Shaban Polluzha

Shaban Mustafë Kastrati[1] (1871 – 21 February 1945), known as Shaban Polluzha, was a Kosovo Albanian military leader active in Drenica during World War II. He was killed by the Yugoslav Partisans.

Shaban Polluzha
Shaban polluzha colorized.jpg
Born1871 (1871)
Polluzha, Skenderaj, Ottoman Empire (now Polluzha, Skenderaj, Kosovo)
Died21 February 1945 (1945-02-22) (aged 74)
Tërstenik, Glogovac, FPR Yugoslavia
(now Tërstenik, Drenas, Kosovo)
Tërstenik, Drenas, Kosovo
AllegianceItalian protectorate of Albania
Albania (German client)
Service/branchRoyal Albanian Army
Years of service1941–1945
Commands heldBalli Kombëtar
Battles/warsWorld War II in Yugoslavia
AwardsHero of Kosovo
Hero of Albania

Early lifeEdit

Shaban was born in Polluzha, in the Drenica region (now central Kosovo).[a] He comes from a middle-class family and he was not educated, but as a young man he became involved in political life, which was imposed on him by the circumstances and injustices of the occupying regimes.[2]

World War I and IIEdit

He fought against the Bulgarians and Austrians during the First World War, afterwards he fought for the Kaçak movement against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.[2] In 1924 he was part of a unit led by Azem Galica, and he covered their retreat to Albanian territory after Galica had been wounded.[3]

Shaban Polluzha was one of the most famous commanders of the Drenica area during the Second World War. During the Second World War, he was also the commander of a part of the front in Montenegro, Kolašin and Sandžak, where he was distinguished for organization and strategy. He was a member of the Islihat Council (peace court) and on the proposal of Miftar Bajraktari he was appointed chairman of the Islihat in Drenica.

In 1941, Shaban Polluzha along with his family was imprisoned in Peje because he opposed cooperation with the Italians.[3] Initially, Polluzha was associated with Balli Kombëtar,[4] and during the war he maintained close ties with the anti-fascist National Liberation Movement (Albania) and Yugoslav Partisans, believing their promise that Kosovo would be given self-determination.[4][5] Around December 1944, attempts were made to forcefully mobilize Kosovo Albanians into the Yugoslav Army.[4] Shaban Polluzha became commander of the Drenica Brigade which was founded in December 1944 to support the Sixth Albanian Brigade.[3][5]

On October 7 Shaban Polluzha with 60 of his men came to Novi Pazar to aid the forces of the town's collaborationist mayor Aćif Hadžiahmetović, who had ambitions to incorporate Novi Pazar into Greater Albania. During Battle of Novi Pazar, Polluzha was blamed by the city's defense committee their failure of counter-offensive on Raška, as his men were 'only interested in plundering'. He left the city on December 19. He was later arrested in Mitrovica, and his loot was confiscated.[6]

After talks with Fadil Hoxha in late 1944, the brigade was to follow the orders of the Yugoslav command and go north to the front in Syrmia.[3] However, Polluzha was very hesitant and rejected the order, saying that he wanted to stay in Kosovo and defend his home region of Drenica against attacks on Albanians by Chetnik groups.[7] His force (roughly 8,000 men) was then attacked by Yugoslav Partisan units in January 1945.[7] It has been estimated that more than 20,000 local Albanians joined Polluzha, the leader of the Anti-Yugoslav uprising; fighting in Drenica continued until March, and (mainly Serbian) soldiers destroyed forty-four villages there.[7] Shaban Polluzha died in Tërstenik on 21 February 1945. Another uprising of Albanians who refused to leave Kosovo broke out in Mitrovica in February 1945.[4] Yugoslav military operations proceeded with the destruction of the Drenica brigade; by March the revolt was crushed and thousands of Albanians (soldiers and civilians) were killed.[4][7]

Remains of the Seventh Brigade as well as new recruits, who were recruited deceitfully by telling them that they were to be sent to Albania because Hoxha had called them, were gathered in military barracks in Prizren, disarmed and found themselves made prisoners there; this "was the starting point of the saga which became known as the Bar Tragedy" (see Bar massacre).[4]


He was posthumously awarded as "Hero of Kosovo" by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi in 2012.[8]


  1. ^ Elsie 2010, p. 219.
  2. ^ a b "76 vjet nga vrasja e Shaban Polluzhës". Klan Kosova. Kosovo. February 21, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Roszkowski, Wojciech (2016). Biographical Dictionary of Central and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. Taylor and Francis. p. 793. ISBN 978-0-7656-2462-8. OCLC 962028817.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Elsie, Robert. "Kosovo and the Bar Tragedy of March 1945." Südost-Forschungen 71 (2012): 390-400.
  5. ^ a b Muhamet., Pirraku (2006). Për kauzën e UÇK-së. RKL.
  6. ^ Živković 2017, p. 253-254.
  7. ^ a b c d Malcolm, Noel (1998). Kosovo : a short history. London: Macmillan. p. 312. ISBN 0-333-66612-7. OCLC 39242574.
  8. ^ "Kryeministri Haradinaj: Lidhjet dhe dashuria e ndërsjellë shqiptare do të forcohet edhe më shumë!". Retrieved 9 August 2018.



a. ^ The political status of Kosovo is disputed. Having unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo is formally recognised as an independent state by 101 UN member states (with another 13 states recognising it at some point but then withdrawing their recognition) and 92 states not recognizing it, while Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own territory.