By Admirina Peçi
Memorie.al / Their fate were decided. The road to death was already designed, for all of them, hundreds and hundreds of clergy, intellectuals, and everyone else who was called “Enemy of popular power”. But, until the moment they died, many of them experienced the most terrible tortures. Year 2009 November. In the north of the capital, at the foot of the Dajti Mountain, a mass grave was discovered, where the remains of 19 unknown people “rested”. It was suspected that there were 19 victims of the communist dictatorship. Their stories are not yet known in detail. What suffering did they remove? Had they been tortured? What were the last words they said? Who was the executor? Who ordered this execution…?! And this was only one event, one of many, many, and many, imperceptible. Beyond this event, which serves as an impetus, in the book of Dr. Pjetër Pepës, (passed away on March 23, 2014), “The Dictatorship File”, we discover a lot of evidence and unknown archival documents.
“A book-testimony so shocking, a black, absurd, tragic experience that makes you scream: “Oh God, where did we live like that? In what system? How did we endure…?! writes Visar Zhiti, while emphasizing that: Pjetër Pepa “does nothing more than bring out from the depths of hell, a very small part of the victims of the Albanian communist dictatorship, brings out skeletons and skulls piled up in a macabre iceberg, on the ocean of blood and tears.
There were many, terribly many were killed, and even more were those who took an interest in them. They were looking for the shooting sites, they were looking for the bones of the mud, the ditches, the abysses of oblivion, they were looking for the cries, the bequests, and they were looking for the bullet-pierced honor…”!
In a piece of narration in the first person, Pjetër Pepa writes: “Now I have entered that building right in the center of Tirana, posing at first, but awkward when you enter…! It is that… Ministry of Internal Affairs, the ministry of crime detection, but which unfortunately, for half a century, turned into a ministry of his own making…! The horrors and murders were designed there, everything that the black dictatorship invented and implemented started there…!
I’m in that office… in front of me stands a man like all the others, whose work required calmness and composure, and he tried to find it, no matter how life had burdened him with other troubles…! And while I was talking to him, or rather he was talking to me; my mind had flown to those 45 years of my people’s ordeal, to those many lives torn in between…! And all this, from this beautiful house, from this office, from this Ministry!
Destined for 45 years to fight crime, she did nothing but make it up…! It devoured hundreds, thousands of innocent people and ate its own head, so much so that no other building or institution in the world can be found that, during 45 years, has eaten the heads of its owners in this way…! Koçi Xoxe, Kadri Hazbiu, Feçor Shehu, Mehmet Shehu…! All shot, killed, or committed suicide, for the same crimes they had invented for others…! Precisely in that building, he took the path to reveal many painful truths, he arrived at many files, inside which terrible events were hidden.
This book reveals many hidden, macabre stories on almost every page. But, in this presentation, it is worth highlighting some pages, where archival documents about Koçi Xoxe’s trial are revealed, where the witnesses, his former diligent servants, at the moment when Xoxe is in the dock, do not hesitate to confess the details finer and, deeply shocking, from the tortures they applied to the prisoners and all those who killed them without trial.
They testify, intending to unmask the cruel Xoxe, with a disgusting sense of sincerity, to the most inhuman tortures, which they applied to the prisoners and to all those clerics and intellectuals, whose fate they themselves had decided without trial “.
Excerpts from the book “The Dictatorship File” by the author Pjetër Pepa
-STATEMENT ON THE VIOLATION OF LAWS IN FLAGRANCES: BY ZOI THEMELI-
- “After the events of September 9 in Shkodër, 4-5 days, I don’t remember well, I was called by the Directorate of State Security in Tirana. Here, after I met with Nesti K. (Kerenxhin), Koçi Xoxe also arrived. After asking me about the event that happened and why it happened, he told me that we had to do the radical disarmament of the people.
In this case, I told him that; it was not easy and the people did not hand over their weapons easily, they are closely connected to the weapon and it was difficult to disarm. But, Koçi, with nervousness, tells me that; disarmament had to be done, the situation was not clear and there should not be weapons in the people. Then, he added that; Jup Kazazi had to be caught and disarmed, people with influence had to be shot and we had to achieve that goal.
With that he left. Later, after 3-4 days, when I went to Shkodër, I learned that this order had been given to other bodies, such as the Police agreement with the Security bodies. This caused us to put it in the committee and coordinate the actions, however, more than 6-7 people were killed without trial. Here it is worth noting that, at this time, disarmament was not only done in Shkodër, but in all of Albania. And the same order was given to everyone, where mass torture was used and people were shot, without trials, in flagrant violation of the laws of the state.
As far as I have heard, at this time, this action was done indiscriminately, both in the provinces that had fought against the occupier, and in people who had participated in the partisan ranks, where many of them were tortured in a shameful manner. For all these actions and flagrant violation of laws, as was emphasized above, Koçi himself personally ordered and he is responsible in the first place”.
- “At the beginning of 1945, after the movement of Llesh Marashi, Preng Cal and others, in the region of Shkodra, Koçi Xoxe sends a letter to Vaskë Koleci, whom he had sent to Shkodra at that time, where he guided him to carry out secret murders, of suspicious people and of the country’s leader, murders which, to be justified to the people, that they allegedly escaped, etc.
For this, Vaskë Koleci ordered me, on behalf of Koç, saying that he had informed General Mehmet, who had come at that time, to lead the operation, about this action. I didn’t sing the letter myself, because Vaska didn’t give it to me, but I saw it when she took it and, after singing it, she told me how we had to act, according to Koci’s order, who said that these actions were in our interest of the Party. For this matter and according to the instructions, I went to the headquarters of the brigades and talked about secret killings, because that’s what Koçi ordered.
This order was also given in the Kelmendi operation, where such murders were committed. At the time of the operation (beginning of 1945) in Shkodër, mass arrests were made and for these actions, Koçi Xoxe had sent Vaskë Kolec. The arrests were made by compiling lists, with the names of those who were suspected, but in reality, for the most part, there were no facts to present to the court.
Regarding the latter, we have often told Vaskë Koleci, but he said that; “Now we will arrest them and after we process them, we will release the one who is not guilty”. However, this was demagoguery and after those who were not guilty were arrested and examined, who were not only not released, according to our first instructions and proposals, but we were also asked to account for why they were arrested, telling us that; now we had to proceed etc.
From this mode of action; there was no way that suggestions would not be made; to prosecute those who had no evidence of guilt”.
- “In the same way, it also happened after the movement of September 9, 1945, when Nesti Kerenxhi was sent to Shkodër, who gave instructions for the arrest of suspects even if they had no evidence of guilt; it is enough that they were suspicious. For those who are not guilty, it was said that “we will release them later”, but this time too, it happened as in the first actions.
Therefore, it is not difficult to understand the activity of the Sigurimi leadership, which was completely Trotskyist and Bashizian; these they ordered and then allegedly demanded an account of how the arrests were made”?!
- “Regarding the legalization of those who were imprisoned, in the district of Shkodra, there were a number of them who were not legalized within the time set by the law, it happened that some stayed for months, until they were presented to the court for to be tried, this happened in 1945-1946 and not only were they not legalized, but the prosecutors did not even have the right to check the prisoners, because the instructions from above were that until the Security bodies presented the processes to the court , no one had anything to do with the prisoners”.
- “From the middle of 1947, by the order of Koçi Xoxes, lieutenant Hodo Habibi was hanged, I don’t know that there is a law that contains the rope punishment for soldiers. Although this thing was reminded by me to Koçi, (through Nesti Kerenxhi), he (Koçi) without considering anything, ordered the execution”.
STATEMENT BY NAUM BEZHANI
1.”…For a long time, since the liberation, the Trotskyist Aristidh Qendro has been in the prison of the enemies of the people. In 1946, he was removed from the People’s Protection Division, allegedly to be taken to the Burrel Prison, and was executed by Captain Kapo Kapaj.
2…He was executed without trial by Captain Kapoj (of the Defense Division) Jak Kodheli, who was serving his sentence as an enemy of the people. This happened in March-April 1947. He was slightly covered and his legs were sticking out.
STATEMENT FROM CAPTAIN LIEUTENANT LAKRORI
“…At this time, the Trial of the Deputies took place and as the verdict was given, for all those who were sentenced to death, we were tasked to torture them, to extract what they had, Naum Bezhani, Siri Çarçani and me. Comrade Nesti, went with the Commander to the South. In his place, there was Zihni Muçua. I kept all the material that we extracted from them, until Ardhi Nesti and as Ardhi Nesti, investigations were conducted for all the element that was implicated, there were also AP (members of the party), who were implicated and where they were monitored. I remember Mark Ndoja, Shefqet Musaraj etc.
METHODS FOR HIDING TRACES OF CRIMES
– STATEMENT FROM KOPI NIKO-
“I, the undersigned, Major Kopi Niko, son of Sotir and Xanthip, born in Pogradec and now resident in Gjirokastër, declare the following: During the time I worked in the State Security bodies, by order or with the knowledge of superiors (whose names I will highlight in specific cases), I committed these vile Trotskyist, anti-popular and anti-Marxist acts:
When I was in the Korca section, wood and torture were working tools for us. I will mention here only one case, which really characterizes the method of work and how far its vileness reached.
There, from the beginning of 1946, from our continuous torture, a person from Erseka township (whose name I don’t remember), but I can find him later, I know he was a gendarme, died in the section of Korça.
To mask his death, in front of the public, we acted in this way: We slaughtered a lamb and put its blood in a bottle, after that we took the corpse and put it in a “Jeep” car and we are 15-20 km away. far from Korça, in the direction of Erseka, where we stayed near a village (I should add that it was night).
After we stopped, we took the corpse out of the car, put it under the causeway in a field and shot it twice, with a revolver in the head, and after that we poured the blood of the lamb, which we had taken with us, into the holes where the revolver had gone through. It was revealed that he was allegedly killed on the run…!
STATEMENT ON METHODS AND TYPES OF TORTURE:
-Methods of torture-
- Beating with wood until there are wounds and the meat falls off.
- Itching of festering wounds, with wood.
- Cutting the meat, with burnt wire.
- Electric in the ears.
- Adding salt to burnt meat.
- Wet with cold water.
- Leaving without bread, until death.
- Going without bread, for some time.
- Leaving it bare in the cold.
- Dynamite under you.
- Tightening the fingers with pliers.
- Feces in the mouth.
- Hanging upside down.
- Links for linen (for trees).
- Leaving in the sun.
- Macoku in tumane.
- Grave preparation, rifle in mouth.
- Attempts to dishonor the girl.
Types of torture.
I, the undersigned Naum Bezhani, declare the following: I am listing below the various tortures that were done to the prisoners, especially during the years 1947-1948. For all these Koçi Xoxe, Vaskë Koleci and others have known and have never taken any measures against those who did them, even these, they themselves inspired us and taught us like this, although apparently, they showed themselves several times against (a couple of telegrams that had caused you to be banned from wood). The following forms of torture were used:
- Vest (the most terrible torture)
- Whip and wood.
- Left without bread, without water, without sleep and on my feet for days.
- The electric current so much that the other fainted.
- Throwing chains around the neck, with heavy weight.
- Tying hands from behind to a window, or to a tree, hanging until the tips of the fingers touched.
- Breaking the bones and tearing the flesh with tongs (this was used especially after the death sentence of Shefqet Beja and against them).
- Salt in the mouth.
- They were pierced as if they were going to be executed, or they were going to be hanged and suspended in the air or they were pierced near the rope.
- Moral torture regarding the family: “We will imprison him, we will kill him”, even in Shkodër, to break Dulo Kali’s resistance into an adjoining room, with two female prisoners and two male prisoners, they allegedly pretended that they were his daughters and brought them there to dishonor them.
- Entering upside down, in the buoy full of water.
- Once, Myftar Tarja, put unwashed socks and toilet in the mouth of one of the Toptanas.
- Burning meat with cigarettes…!
– They were wired and the phone was always in the room where the prisoners were questioned.
– They were beaten with whips, wood, slaps and fists, until their backs were scarred.
– In the Security of the Army, they were burned on the calf of the leg, with a hot rifle.
– They were put in a vest and with a stick, between the hands and the leg, hung on the thrones, which made people like turtles and caused them great pain. This was initially used by the Security section of the Army.
– Their sexual organs were burned with gasoline, like Alfred Ashiku from Gole Beshiri.
– People would turn, in one meter of space, with their heads from the electric light on the ceiling, for hours, until they fell to the ground.
– In the cold winter, water was thrown on them, when the prisoners were naked and without clothes and they were left like that for a long time.
– Some prisoners were forced to sing like Hoxha at night, which made the work of the investigation ridiculous. This was used by Stavri Xhara.
– They put a man in the dark dungeons and in the middle of the night another, who was ordered to act like a dog, to howl and bite the other prisoner. Used by Tamas Beqari.
– They smeared marmalade on their eyes, ears and nose and got another one to lick them. This was also used by Tomas Beqari.
– They were taken in the middle of the night, kicked out and threatened with shooting.
– At night, in the prison rooms, some were told that they would be shot, so they should write their last words to their families.
– They were promised that they would be released, in case they reported, and for this, with the seal of the intendancy, supposedly of the directorate, they prepared the statement to release them. Method used by Raqi Zaralani.
– Stinky socks were put on their noses to keep them smelling (used by Avram Koja).
– They were beaten with rulers on their hands, so that they were scarred.
– People were forced to sing like a songstress and cluck like chickens (this is what Islam Radovicka did to Army Security).
– The soldiers guarding the prison were allowed to ride on the prisoners’ backs and walk through the corridors, just as if they were horses.
Vaskë Koleci didn’t say use wood, but apply pressure and the worldview of pressure was: the more I leave people without bread, for whole days, the more they hang on the wall with chains, which came 100 kg., the more I throw cold water on them in the icy winter, I let them spin around a certain point for hours until they fainted. Memorie.al