The end of the Kosovar captivity

By Rupert Neudeck

On 13 June 1999 Cap Anamur returned to Kosovo with its Kosovo refugees from the Albanian town of Kukes. So exactly three years ago we told the 7015 Kosovo refugees in our camp in Gostil that they could pack their tents and take everything they had been given by Cap Anamur. With great enthusiasm everybody started to pack. When on June 12th German Bundeswehr soldiers came through the Albanian-Kosovarian border town of Kukes, some wanted to touch the heavy German tanks out of gratitude.

On the morning of June 13th we set off to the border to go to Kosovo, which I was not allowed to tell my family, because the day before two German reporters from “Stern” had been murdered while they were on their way from Prishtina to Prizren – one day too early. Nevertheless, we did not let ourselves be dissuaded from driving to the border town of Morina. The German Armed Forces held us back for a short time, because they sent another armoured car across the road to Prizren, only to tell us that the road was clear. With tears shed by our own employees we drove off via Zur to Prizren.

Our co-worker Nedim Goletic from Germany and the Kosovar co-worker Zeka were with us, as well as Agim from “Mother Theresa”. Since March 24th we had been staying for two and a half months, mostly living and sleeping in tents in the middle of our refugee camp. We had placed our tent on purpose in the middle of the camp because like that the refugees felt safer. In the middle of the camp we had hung up a large white sheet on which was written in large letters: Mire e Pawshim ne Kosoves – Goodbye in Kosovo!

In Prizren there was still a mixed atmosphere. We visited the house of the doctor and father of Bujar Bukoshi (Dr. Bujar Bukoshi – former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo); we visited friends who gave us something to eat. We should not forget these days and weeks of the Babylonian captivity of the Kosovars so quickly, neither in Germany nor in Kosovo. I will not forget that 850.000 Kosovars returned to their destroyed home-villages and did not let themselves be stopped for an hour.

Today the country of Kosovo is in a radical change. Cap Anamur has spent the 58.2 million DM, which the German donors have entrusted to us, in such a useful way that the people on every street corner are still telling us again and again: Faliminderit sum! “Thank you very much! ” Now the country has a government, a prime minister, an active president of parliament, a president named Ibrahim Rugova. The return of the refugees is being prepared. The first economic projects are being discussed. There is movement in Kosovo. Also Cap Anamur is so well remembered that we can imagine doing something again for the return of the refugees.