By Hysen Selmani
The thirtieth part
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Zog, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
Istanbul, April 30, 1944
Here, we are writing some letters that come to us urgently from some friends in Albania. They indicate the critical situation that is developing. The letters are:
“Dear Husein Bey. The situation is very bad; almost the people are standing for His Majesty the King. We hope that soon we will have instructions from him. It is imperative for you to be here, because otherwise we are devastated. I remember about the means you have to come. Many greetings.
Yours, Abbas Kupi
Very dear Hussain Beg
His Majesty, the King, is worshiped by all Albanians. But, we are very busy with cleaning the “wheat”, because a bad seed has been mixed with us, which does not suit our country at all. But we are confident that we will clear it. The time is very bad among us. You really miss being here, etc.
Long live the King as long as the mountains. We look forward to welcoming you here.
The names of Fiqri Dine, Miftar Kaloshi, Dervish Luzha, Selim Kaloshi and Ali Maliqi follow.
Dear Hussain Bey.
We have come a long way, goals between us. It’s just that we need you to be here as soon as possible, that if you don’t happen among us, nothing can be done. All my friends, I beg you to be here even if time is running out.
Professor Mustafa Gjinishi was killed in Dibër, where he had been sent by the National Liberation Army to propagate. He had just finished his mission and when he was leaving, as soon as he left the city, riding on a horse, a single rifle, he dropped himself to the ground. It is said that he was killed by Tempo and his friends.
As we described to you, today is the day to sacrifice for the King of the Fatherland. You must know that, if you will not find a way to come, the country will certainly be occupied by the National Liberation, i.e., by the Communists with the help of Tito. That this was also the idea that professor Gjinish got rid of. Now such names as: Myslim Peza, Haxhi Lleshi and Baba Faja, Spiro Moisiu and Faik Shehu, have remained in their hands, as Yugoslav agents say. For all the people, life is not painful for the King. Long live the King, Long live the Motherland. We are waiting for you with open arms; we hug you with much longing.
Following are the names of: Sul Kurti, Jusuf Selmani, Dyle Allamani, Jusuf Çela, Murat Basha, Hamza Drini, Ali Kurti, Ndrec Lufi, Bajram Mena, Halil Keta, Ahmet Perhati, Jashar Lela, Hasan Kalija, Mahmut Pervizi, Beqir Dervishi, Hafus Hasa, Fadil Allamani, Bajram Sata, Rahman Hysa, and many others.
Like these letters and many others, they came from: Bilal Nivica, Neshat Kolonja, Sadik Shaska, Qemal Shtinos, Riza Kishta, Sul Zdrava, Beg Balla, and others, Ukë Cami, Demir Dema. It comes to our attention that, as we informed you, fratricide has now entered Dibër as well, causing great damage.
Colonel Selmani, again after these letters, had to call the Chief of the British Information Office in Istanbul, Cameron. Having Captain Avni Dërallen and Prof. Peter Andonin. He explained in detail the situation created in Albania, translating all the reports into English. And, I beg you to present to the Mediterranean Command that, as you suggested, it is not too late to take the entire superiority of the country into our hands. Do not let it accidentally fall into the hands of the Slavs, we told him that the whole nation cheers for the Anglo-Americans, calling out that they are our protectors and saviors.
Yes, in this way, – the adjutant remembers – I compiled a report containing the text of Albania’s letters, the report of the talks I had with the Head of the British Office, the report presented to the Mediterranean Command, in Cairo. And, after a wide conversation took place, I stopped them for lunch. Likewise, Alfred Andoni and Mahmut Cugu had gone to Cairo, called by the Command as translators, but they still hadn’t written anything to us.
I presented the same report to the Turkish General Staff, in Istanbul, in Turkish. Of course, on their side, they received mail for weeks regularly from Albania, on the side of Gafur Dibra. The latter was in charge of preserving the archives of the Turkish Embassy in Tirana.
After we finished lunch and talks, Kameroni, together with captain Avni Deralla, went. On that very day, they would immediately send the letters by special post, both in Cairo and in London, to King Zog. After that, Avni Dërralla, would go to the Turkish “Dyzem Biro”, (Service Unit) to deliver a copy of the same report.
All the maneuvers that are said to be launched by the allies in the Balkans are unbelievable. However, we sent our Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Turkey, Asaf Xhaxhuli, to Ankara to have a meeting with the Prime Minister, Shyqri Saraxhollu. To get into this detail, of course, the Turks may eventually be aware of a dismissal of the Allies in the Balkans. This is because the Italian Islands were being occupied in general, and here we will understand that the Turks, both in the Tehran conference and in the Yalta conference, are well aware.
Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli actually went to Ankara and immediately met with the Turkish Prime Minister, Shyqri Saraxhollu. He told him that; the situation in Albania is very bad and communism has taken root in all parts of Albania, especially in the youth. The Communist group has a treaty with Tito as an ally and is supplied with all necessary materials. Unfortunately, the nationalists are showing no ability against communism and are completely disorganized and at odds with each other.
Such a dismissal of the Anglo-American allies in the Balkans cannot be done, because Russia does not allow them, according to the agreements they have. Even we Turks want that, but it is difficult and even impossible, as far as Albania is concerned, if the nationalists do not unite and sacrifice themselves for their interest. Tomorrow the communists will slaughter them like lambs. And don’t look at the advice of the British missionaries, that they are forced, even against their will, to stop them from acting against the communists, but for them to unite themselves for the interest of Albania and their own personal interests”. These were the words of Ankara.
Istanbul, April 14, 1944
“Dr. Rakip Frashëri, came from Albania, directly to Husein Selman’s house, in Istanbul, where he declared that: My father, Mehdi Frashëri, sent me to you, and Vehbi has sent him to Suisse. So that he can get in touch with His Majesty, King Zog, that Albania, if you don’t fall behind, is completely finished. It will be taken over by communism and this is one hundred percent true.
The Royals are very strong, but they do not join or cooperate with the Ballistas. And they don’t even oppose the communists. “Balli Kombëtar” is killed very heavily with the communists day by day. While the communists, with material and discipline, are much stronger and have the support of the Yugoslavs, the Cominform. However, if the Royals join Ball, we assure you that; within a few days, all the communists are destroyed and there are no flowers left in Albania. And, in case, the Royals will remain indifferent, then Albania is occupied by the communists”.
Then, Colonel Husein Selmani, in the presence of Murat Kaloshi and Hasan Kaloshi, answered Ragip Frashëri that:
“We have given all our instructions, but of course some disagreements were caused, according to the program they had in Yugoslavia. They almost split among themselves and a very powerful part joined the National Liberation. The reason was, Professor Mustafa Gjinishi. And now he was killed. It is said that he was killed by his communist friends, because he did not agree with them. It is not known for sure that he was killed just after finishing the conference in Dibër-te-Madhe”.
However, the adjutant said to his interlocutor: Now Mehdi Bey has it in hand to help the ballisticians. That in the Government formed by the Germans, you also put people from Balli and Mit’hat and Ali Këlcyra, with Faik Quku, as the head of Balli, you have them there. Why don’t you help them with government forces as well as materials? Because, as we have news, you have formed 3-4 walking battalions. These always, in cooperation with the “National Front”, remember that it is quite a big help as far as the National-liberators are concerned.
It is true that they were good, because they also took Italy, with all the material of the war. And today, they fight side by side with the National Liberation Army. They had the courage to occupy the largest parts of the Italian material. While “Balli Kombëtar” were not strong enough to benefit from this material. Now let’s talk about the Royals, the adjutant explained – apparently the ‘National Front’ is to blame and not the Royals. That they do not unite for a common war, in the general interests of Albania and because the Kings, when they do not forget the “Treaty of Mukaj”, where Burreli and 34 villages in Mat were completely betrayed and burned.
However, the “National Front” did not keep the pledge and the oath, but let them burn and shed their own blood, because the Cominform had them. The royals have tried for a fraternal union in the fight against the occupier. As far as the reforms are concerned, these should be left to them, after we have the luck to see Albania free from the occupiers. Yesterday, fascism, today Nazism. This is the program of the Kings, which has been drawn up since June 1939, who, with every sacrifice, have honored the Nation and raised the morale of the people inside. As you may know on this occasion and the sacrifices that took place in the Italo-Greek war. Since that time, Albania would have been united, but the blame lies with the Greek Government”.
After these words, we went to Asaf Xhaxhuli at the Royal Legation, – the adjutant recalls – paying him a visit. Also Dr. Ragip Frashëri had a letter for the president of the Turkish Republic, Ismet Inonuen, from Mehdi Frashëri. He wanted to go to Ankara in two days, but requested that, in the meantime, our Minister, Asaf Xhaxhuli, would arrange a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister in Ankara, Hasan Saken.
Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli called the Turkish Foreign Minister in Ankara, but the head of the office came out and answered that the official was not there. Asafi asked him: “please, when the Minister arrives, tell him to reserve an audience for Dr. Ragip Frashër, who comes from Albania, who has a letter for the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Ismet Inonue, by Sh. K. Tij, Mehdi Frashërit in Albania”. The official told him that; within two hours, I inform you, and so Minister Xhaxhuli stopped us for lunch, – continues the adjutant.
Below, the adjutant recalls that: “We were talking about the situation in Albania, as well as about the actions that can be developed in the interest of the Motherland, in relation to British interests. Otherwise, we will not help you against the communists, they reminded us. That today as you can see, it is true that the National-Liberation group is helped not only by Tito, but also by the Allies. These are the areas of influence, which are divided among the Allies. But we are fully convinced that what is takes place in Albania, it is also being prepared in Greece. And here, the English do not have to endure, because a second strong power is missing in Albania, so that it is not left only to the National-liberator, completely in their hands. But, when the time comes, there will be a popular election.”
In these talks, he came to Ankara on the phone, and they asked for Minister Xhaxul. They informed him that, Dr. Ragip Frashëri, “the day after tomorrow, it will be accepted by the Minister, at 10 o’clock in the morning”. Thus, Minister Xhaxhuli also gave a letter of recommendation to the Prime Minister, Shyqri Saroxhollu. After that, Ragip and I went out; we went to Kadikoj, to the train station. He wanted to see the countries and did not go by plane. Therefore, he immediately left for Ankara. A little later, the adjutant writes that:
“Ragip Frashëri returned from Ankara very satisfied. He was received very well by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Hasan Saka, and they had a long and wide conversation about the situation in Albania. After the talks were over, they gave Mehdi Frashëri’s letter to the President of the Republic of Turkey, Ismet Inonue. They told him that: “This afternoon, they handed over the letter that he will present to them, as you told me, about Albania. And you don’t be upset, because I will ask you with you said the President’s answer. So they came out satisfied.
The next day, continues the adjutant, at 10 o’clock in the morning, they called him and told him verbatim the words of the President of the Turkish Republic, Ismet Inonue, like this: I read the letter of a patriot, Sh. Mehdi Frashërit, for whom I have an admiration. Along with my apologies, Sh. His Highness Mehdi Frashërit, for today the following:
“I have understood well the situation in which Albania is. We, as long as it comes in handy, for Albanian interests, we will not be spared. We will protect them. But, as you yourself know, Turkey is not at war. This does not mean that: We will not be interested and will never neglect the Albanian issue and the Albanian people. But, say:
Today, the most important task for the good of Albania is to join the Albanian nationalists, with any sacrifice and at any cost, to take over the country’s rule. And don’t leave me to communism. It will be the death of Albania, when it comes under the yoke of the Slavic Cominform. And don’t listen to what the Anglo-Americans tell you, that they can’t advise you otherwise. These are Tehran’s decisions and they think it’s a small thing, but Albania is put in danger. You should know that, at the Tehran Conference, the Balkans was left under the influence of Soviet Russia and the General Headquarters, for the Balkans, is headed by Marshal Tito.
With this decision, they have also released Greece, but in the same danger as Albania. Finally, Great Britain can save Greece because it has its own maritime interests. You unite and give the death blow to communism in Albania, don’t look because your allies get angry and advise you. You should not hinder the National-Liberator, because for them, today, the real Albania does not play any role, as much as Tito’s influence does. But, you see the interests of Albania, and of course together with the interests of the Allies, you fight together against the occupier. But don’t allow a communist power to dominate you.”
These were the words of Dr. Ragip Frashërit, who brought us from Ankara. And now, we are talking about how it is possible to have a Royal union, with the ‘National Front’. By forming a trust between them, with a common directing center, and with a cooperation program, both today and in the future.
Dr. Ragip Frashëri answered us that: “The Germans do not interfere in our internal administration. We issue passports ourselves, if you wish, to send someone to Albania to advise the Kings. That I, Abbas Kupin and Jusuf Selmani and with Sul Kurti, I have met many times. But they, without the instructions here, do nothing, because even they themselves now see that even those who had friends, such as: Myslim Peza, Haxhi Lleshi, Spiro Moisiu and Faik Shehi, after murder of Professor Gjinishi, they no longer have that friendship and trust in them.
Regarding an agreement with the ‘National Front’, we undertake this, that the exponents of the Front, sincerely cooperate with the Monarchs, without any change of trend, until the time comes, for the people to be free and to freely express their will his, regarding the reform of Albania, in the future. Today, with a common Quartier, they must join forces and fight the Cominform, which does not agree with the ideology of our country. And this should be done as soon as possible because time is running out”, said Dr. Ragip Frashëri, bringing Mehdi Frashëri’s order.
Colonel Husein Selmani, in the presence of Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli and Murat Kaloshi and Haxhi Xhilaga, answered you as follows:
“There is no doubt about the patriotic feelings of Mehdi Bey. His whole opinion is very reasonable and it is true that, in that way, our country exists today. But don’t forget that this entire catastrophe came for the first time, by the agents of the Russo-Yugoslav Cominform. They found a nest in a more organized National-liberation organization, where a group of communists entered their gender. They were well trained and determined until the end, without compliments and they offered you every sacrifice. So much so that they were able to get the organizers of the Slavic Cominform into their quarters. Later, they also concluded a treaty in Bihore, with the Yugoslav Cominform as an ally. This, benefiting, as in propaganda, as well as in materials such as weapons, clothing, food and even medicines. They imposed a strong discipline on you and organized conferences and tracts, etc.
But against these, later we get the “Balli Kombëtar” with a program of its own. Likewise, he did not agree at all with what the Kings fed and fought against the occupier. These shook the national unity even more. The royalists, as we mentioned to you, as early as June 1939, were with a war program against the fascist enemy, which has occupied our united country. And, as for a future, the Albanian people, as King Zog himself has declared, with His message, this will be left to the people, to choose with their own will. In fact, this was ignored by the ballistas. Second, the disloyalty that was committed in the “Covenant of Mukaj”, which has angered and formed distrust in the Royal mass. Not to justify, but on these, proofs are required. This is because today the ballistas are bloody with the National-Liberator, while the Royalists are still neutral and waiting.
Now, in these recent times, a large part of the Quislings, so-called: “Government of Fascism”, have gathered in Orosh, at Kapidan Gjon Markagjoni. They are Mustafa Kruja, Maliq Bushati, Col. Mirakaj, etc. They have asked to be admitted to the Royal Council, but they have not been accepted yet. I remember that they will not be accepted, that’s why they try to form a separate party. After you issue your passports, I remember that it will be very favorable for Murat Kaloshi, Haxhi Xhilaga, Rexhep Radomira to enter Albania, because it is a great force. But, of course, these come with the same program that the Royal Council in Albania has today. This is according to the decision of the Congress of Herraj, where you yourself were there”, concluded the adjutant.
With these talks, we agreed with Dr. Ragip Frashërin, and as soon as he arrives in Tirana, he will talk with Sh.T. Mehdi Frashërin. On this occasion, these three passports of Murat Kaloshi, Haxhi Xhillaga and Rexhep Radomira, based on which the conversation was held, need to be sent urgently. Of course, these have to have with them an instruction-program, from His Majesty, King Zog, both for themselves and for all the Kings. To Cameron, I gave the report to send to London, by special mail, for King Zog. It must be said that we always sent coded telegrams and reports through the British mission. Here Ragipi left for Tirana and we escorted him to Sekerxhi, on the train. He went satisfied and stayed two weeks later, in Istanbul and Ankara. Memorie.al
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