt. Als sie als junge Frau zu den Treffen der Frauen mit der Mutter und Großmutter mitging, wurde sie gefragt, was sie als junge Frau dort wolle. Sie war aber nirgendwo angestellt, hatte also Zeit und so ist die Aufgabe allmählich an sie übergeben worden. Ihr Mann kommt aus Makedonien und hat dort als einziger von 62 Familienmitgliedern überlebt. Die anderen wurden 1943 aus Skopje nach Treblinka deportiert. Zu Hause haben nur die Großeltern untereinander Ladino gesprochen, der Vater konnte es immerhin noch. Die anwesenden Damen verstehen noch einiges, sprechen es aber nicht mehr. Sie pflegen ihr Erbe durch Lieder, in manchen Familien haben sich noch Sprichwörter aus dem Ladino erhalten. Vor dem Krieg warnen von 60.000 Einwohnern Sarajevos ein Fünftel Juden. 9.000 wurden ermordet. Die mittlere Generation ist durch Auswanderung im letzten Krieg fast ganz weggebrochen. 

  • Türkische Kulturdiplomatie in Montenegro

    Türkische Kulturdiplomatie in Montenegro: Wir, die Teilnehmer des Workshops “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” (9.-11.7.2018), haben am zweiten Tag unseres Workshops eine Exkursion in die nahegelegene Küstenstadt Ulcinj/Ulqin unternommen (im folgenden Ulcinj). In Ulcinj haben wir mit Vertretern der lokalen Verwaltung, der Islamischen Gemeinschaft, des Mediensektors und von Nichtregierungsorganisationen gesprochen, wir haben uns in den montenegrinischen Medien umgesehen und eigene Beobachtungen bei unseren Spaziergängen durch die Stadt gemacht. Da ich mich in meiner Dissertation mit Kulturdiplomatie zwischen Bosnien und der Türkei beschäftige, habe ich für diesen Beitrag besonders darauf geachtet, wie die türkische Kulturpolitik im Stadtbild Ulcinjs und in der weiteren Öffentlichkeit repräsentiert ist. Ulcinj ist die südlichste Küstenstadt Montenegros und wird nur durch den „großen Strand“ — den längsten Sandstrand Montenegros — von der albanischen Grenze getrennt. So ist die Stadt einerseits bekannt als regionaler und überregionaler Tourismusmagnet, was auch im Stadtzentrum mit seinem überfüllten „kleinen Strand“ zu spüren ist. Andererseits gilt Ulcinj auch als die „albanischste“ Stadt Montenegros: nicht nur die Bevölkerungsmehrheit ist albanisch, sondern auch die meisten Touristen kommen aus Kosovo und Makedonien und sprechen albanisch. Die Mehrheit der Albaner Ulcinjs ist wiederum muslimisch, was die Stadt zu einem attraktiven Ort für türkische Kulturdiplomaten macht, die schwerpunktmäßig muslimisch-osmanische Kulturgüter pflegen und renovieren. Empfang in der Skupština Opštine Doch zunächst hatten wir die Ehre, im Gebäude der „Skupština Opštine“ empfangen zu werden. Die „Skupština Opštine“ bedeutet auf Deutsch „Parlament der Gemeinde“, ist aber gleichzeitig der zentrale Verwaltungssitz und damit auch mit einem Berliner Bürgeramt vergleichbar; wie alle anderen öffentlichen Beschriftungen ist auch die „Opština“ zweisprachig beschriftet — auf Jezik* mit „Opština“ und auf Albanisch mit „Komuna“. Der polyglotte Präsident der Komuna/Opština, Ilir Çapuni, hat uns dort höchstpersönlich begrüßt – und zwar auf Englisch, das er während seines Studienaufenthalts an der amerikanischen Ostküste perfektionieren konnte. Neben ihm sind der Vorsitzende des albanischen Forums und der lokale Mufti anwesend, sowie ein Übersetzer. Durch ein Missverständnis war der Übersetzer — vorgesehen war Übersetzung ins Englische — allerdings ein Übersetzer aus dem Albanischen ins Deutsche. Da die meisten bosnischen, serbischen und montenegrinischen TeilnehmerInnen unseres Workshops Deutsch nicht verstehen konnten, sprang der ausgesprochen smarte und diplomatische, perfekt dreisprachige Präsident zuvorkommenderweise auch noch als Übersetzer für unsere Exkursion ein. Ein großes Problem für Ulcinj, so Ilir Çapuni, stelle zusammen mit der geringen Geburtenrate und der hohen Arbeitslosigkeit die Abwanderung von jungen Menschen dar. Gefragt nach den Wanderzielen sind sich alle einig, dass die USA auf Platz eins rangieren — gefolgt von westeuropäischen Staaten wie Deutschland, Österreich, Frankreich und Italien. Allerdings, so Ilir Çapuni, gebe es seit einigen Jahren einen neuen Trend in der Migration zu Studienzwecken: immer mehr Studierende wählten türkische Universitäten zur Ausbildung. Darunter befänden sich vor allem angesehene Universitäten wie die Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTÜ, Ankara) oder Yıldız Teknik (YTÜ, Istanbul). Diese Universitäten gehören zu den Kaderschmieden des Landes (insbesondere ODTÜ) und reihen sich zusammen mit der staatlichen Bosporus-Universität (Boğaziçi), der französischsprachigen Galatasaray-Universität, sowie neueren privaten Universitäten wie Koç, Sabancı oder Bilgi (u.a.) in die Kategorie der englischsprachigen (bzw. französischsprachigen) Eliteuniversitäten ein. Die Zahl der privaten Universitäten, die in der Türkei Vakıf Üniversiteleri (“Stiftungsuniversitäten”) genannt werden, hat in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten einen rasanten Wachstum erlebt, allerdings gehören diese nicht automatisch zu den angesehenen Universitäten mit hohen Qualitätsstandards. Wie ich auch anderswo auf dem Balkan immer wieder feststellen konnte (besonders in Bosnien-Herzegowina), ist die erhöhte akademische Mobilität ein wichtiger Aspekt türkischer Kulturdiplomatie: mit ihren Mobilitätsprogrammen wie Türkiye Bursları, Mevlana und anderen hat die Türkei ein Pendant zu den europäischen Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus und Erasmus+ Programmen geschaffen, über die sie Studierende und Forscher vornehmlich aus der „postosmanischen“ Einflussphäre anzieht, und dabei gleichzeitig das Erlernen der türkischen Sprache fördert. Auch eine der Teilnehmerinnen unseres Workshops war zum Zeitpunkt unserer Exkursion Stipendiatin eines solchen Programmes. Während ihres dreijährigen Türkeiaufenthalts hat sie die türkische Sprache erlernt, so dass sie sich inzwischen auf das Verfassen ihrer Dissertation auf Türkisch vorbereitet. Es muss hinzugefügt werden, dass die wenigsten der mir bekannten Studierenden vom Balkan an einer der oben genannten, englischsprachigen Leuchtturmuniversitäten gelandet sind, wo sie nicht zwingend Türkisch lernen müssten. Die türkische Hochschullandschaft, die seit 2016 staatlicherseits starken Eingriffen und Umbaumaßnahmen ausgesetzt ist, ist von extremer Ungleichheit charakterisiert. An den meisten staatlichen Universitäten ist die Lehrsprache Türkisch, was aus deutscher Perspektive alles andere als verwundern kann, aber mit der traditionellen Englisch- und Französischsprachigkeit der Kaderschmieden kontrastiert. Ich konnte mir durch meinen eigenen einjährigen Aufenthalt an der staatlichen Istanbul-Universität 2006/7, durch zahlreiche weitere Besuche und Forschungsaufenthalte an privaten Eliteuniversitäten wie Sabancı und Bilgi, sowie durch meine frühere Arbeit als Referent einer Berliner Universität und meine Tätigkeit im Bereich deutsch-türkische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen ein ausführliches Bild von diesen Unterschieden machen. Beispiele osmanischer Raumaufwertung in Ulcinj Betrachtet man die Tätigkeit türkischer Kulturdiplomaten unter dem Aspekt der Herstellung von Raum oder Raumproduktion (in Anlehnung an Henri Lefebvres Production de l’espace), so könnte man sowohl bauliche als auch narrativ-mediale Tätigkeiten beschreiben. In dieser Hinsicht ist der kulturelle Einfluss der Türkei besonders in den Medien zu beobachten, wie etwa in den weit verbreiteten und ausgesprochen beliebten türkischen TV-Serien, über die schon sehr viel geschrieben worden ist. Die Serienaffinität balkanischer Schwiegermütter, Kinder, Großeltern, ja Ehemänner, die sich durch Serien wie Suleyman der Prächtige (Sulejman Veličanstveni / Muhteşem Yüzyıl) nun genauestens über die osmanische Vergangenheit informiert wähnen, ist inzwischen zu einem allgemein verbreiteten Klischee zwischen Zagreb und Skopje geworden. Unerwähnt bleiben hier die zahlreichen weiteren Serien, die entweder in der osmanischen Zeit oder in zeitgenössischen Mittelklassekontexten in Istanbul spielen. Von den Internetportalen Monteislam und Crnagoraturska, die hier beispielhalft für die zahlreichen und wirkmächtigen Online Social Networks (OSN) und neuen Medien stehen, wird noch die Rede sein. (Weiter nach den Bildbeispielen) Ein Spaziergang durch Ulcinj zeigt, dass viele der Kulturdenkmäler Ulcinjs aus der osmanischen Zeit datieren, wie etwa das Gebäude des Stadtmuseums in der burgähnlich bewehrten Altstadt (Kalaja e Ulqinit / Stari Grad Ulcinj). Das von einem Erdbeben beschädigte Minarett des Gebäudes bezeugt, dass es zuvor eine Moschee war, die wiederum zuvor eine Kirche war, wie unschwer an der Architektur und der christlichen Symbolik

  • The historical structure of the city of Tirana – notes from the fieldwork

    Text: Agata Rogos Architecture never creates a neutral and harmless unity, but rather, produces an integral structure of political symbols, which were used in Albania as mechanisms for the de-Ottomanization of urban space, which in turn, were focused on the process of state-building and symbolic space. In the time of Ahmet Zogu, one might discuss the existence of two parallel city centers, which reflected symbolic changes in the Ottoman city structure. One marker of this iconographic transformation was the oriental clock-tower (Sahaat Kulla) and its surroundings, which in fascist urban planning had been marginalized, as Italian architects focused on new, modern, European city planning. In the successive communist narration another element of the “old” city structure disappeared – the old market place, which along with the clock tower and Et’hem Bey mosque constituted the most important elements of the oriental city structure. With modern city planning, the main emphasis was placed on the city’s main axis and Skënderbeg Square, which became a place for political rituals during the communist period. The crucial changes of the urban structure came along with the proclamation of Albanian capital that was initiated in 1920, as provisional, and reasserted in 1925 as official decision of National Assembly. Even though other towns such as Shkodra, Durrës, Vlora or Korça were argued by some groups to be more appropriate for the capital, according to their historic, cultural or economic significance, it was Tirana that was eventually chosen as a main center. The choice was made according to two reasons: geographical position of the city – close to the port of Durrës and not immediately on the border and besides it was one of the few Albanian cities without foreign armies stationed there. Another advantage of choosing Tirana, as capital was its open plain surrounding that could meet the needs of new administrative and governmental buildings and common civic space serving for power rituals, manifestations and gatherings. As in other south-eastern European post-Ottoman cities and capitals, also Tirana in the early 20th century was being transformed from the oriental city into modern and Europeanized city, which was a parallel process to the national movements of the late 19th and beginning of the 20th century and establishment of national states. A significant change in the urban structure of Tirana was implemented with a development of the master plan by noted Italian architect Armando Brasini (1925) that expected the construction of a new center with administrative institutions, the parliament and the state government and foremost with a major open with a boulevard in a north-south direction dividing the new town from its other historical and spatial layers. Nevertheless Brasini’s plan was ambitious and most of it was never realized, but the north-south axis has remained central to all urban plans of the city. The main urban development of Tirana came along with the proclamation of Albania as a ‘democratic, constitutional and heritable monarchy’ in 1928. Since the early 1930s the biggest effort of constructing Tirana’s urban structure was on creating the representative space including institutional edifices as it was designed in the project proposed by Brasini with the main north-south axis crowned with a monumental square that was named for Gjergj Katriot Skënderbeg. The references to symbolic continuation of power of Ahmet Zog I, who claimed to be a relative of Albanian prince suggested legitimacy of the Albanian nation-state. However project proposed by Brasini seemed to be far more monumental and failed to accommodate the old (oriental) city structure with Et’hem-bey mosque and the Clock Tower. The regulatory plan dated on 1929-1930 revised the previous master plan by increasing the north-south boulevard up to the future stadium was expected to be built north of the old bazaar. The northern part of the boulevard up to Skënderbeg Square was named after King Zog I and was 40 meters wide, whereas the southern part was called the New Boulevard (later renamed as after Stalin). Yet in 1942 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Albania’s independence, a new Freedom monument with a characteristic fascist style was erected in the main city square. In photographs discovered by Valter Gjoni (2012), one can see from a banner slogan “Rroftë Shqipnija e madhe. Rroftë populli” (Long live Great Albania. Long live the nation) that this monument was based on the idea of Great Albania. As a consequence, this image proves that the fascist regime in Albania was supportive of the act of liberation of Albania performed by Ismail Qemaili in Vlora (1912) and the incorporation of the Albanian territories along with Kosovo and Çamëria. Aesthetic transformations, in this case under the pressure of political and ideological changes, included marking characteristics of identity in the context of national ideology, which will be shown based on the example of a statue of Stalin, which stood on the main square of Tirana in 1951–1968. In a manner parallel to every Soviet city, the capital of Albania and other smaller cities and towns in the country were constructed as artifacts of socialism based on the concentric structure of the main open public space with a symbol of/monument to the leader in its central position. This type of construction was intended to provide a location for political performances and rituals – actions that would consolidate the Party’s or leader’s authority. The space was defined by two important elements: constative (official) and performative (enacted), which in turn led to a distinction between the masses and the political elites. General features of the new representation system implemented by Socialist-Realist aesthetics will be crucial also in Albanian context and will enable the overall understanding of the construction of New Space. It is essential to say that these systems of representation have reshaped the very nature of the planning profession. The new form of architecture and art was about to transmit or translate states ideas and prioritize the image of the leader and state apparatus. In a way Stalin, as a creator of the New Order, had begun to extend a homogenous

  • Fieldwork Sipkovica

    Fieldwork Šipkovica: Perceptions and group dynamics Sanja Vojvodić The focus of my presentation will be on a field trip to Shar mountain’s village Šipkovica. I have chosen this trip because I believe it contributed most to the social dynamics between the Belgrade and Berlin group.  Consequently, it influenced how people perceive themselves, and how are they perceived by others, which was definetely one of the aims of the excursion. From this perspective, we can observe the elements of group behavior that apperently occurred due to the polarization emerged out of this field trip. Let me introduce you with the retrospective of my experience: The bus with the Belgrade licence plates enters a small mountain village, at an altitude of 1086 m, with a narrow main street, accompanied by a striking amazement and the disbelief of accidental pedestrians and women in the yards. They seemed notably uncomfortable with the curious stares and tourists. However, few of the villagers quickly gathered around where the offloading from our bus took place.  There were only men in local taverns, and there were no women on the street. Methodologically unprepared, and even without the crucial information about the place we came to, we went out in front of them unanounced, so that we can, for the purpose of the project, try to find out how many languages do the local people speak, and maybe learn something more about their ethnic backgrounds and affiliations. You can imagine the fascination of the population of this Albanian village with young people from Serbia, a village where many former KLA’s and eventually NLA’s fighters reside. This people have a vivid memory of rebellion against the Serbian army and police in Kosovo in 1997-99 and of insurgency in 2001 in North-Western Macedonia against Macedonian forces. With my colleagues (Miloš and Slađan), I’ve got into a conversation with several local people who invited us to a drink in the nearest café. Interestingly, the invitation was in proper Serbian. As a political scientist, this experience was more than valuable to me; we got a first-hand insight of the mindset of Albanians in North-Western Macedonia and how rooted the agenda about the naturalness of the Albanian expansion to other countries really is. It was not a secret that they perceive North-Western Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania as their own country, nor did they try to conceal their statements with more neutral terms. We tried to monitor their speech and gesticulation with full attention, especially when they were showing us which parts of Macedonia they consider as their land. Although we felt the slight discomfort through the entire experience, mostly because our arrival probably seemed very unnatural and could have been interpreted easily as a provocation by the locals, we managed to communicate with these people and return to the bus enriched with new important insights of the nuances in mental, political and identity boundaries in the Balkans.However, only after returning to the bus, it was noted that Šipkovica was the main stronghold of the former UČK, which the members of the Belgrade group considered to be the most important information in their later analysis of the entire event. The failure in a complete data releasing led to a sudden disruption of trust between the groups that had previously tried to overcome the dichotomy of US/ THEM, and I do not recall that something has been done in order to improve newly strained relations.Through the conversations with my colleagues I have got the impression that the resulting mistrust led to a constant analyses and observations of the behavior of Others. Even before this trip, logically, the members were referred to the people with whom they arrived, but after returning from Šipkovica such relations became regular. There was no concern to break up the suspicion that the subsequent release of information about UČK headquarters was a random failure and the hypothesis that bona fides exists in the research was doubted.A rough methodological error influenced the awareness of belonging to a particular group in the bus, which may have disturbed the real research goals.Therefore, my suggestions for overcoming such divisions in the future would be:- Do not form groups artificially (such as sitting in a bus and randomly deploying teams that are not familiar from the start of their teamwork and have no commonly established interests), but to leave a natural flow of people’s networking, which I believe, would inevitably occur – Always inform all researchers about the most important characteristics and information regarding the places of visit; openness and exchange of views on a methodology of research will surely promote mutual trust (It was not only disputed about lack of information or partial information regarding the place, but also disagreements about how the visit was supposed to be carried out)- To leave the possibility of freedom of choice – for example, if someone might feel unsafe in an environment such as Šipkovica, or maybe has some traumathic experiences, he/she should have a possibility not to go; that’s why we always have to keep in mind the sensitivity of such issues I think this trip was a great opportunity for reflection and autoreflection and analysis of group behavior. In the following discussion, I hope we could come to some common conclusions where the subject of the analysis will not be one group or another, but all together. Although finally, we all came together simply because of the physical closeness in a bus that this kind of excursion requires, in my opinion, there was no higher level of trust and cooperation, and we can correct this missed opportunity just by the anticipated discussion. This experience might be very useful for the next faculty projects. In a way,  it was a “coming of age” project experience.

  • Die Linguistic Landscape Ulcinjs

    Ulcinj ist eine Stadt in Montenegro, die besonders für ihre sprachliche Vielfalt und die friedliche Koexistenz mehrerer ethnischer Gruppen bekannt ist. In der Gesamtbevölkerung von 19.921 der Gemeinde Ulcinj bilden die Albaner mit 70.66% die Mehrheit.

  • Visit to the Historical Archive Sarajevo (HAS)

    The HAS, which today is located in Alipašina 19 and belongs to the Sarajevo canton, was able to preserve the entire pre-war collection. It is also presented to the public in exhibitions according to various thematic focuses.

  • Skopje 2014

    Project Skopje 2014 and Societal Security Sector Dunja Stojanović Societal Security is the term characteristic for academic thought known as Copenhagen School. The term was first introduced by Barry Buzan. That is one of the five security sectors in one society beside political, military, economic and environmental sector. Another theorist within’ the School, Ole Waever defines societal security as “the ability of society to persist in its essential character under changing conditions and possible or actual threats”.[1] These conditions are “conditions for evolution of traditional patterns of language, culture, association, etc.”[2] Possible or actual societal threats that were recognized in Macedonia can be divided into external and internal. Conditions for evolution are related to identity which, in my opinion, Macedonia is still seeking for. Nation building project named Skopje 2014 was sort of an attempt to reconstruct or to build national identity of Macedonia. External threats were seen in Macedonian neighbors who constantly question the existence of Macedonian nation and identity. Another challenges and threats are internal and related to Albanians in that country. In 2006 when VMRO-DPMNE came to the power, Nikola Gruevski as leader in that time suggested the process of reconstructing identity that was known as antiquisation. That was the linkage between Macedonians of that time with ancient Macedonians. The figure that was used was Alexander the Great. Also in 2006, the Skopje Airport was renamed to his airport. After their second election win in 2008, the Stadium in Skopje was renamed to National Arena Philip II. Skopje 2014 project appeared as the biggest effort by then. It included reconstruction of buildings and setting the statues of Alexander the Great, Philip II, Emperor Samuel, Cyril and Methodius and the monument dedicated to the victims of ethnic conflict in 2001. This project tried to strengthen societal security of Macedonians, but that can provoke insecurity for the other groups. That is called societal security dilemma. External, Bulgaria and Greece understood this project as stealing their own history. Bulgaria accepts the Macedonian country, but not the nation. Greece and Macedonia have bad relations from the first years of Macedonia’s independence, because of the country’s name. In 2008, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s admission for NATO membership. This project only highlighted their conflicts. Internal, Albanian people in Macedonia looked at the project as insulting and offensive. That led to their perception of exclusion. As an answer Albanians started up the project in which Skenderbeg Square was built and schools and streets in Albanian part of the Skopje were renamed. Now, with new government and Zaev as prime minister, a desire to settle the dispute with Greece is recognized. Airport name is withdrawn. Also, Zaev is considered the prime minister who did something for Albanians’ rights at the moment. Because of that, Macedonians see themselves endangered. This societal security dilemma in which one has more and other less security leaves Macedonia with no continuity and with relations within the state unstable. [1] Waever, Buzan, and Kelstrup 1993, 23. [2] Waever, Buzan, and Kelstrup 1993, 23. This was one of the most interesting experience during this fild trip. I had the chance to see how Skopje looks like after project Skopje 2014. Nikola, the tour guide explained the political system in Macedonia and how that affcts in everyday life of people. Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade Sehr interessante Führung und gute Hintergrundinformationen zu „Skopje 2014“. Ich bekam einen guten Eindruck, wie die „eigene ‘Geschichte“ geschrieben wird , anhand der großen Anzahl der Denkmäler, der Bauten und wie der Anspruch der VMRO-DPMNE durch dieses Vorhaben war, das „MazedonischOrthodoxe“ vom „Albanischen“ zu trennen. Michal, M.A. Student HU Berlin „Skopje 2014“ and failed identity politics – a critique Sandra Türk When the earthquake hit Skopje July 26th 1963 and the station clock stopped at 5.17am no one suspected what the town centre would look like over 50 years later. An architectural programme costing 850 million euros was supposed to give the town a new imperialistic and neo-classical look, without publicly discussing or even announcing this project. The NGO “Плоштад Слобода” (Pložtad Sloboda, engl. Freedom Square) has planned a campaign called „Skopje 2014 uncovered“ to bring light into this absurd scheme. They want to prove to the public that public money went to government-close enterprises which were commissioned for this project. National need for prestige The capital of Macedonia is undergoing an institutionally imposed renaissance: 100 sculptures of supposed heroes, 34 overloaded monuments and 27 buildings with pimped up facades in a neo-classical and neo-baroque style are supposed to reflect the new nationalism and a strong Macedonian identity. This kind of overdesigned and disrespectful architecture which is so far only known from eastern Asian autocracies or futuristic desert oases has now also arrived on the Balkans – with third class quality as the plasterboard facades made of flammable materials do not conform to fire safety requirements. New bridges with imperialistic lanterns connect the two banks of the Vardar River which separates the post socialist orthodox centre with the medieval Ottoman old town. But these bridges do not serve to unite the two parts of towns. The government didn’t fail to construct new buildings on the Muslim bank of the river, obstructing the view of the Muslim heritage. This heritage which cannot be denied historically is supposed to be withheld. Ethnopolitical tension Only 65% of Macedonia’s population are of Slavic-Macedonian origin, almost a third is ethnically Albanian. But Skopje insists on its Christian culture which is made clear by the over-dimensional Mileniumski Krst, the millennium cross on the mountain of Vodno, another symbol of Orthodox-Muslim segregation. There is no space for an ethnic Albanian culture however. Only the Muslim Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mother Teresa fits in, a memorial was dedicated to her on Ulica Makedonija – on of the highlights of every city tour. The Ohrid Agreement 2001 includes the principle of non-discrimination, however Albanian still is not recognised as a second official language. Albanian participation has grown but the integration has not. The ethnic segregation is increasing through the western Italian-oriented mother country Albania, due to

  • Posjeta Historijskom arhivu Sarajevo

    U HAS-u, koji se danas nalazi u Alipašinoj ulici br. 19 i koji je pripada Kantonu Sarajevo, je sačuvana cjelokupna arhivska građa, koja publici po različitim tematskim težištima biva izložena/prezentirana.

  • Arabati Baba Teke

    The Arabati Baba Teke of Tetovo was completed in the 18th century by the dervish Rexhep Pasha, it has been the centre for the Bektashi community in the Balkan peninsula – serving as mother house for many others tekkes in Macedonia and Kosovo – until 1912, when the Ottomans were driven out of Macedonia.

  • The (hidden) face of Macedonia

    How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

  • The (hidden) face of Macedonia

    How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

  • BUNK’ART

    In den 70ern ließ Enver Hoxha am Stadtrand Tiranas eine fünfstöckige  Bunkeranlage erbauen, bestehend aus etwa 100 Räumen, zum Schutz seiner selbst gegen nukleare Angriff. Zur Anzahl der massiven Pilzköpfe in der Sozialistischen Republik Albaniens existieren lediglich Schätzungen.

  • Frauen auf dem Balkan

    Während unserer DAAD-Exkursion nach Mazedonien und Albanien, derer Ziel war, die Balkanmuslime zu untersuchen, war es unter anderem interessant die Frauen sowohl in Großstädten als auch in den Dörfern zu beobachten.

  • Libofshe

    Libofshë Rreth Libofshë is a village in the Municipality of Fier, located in southwest Albania, where the inhabitants declare as Serbs of Islamic faith. In the town works the Association of Serbs “Jedinstvo”, which in 2010 opened a Serbian language school. I could see the split in generations. The grandfather was enthusiastically Serbian, being proud that he could express his identity after decades of communist rule. The father was more pragmatic it seems and generally a hot tempered man. The daughter and son didn‘t seem too enthusiastic, I couldn‘t help but feel that the Serbian language was being forced on them if not Serbian identity itself. The villagers all all Muslim, however they did try to present themselves as syncretic, honoring the orthodox saints and claiming that they pray both at the local church and mosque. By far this seemed the most confused and incoherent identity group we have visited. Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade Since I‘d heard that it was a Serbian community living in this village I expected everyone to talk Serbian – this was not the case. Serbian people came here in the 1920s but the language is dying out with every generation, even though they are teaching it at school. Megan, B.A. Student HU Berlin

  • The inevitability of nationalism

    Nationalism is a fickle concept, defined so many times in so many way, yet its true potential still escapes us. When one thinks of nationalism, the minds eyes conjures up images of flag waving young men, eager to seek glory in battle (or on the football stadium) for their nation. However, its manifestations are far subtler and much more widespread than what is commonly believed.

  • Forgotten Spaces

    In diesem Beitrag soll die Erfahrung der vermeintlichen „Grenzüberschreitung“ dargestellt werden. Das geschieht anhand vier ausgewählter Orte: Debar, Dolna Gorica, Zogaj und Rreth-Libofshe

  • The (hidden) face of Macedonia

    How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

  • Forgotten Spaces

    The DAAD field trip led the group to regions where borders have been shifted over the past centuries and new borders have been drawn. In a visible and an invisible way. The Ottoman Empire shaped the region in a special way so that not only new political borders developed but also religious. Many of these borders are invisible and four chosen locations marked on the map will be presented.

  • State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

    This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states.

  • Turkish Cultural Diplomacy in Montenegro

    Turkish Cultural Diplomacy in Montenegro Thomas Schad We, the participants of the workshop “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” (9.-11.7.2018), have undertaken an excursion to the nearby coastal town Ulcinj/Ulqin on the second day of our workshop (in the following Ulcinj). In Ulcinj we talked to representatives of the local administration, the Islamic community, the media sector and non-governmental organisations, we looked around the Montenegrin media and made our own observations during our walks through the city. Since my dissertation deals with cultural diplomacy between Bosnia and Turkey, I paid special attention to how Turkish cultural policy is represented in the townscape of Ulcinj and in the wider public. Ulcinj is the southernmost coastal city of Montenegro and is only separated from the Albanian border by the “big beach” – the longest sandy beach of Montenegro. On the other hand, Ulcinj is also considered the “most Albanian” city in Montenegro: not only the majority of the population is Albanian, but also most tourists come from Kosovo and Macedonia and speak Albanian. The majority of Albanian Ulcinjs are Muslim again, which makes the city an attractive place for Turkish cultural diplomats who mainly maintain and renovate Muslim-Ottoman cultural assets. Reception in the Skupština OpštineHowever, at first we had the honour of being received in the building of the “Skupština Opštine”. The majority of Albanian Ulcinjs are Muslim, which makes the city an attractive place for Turkish cultural diplomats who focus on Muslim-Ottoman cultural assets. Reception in the Skupština Opštine But first we had the honour to be received in the building of “Skupština Opštine”. The “Skupština Opštine” means “Parliament of the Municipality” in German, but is also the central administrative seat and thus comparable with a Berlin citizens’ office; like all other public inscriptions, the “Opština” is bilingual – in Jezik* with “Opština” and in Albanian with “Komuna”. The polyglot president of Komuna/Opština, Ilir Çapuni, greeted us there in person – in English, which he was able to perfect during his study visit to the American East Coast. Next to him are the Chairman of the Albanian Forum and the local Mufti, as well as a translator. Due to a misunderstanding, the translator – translation into English was planned – was, however, a translator from Albanian into German. Since most of the Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin participants of our workshop could not understand German, the extremely smart and diplomatic, perfectly trilingual president also courteously stepped in as translator for our excursion. According to Ilir Çapuni, a big problem for Ulcinj, together with the low birth rate and high unemployment, is the emigration of young people. When asked about their migration destinations, everyone agrees that the USA ranks first, followed by Western European countries such as Germany, Austria, France and Italy. However, according to Ilir Çapuni, there has been a new trend in migration for study purposes in recent years: more and more students are choosing Turkish universities for their education. Among them were above all prestigious universities such as the Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTÜ, Ankara) or Yıldız Teknik (YTÜ, Istanbul). These universities are among the country’s elite universities (ODTÜ in particular) and, together with the state Bosporus University (Boğaziçi), the French-speaking Galatasaray University and newer private universities such as Koç, Sabancı or Bilgi (among others), belong to the category of English-speaking (or French-speaking) elite universities. The number of private universities named in Turkey Vakıf Üniversiteleri (“Foundation Universities”) has grown rapidly in the last two decades, but they are not automatically among the most prestigious universities with high quality standards. As I have seen again and again elsewhere in the Balkans (especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina), increased academic mobility is an important aspect of Turkish cultural diplomacy: with its mobility programmes such as Türkiye Bursları, Mevlana and others, Turkey has created a counterpart to the European Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ programmes, through which it attracts students and researchers primarily from the “post-Ottoman” sphere of influence, while at the same time promoting the learning of the Turkish language. One of the participants of our workshop was also a scholarship holder of such a programme at the time of our excursion. During her three-year stay in Turkey she learnt the Turkish language, so that she is now preparing to write her dissertation in Turkish. It has to be added that very few of the Balkan students I know of have landed at one of the above mentioned English speaking lighthouse universities where they do not necessarily have to learn Turkish. The Turkish higher education landscape, which since 2016 has been subject to strong state intervention and reconstruction measures, is characterised by extreme inequality. At most state universities, the teaching language is Turkish, which from a German perspective is anything but surprising, but contrasts with the traditional English and French language skills of the elite. I was able to gain a detailed picture of these differences through my own one-year stay at the Istanbul State University in 2006/7, through numerous further visits and research stays at private elite universities such as Sabancı and Bilgi, as well as through my previous work as a lecturer at a Berlin university and my work in the field of German-Turkish academic relations. Examples of Ottoman space enhancement in Ulcinj Looking at the activities of Turkish cultural diplomats from the perspective of the production of space or spatial production (following Henri Lefebvres’s Production de l’espace), one could describe both structural and narrative-media activities. In this respect, Turkey’s cultural influence can be observed particularly in the media, such as in the widespread and extremely popular Turkish TV series, about which a great deal has already been written. The serial affinity of Balkan mothers-in-law, children, grandparents, even husbands, who now think they are well informed about the Ottoman past through series such as Suleyman the Magnificent (Sulejman Veličanstveni / Muhteşem Yüzyıl), has meanwhile become a widespread cliché between Zagreb and Skopje. Not mentioned here are the numerous other series that take place either in the Ottoman period or

  • Linguistic landscape of Ulcinj

    Linguistic landscape of Ulcinj Marija Mandić (Institute for Slavic Studies, Humboldt University in Berlin), Jelena Lončar (Faculty of Political Sciences, University Belgrade), Rebekka Zeinzinger (Philosophical Faculty, University of Sarajevo) Ulcinj is a city in Montenegro well known for language pluralism and peaceful co-existence of numerous ethnic groups. In the total population of 19.921 of the Ulcinj municipality, Albanians have the majority of 70.66%. According to the 2011 Population census, Montenegrins make 12.44% of the population, followed by Serbs (5,75%), Muslims (3,86%), Bosniaks (2,25%), Roma and Egyptians (1,17%). In Montenegro, Albanians live also in significant numbers in the municipalities of Podgorica, Bar, Gusinje, Rožaje, Plav, but the municipality of Ulcinj seems to be the center of the Albanian community in Montenegro. It is after all the only municipality in Montenegro where the Albanian minority forms the majority of population. The Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian language speakers seem to be more concentrated in the town than in wider municipality. Almost one third of the population in town speaks these varieties as „mother tongue“ (Census 2011 data – Municipalities). The language is named in the school curriculum Montenegrin-Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian (Crnogorsko-srpski, bosanski, hrvatski; further in text Montenegrin-SBC), aiming thereby to reflect both the language unity and ethnic (political) differences.[1] The same is visible in the organization of the school system in Ulcinj. There are four elementary schools in Ulcinj. All of them are bilingual, that is in Montenegrin and Albanian language. When it comes to high schools, there is a private school „Gjimnazi Drita“ in Albanian language, and a state-owned secondary mixed school „Bratstvo i jedinstvo“, which is bilingual. In addition, there is also a bilingual primary music school „Ulcinj“.[2] In terms of education, “bilingual” means that students may choose whether they want to be tought in Albanian or Montenegrin. Yet, it is not possible to opt for classes in both languages, i.e. following some content classes in Albanian and other in Montenegrin, which results in the lack of bilingualism among the younger population. In our short presentation we focus on linguistic landscape which can be defined as „the visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory or region“ (Landry, Bourhis 1997: 23). Linguistic landscape in fact highlights the interrelatedness of language and space and how they affect each other in the meaning-making process (Scollon, Scollon 2003). We differ between official, public and semi-public domains. However, our observations are very limited, due to the short term field work, and can be treated only as a preliminary insight into linguistic complexity and diversity of Ulcinj. In terms of official signs like municipality plates or plates in the town museum, we can see that all signs are in both Montenegrin and Albanian. Montenegrin, as the official language of the state, is the first language, visually positioned on the top, whereas the Albanian name or information comes below. Opština Ulcinj in Latin alphabet (above) Komuna e Ulqinit The second example (2) comes from the town museum. In the museum plate we see that Montenegrin comes as the first language, positioned on the top, also in Latin alphabet, then Albanian, and the third is English: Originalni djelovi cibonijuma IX vijek Pjesë originale të cibarijumit, Shek. IX Original parts from the 9th century The third photo (3) shows a hybrid, multifunctional sign which is also an official one. Its linguistic visual design shows a reverse situation: Albanian comes first, then Montenegrin. The sign refers to: Islamic community of Montenegro, Board of Islamic community of Ulcinj, Place for parking, and to the Vakif of the mosque Donja Meraja. All these references, as mentioned, are given in Albanian first, and then below in Montenegrin. PARKING however, as a borrowing from English, has only one form as it is the same in English, Montenegrin and Albanian. Bashkësia Islame në Malin e Zi Islamska zajednica u Crnoj Gori Këshili i Bashkësisë Islame – Ulcinj Odbor islamske zajednice Ulcinj PARKING Vakfi i xhamisë së Merasë së Poshtime Vakuf džamije Donja Meraja. In the photo (4) we can see two obituaries obviously referring to an Albanian. However, the above positioned obituary is in Albanian, whereas the below positioned obituary, visually identical to the first one, is in Montenegrin (obviously Bosnian variant). Both texts in Albanian and Montenegrin are identical. What is interesting here is that in the Montenegrin version personal names are adapted to the standard Montenegrin alphabet and, moreover, they are montenegrinised by adding to the Albanian family name Lamoja the suffix -ić. Thus, in Montenegrin version Lamoja is transformed into Ljamović. Shefki-Keko Lamoja Šefki-Keko Ljamović The linguistic signs relevant for tourism are all bilingual or multilingual. The tables in front of restaurants are mostly given parallel in two native languages, visually and linguistically identical. In the photos (5) and (6) one side of the advertising table with menu is given in Albanian and the other in Montenegrin, (5), (6). The photo (7) shows, however, that Albanian is more dominant even among the touristic advertisements, due to the predominantly Albanian tourist guests in the municipality. In the photo (8) the sign advertising free rooms is given in four languages. One may assume that the language order is in accordance with numerical presence of the guests and/or with a preference for certain guests: Albanian comes first, then German, followed by English, whereas Montenegrin is the last one in this discursive order. Dhoma Zimmer Rooms Sobe In the photo (9), there is also a similar situation. It shows a stand where pancakes are sold, with five languages used: Montenegrin, Albanian, English, German, and French. Palačinke Krepé Crepes Pfannkuchen Finally, the last photo (10) shows cups sold to tourists, with inscriptions: „To the best mum / dad / granny / granddad / uncle, etc. in the world“. Languages used are Albanian, English and Montenegrin (Bosnian variant). This short presentation reveals that the linguistic landscape of Ulcinj is predominantly Albanian-Montenegrin bilingual, but very often multilingual including world languages such as English and German, due to the municipality touristic profile. The Latin alphabet

  • Outdoor partisan Albania environmental museum – researching border monuments

    Text: Agata Rogos “Wherever you cast your glance in Albania you see a stone, marble, bronze landscape. It is the new landscape of the homeland that has a glorious history, which counts hundreds and thousands of exploit feats for freedom, for the people’s power, for their defence. In this landscape there have been engraved names and events which we honour, we recall them with respect because they increase our forces, they add to our pride. And we continue on the road of the monuments. We read in them about the Albanian insurgents who answered in the language of arms to every invader. These commemorative symbols recall us in Albania conventions where oath was taken and decisions were adopted for the good of Albania. We have before us commemorative tablets, busts and lapidaries, which raise high the names and activity of our fighters for National Revival and of their predecessors. Partisan Albania is entirely an environmental museum. We have erected and shall continue to erect such memorials because they promote the revolutionary education of our youth, army and of all our labouring masses”. (From Përmendore të heroizmit shqiptar, photographic album) The few existing monuments and statues in Albania entering the communist era were either connected with Ottoman tradition or to the Italian influence period that with no doubt played a very important role in the visuality of the public space, also in modern Albania. The significant changes of the city scapes were not only on the aesthetic level or the choice of particular language and forms chosen to represent the new state and power, but most of all it was about constructing the inexistent national narratives that would be ‘ours’ not implemented through invaders, to use the rhetoric of the socialist and nationally-driven Albanian discourse. And it was obvious that the New Albania was to be created from absolutely different tradition, thus it was about to replace not only the model of representation but to replace religious cult objects with secular elements that were about to retrieve the role of the first ones. The process couldn’t be implemented immediately but successively the whole landscape was enriched with new sculptural monuments, architectonic-sculptural ensambles (like national martyrs cemeteries), lapidaries and museums of National Liberation War (Lufta Nacional Çlirimtare) and art galleries in Tirana and other districts.  I made my fieldwork in Albania mapping some border monuments – remnants of the WW2 partisan movement. The first impression was a feeling of abandonment or to say – unwanted heritage. However  in the collective memory of Albanians as I was told many times during my interviews – these memorials/monuments were referred to as a commemoration of the partisans’ struggle and not as such as socialist monuments in contradiction to non-exiting nowadays monuments of Enver Hoxha – the main figure of communist Albania. I made my fieldwork in the chosen locations where high in the mountains or in the outskirts of the cities are located these artifacts.  The lapidars (post-war monuments of partisans and heroes of the WW2) present in Albanian landscapes became cultural systems of communication that create a significant part of the post-communist collective memory and elements of common knowledge, common memory, and foremost of a common Albanian identity. Lapidars and other socialist monuments, together with the cultural landscapes they shape, are part of Albania’s cultural memory. Therefore, all cultural landscape-shaping elements from the socialist period automatically become elements of historic cultural landscapes in a post-socialist environment. A historic cultural landscape that mainly consists of or is dominated by a high density of socialist cultural landscape elements might then be called a historic socialist (cultural) landscape[1]. The historic socialist landscape in Albania comprises far more than bunkers, the ruins left by socialist economic policy, such as industrial complexes (kombinati), agricultural cooperatives (kooperativa), socialist urban design and its functional correlations and architecture, or propaganda elements like slogans on factory chimneys, walls, and mountains, are some of its most visible and significant elements. At least equally striking and omnipresent elements in those landscapes are the widely visible socialist monuments such as the lapidars. Thus, lapidars were, for socialist Albania, serving as an instrument to define its territory and to border off its ideology from other dictatorships of the communist block. As an example one might refer to the no-man’s land between the Albanian–Greek border at Kakavij or the Albanian–Kosovo (former Yugoslavian) border at Qafë Prush.  As my interviews with the artists of the socialist period in Albania show the biggest explosion of the new monuments and in consequence the construction of the new system of national symbols happened from the beginning of 70’s which might be linked to the separation from Soviet Union and a need to strengthen the national narrative. That is also the moment when Enver Hoxha and his circles started to reconstruct the memories of the partisan movement, reinforcing local impact of the communist system. A very important component of this new symbolic construct was performativity of celebration in the outdoor partisan Albania environmental museum. During the newly established national holidays these monuments have been successively transformed into the pilgrimage places, where school children, students, soldiers and peasants of state-owned kooperativa have been coming for the commemorative ceremonies.  [1]M. Bickert, Lapidars and Socialist Monuments as Elements of Albania’s Historic Cultural Landscapes, in Lapidari I, Punctum Books 2015, p. 105-114.

  • Šipkovica

    Šipkovica Šipkovica is a small village near Tetovo, situated at the border with Kosovo.  Here Ali Ahmeti, the current leader of the Albanian political party in Macedonia DUI and commander of the former Macedonian UÇK (“Ushtria Çlirimtare Kombëtare”, or National Liberation Army – NLA), which fought for equal rights for the ethnic Albanian minority during the 2001 armed insurgency in Macedonia, set up his headquarters. The conflct began in January 2001 and Šipkovica have already been controlled since March 2001 by the UÇK. The Macedonian army soon attacked the NLA, although demonstrating a crass level of military incapacity – the fie set light to the several houses and agricultural buildings – and driving the local population to support the rebels. Klassische Geschichte für viele Dörfer sowohl auf dem Balkan als auch im post-sowjetischen Raum: Mit den Geldern aus West Europa (hauptsächlich Deutschland) werden die Villas gebaut, wo nur die ältere Menschen leben und die Kinder/Enkelkinder zur Sommerferien kommen. Nasiba, PhD Student HU Berlin My interlocutor was in the end pretty frank exclaiming that: „This is Albania (pointing towards Macedonia), that is Albania (pointing to Kosovo over the hills) and that is Albania (Albania proper). How could they (The Macedonians) tell us what to do?!“ Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade

  • Dolna Gorica

    Dolna Gorica Dolna Gorica is one of the nine Macedonian villages of the Mala Prespa, southern of the Lake Prespa. The area is the only one in Albania enjoying the status and rights of a minority. In the school, lessons are given in Macedonian and they learn Albanian as a foreign language. Some of the villages have Macedonian and some – Bulgarian consciousness. Many of the inhabitants have Macedonian passports along with their Albanian ones, but because of the deepening crisis faced by the Macedonian state, an increasing number of people in the area have become aware of their Bulgarian origins. Bulgarian passports became more attractive because with them one will be able to travel visa-free to the EU countries. prelepo selo, najlepše od posećenih, kao da je zamrznuto u vremenu. Očekivala sam i takve međuljudske odnose, i čvrsto ustaljene porodične običaje. Zatekli smo poluprazno selo i mnogi njegovi stanovnici su emigrirali u Evropu… Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade … sehr ländlich und einfach geprägt, aber schöne Häuser und gepflgte Gärten, verlassenes Dorf

  • BUNK’ART

    BUNK’ART – entering the dark past Megan Nagel, Goranka Ćejvanović Albanian Dicator Enver Hoxha’s bunker Enver Hoxha had a five-storeyed bunker built consisting of 100 rooms on the outskirts of Tirana in the 1970s for his own protection against a nuclear attack. The number of massive bunkers in the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania can only be estimated. Official statements say 221.143 bunkers were built to protect the population. After Enver Hoxhas death in 1985 and until the disintegration of communism in 1990 isolated Albania was ruled by Ramiz Alia. I have had just a basic information about the Dervish community before the journey, and their religious plurality and inclusivity is something that can be of greater interest and relevance for the Balkans. Marko, PhD Student U Belgrade A bunker becomes BUNK’ART The museum BUNK’ART was only opened 24 years later. The artistic presentation is realised by two journalists, the Italian Carlo Bollino and Albanian Admirina Peçi, with support from the Albanian government as well as the NGO Qendra Una. Currently 24 rooms are open to the public, subdivided into different topics. One part is a chronology of the history and the life of the population:  the invasion of the Italians, the occupation by the Germans and the end of the propagandistic regime. This is visualised by different kinds of objects, photos, documents such as letters and maps as well as video installations. Ovo je jedna od najzanimljivijih poseta u Albaniji. Oduševljena sam time što su bunker koji je bio značajan za vreme vladavine Envera Hodže pretvoren u muzej koji slikovito dočarava taj vremenski period. Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade We enter BUNK’ART The entry to the bunker is reached through a long, cold and dark tunnel, the concrete door is already open. We are greeted by an unpleasant moisture. Rats or bats no longer live here.  We walk from room to room of this labyrinth of self-experimentation. And we can hear the dictator’s voice. We push the button. Sirens ring out, we are standing in a room filled with smoke. We can feel the culture of fear. Only the artist himself can pull us out of the creepy past with his play of colourful light. But the self-experiment lasts until the end. The echo of the concrete toilet door leaves a bitter taste as it slams shut and evokes the feeling of being imprisoned. BUNK’ART is not only a testimonial to the propagandistic regime, it’s also a documentation centre serving for the rehabilitation of history and the process of coming to terms with the past. Prijatno sam iznenađena … Nisam očekivala njihovo potpuno otvaranje najmračnijih perioda polovine 20og veka i veoma sam pozitivno iznenađena tim iskorakom (Srbija još uvek nije napravila taj iskorak prema najtežim praksama koje je sprovodila Komunističa partija Jugoslavije). Upadljiv je otvoreni odnos Bunk‘Art muzeja prema novijoj istoriji i Nacionalnog muzeja istorije u Tirani koji propagira snažan nacionalistički diskurs i revizionističku istoriju Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

  • Linguistic landscape macedonia

    Die Untersuchung der Linguistic Landscape eines Gebietes ist in mehrsprachigen Gebieten, wie es Mazedonien traditionell eines ist, eine Möglichkeit, mehr über Prestige, Hierarchien und das Verhältnis der dort gebrauchten Sprachen untereinander herauszufinden.

  • Eco Guerilla

    Die NGO Eco Guerilla ist eine Umweltorganisation, die Druck auf die Politik ausübt, mit dem Ziel die Regierung dazu zu bewegen Umweltgesetze einzuhalten. Ihren Ursprung hat die NGO in Tetovo, eine im Nordwesten Mazedoniens gelegene Stadt, nahe der Grenze zum Kosovo.

  • Centar Zhupa

    Centar Župa Centar Župa is a village situated near the city of Debar and populated mainly by Turks. According to the 2002 census, 80 percent of the 6299 inhabitants of the municipality are reported as Turks. In the 1960s much of the population left the villages to work in other parts of Yugoslavia or in West European  countries, especially to Italy, Switzerland and Germany. These families come to their home towns only once a year, mostly during the summer holidays. The village was populated by Torbeshi and some of them claim that they are Turks. From my talks with the locals it seemed that the majority of the locals view themselves as Turks.  Once our Turkish interlocutors left, our Albanian guide promptly denied their Turkish identity claiming that they are in fact Macedonians with a turn-cloak mentality. Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade   After talking to the other members of our fild trip it seemed like everybody had heard diffrent stories about the minority and the spoken language, that was very interesting in hindsight. Megan, B.A. Student HU Berlin     OTHER PLACES

  • Women on the Balkans

    During our DAAD field trip to Macedonia and Albania with the aim of exploring the Balkan Muslims it was also interesting to observe the women both in cities and villages. Here the question is not only about the division of the role of men and women in the family or society

  • State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia

    This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states.

  • Besuch der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Sarajevo

    Die jüdische Gemeinde hat eine lange Tradition, die bis in die Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts zurückreicht, als die ersten sephardischen Juden nach Sarajevo kamen. Die damalige jüdische Bevölkerung von Sarajevo sprach Judäo-Spanisch.

  • Mehrsprachigkeit

    Die Frage nach der nationalen Zugehörigkeit kann sich auf dem Balkan als schwierig erweisen. Somit war die Frage nach den Sprachkenntnissen weniger „problematisch“ und einfacher zu beantworten. Außerdem ermöglichte sie uns einen besseren Zugang zu den Menschen und führte zu aufschlussreichen Antworten.

  • Die Bektaschi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

    Am 9. September 2017 haben wir zunächst die Arabati Baba Tekke in Tetovo, Mazedonien, besucht wo uns vom örtlichen Derwisch, dem Vorstehenden der Tekke, viel zu den Ritualen der Bektaschi erzählt wurde.

  • Visiting the Jewish Community in Sarajevo

    Visiting the Jewish Community in Sarajevo On a pleasant early autumn Tuesday morning, we [four scholars from Germany, Montenegro and Serbia] came to the Jewish Community in Sarajevo situated in 59, Hamdije Kreševljakovića Street, by the Miljacka river. The Jewish Community inherits a long tradition that dates back to the mid-16th century, when the first Sephardic Jews came to Ottoman Sarajevo. The Jewish population of Sarajevo at that time spoke Judeo-Spanish. With the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo in 1878, a significant number of Ashkenazi Jews came to Bosnia and Herzegovina from different parts of the Empire. They brought different traditions and languages with them. By then, the two Jewish groups – the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim –  were separate communities until the period after World War II, although they were united by the Zionist ideology. In the post-1945 Communist era, the former Ashkenazi synagogue in Hamdije Kreševljakovića Street became the social, but also religious epicenter of all remaining Jews in Sarajevo. This synagogue continues to be the hub of Jewish culture and belonging in Sarajevo until present day. For this the reason, the Community members that we met on this particular day in September 2018 were of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin. We started off our conversation with addressing their thoughts regarding anti-Semitism. Among the Community members was the secretary general of the Community, Elma Softić-Kaunitz, who shared with us her generally positive views on this matter and spoke of significant tolerance towards Jews. At the same time, she admitted that the predominantly Muslim population in Sarajevo usually have anti-Israeli political attitudes. A young woman, who did not wish to be named or photographed, told us that: “No one here would tell you something [anti-Jewish] face-to-face but the comments online are really, really bad.” She adds that she often finds the word čifut in the comments, which comes from Turkish and is pejorative for a Jew in Serbo-Croat. 29-year old Vladimir Andrle had a more optimistic perception of anti-Semitism in Sarajevo. He reflects upon the situation like this: Today, we’re the only Jewish Community in Europe with no security [guards and installations]! Consider the fact that nobody ever attacked the synagogue and the Jewish Community. We don’t have the same degree of anti-Semitism as in other European countries. Most of it takes place on the Internet where people insult the Jewish people, but it doesn’t occur in ‘real life.’ Not in Sarajevo. 49-year old Yehuda Kolonomos could not come to the Community to meet us, but he came to our hotel the following day. He told us that all Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina are seen as Israelis and thus held responsible for the politics of Israel. He explains: People don’t make a difference between Jews from Israel and Jews from anywhere else. It’s the same to them, and therefore a complicated situation for those Sarajevan Jews coming from mixed Jewish-Muslim families. They don’t dare say that they are Jews because then they will be blamed by the Bosnian Muslims for the politics in Israel. On a personal level I have had bad experiences as well: Muslim kids approached my daughter in school, asking her, why she’s killing their people [Muslim Palestinians in Israel]. Even though I insist on wearing my kippah [a cap worn by Jewish religious men] while walking the streets of Sarajevo; not hiding the fact that I’m Jewish, I’m also much more careful than I was a year ago. I think other Jews in Sarajevo are even more afraid than me to show or say openly that they are Jews. Summing up the reflections on anti-Semitism in Sarajevo, according to Vladimir, Sarajevo has a better record regarding anti-Semitism than other places in Europe, which are more anti-Semitic. At the same time, the experience that the young woman shared with us shows that anti-Semitism is vital, at least in the cyber space. Moreover, Yehuda said that anti-Israelism causes anti-Semitism to such extent that there is anti-Semitic bullying at his children’s school. Jews in Sarajevo are, according to him, even afraid to show openly that they are Jewish. We were also curious to know how the once prosperous Jewish community in Sarajevo deals with preservation of Jewish customs and identity today. If they keep their old traditions and languages. Elma explained to us that the Community of today has much less members than before the Second World War and that they are struggling hard to maintain the Sarajevo Jewish culture. In Sarajevo, just like in other former Yugoslav cities, the cultivation of Judaism has a cultural and social character rather than a religious one. This corresponds with the atheist ideology and attitudes of the communist society in Yugoslavia. Even the synagogue was and still is divided in two halves. The upper part of the building is a synagogue (as we can see on the photo below), while the lower part is a place where people meet and have social gatherings. In Yugoslav times, the young and old were engaged actively in Jewish communal work through different clubs and cultural activities. Still today, there is a Sunday school taking place every week that is introducing concepts of Judaism to the children. Moreover the Community runs a student club, a women club called Bohoreta and there is a religious section of the Community but no residential rabbi. There is also a ‘social section’ of the Community organization which, together with the Jewish NGO Benevolencija, take care of the members that are in a need of material support. The Hebrew language courses in the Community ceased to exist owing to the decrease in interest of its members. There is a significant number of young adults who speak the language because they lived in Israel during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. Only a few elderly members still have some knowledge of Judeo-Spanish. There is a positive attitude towards modern Spanish today however, as some of the Community members are interested in the opportunity to take the Spanish

  • Research on war monuments in Kosovo

    Text: Agata Rogos I visited Mitrovica (north part of Kosovo, border with Serbia) relatively late – in 2017, five years after my first study visit to Kosovo. The fieldwork started with a contact with the Museum of Mitrovica located on the South part of the city. My main interest primarily was connected with the war monuments of 1999, as I was developing my research on the last war in Kosovo as it is called in the general Kosovo-Albanians discourse. However my attention was attracted by a concrete, uncanny structure that can be visible from all parts of this hybrid city. The first confusion about this object comes with the naming problem that appears in both parts of the city – Albanian and Serbian. Whenever I tried to talk about this monument among the citizens of Mitrovica I have been faced with different terms defining its symbolic function and meaning. And precisely this naming problem made it so strongly appealing to me. This is how through multi-layered perception of one monument one can unleash the whole history of a city abundant in inter-ethnic and inter-cultural components. It shows the process of divisions as well between native populations and dynamics of particular and common values that have transformed during different periods and power systems. This is also how the imagined sense of ethno-national identity has been communicated on both sides of the river. Bogdan Bogdanović when referring to his monument in Mitrovica built between 1960 and 1973 claimed: This was one of my most complicated projects. It took some ten or twelve years from the first sketches to realization. The monument is dedicated to the Partisans. The two pylons were often interpreted as a Serb and an Albanian figure. In my interactions with the local clients, Serbs and Albanians seemed to work well together; later, I found it very painful when the trouble in Kosovo began. I wanted to symbolize a gateway or entrance. The main generator for the form was space – the enormous open space with fantastic depth overlooking the city. I explored many different directions before I came up with this version, which stands its own ground against the vast empty space. As it turns out, it now sits precisely on the border between the Serb and Albanian parts of the city (Kulić & Thaler, 2018, p. 60). The Shrine to the Fallen Serb and Albanian Partisans (1960–1973) designed for Mitrovica (Kosovo) in the oral narratives among the citizens of the city is nowadays most of the times referred to as a Miners’ Monument, a monument on the hill or Partisans’ Hill. In the guidebook promoting Kosovo published in 1982 it is described as memorial site of Partisans, while sometimes it is merged being named the monument of Miners-Partisans. However, in contemporary identity discourses the original name given by the author of the monument barely appears. According to data gathered by Vladimir Kulić (Kulić & Stierli, 2018) and published on the occasion of the exhibition in MoMA in New York (Toward a concrete utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia 1948–1980, 2018–2019) the monument of Mitrovica is dedicated to the fallen ethnic Albanian and Serb Partisans, members of a miners’ platoon. As the author explains: “They successfully sabotaged the extraction of zinc and lead ore from the Trepča mines, which the occupying German forces needed for weapons production” (Kulić & Stierli, 2018, p. 58). This oral disparity of the seemingly not important Mitrovica monument’s name shifts is presenting a widespread phenomenon of denying the heritage of Yugoslavia (mostly among Albanians) and strengthening particularisms above the commons. Moreover, it is followed by more radical acts of toppling down the unwanted heritage of Yugoslavia and its main slogan brotherhood and unity, as a consequence of traumatic war experiences in Kosovo, which is exemplified in monuments’ displacement in recent years in the public space of Kosovo. The reason for introducing the monument in Mitrovica lays in complementing the knowledge of the semantics of “the border space”. Its complexity and symbolic contextualization going far beyond the remembrance of World War II, as referred by the artist Bogdan Bogdanović, was to indicate interactions between Serbian and Albanian communities in a form of a gate, or entrance. Thus this particular monument, more than any other can be perceived an example of verification of ideological and, aesthetic transformation of the system of representations of war and analysis of the mechanisms of their promotion in the collective memory. The example that I would like particularly refer to in my analysis of performances of patriotic tourism crowned by the slogan of brotherhood and unity is the story of two partisans: Boro Vukmirović (Serbian of Montenegrin origin) – the Regional Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in Kosovo and Ramiz Sadiku (ethnic Albanian) – member of the Bureau of the same Committee, both captured and executed in Landovica by the Italian Fascists on April 10, 1943, while they were on their way from Gjakova to Prizren to meet Belgrade’s envoy Svetovar (Tempo) Vukmanović. During socialist Yugoslavia they became a symbol of Albanian and Serbian brotherhood and their story was explored in many ways in material and non-material culture in both languages Serbian and Albanian (oral history, poems, novels, busts, monuments, buildings, etc.). Figures of Boro and Ramiz as an example of brotherhood and unity ideology have been present in a big number of patriotic poems; two of them are worth mentioning: one by Adem Gejtani “Boro and Ramiz[1]” mostly accessible in Serbian language and the other one by Esad Mekuli “Ramiz, Comrade[2]” popularized in school books until late 1980s in Albanian language. Most interestingly during the fieldwork I made in Kosovo when researching cultural presence of Boro and Ramiz most of my informants still remembered the lines of the poem that was obligatory to learn by heart in primary school in the 1980s. Moreover, despite the negative approach towards Yugoslav heritage in today’s Kosovo still the myth of Boro and Ramiz is bringing in rather positive memories. In November

  • The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

    The Balkans is usually represented as being in-between, one has just to pick a certain end point or two coordinates, and will usually get a perspective that speaks about continuous and seemingly unending travelling. This voyage is different for its states, countries, and societies.

  • Dulcinea of Ulcinj: The hometown of Don Quixote’s Love

    After being captured at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 and taken as a slave to Ulcinj by infamous local pirates, Miguel de Cervantes served there for several years before being taken to Algeria and eventually returning to Spain after five years of captivity.

  • Women on the Balkans

    During our DAAD field trip to Macedonia and Albania with the aim of exploring the Balkan Muslims it was also interesting to observe the women both in cities and villages. Here the question is not only about the division of the role of men and women in the family or society

  • The inevitability of nationalism – The case of the Bektashi

    Nationalism is a fickle concept, defined so many times in so many way, yet its true potential still escapes us. When one thinks of nationalism, the minds eyes conjures up images of flag waving young men, eager to seek glory in battle (or on the football stadium) for their nation. However, its manifestations are far subtler and much more widespread than what is commonly believed.

  • State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

    This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states.

  • Besuch im Historischen Archiv Sarajevo (HAS)

    Besuch im Historischen Archiv Sarajevo (HAS) Text: Goranka Ćejvanović / Photographien: Aleksandar Jakir, Goranka Ćejvanović Zur Gründung und Tätigkeiten der Archive in Bosnien und Herzegowina (BuH) Die ersten offiziellen und gesetzlich verankerten archivarischen Aktivitäten in Bosnien und Herzegowina beginnen Ende 1947 mit der Gründung des Staatsarchivs Bosnien und Herzegowinas. Danach werden die städtischen Archive in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Mostar usw. formiert. Im Vorkriegs-Jugoslawien bauen die archivarischen Einrichtungen ein strukturiertes wissenschaftliches Netzwerk auf, dass mit dem Beginn des Krieges im Jahr 1992 folglich zerstört wird. Hierbei kommt es nicht nur zur Schädigung und anteiligen Zerstörung des Archivs – und Bibliotheksguts, sondern auch zum Schwund der finanziellen Mittel als auch der Fachexperten, die für den Aufbau der nach dem Krieg verbliebenen kulturellen Vermächtnisses notwendig sind. Während des Krieges bleiben die bosnisch-herzegowinischen Archive hauptsächlich unter der regional-ethnisch geführten militärischen und paramilitärischen Kontrolle. Im heutigen Bosnien und Herzegowina unterliegen die Archive je nach Zugehörigkeit entweder der staatlichen, der entitäten oder der kantonalen Gesetzgebungen. Auch die technologischen und räumlichen Nutzungsbedingung dieser können unterschiedlich sein, wobei anzubringen ist, dass das Archivmaterial grundsätzlich nationalen und internationalen Forschern als auch Privatpersonen zur Verfügung steht. Das Historische Archiv Sarajevo – Historijski Arhiv Sarajevo (HAS) Das HAS, das sich heute in der Alipašina 19 befindet und dem Kanton Sarajevo zugehört, konnte den gesamten Vorkriegsbestand aufbewahren. Dieser wird zudem nach verschiedenen thematischen Schwerpunkten in Ausstellungen dem Publikum präsentiert. Im Rahmen des in Sarajevo veranstalten Workshops „Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Jews in the Balkans”, das vom 03-09.-05.09.2018 stattgefunden hat, wurde das HAS von einigen Teilnehmenden, Studierenden und Professor_innen, besucht: Neben den allgemeinen Informationen über das Archiv und seine Schätze, war uns wichtig auch welche in Bezug auf das sephardische Leben in Sarajevo zu erhalten. In recht kleinem Raum sind wir von dem Direktor des Archivs Fuad Ohranović sowie seinen Archivisten Atif Mušinović i Admir Nezirović empfangen worden. Doch auch wenn scheinbar minimalistisch eingerichtet, dieses Archiv beherbergt ein beeindruckendes Archivgut, das von der Gründung der Stadt Sarajevo (hier nur Fragmente), also aus der vorosmanischen Zeit bis heute datiert. Dieses lässt somit die kulturelle, soziologische, politische und historische Entwicklung der Stadt selbst, als auch die seiner Bewohner aufzeigen. Hier sollte insbesondere angebracht werden, dass die Universitäts- und Nationalbibliothek Bosnien und Herzegowinas, als auch die Gazi-Husrev-Bibliothek (verfügt über großen digitalisierten Bestand), mit denen das HAS in enger Zusammenarbeit steht, hierzu sich ergänzende Bestände innehalten. Neben der umfangreichen Orientalischen Sammlung in türkischer und arabischer Sprache, unter die auch die Abschrift Isa-Begs Vakufnama die aus dem Jahr 1461 datiert, werden im Archiv Dokumente von unschätzbarem Wert aufbewahrt.  Zu diesen zählen auch private und Familiensammlungen, wie beispielsweise die des Historikers Hamdija Kreševljaković. Aus der österreich-ungarischen Zeit stehen den Nutzern verschiedene Archivalien, wie Karten, Zeitschriften, Erlasse usw. aber auch die Volkszählung aus dem Jahre 1910 zur Verfügung. In dieser wurden nicht nur die Religionszugehörigkeiten vermerkt, sondern ebenso die Besitzverhältnisse, innerhalb des Areals zwischen der Vijećnica und dem Zemaljski muzej, dokumentiert. Zudem beherbergt das HAS die Statistiken der Bevölkerungszählung aus dem Jahr 1925 sowie die gesamten Verwaltungsdokumente der NDH-Ära. Die Sepharden Sarajevos und die Handschriften Laura Papo Bohoretas Die oben erwähnten Censuus sind von besonderer Bedeutung, insofern die demographische Entwicklung, der Wachstum und der Rückgang, der jüdischen Gemeinschaft (Sepharden und Aschkenasen) in verschiedenen historischen, wirtschaftlichen und politischen Gegebenheiten untersucht wird. Doch im HAS werden auch andere vielfältige Dokumente über die sephardischen Juden, die sich nach der Vertreibung aus Spanien hier Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts ansiedeln, bewahrt. Die Handschriften der 1891 in Sarajevo geborenen Sephardin, Laura Papo Bohoreta, sollten insbesondere erwähnt werden, denn das Besondere dieser liegt zum einen in dem Inhalt und zum anderen in der verwendeten Sprache. Ihre diversen Schriftstücke verfasste Laura Papo Bohoreta in der judeo-spanischen (sephardischen oder ladino) Sprache, die im heutigen Bosnien und Herzegowina vom Sprachtod bedroht ist. Zudem schließt die Autorin und Feministin in ihre literarischen Werke die Lebensweise und die Tradition der sephardischen Juden ein. Eine ihrer bedeutsamen Handschriften ist die Monografie „„La mužer sefardi de Bosna“, die dank dem Romanisten Muhamed Nezirović auch in das Bosnische übersetzt worden ist („Sefardska žena u Bosni“). Anlässlich der Feierlichkeiten des 450-jährigen Bestehens der sephardischen Gemeinschaft in Bosnien und Herzegowina veröffentlichen das HAS und die Philosophische Fakultät der Universität Sarajevo in Zusammenarbeit mit der hiesigen Botschaft des Königreichs Spanien im Zeitraum von 2015 bis 2017 die Trilogie der digitalisierten Handschriften Bohoretas publiziert. Neben der bereits erwähnten Monographie werden in den drei Bänden auch Gedichte, Essais, Dramen, u. a das in Sarajevo uraufgeführte bekannte Drama „Esterka“, veröffentlicht. Diese dreibändige Publikation “Laura Papo Bohoreta – rukopisi, das zunehmend auch für wissenschaftliche Kreise von Bedeutung, zeugt nicht nur von den traditionellen Werten der bosnisch-herzegowinischen Sepharden, sondern ebenso von einer über Jahrhunderte bestehenden  multikulturellen Gesellschaft in der Region. Die Multikulturalität, als auch die interreligiöse Toleranz – vor allem in der Stadt Sarajevo – bezeigen aber auch andere Artefakte; insbesondere die berühmte Sarajevo Haggadah mit ihrer einzigartigen Überlebensgeschichte, sowie (nach Andrić) „usnuli lavovi“ (die schlafenden Löwen) – die Grabsteine des im Jahre 1630 gegründeten jüdischen Friedhofs.

  • Forgotten spaces

    The DAAD field trip led the group to regions where borders have been shifted over the past centuries and new borders have been drawn. In a visible and an invisible way. The Ottoman Empire shaped the region in a special way so that not only new political borders developed but also religious. Many of these borders are invisible and four chosen locations marked on the map will be presented.

  • The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

    The Balkans is usually represented as being in-between, one has just to pick a certain end point or two coordinates, and will usually get a perspective that speaks about continuous and seemingly unending travelling. This voyage is different for its states, countries, and societies.

  • Linguistic landscape macedonia

    The representation of multilingualism in the linguistic landscape of Macedonia Julian Nitzsche, Translation Megan Nagel The research of linguistic landscapes in a multilingual region like Macedonia is an opportunity to find out more about prestige, hierarchies and the relationship of the used languages. The relationship of the two biggest language groups in Macedonia (Macedonian and Albanian) that are also equivalent to the two ethnics groups, has been full of conflict for the last 30 years. One group – the Slavic speaking Macedonians, mainly Christians – became the titular nation of the independent state in 1991 whose autonomy has been put into question by their neighbours in Bulgaria and Serbia in the past. The other group – mainly Muslim Albanians – stays a minority, although numerically strong. At the last census in 2002 they represented a quarter of the population. This percentage will have grown in the last 15 years. Against the background of the Kosovo war and independence as well as the armed riots in 2001 in the mostly Albanian Northwest of Macedonia, the situation between the two groups stays strained. After the Ohrid Agreement in 2001 there has been a gradual easing of tension. The Albanian ethnic group has been granted linguistic rights and institutions – amongst other things a university – and the usage of the Albanian language in public has developed in a positive way. Nevertheless, there have been public confrontations, especially in the run-up to the parliamentary election, e.g. about the building of an orthodox church at the Muslim fortress in Skopje in 2012 or about the planned effectuation of another monumental cross in the suburbs of Skopje in March 2012. The discussion about the creation of a multilingual state was initiated after the change of government in 2017 and has been led controversially. While the Albanians insist on the implementation of their granted rights, the Slavic Macedonians fear a weakening of their national state – which already deals with an identity complex. The relevant law was passed in January 2018, making Albanian the second official language. Against this background I have busied myself with the recent status of public multilingualism in already multilingual Macedonia, on the occasion of our field trip in September 2017. I have compared my observations with the impressions I made during my first stay in summer 2008 – almost a decade earlier. Skopje/Shkup As the capital and seat of political and economic power Skopje enjoys a special kind of prestige, which the government under Nikolai Guresvki has been expanding in an arguable kind of way in the course of „Skopje 2014“. The national prestige for the Christian and Slavic speaking Macedonia – demonstrated by the over dimensional cross on the mountain of Vodno that towers over the town day and night – counteracts with the fact that the Ottoman old town is predominantly inhabited by (Muslim) Albanians. In 2002 they represented a fifth of the population. However, Albanian was hardly present outside of the old town in 2008. Almost a decade later the signposts attract attention: whilst driving into the capital on the motorway they don’t only show the destinations in Macedonian and English transcription, but also in Albanian – in the same type size. During a city tour it is revealed that this also applies to the inner-city touristic sign-posting of the monuments. Merely the order of languages is noteworthy: Macedonian in first place; however Albanian isn’t in second place but rather English as a „tourist language“. The old town – mostly populated by Albanian Muslims – is located in the territory of the municipality of Çair, which handles things differently. The local street signs mention the Albanian name in first place, then the Macedonian translation in the same type-size. Numerous inscriptions on shops and in display windows are also bilingual, or rarer only in Albanian. In addition you can sometimes see Turkish, especially at religious and cultural facilities as well as facilities of the Turkish minority, which represents 1,7% of the population in Skopje. Even the LED displays of the double-decker busses which were purchased in line with the project Skopje 2014 and supposed to add a cosmopolitan flair to the city, switch between Macedonian and Albanian. Then again Albanian is absent in places where it would be expected. The information board of the also newly erected Mother Teresa Memorial Church is written in Macedonian and English, even though undoubtedly Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was a native Albanian speaker. The statue in front of the church even bears an all-Macedonian plaque. Albanian as the second most spoken language in the country has also found its way onto the signposting along the motorways, e.g. on the “Mother Teresa Motorway” from Skopje to Tetovo. At the tollbooths you can see Macedonian in first place, then Albanian as well as the international languages English, French and Dutch. Tetova/Tetovo In contrast to Skopje, Albanian predominates in Tetovo/Tetova located in the western part of the country, which is not surprising due to the Albanian majority of 70% in the community and its status as the “secret capital” of the Macedonian Albanians. Macedonian flags are also – in contrast to Skopje – hardly visible. The local signposting which is the community’s responsibility shows Albanian in first place, correspondent to the majority, followed by Macedonian. Dibra/Debar The population of Debra which is located in the western part of the country close to the Albanian border is also mostly Albanian. Therefore Albanian is in first place on the signposting, including town sings etc. Centar Župa The region of Župa above Debar Lake, inhabited mainly by Muslims, sets itself apart linguistically from the Albanian regions of western Macedonia. The Muslim inhabitants call themselves either Turks or Macedonian Muslims. The question of their ethnic of national identity could not be answered. Macedonian predominates in the linguistic landscape and is also in first place on the town sign. Turkish is also present but generally subordinate. At the Atatürk Monument, representatively located in the centre of the village, Turkish is in

  • Skopje 2014

    Als am 26. Juli 1963 die Erde in Skopje bebte und die Bahnhofsuhr um 5:17h stehen blieb, ahnte noch niemand, wie über 50 Jahre später das Zentrum der Stadt einmal aussehen würde.

  • Multilingualism

    The question about national identity can be a difficult one in the Balkans. Therefore the question about language skills was less “problematic” and easier to answer. Furthermore it enabled a better access to the people and lead to insightful replies.

  • Bohoreta Women’s Club

    Bohoreta Women’s Club The Bohoreta Club was founded as a women’s section in 1965, the community itself immediately after the return of the Jews to Sarajevo with the support of JOINT. Since there are many mixed families, there are no traditions, these were interrupted, holidays were not held or only passed on in the family. The president has taken over her task from her mother and grandmother. Today the women’s section sees it as its duty to prepare the festive holidays for the whole community (500), e.g. Passover (a description of the traditions follows), Succot, etc. Since the last rabbi died in 1954, there are no more trained church representatives. Igor, the son of the chairman, leads the church services and wants to become a rabbi himself. Among the women, the eldest is an Auschwitz survivor who is 94 years old, a once-known architect who has not been able to come for two years. The youngest ladies are mostly over 70, and from time to time there are still two younger ones. Many come from mixed families or whose children are married and in-laws to Serbs, Croats or Muslims. The women’s club is therefore also very open, there is also a Muslim woman (Kassima) present, whose husband is Jewish. According to Jonna Rock, another lady who calls herself a Yugoslavian is not a Jew, but a friend of one of the women. So the group is very open, maybe this is also true for the whole community, where there are hardly any or no Jews of strict faith. The chairwoman has a non-Jewish mother, she did not meet her father Isaak, because he was deported to Jasenovac in April, she herself was born in June. She and her sister had blue eyes, went to her mother’s village, hid there and survived the war. When she went to the women’s meetings with her mother and grandmother as a young woman, she was asked what she wanted there as a young woman. But she was not employed anywhere, so she had time and the task was gradually handed over to her. Her husband comes from Macedonia and is the only one of 62 family members who survived there. The others were deported from Skopje to Treblinka in 1943. At home only the grandparents spoke to each other Ladino, the father still could. The ladies present still understand some things, but don’t speak them anymore. They cultivate their heritage through songs, in some families proverbs from the Ladino have survived. 60,000 inhabitants of Sarajevo were warned of the war by a fifth of Jews. 9,000 were murdered. The middle generation has almost completely broken away due to emigration in the last war.