Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the formation of the secret anti-communist organization “Bashkimi Shqiptar” headed by Mark Çuni which was created in the middle of 1945 in the city of Shkodra by some young students of the gymnasium of that city, such as: Zef Mirdita, Luigj Kçira, Ernest Dema, etc., which also included some seminar students of the Papnuer Seminary, such as: Gjergj Bici, Gjon Shllaku, Preng Lezaj, Ndoc Vata and Pjetër Gjoka.
The rare testimony of Gjovalin Zezaj from the city of Shkodra, one of the members of that secret anti-communist organization regarding its activity and the meetings held by its main leaders in the premises of the Papnuer Seminary and in his house, as well as the compilation and printing of leaflets with content against the government of Enver Hoxha, by Gjon Shllaku and Pjetër Gruda, which were distributed shortly before the date of the December 1945 elections.
How was that anti-communist group discovered and their arrest by the State Security forces and the sentence in the trial that took place in the cinema of that city under the chairmanship of Namik Qemali as presiding judge and the prosecutor, Aranit Çela, who gave 11 sentences with death and many others with life imprisonment and up to 30 years in prison.
“The tracts were compiled by the seminarians Mark Çuni, Gjon Shllaku and Pjetër Gruda, who had a wide training and their content was completely anti-communist and anti-Slavic, which pointed out the great betrayal of the people by the Democratic Front, which was nothing. other than a mask of the Communist Government of Enver Hoxha. “Seminarist Mark Çuni, who was also our organizer, christened this group the Organization” Albanian Union “, which would include in its ranks all currents with different political views, but always with a democratic and anti-communist spirit.” remembers Gjovalin Zezaj, one of the only survivors of the members of that anti-communist organization that was formed by the young people of Shkodra at the end of 1945, who in his story for Memorie.al tells us about that distant event from which he suffered more than ten years in prison of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha How was the anti-communist organization “Albanian Union” created, who were the organizers and other people who joined it, what was its program? What was its scope and activity, and how was it revealed by the State Security organs and what were the consequences of the members of that anti-communist organization that was created a few days before Enver Hoxha’s Communist Party opened the election campaign December 2, 1945, which were the first post-war elections?
How was the secret anti-communist group formed?
As a reaction to the terror that the communists exercised in Shkodra with arrests, imprisonments, tortures and shootings with and without trial, mainly against the Catholic Clergy, in the middle of 1945 the secret organization “Albanian Union” was formed. Regarding this, Gjovalin Zezaj testifies: “Given the situation that prevailed in Shkodra at that time, a great hatred and anger was created against the communist government which reached its peak among us young people. Thus, a group of young people and high school students, such as: Zef Mirdita, Luigj Kçira, Ernest Dema and I gathered to discuss the situation, and we were joined by some young printing workers, such as: Çesk Gjeluci, Lazër Kodheli, Tonin Bjanku, etc. This group expanded and further with some Papnuer Seminary seminar students such as Mark Çuni, Gjergj Bici, Gjon Shllaku, Preng Lezaj, Ndoc Vata and Pjetër Gjoka. Homeland and fight the communist government by peaceful means Seminarist Mark Cuni, who was also our organizer, christened this group “Albanian Union”, which aimed to unite around it all currents with different views political figures who had a democratic and anti-communist spirit “, recalls Gjovalin Zezaj, the creation of the secret group and his former high school friends who joined that anti-communist organization.
Distribution of anti-regime tracts
How did the organization baptize with the name “Albanian Union” act further? Regarding this, Gjovalini recalls: “After the first meeting, we started holding other meetings that we mainly held in the premises of the Seminary. We entered there at night and came one by one, so that the superiors of the Seminary would not find us, and taking care not to compromise it. In that meeting we discussed the problems that preoccupied us the most. After discussions we all agreed that the only means we could use were the tracts through which we could spread the truth We high school students were assigned to distribute tracts and for this we held our cell meetings at my house. On the table of my room, we had placed a topographic map of the city of Shkodra and we were doing people planning that would distribute the tracts in certain places. Also, in a precise way, we also set the start time of the distribution of tracts and the time of their ending. After this schedule no jerit was not allowed to carry tracts with him, so that in any case of control we would not be discovered. The tracts were compiled by seminarians Mark Çuni, Gjon Shllaku and Pjetër Gruda, who were more educated and had a broad culture. In the content of those tracts there was a national spirit with anti-communist and anti-hall views, where the great betrayal of the Albanian people by the Democratic Front was pointed out, which was nothing but a mask under which the Communist Party of Enver hid. Hoxha, who was exercising an unprecedented terror, especially in the north of Albania “, Gjovalini tells the action of distributing the tracts by the secret organization.
Expansion of the Organization
Regarding the extension of this group, Gjovalin Zezaj testifies: “Slowly our organization started its extension outside the district of Shkodra. Thus, Myfit Bushati, a friend of ours from high school who joined us, connected us with the” Resistance Group “and with the “National Union” organization operating in Tirana, in which Musine Kokalari was a member, and later we were connected with the “Christian Democratic Group” of Shkodra, which included Nino Kurti and Pjetër Berisha, two officers with a high military academy, and: Mark Lulashi, Mark Shllaku, Andrea Petrovirov, Luigj Shoshi and Paulin Kel Pali.From this group we learned that Father Gjon Shllaku told you about the conversation of the Minister of Education and Culture, Sejfulla Malëshova, during his visit to the Assembly Franciscan, where he had told Father Marin Sirdani that a Christian Democratic party could be formed. The activity of our organization spread to the far north, in the area of Malësia e Madhe and Dukagjini, by the son of Bajraktar of Shoshi , Gjelosh Lulashit, who also collaborated with some young people from Dukagjini, who at that time were taken to perform compulsory military service, such as P. Delia. N. Delia. D. Mëhilli, O. Plaka, P. Kotrri, H. Saliu, M. Çuni and J. Vasa. We also established other connections with nationalist leaders who were on the run, such as Muharrem Bajraktari, Pal Bibë Mirakaj, Gjelosh Luli, Ndoc Vata, Llesh Marashi, etc., which was made possible by our friends, Qerim Sadiku and Frano Mirakaj . “While our organization was at the peak of its activity, Radio Shkodra daily gave news and communiqués to the State Security about the capture and execution of members of the anti-communist resistance, who were called” traitors, reactionaries and enemies of the people, “Gjovalini recalled. the extent of the organization and its affiliations with prominent nationalist leaders.
Memorandum for Anglo-Americans
After the parliamentary elections of December 2, 1945, the communist terror against the city of Shkodra reached its peak, because a large part of the population voted against the candidates of the Democratic Front. In this regard, Gjovalini recalls: “From the leaders of our organization, I was tasked with my camera to take some pictures with political prisoners who were taken and brought from the court. Taking advantage that near the Municipality was the house of my uncle, with shuttered windows, I took advantage of and captured Ndue Palin hand in hand with Caf Meta, as well as the Shkodra patriot Ymer Lutfija with a group of prisoners, as well as Injac Toni and Zef Staku. The processing of these photographs was done by a well-known photographer In October of that year, seminarians drafted a memorandum to the Anglo-Americans detailing the climate of terror and communist genocide that had engulfed the country, urging them to provide urgent assistance. in French Prof. Gjelosh Luli.At that time an American mission had arrived in Shkodra, which stayed a few days in Hotel Park. At that time the State Security had received all the so that no one communicated with this mission. I found the opportunity to give the letter to one of the members of that commission, through Gac Logorec, who worked as a cashier in the Great Cafe. “It happened at a time when the lights went out and the American took the envelope, put it in his pocket and left without anyone seeing us,” Gjovalini said at the moment of giving the memorandum to the Anglo-American mission.
Gjovalin Zezaj: how were we arrested?
In late November 1945, the clandestine anti-communist organization tracked down the State Security and almost all of its leaders and members were arrested. Regarding this, Gjovalini recalls: “It was November 27, 1945. My friends and I had distributed the tracts and according to reports there had been no problems. Around 23.00 that evening, my house was surrounded by police and partisans. I quickly took the photos and documents of the anti-communist groups in Tirana, gave them to my sister to put in the stove immediately. After the brother opened the door, the police officers went inside and started the control. The leader of this group was the Czech Security man Shoshi who was surprised to see me so small (I was 17 years old) that he remembered that it was not a misunderstanding, I was taken from my parents’ hands and sent to the building of the People’s Defense Division, not far from there. Even though it was midnight, there was a lot of movement and I heard groans, sighs and screams to break my soul. I realized that we had fallen into the hands of the State Security. Zoji Themeli, Branch President, looked at me angrily and then Captains Fadil Kapis yzi, Nesti Kopali and Zoj Shkurti, started questioning me about the tracts we had distributed. They provoked me by telling me that they would send me home because I was small, only if I told you as my friend Zef Mirdita had done. I realized he was a provocation and refused. On the second day, I learned that Luigj Kçira, Ernest Dema and Çesk Gjeluci had also been arrested. The Head of the Branch asked me if I knew Mark Cuni, and I told you that my acquaintance with him came after he had been a student of my father in Rranxë-Bushat. I hoped Mark had not been arrested, but sadly he was brought there handcuffed. I realized that the whole group and the leaders of our organization had fallen into the hands of the Security. Thus, through the police officer Çesk Vila, I learned about the arrest of Lulash Gjeloshi (Bajraktari of Shoshi) Gjelosh Luli, Qerim Sadiku, Nik Delia, Frano Miraj, Pjetër Delia, Dedë Mhilli and many other members of our organization. “Also, the State Security had arrested the leaders of the Papnuer seminary, Padre Danjel Dajani, Padre Gjon Shllaku and Padre Xhovani Faustin, since many of the members of the organization were students of that seminary”, says Gjovalin Zezaj, his arrest and other comrades’ members of that anti-communist organization by the State Security.
Trial: 11 people to death
After the arrest of all members of the anti-communist organization “Albanian Union” and the numerous tortures inflicted on them by the investigator, the trial began. In this regard, Gjovalini recalls: “On January 31, 1946, early in the morning, our entire group of 39 people, tied up and accompanied by partisans and police officers armed from both sides, set off on foot to the” Rozafa “Cinema where Although the people of Shkodra were terrified, there were people on the way who pushed and shot at us. The trial panel consisted of the chairman, Lieutenant Mustafa Iliazi and members Captain Namik Qemali, aspirant Tonin Miloti and secretary Shaban The prosecutor of the prosecution was Captain Aranit Çela, after 20 days of court hearings, on February 19, the military prosecutor Aranit Çela sentenced Padër Xhovani Fausti, Padër Danjel Dajani, Padër Gjon Shllaku, Mark Çuni, Gjergj Bici. , Gjelosh Luli, Gjelosh Lulashi, Qerim Sadiku, Pjetër Berisha, Ndoc Vata and Frano Mirakaj, while Gjon Shllaku (translator) Pjetër Lezaj, Zef Mirdita, I Gjovalin Zezaj, Mark Lulashi and Mark Shl were sentenced to life imprisonment. Laku, Nino Kurti, Aleksandër Petrovi, Pjetër Delia, Luigj Shoshi, Lekë Kçira and Paulin Pali were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The other members of the organization were sentenced to 20 years and less “, says Gjovalin Zezaj, one of the few survivors of the members of that clandestine organization that was formed in 1945 in the city of Shkodra, as a reaction to the fierce terror of the government communist party headed by Enver Hoxha./Memorie.al