From Lek Pervizi
Memorie.al / As every day, the deafening roar of the changa announced the wake-up call, the ration of bread, the ladle of taralange soup and the departure for work. They came out of the barracks like ants from their underground galleries. The ration of bread and soup served as food until returning from work, late at night, exhausted from digging a pharaonic canal of Lekaj i Kavaja, which was supposed to serve for drying the swamps. An extremely difficult job that was carried out with the strength of my arms for political prisoners, who, in addition to being sentenced to prison, were also sentenced to forced labor.
The unexpected metal pot of the bag woke up the prisoners as if to frighten them. The noise of movements filled all the barracks, accompanied by their cursing and dirty words, as they got down and came out of the skeleton where they slept. After they came out, as they were all dirty and ragged, weak and bored, they were placed in a row according to the barracks, in front of the captains who called the appeal of each barrack. About ten policemen were standing there with their weapons pointed at the prisoners, ready to open fire if they were given the order. In the appeal of Barakso No. 3, the call of names suddenly stopped at the name of Gjergj Pjetri Silence.
– George Pjetri…! George Peter…! Submit!
The capter fairy went wild. No one moved from the rows. The captain got angry and the guards stood ready with their weapons. He gave the order to the manager of the barracks to go and look for Gjergji. Then he remembered that some other faces were missing from the rows. The captain knew all the inmates of the barracks he was responsible for. He decided to finish the appeal and saw that four other prisoners were missing. There was no one in the barracks. But who would have dared to stay there, without being sick and unaware of it? The alarm was given and the camp commander himself came there, with a group of armed policemen.
Shouting, orders, threats. The place was filled with officers, captains and police. The commander, a short body, flushed with rage, shouted and gave orders like crazy. The prisoners were ordered to return to the barracks, woe betide anyone who moved from there. The police had been ordered to use their weapons and kill anyone who dared to leave the barracks or showed signs of rebellion.
The news of the escape of the five mirditors of barrack No. 3, it spread as a solitary to the other barracks. Their names were already known: Gjergj Pjetri, Ndue Gjini, Zef Përleka, Gjin Uksani and Gjon Kolziu. They won a crown of glory, among the prisoners. Escape from that camp was almost impossible. You had to be very brave and brave, to undertake that escape and even more so, to make it to the top. They had succeeded as true heroes. Fortune always smiles on the brave. This was a fact test. Mark Doçi, the former army major, turned to his unfortunate comrades and spoke:
-“Now, my friends, the worst awaits us…! I say we have paid dearly for it. The wrath of the Security will fall on us, and Genci suffered the most as the son of General Prenk Perviz and a friend of three escaped from Kurbini: Gjergj Pjetri, Zef Përleka and Ndue Gjini. While I, Doda, Luigji and Prenga, as mirditors and former officers, we too will be included in the very drastic measures that will be taken against us”.
– “It’s really something to worry about. We had no choice but to wait for the countermeasures and suffer the consequences that have fallen on us”, intervened Genci stoically. A 28-year-old boy, he was the son of General Prenk Perviz, who fled abroad, who was considered the number one friend of the communist regime. Genci studied in Italy from primary school to the Military Aviation School. Average body, but physically strong, he stood out as a footballer, where he played in the Modena team, in the first category.
The capitulation of Italy took him to Albania, where he remained and fell under the persecution of the communist regime, which involved the whole family. He was arrested and mistreated, tortured and sentenced, for participating in and helping his father’s escape to Greece in 1946. He spent 10 years in prison with compulsory labor in various camps, such as Maliqi, Vloçishti, Bedeni and finally Lekaj e Kavajë. According to his uncle, Mark Doçi, the sword of Damocles hung with Genci’s head, because he would be the target of revenge for the escape of the five prisoners.
The prisoners remained locked in the barracks for several hours. The group of officers of the Ministry of Interior was expected. They came in a “Jeep” straight from Tirana under the command of a colonel, general director of prisons and internment camps, with several “Molotov” gasses full of armed policemen, who were stationed around the barracks and especially around the barracks of fugitives.
Inside the silo, an atmosphere of anxiety and fear reigned. All the prisoners were aware that the revenge of the state would fall mainly on Genci and his friends. Albanians are distinguished precisely by the value of families, which are historically important. Genci represented one of them. His father had been a general and Minister of Defense. He would therefore be the designated victim on whom the dictatorship would unleash its ferocity. On the other hand, the regime did not forgive him for organizing his father’s escape to Greece. For which act, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While in the Albanian society, that brave act had created admiration for the love of the son to the parent, loyalty, strength of character, courage and other moral qualities, for which the Albanians are proud. Aware of what would happen to him, Genci had tied up his spoils: a mattress as I was told, and a couple of blankets and a coat of clothes, on which he sat stoically and calmly awaiting the measures that would deal with them.
As soon as the door of the shack was opened, officers and policemen rushed in like rabid dogs. The colonel, accompanied by two Security officers and a group of policemen, entered between the beds. The captain, who made the appeal, ran forward and shouted: “Genc Pervizi, take the spoils and get off the pier immediately”.
“Don’t look, don’t look, you’re Genc Pervizi, the son of the general, whom you helped to pass to Greece…! Did you help your friends too?! Shouted the colonel, all red with mania, “We will tell what we do to the people who organize the escapes and plots against our popular government! Take and handcuff this enemy of the people”!
The order was carried out on the spot by the police who handcuffed him in the blink of an eye. The captain charged a prisoner to carry the spoils. One of the officers took out a piece of paper and called out as loudly as he could:
“Silence! Those who will hear the names take the spoils and get out of the barracks”. There was a great silence. The officer started reading in a loud voice, a list of Kurbina’s names. It was like an announcement of an ominous fate. On the pale faces of the prisoners, one could see the shock of such a demonstration of terror, which was expressed by the stern and menacing voice of those criminals in uniform, of the Security officers. The emanations that were called sounded like funeral verses:
-Mark Doçi, Dodë Bardhoku, Luigji Bardhoku, Zef Shkoza, Preng Paçuku, Kol Perlaska, Gjon Perleka, Fran Martini, Bardhok Preçi, Nikol Perlati, Ded Melyshi, Zef Bajraktari. The victims, after being handcuffed, were escorted by the police to a “Gaz-Molotov” truck, where they put them on the body, tied their hands and feet, with their heads between their knees. They brought the spoils with them to other prisoners. Several policemen rode in with their guns pointed at them. In those terrifying moments, they had lost every thread of thought. Their brains were no longer functioning. Empty
The sun had risen to the zenith, to release its inflammable rays on that piece of land designated for political prisoners, who were escorted under those rays and dug those gigantic canals, with those skeletal bodies, emaciated, burnt skin, let’s go the sun mocked people and nature in its own way. How could the beauty of nature be spoiled with those monstrous canals and forced labor camps, surrounded by barbed wire, lined with primitive barracks, full of people covered in rags, pale and ugly?
The fully covered truck, where the prisoners had been stacked, continued on its way to Tirana, accompanied by Security Jeeps and trucks full of police. The prisoners realized that they had entered the city, but they did not know where they were being taken. After driving across the roads so they wouldn’t understand the direction, the truck stopped somewhere.
-“Get up”! Called a menacing voice.
How did you take me…?! The police grabbed them by the arm to get them up and, without getting them out of the car; they threw a blanket over their heads so they wouldn’t find out where they were. They took them somewhere, after making them go up and down some stairs. They locked each one separately in a cell. But where? Later, Genci found out that they had locked him in the basements of the Ministry of the Interior. Where were the most secret cells of the Security? It was the beginning of another ordeal.
Late at night, the executioners appeared as ghosts. Genci recognized a couple of them: Captain Petri Kosovan and Lieutenant Mit’hati, the heartless katila, the terror of the capital. They were the same ones who arrested and tortured him five years ago.
“What’s the surprise, Genc Pervizi…!? You have become a master in the art of organizing escapes! Your father’s was not enough for you! This time you will pay dearly dear friend! And the story began. They handcuffed him to two Castile links on the wall, to crucify him, an invention for such torture.
Genci was thinking how his body could endure such terrible torture.
“Speak! Tell us how you taught your comrades to escape! What message and what directive did you entrust to them? They would certainly meet your parent, the famous general and his friends, who seek to intervene militarily against us. Speak, then, if you’re going to save your skin! Otherwise, you can’t imagine what methods we’ll use to force you to speak. Listen,” Mitati roared with all his bitter anger.
Genci, although we crippled him from torture, found the strength to answer:
– “Listen captain, you know me very well and you know that I will not utter a single word. Even more so about people I do not know at all, I have never had any business with them. I cannot answer for the behavior of others, all the more unknown. How did I manage to organize the escape of others and not run away myself? Leave me alone that I am not responsible for anything or anyone. You condemned me once, and if you want to punish me again, here you have me”.
-“You know how to speak well, but here we are the ones who speak even better. We are not asking you to tell us more about this escape. Or remember that we do not know that they were friends with you”?!
– “What a friendship that I don’t know at all. Don’t tie me up because nothing comes out of me that I make up strange things.”
-“You have studied Latin: “Vae victis”, what does it remind you of? Keep this well in your head: Woe to the defeated! And you are defeated. We are the winners and we make the law. Make it reasonable. Let’s deal dress as friends. Why suffer for nothing? Tell us how that works went, and we’ll leave you alone.”
Mit’hati behaved more calmly and asked to fill Genci’s mind, told me fairy tales, therefore, he was charged with guilt that I never saw and implicated the other prison mates, with whom they had arrested him. He knew that they would torture him to invent things according to their pleasure.
“Captain, you are in vain that nothing comes out of me. And you know very well from the investigation three years ago. Yes, I am still the same today”.
“You can tell us about the famous general and his friends, who seek to intervene militarily against us.
Speak up, if you want to save your skin! Otherwise, you can’t imagine what methods we will use to force you to talk. Do you understand”? Screamed Mit’hati, all anger and bitterness.
So for Genci, new troubles began. The police removed his handcuffs and dragged him by the arms and threw him into a narrow, all-concrete, windowless cell. They also threw away the spoils and closed the door with a bunch of rusty hinges that made harsh metallic sounds, like macabre music. How long would he stay locked up there?
How much weight would he put on his body and would he be able to handle it? Do you think he would come out of that hell alive, or would his life end there, forgotten? Would he one day join his lover and cuddle with them? He remembered the pole where he was tied last year in Vloçisht. You remembered when he cried: Oh God, don’t leave me! Miraculously escaped alive then, but now whatever happened to him? He opened the sheets and lay down on that soft mattress where he fell into a deep dreamless sleep./Memorie.al
The next issue follows