Family Of Basri Hasani
I do not remember my parents. I am an orphan. I have lived all my life in Mitrovica, Kosovo, and have been the City Administrator for many years. Our town is known as Red Mitrovica because we have seen so much bloodshed. We suffered under the Nazis from 1941 to 1945, then experienced the Serb ethnic cleansing and NATO bombing in 1998 and 1999. I lived through it all. I know the history and suffering of the families, and especially of the Jews.
Before the war there were 11,000 inhabitants of Mitrovica. There were Turks, Serbs, Jews and Albanians. All citizens worked together and respected the individuality of all.
The Rubenovic brothers were my next-door neighbors. There was Rakamin, Aron and my best friend Moshe. Moshe's uncle was the Rabbi of Mitrovica. The Jewish families of our town were religious and prayed at the synagogue. Most of the Jews were traders.
In 1941 the Germans occupied our town. Rakamin's shop was closed. The Prefect of Mitrovica organized an escape for the Jews. They were hidden in surrounding mountain villages. We also helped to shelter Italian soldiers whom the Germans were killing.
The Nazis captured both Rakamin's and Aron's families. We never heard from them again. Moshe joined the partisans in 1941 and fought the Nazis throughout Albania and Kosovo. He came back as a captain of the partisans and I sheltered him in my home while he and his band fought the Nazis in our town.
In 1945 Moshe left for Israel and then I think he settled in America. I don't really know as I have lost all contact with my friend. Forgive my tears, but Moshe was such a good friend during those years. I long to be reunited with him.
I do not go to the mosque, but I am a true Muslim. The Holy Koran is in my genes. I say my prayers each evening. My door is always open to anyone in need.