By Hysen Selmani
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
Cairo, September 12, 1946 ZOG I
“As soon as I received the order, together with the minister, Asaf Xhaxhul, we prepared a report above all that existed in Turkey, as well as on the reports received from Albania. Also, and from the emigration attracted to Greece, Italy and Austria, with all the details.
In addition, Captain Avni Dërralla was also instructed, as he was concerned about relations with the Turks as well as with the British, my country, until his return from Egypt. My position, long or short, was not known, and of course in close relation with the minister, Asaf Xhaxhul. Above all, it was also unknown, even the contact with me in Egypt, in agreement with each other.
Of course, I called the head of the British Information mission in Istanbul, Cameron, and told him that I am going to Egypt shortly, summoned by His Majesty, King Zog I, writes the adjutant. Minister Xhaxhuli and Captain Avni Deralla are here, but I hope I won’t be late for long and will return.
I also called Colonel Emin Akynin, who was the Head of the Turkish Information Office in Istanbul. And, I had the same conversations. I communicated with him there too and he was sorry. Because I was a very good friend and he hoped that the King would not allow me to return to Istanbul.”
Istanbul October 1, 1946
After I finished all of the sticky notes, I alerted all my friends. I paid you a farewell visit to the Vali of Istanbul and Polic Midir and the commander of Istanbul, General Halil Pasha, as well as Ali Cetin Kaja and others, Resnjeli Osman Bey, Hamit Bey, and many others.
On October 1, accompanied by the Minister and Mrs. Asaf Xhaxhuli, Resnjeli Osman Bey, Hamit Bey, Bexhet Starova, Ferit Ypit, Rustem Tamorri and more than 40 officers, a large majority of the colony, and two representatives of Vali , of Polic Midir, a colonel of the Commandant of Istanbul, colonel Emin Akyni, colonel Hazis Bey, Vladimir Peric, colonel Yugoslavian Military Attache, Chief of the British Information Office Cameron, Professor Peter Andoni, and many others, almost more than 300 myself, who accompanied me to the Turkish steamer “Gjunes-Su”, I left. They stood on the quayside until the steamer left. It was exactly 10 o’clock in the morning when I left Istanbul for Egypt on October 1, 1946.
Piraeus, Greece October 3, 1946
On October 3, 1946, at 9 o’clock in the morning, I arrived in Piraeus, writes the adjutant.
“There, I immediately notified the Turkish Embassy and immediately the ambassador, His Excellency, Eshron Eshrefi, together with the Turkish military attaché, came to the steamer. The commander of the steamer was Andon Bey. We told him that he could stop it for a short time rather the steamer, he replied that he could. So for an hour, he stopped the steamer. There we began the talks, in the private salon of the steamer commander. The ambassador explained to me in detail the Greek situation. It was very bad. He added that, he had suggested to the British that: Without eradicating communism from Albania, the Greek calm will never be calm and this has the possibility of being accepted. But it is a bad thing, because the Greeks do not give up the so-called “Vorio -Epir”. This is a big mistake of the British. They don’t tell you to give up on this, which they claim. That if the Greeks give up and Albanian integrity is ensured, today, it would be almost acceptable. This is the only way measures will be taken, both in Greece and in Albania, to eradicate communism. After many talks, the ambassador, Ershon Eshrefi, gave me a comprehensive report, presenting it to His Majesty, King Zog. After two hours of talks, we parted and the steamer left for Alexandria”.
“But as far as the Albanian emigrants are concerned, the communist government of Tirana presented a list of 200 people, with Mit’hat Frasaheri and Ali Klisyra at the head, and demanded that they hand them over, to condemn them as enemies of the people, or war criminals”. King Zog I took care of these two and saved them with all his personal guarantees, next to the allies. He even takes all measures to bring them to Egypt, with the consent of King Farouk. Later, he did the same for others who might be in doubt.
Meanwhile, it is impossible to form an Albanian Government in exile, when the envoys of the American State Department arrived in Alexandria and began talks with His Majesty, King Zog.
Alexander, October 5, 1946
On October 5, 1946, in the morning, Colonel Husein Selmani arrived in Alexandria. There, he was received by the Minister of the Royal Court, Sotir Martini, by the Chamberlain, Qemal Mesare. There were also many Albanian officers in the Royal Court. From there, he went directly to the Palace and presented himself to King Zog and Queen Geraldine, the Crown Prince, Leka.
“Missing, that we had not seen each other for about several years of the War, right after the greetings, lunch time came and lunch was served.” After they had lunch, the King ordered the colonel, that after a day, they would talk about some urgent issues. After that, the colonel took leave and went to the Hotel.
Alexander, October 5, 1946
According to the order of His Majesty the King, Colonel Hussain Salman, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, appeared before His Majesty the King. Whereupon he immediately began to state the following:
“On the attitude of the Turkish Government, in our interest, within the situation we are in today. The support as far as possible was given to us politically, about our efforts with a wide report, which we are not recording here.
The existing situation in Albania and the changes in the method. These were made entirely by Cominform methods. In the country, there are more than 200 Soviet and Yugoslav organizers in the Albanian administration. They are distributed in the Army, the Police, in reforms, in schools, and everywhere, i.e., the country is completely administered by the Slavs. Here is a report of all the documents from their entry on November 29, 1944 to date. Here is also a list, of all executed personnel, and others. We are not listing them here, because they occupy a volume.
The situation is so dire in Greece that it is multiplied more than that of 1943-44 in Albania. There is a lot of damage, massacres, murders, burnings, and other misery. From this state, we see it continue more and more, becoming wilder. Only a friendly British intervention, alongside Soviet Russia, can change something, because otherwise Greece will be occupied by E.A.M.I. After that, the British army can no longer clean up this situation, because today they liberate one country, and tomorrow another is occupied. So they will not have the opportunity to do something.
Regarding a conversation that we had with the British and the Turks, regarding the communist cleansing, from the Greek land, we have given you to understand that: Communism cannot be uprooted from the Greek land, because they are supplied with all the materials of necessary, from Soviet Russia on the side of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Albania. That is, that the Greek border from “Edrene” to Butrint is in communist hands. Rather, it is the Albanian border that supplies them with everything.
The easiest way to save Greece from communism and to stabilize the peace of the country is: A sincere friendship with Albania by giving up its demands against the Albanian land. By guaranteeing independence and integrity before the Second World War, so that together as allies, we can fight Albanian and Greek communism. Without communism disappearing from Albania, there will never be peace from communism in Greece, because their nest is in Albania.
This guarantee of friendship comes from British and Turkish mediation and not from the Greeks. At this point, it was a big relationship with many details, which we are not recording here.
A memorandum on emigration to Greece, Italy and Austria, and a part to Yugoslavia. Because, those who are in Yugoslavia, have been damaged a lot by the Yugoslavs. Even those who are alive, do not feel safe at all and are fleeing every day, they spend in Greece that here at least, the Allies are.
A memorandum on a national organization of emigration. This is because some still have different trends. With Mit’hat Frashër, I have had a long correspondence and it is hoped that some favorable result will be reached. To date, it is a majority of close to 4000 people, but by the day, they are crossing the border.
Husein Terpeza from Ferizovici of Gjilan, has now come to Greece, with a force of 700 people, all young and trained soldiers. These were members of the “Skenderbey” Division. They are all soldiers without families and I am in close contact with them, and I have not allowed them to mix with others. I advised them to keep them completely separate and we had the opportunity to bring them here to Egypt. Of course, if His Majesty, King Farouk, allows us. Even, these are also like a strong Guard, for King Farouk, because they are brave and loyal.
In the midst of the Albanian emigration, a union is missing, leaving the tendencies aside, to involve you in cooperation, of course, in relation to the wishes of the Anglo-Americans. Today, we are also favored by this Greek situation, which is being destroyed by the communists. It is hoped that the Greeks will give up their vain claims, which brought us all these damages, until now.
After all this, I presented what I discussed in Pere with the Turkish ambassador, His Excellency, Ershan Eshref. And I submitted the report he gave me.”
His Majesty, King Zog, then answered: “I understood everything well. Regarding the opportunities you have, we will try for a union, in the interest of the Motherland, but it will take some time. Dear Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli, thank you very much, for his patriotic sacrifices. But, for now, we cannot make a decision. As I also have those who will explain to you, about the obstacles that are placed on us. But today, write to Asaf, that you will not return in Istanbul. All the action will be done here, because I need you to be here. Now your duty is here, so all your duty, which you had in Turkey, will be taken over by Asaf, the Minister, with Avni (Derralla) Of course, when the time calls for it, we can also call Asaf here.”
Thus, according to King Zog’s order, I immediately wrote a long and wide letter to both Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli and Captain Avni Deralla. I explained that I will not be returning to Turkey for a long time and all my duties there are entrusted to you.
At the moment, it is a big problem in terms of immigration. They are in a very difficult situation, and they also have great fears from communist propaganda. Allies should hand them over to the countries they allegedly committed crimes, etc. But His Majesty, King Zog, has taken all these measures of assurance on the part of the Anglo-Americans that they will not surrender to them.
London, March 1946
As you know, the end of World War II divided the world into two blocs. This decision was taken long ago at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences. Unfortunately, in these conferences, Albania remained in the zone of influence of Soviet Russia and in this way, all the efforts of the nationalists and the bloodshed, was not taken into account by the Great Powers. In the month of November 1944, the Albanian nationalist powers, forced by the created circumstances, were forced to withdraw. A large part took the paths of exile and another small part remained in the mountains of Albania, resisting, with the hope that this situation can change.
The Albanian communist powers, supported morally and materially by the Soviet Union and Marshal Tito, but also in the South, by the Greek communist forces (E.A.M.I.), paved the country and formed the Communist Government. Thus establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. Yes, at this time, the Great Allies, the United States of America and Great Britain, Soviet Russia and France, immediately recognized the Communist Government of Tirana.
His Majesty, King Zog I, who was in England, seeing the difficult circumstances that threatened Albania, and especially as it pertained to the Vorio-Epiris issue, took the appropriate steps towards the Anglo-American Allies, in the interest of the Motherland.
At this time, there were still two Albanian Royal Legations open and officially recognized, in Turkey and in Egypt. His Majesty, King Farouk, together with his Egyptian Government, invited King Zog I to go to Egypt, promising him that the Royal Albanian Legation in Egypt would not be closed and that His Majesty, King Zog I would have all the rights of a sovereign, and consider Egypt as his second homeland.
King Zog I, taking into account the difficult circumstances of the Albanian emigrants, who were scattered in Europe and were left without bread, and in very difficult living conditions, decided to go to Egypt. He did this to come to the aid of the Albanian emigration and to serve with all his powers, material and moral, the interests of the Motherland threatened by the Neighbors. This was done with the consent of the Allies of the United States of America and Great Britain.
So in the month of March 1946, His Majesty the King, with his entire Family and Suite, left London for Egypt. Where he was received by His Majesty, King Farouk and His Government. Everything was done officially and with all the honors that belong to a sovereign, being installed in Cairo.
Returning to the situation of Mergata, King Zog I wrote that: Not a single day was quiet, because every day, he received telegrams and letters from the Albanian emigration, which was really under cruelty. She was persecuted from every point of view. He was greatly concerned in arranging and pacifying them, until for the first time, thanks to the generosity of King Farouk, a little help came to him.
His Majesty, King Zog, personally intervened with America and England, as well as the International Red Cross, to come to your aid through charitable organizations. This was done to save them from the great misery that had covered them, as in food, housing, disease, clothing, and every human need.
The Egyptian government, with King Farouk at the helm, with a generosity of spirit, took swift action, collecting substantial aid. With the help of a commission, under the Chairmanship of His Highness, Prince Amir Ibrahim, he came to the aid of the Albanian emigrants who were in Italy. Also, another commission, under the chairmanship of Theoderos Pasha, went to help the emigrants in Greece. This was done in addition to the help that King Zog sent you from time to time. This fraternal generosity, so quick of the brother Egyptian nation, with the noble King Farouk at the head, gave them a breath of salvation. This was done at a time when immigrants were in a worse situation. It is understood that the Albanian nation never forgets this generous gesture.
After all these efforts and interventions made by King Zog, the Allies sent their organizations to regulate immigration. Immediately, “refugee” camps were opened, both in Greece and Italy, for all the emigration from the Balkans, who had been drawn by communism. The migrant somehow calmed down, because along with the moral support, they also brought him clothes, medicine, food and also an apartment.
At this time, the Communist States led by the Soviet Union made demarches and protests near the Allies. They presented the lists that contained a large amount of refugees, accused as “criminals and enemies of the people”. The communists demanded that they submit their names to each respective state, to be punished by the people’s courts of the communist governments.
Regarding the Albanian immigrants, the communist government of Tirana presented a list of 200 people, with Mit’hat Frashëri and Ali Këlcyra at the head. She demanded that these be handed over, to be punished as enemies of the people or war criminals. But, King Zog I, these two who were taken under surveillance, saved them with all his personal guarantees, next to the allies. He managed to take measures to bring them to Egypt, with the consent of King Farouk. Like these, there were many others who could be in doubt.
His Majesty, King Zog, was always shocked by this plight, vis-à-vis this group of immigrants. They were asking him for help and for that, he was not calm. He always thought that a great human injustice should not be done to him. On this occasion, he again addressed the note, both to the Anglo-American allies, and to the Italian government. Yes, at the same time, he also marched near the Arab States, and especially, near King Farouk of Egypt; King Abdullah of Jordan; President of Syria, Shykri Kuattly and Lebanon.
The goal was for them to support the Albanian emigration, accepting their installation among the Arab countries. So, by saving them from this misery, we scare them. To the requests of King Zog, the Arab States immediately respond to you, accepting them with pleasure. They did it at their own expense, settling in their own lands and with rights like the Arabs, of the immigrants. Most of all, King Farouk managed to make all the steamers available for their transfer from Greece and Italy. It is understood that this was done in certain places and at one’s own expense.
It was this time, when the King decided to help them: King Zog I, after receiving the consent of the Arab States, on the acceptance of the Albanian refugees in their lands, with the same rights as the Arabs and with the promise that they would were helped with all conditions, he immediately sent his adjutant, Colonel Husein Selmani to Italy. With his side, he sent his message to the three political groups, without any difference of tendency. At that time, the groups that represented the Albanian emigration were O.K.L.L.; “National Front”; and the ‘Independent Bloc’ of some non-party members.
His message guaranteed them to remain calm that no harm would come against them. He explained to them, for the acceptance with all the conditions, among the Arab States, to be installed, as long as time “permits us, upon entering our Motherland”. Memorie.al