Bronx doctor pushes Albanian museum

Vezir Ademaj
Photo courtesy of Hasan Ademaj

A local Bronx doctor is working on creating a museum in Kosova for his martyred brother.

Dr. Hasan Ademaj, a renowned dentist and surgeon who practices in Belmont, is now creating a museum and memorial in the Kosova town where his brother Vezir Ademaj organized resistance to a Serbian invasion and paid for it with his life in July, 1998. He was part of the Kosova Liberation Army.

Vezir was a kick-boxing champion of Europe before returning to Kosova from Switzerland to fight the invading Serbian forces of Slobodan Milosevi, said Dr. Ademaj.

Milosevi was charged with war crimes related to genocide and convicted after he died. His army was invading Kosova, a country whose population is mostly Albanian.

The museum is to be located in the family’s 18th Century “Kulla” — a tower house very thick walls and small windows that is used as fortification against invasion. It was burned by the Serbs and is located in the Kosova town of Sheremetaj.

“This is good for history and for a new generation to know what happened in that period,” said Dr. Ademaj, who has met with world leaders to discuss issues related to the region. “My brother was living in Switzerland and he came to defend the civilian population.”

Ademaj said that both the Albanian and Kosovar governments are supporting the creation of the museum.

Joining the cause is the president and founder of the Bronx-based Albanian-American Society Foundation. Esad Rizai. Rizai called Vezir an inspiration.

“The creation of this museum means very much because man like him is an inspiration to our community,” said Rizai. “He inspires people and it is an important part of Albanian history, and people like that give us pride.”

Rizai said that his brother sacrificed for all of the Albanian people in all nations in the Albanian tradition of “Besa” — a code of honor. And the museum would honor the unselfish man who friends say can never be replaced.

“He said ‘I don’t want anything, I just want to support my people,’ ” said Rizai.

The museum will be a remembrance of the genocide that left thousands of combatants and civilians dead, said Rizai. Ademaj’s family is helping him spearhead the project.

Kullas have a long history as fortifications against invasions that seem to have been part and parcel of the history of the region.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Dr. Hasan Ademaj.

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