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Mefail Shehu

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Mefail Shehu

Mefail Shehu
Mefail Shehu (centre) with Mefail Mehmeti (right) and Begzat Vuli (left)
Born 1898[1]
Zajas, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died November, 1945
Zajas, Albania under Germany (aged 47)
Allegiance Albania (under Germany)
Service/branch Balli Kombëtar
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Commander
Commands held Balli Kombëtar
Battles/wars National Liberation War of Macedonia

Mefail Shehu, also known as Mefail i madh or Mefail Zajazi was a Balli Kombëtar military commander and leader of the Kicevo region during World War II. He was a close associate of Xhem Hasa.[2]


Early life

Mefail Shehu was born in Zajas[3] in 1898. His ideology of Albanian nationalism was formed during his adolescence. As a child, Shehu witnessed the terror of the Serbian royalists under King Alexander where 11 Albanian populated villages in the east of Kicevo were razed.[3]

1939 and onwards

Shehu was against the Italian occupation and in 1939 formed his own militia to fight against the fascists. On 19 April 1941, Kicevo was occupied by German forces. On 22 June 1941, Kicevo became a part of the new Albanian state under Germany.[3] At this time, Mit’hat Frashëri published the Balli Kombëtar program around the new Albanian state. The Balli Kombëtar ideology greatly appealed to Shehu. Shehu formed the Balli Kombëtar in Kicevo and held many demonstrations to rally support. The people of Kicevo supported the Balli Kombëtar over the communists.[3]

The Balli Kombëtar committee held a meeting in Zajas in 1942.[3] Representatives of the Albanian tribes that attended the meeting elected Shehu as military commander of the region. Shehu transformed the bands of millitia into a proper army. Shehu's battalion patrolled villages around Zajas while commander Mefail Mehmeti(Mefail i Vogel) and his battalion patrolled from Greshnica to Kicevo.[3] Shehu's third elected commander, Begzat Vuli operated from Kicevo to Berikove. At that period, the Ballists successfully repelled the Yugoslav partisans.[3] Shehu not only fought in Zajas but also in Skopje, Gostivar and Debar. While fighting away from Zajas, Shehu became associated with Xhem Hasa.[2]

In October 1943, a general assembly was called in Zajas. It was decided that the chairman of the committee of the Balli Kombëtar will be Mefail Shehu, along with Mefail Mehmeti as vice chairman, Begzat Vuli as treasurer and Skender Presevo as under prefect.[3]

As the Albanian partisans and Yugoslav partisans were on the rise and the Germans reducing its aid to the Balli Kombëtar, Shehu was gradually losing his territory to the partisans.


In November 1945, Mefail Shehu was killed in an ambush with his remaining soldiers by the partisans.
He was referred as a traitor by Albanian Communists, in Mehmet Shehu's words:"People of Kicevo should know that their only way for salvation is to immediately join forces with the Macedonian partisans and to cut off and condemn the traitors as Mefail, Xhem, etc...".[4]


Shehu's view on Communism:
"The way of communism is wrong. Those who embrace communism are fools."[5]

In a meeting with Albanian partisans in 1939:
"You are very young and naive. Your cause doesn't help Albania. Unless you love Albania, it is better to stay home."[5]

After The Albanian partisans allied with the Yugoslav partisans and broke the peace agreement with the Balli Kombëtar:
"To make a brotherhood with the Slavs is to curse the blood that has been spilled, to curse the mothers that do not know where the graves of their loved ones are, to curse the wells that are filled with heads of our family members - for he that has the courage to kill a child has no besa, this is proven today. Our road is ethnic Albania and there is no other road"[6]


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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h
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  5. ^ a b Mefail Sheh
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