In memory of Justina Shkupi, a prominent name that history seems to have forgotten.
Skopje, 8 March 2021 – “Mother Teresa” University in Skopje dedicates March 8th- International Women’s Day to Justina Shkupi, the Albanian nurse in the Spanish War, this Albanian Florence Nightingal who should be known by all Albanians.
Who was Justina Shkupi?
Very little has been written about Justina Shkupi. She was born in Skopje, on February 26, 1909. She was the only Albanian woman who had been among many Albanian anti-fascist volunteers of the Spanish War where she served together with Xhemal Kada; Asim Vokshi; Teni Konomi; Ramiz Varvarica; Emrush Miftari; the great writer Petro Marko; and other internationalist warriors.
Petro Marku has immortalized the name of the eminent nurse and fighter Justina Shkupi in the novel “Hasta la Vista”, where he calls her “sister Justina Shkupi”. In that time a street in Madrid was named after Justina Shkupi. Justina served as a nurse in Tirana as well. In spite of the fact that she was an important figure in the anti-fascist war for freedom, nothing has been done in honor of her deeds in order to remember the name of this prominent Albanian woman. She died alone as a nurse in Tirana and her name was forgotten over the years.
The name of Justina Shkupi became prominent again by her childhood and primary school friend, Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. Mother Teresa attempted to find the grave of her childhood friend during the time of communism in Tirana in 1989. Mother Teresa did not leave Tirana without finding her friend’s grave. She laid flowers in her grave and perpetuated the memory of her deeds. Both friends were separated from each other at a young age in order to accomplish their dreams for a better world. Back then, none of them knew that they will never see each other again.
Justina Shkupi and Gonxhe Bojaxhiu were two internationalists from Skopje and their main goal was humanism and help people in need.
Justina Shkupi will always remain an eminent Albanian woman in our history. Happy 8th of March!
Poetry: Justina Shkupi
“One thousand and one years old,
Hair gray as the Mediterranean night
Childless. Totally drunk.
She bound up the wounds of Spain,
breathed her last breath in a desolate clinic.
A poet shone on her head” * (*Petro Marko)
Xhevahir Spahiu, poetic volume “Pezull” (f.15; “Onufri”, 1996).