Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Zef Prela originating from the village of Gimaj in Dukagjini, Shkodra, who immediately after the end of the War in 1944, was arrested by a unit of the Defense Division, accused of having participated as an effective of the Gendarmerie forces with the Battalion of Major Dod Nikolla, fighting against the partisans in the South of Albania. After suffering only five years in prison, he was released on an amnesty granted on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of his release, but after the State Security pressured him to cooperate with them, he refused and to avoid you. the danger that threatened him, he fled to the mountains of Dukagjini where at that time there were about 400 armed men as sworn opponents of the communist regime. The second arrest of Zef Prela after the defeat suffered by the anti-communist resistance forces with the Postriba Uprising and his detention under torture in the Freten Prison in the city of Shkodra, where he later appeared in court and was sentenced to death, being executed on 11 March 1948 at Penda e Kirit, together with: Monsignor Frano Gjini, (Apostolic Nuncio), Monsignor Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushi, Father Çiprian Nika, Caf Dragusha, Cin Serreqi, Guljelm Suma, Ing. Fahri Rusi, Abdullah Kazazi, Pjetër Pali, Dulo Kali, Xhelal Haradolli, Gaspër Simon Gaspëri, Murat Hysen Haxhija and Bilbil Hajmi. Testimony of the daughter, Lili Prela Ndoci about the tragic story of the whole family…
“My father Zef Prela, that night before he was shot with those 15 men in the Cyrus Pen, through the police, Sulejman Merxhani, sent us the wills that he wrote with his blood on a pack of cigarettes. Even though my father was sentenced to death, he continued to be tortured.Because he could not stand the torture anymore, one night before the shooting he said to his cellmate Mr. Piccoline: Do you think I am lucky to be shot and I with those men who will be killed tomorrow. his prayer came true.He was executed the next day on March 11, 1948 along with those 15 men who were sentenced to death and held there in solitary confinement, who were: Monsignor Frano Gjini, (Deputy / Apostolic Nuncio), Monsignor Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushi, Father Çiprian Nika, Caf Dragusha, Cin Serreqi, Guljelm Suma, Ing. Fahri Rusi, Abdullah Kazazi, Pjetër Pali, Dulo Kali, Xhelal Haradolli, Gaspër Simon Gaspëri, Murat Hysen Haxhija and Bilbil Hajmi before dragging him to the front of the push team Katim, the father begged the policeman, Sulejman Merxhani, to bring his mother a piece of paper as a sign of trust. The policeman kept his word and brought to his mother the will that his father had written with his blood on a pack of cigarettes where he said: Mother. I’m heading to the Paradise Lakes. Stay and make me halal, Zefi “. Lili Prela Ndoci, the daughter of Zef Prela, one of those men who died that distant night in March 1948 from the bursts of gunfire of the firing squad somewhere on the outskirts of the city of Shkodra, in the place called, Penda e Kirit, tells for the first time for Memorie.al, the tragic story of her father and all their family, who suffered for almost 45 years in prisons and internments in the communist regime of Enver Hoxha.
The Prelaj family is originally from the village of Gimaj in the Dukagjini highlands and one of the first of that house that is known throughout the province for manhood and bravery, was Kol Prela (Zefi’s father), who took part in the wars of Dukagjini mountaineers against Serbs and Montenegrins. The rupture of relations between the Prela family and the communist regime in power began immediately in the first days after the war, when partisan forces undertook punitive expeditions in the mountains above Shkodra, under the pretext of disarming the population of those villages. This partisan expedition led by Xhemal Selimi, upon arriving in the village of Gimaj, searched the house of Gjelosh Çuni (Prela), who was the brother of Kol Prela. Because in that house, as in every mountaineering family, there were weapons, the partisan forces immediately shot the owner of the house, Gjeloshi, along with his eldest son, which would then bring the eternal enmity of the Prela family with the communist regime in power. .
Who was Zef Prelaj
Zefi, the first child of Kol Prela was born in the village of Gimaj in 1922. After a few years the Prela family moved to the city of Shkodra where Zefi enrolled and began teaching as a boarder in the Dormitory “Our Mountains” of the classical gymnasium of that city that was known as one of the most famous of that time. In the gymnasium where many of the students studied who would later become the main exponents of the “Anti-fascist National Liberation War”, such as: Qemal Draçini, Tom Kola, Hajdar Dushi, Qemal Stafa, Emin Duraku, Fadil Hoxha, etc., Zef Prela joined the Anti-Fascist Movement through Prof. Kol Prela, who would later become one of his closest people. From 1943, after Zefi graduated, promoted by Prof. Kol Prela he joined the nationalist districts of Shkodra Region that formed their gang which was led by Ndue Palit and had the support of some exponents of the Catholic Clergy, such as Dom Zef Shestani, Father Gjon Shllaku etc. Immediately after the end of the War, the forces of the Pursuit Departments or as they were called the People’s Defense Brigades, arrested Zef Prela on the charge that he had participated as an effective member of Major Dodë Nikolla’s battalion with the gendarmerie forces, fighting against the partisans in Albania. of the South. As a result of this charge, Zefi was sentenced to 5 years in prison and sent to makeshift prisons in the city of Shkodra. On the occasion of an anniversary of his release, taking advantage of the amnesty granted to some political prisoners, Zefi was able to be released from prison and return to his home in Shkodra.
Zefi’s second arrest
After his release from prison, the State Security through Gj. U., urged Zefi to cooperate with those forces, but he refused. Zefi responded to this pressure: “As long as I am alive, I will never cooperate with your forces and the communists, because you are against Albania.” The arrest of MP Kol Prela from the beginning of 1946, who was elected to the Albanian parliament by elections of December 2, 1945, was a clear signal to Zefi, who was one of his closest associates, who had carried out the deputy’s orders for the formation of anti-communist groups.Because of this, seeing the danger that threatened him , Zefi left the city and fled staying in the mountains of Dukagjini where at that time in the caves of that area stood about 400 armed men, who were against the communist rule. leading to the capture or execution of some of the leaders of that movement.In one of the expeditions of the partisan pursuit forces against members of the anti-communist resistance forces in the area the father of the Dukagjini highlands, as a result of a betrayal, was found surrounded by them in the cave of Gimajve and Zef Prela together with some other fugitives. After a long gun battle between those trapped in the cave and the partisan forces of the Pursuit Departments, Dush Myftari, Zefi’s closest friend (probatin), was killed. Zefi himself was later wounded, and the Prosecution Forces managed to capture him alive, and after treating him for some time in the Shkodra hospital, they sent him to the interrogation cells, which at that time were full of political prisoners opposed to the communist regime. , who were arrested accused of being members of the Postriba Movement, the organization “Albanian Union”, etc., where most consisted of Catholic clergy.
Investigation charge for Zef Prela
During the time that Zefi stayed in the investigator, he was constantly tortured by breaking his limbs and extinguishing the cigarette in his eyes. The indictment of the investigation states, among other things: “Zef Kol Prelaj, son of Kola and Katrina, 25 years old, married with two children. Sentenced to 5 years in prison by the Military Court, winning amnesty has been released. Albanian poor in five gymnasium classes, born in Gimaj of Shala of Dukagjini Prefecture and resident in Shkodra, has two cousins executed and his brother in prison arrested on 14.9.1945 rank of sergeant and as such joined the Dodë Nikolla Battalion, which fought against the partisans in the South.After the liberation he was arrested, and then released to resume his activity against the government. Kol Prela has tried to form groups, in collaboration with Kol Prela’s brother, Mark Prela, connects with police officer Zef Marku, etc., with whom they hold many meetings where they decide to join the Dukagjini fugitives like Pal Thani and togetherwere launched in Dukagjini. Has been for some time the courier of Mark Kola and Nik Sokol. He with Lorenc Vata, Gac Cinin, etc., from whom he is supplied with materials and news every day. He took part with weapons against the government and for this he was wounded and later captured by the Pursuit Forces. In cooperation with Mark Prela, receiving instructions from MP Kol Prela, they decide to contact the reactionary elements and war criminals through police officer Zef Marku to start the fight against the government. In the groups he formed, he made propaganda to you by commenting on Radio London about the change in the situation in the country, which would change rapidly after the intervention of the Anglo-Americans. He is related to the criminal Pal Thani, who was hiding in Shkodra and took care of taking him out of the city so as not to fall into the hands of the authorities. He went and met with the former MP Kol Prela and they talked about their organization and the international situation, where you had the task of increasing their ranks. “After that, he is thrown into illegality and joins the fugitive elements like Gjergj Vata and other war criminals, with whom he starts the activity by talking to the villagers to jump into illegality, cursing the current government”, the indictment reads, among other things. held during the investigation into Zef Prela.
Trial: Death penalty
Based on these investigative allegations, on February 29, 1948, Zef Prela appeared before the trial panel of the Shkodra Military College headed by Captain P. Alizoti, Lieutenants B. Idrizi, A. Koroveshi and Prosecutor Z. Shehu. That court sentenced Zefi to death, to be shot, and to the loss of political and civil rights, as well as to the confiscation of movable and immovable property, charging him with the payment of 162 lek of court costs. A few days after that decision was made, on the night of March 11, 1948, in Freten Prison, where Zefi was being held in solitary confinement, two covered cars stopped, where police officers boarded 16 detainees who had been sentenced to death to be sent to execution. . Together with Zef Prela in those two cars surrounded by a large number of police officers, took place and: Monsignor Frano Gjini (Apostolic Nuns), Monsignor Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushi, Father Çiprian Nika, Caf Dragusha, Cin Serreqi, Guljelm Suma, Ing. Fahri Rusi, Abdulla Kazazi, Pjetër Pali, Dulo Kali, Xhelal Haradolli, Gaspër Simon Gaspëri, Murat Hysen Haxhija and Bilbil Hajmi, who were sentenced to death, on various charges as “agents of the Anglo-Americans, the Vatican, participants in the Movement” of Postriba, the introduction of weapons in the Shnandout Elter “, etc.
How did Zefi send the trusts…?
At the time Zef Prela was executed, he had only one little girl, three years old, and the pregnant woman who was born after him, and another girl who was not fortunate enough to ever see her father. Lili Prela Ndoci, Zefi’s eldest daughter, recalls: “Even though my father was sentenced to death, he continued to be tortured. Unable to bear the torture, the night before he was executed, he told his cellmate, Mr Piccoline. “Do you think I am lucky enough to be shot and I with those men who will be killed tomorrow?” And his prayer came true. The next day, March 11, 1948, he was shot along with 15 other men. I was very young at the time, but I heard from family members that my father, Zefi, that night before he was taken to be executed, asked police officer Sulejman Merxhani to he sent his mother two or three pieces of paper as a token of trust, which he wrote shortly before they dragged him to the shooting site, with a burning matchstick which he had stained in his blood, which was still dripping from the torture. It reads: “Mother, I am leaving for the Paradise River. Stay and make me halal. Zefi. “The policeman kept his word and brought his father’s letters home. A few months after his father was shot, a sister was born, but nothing was felt in our house. There was neither talk nor crying, because no one dared to come. for consolation, because the court had also ordered the seizure of property. After two weeks after his father was shot, Uncle Marku, who was arrested together with Zefi, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. When he left in 1952 he fled Albania and moved to Yugoslavia, where he completed his higher education and graduated in Philosophy in Belgrade, returned to Albania in 1953 (?) By the Yugoslav authorities in exchange for a Kosovo citizen, where he was initially sentenced to death, by firing squad and more. after being pardoned and sentenced to 25 years in prison, Mark served 17 years in prison and when he was released, worked hard until his death in 1994. The other uncle, Peter, was released from prison in 1952. , fled Albania and still lives in Canada today “‘s father, second uncle Deda, even though he was ill, worked as a porter and together with his grandmother Katrina, took over the upbringing of his brother’s two children (mine and sister Irena), in the midst of many troubles and sufferings”, concludes the story Lili Prela Ndoci, on the tragic fate of her father, Zef Prela and his family, who ended up in prison and internment for the mere fact that they were opponents of that regime that was installed in Albania in November 1944./Memorie.al