By Abdulla Berberi
Memorie.al / Abdulla Berberi was born in Kruja in 1926. High school, which he was continuing at the “Leonardo Da Vinci” Institute in Rome, was interrupted by the start of the war and he returned to his homeland. After the end of the war, he resumed school in Tirana in 1945, but again he could not finish it, because in February 1946, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, being accused of “participating in the creation of organization “Youth of Resistance”. After his sentence was over, Abdullai returned to school once again, this time attending night school without breaking from work, and managed to graduate in 1957. Apart from this, benefiting from a kind of easing of the class struggle and which was imposed on the communist regime of Tirana by Khrushchev after the death of Stalin, Abdullai was given the right to enroll in the Construction branch at the Faculty of Engineering in Tirana, but he did not manage to complete it, since in 1967, he his right to study was taken away, as a “politically affected” person. After that, he had no choice but to practice the profession of mason, near the Construction Company, where he worked for a long time. In the 1970s and 1980s, he continued to work as a construction technician in implementation, and with the collapse of the communist regime in the early 1990s, he emigrated to Italy. The writing we have selected for publication is taken from his memoirs, in which he describes his trial and subsequent sentencing. “DEMOCRATIC YOUTH OF RESISTANCE”
The courtroom, inside a building on Kavaja Street, during the twenty-five days of the development of our judicial process, remained full and full. In the middle of the group that was in the bank of the accused, there was also the young German, Rudolf Wiber…! I cannot leave without mentioning the courage and bravery of this martyr…!
For every question you asked him, he gave only one answer: “Nein”. But what do you want! This courage and bravery, this German martyr paid with his life! In December 1946, they took the night from the Old Prison of Tirana, together with the brave and honorable, the unforgettable, Ndrekë Kodheli, and on the way, allegedly to the notorious Burrel prison, they got out of the car and killed them.
The only witness who was in that escort car was Gaqo Dreri, a former policeman at that time…! He, unfortunately, passed away and the person who heard these events from his mouth is only me, who, in these difficult times, find myself outside our beloved homeland…!
Many of the members of the central group of the “Youth of Resistance” had been soldiers or employees of the communist government in power. Apart from those who were in the accused’s cell, there were also many others outside who had helped this Movement. I can never forget the help given to us by the secretary of the military court that judged us, Capt. Zalo Xhamaqi, from Cologne.
It became like a barometer of all sessions. He established a direct relationship with me and constantly, when he took off my handcuffs or when he put them on me, he gave me information about what was going on behind the scenes of that illegal court…!
A document (a copy of our depositions and the questions that were asked to us), that our brave and collaborator Zalo, sent secretly abroad, speaks about the heroic attitude of the “Resistance Youth” during the court sessions. which was punished by firing squad.
One morning, before dawn, when the criminal prosecutor was going to give Zalo “il colpo di grazia”, he came before me in the narrow corridor of the Old Prison, where we, some young men of the Resistance, were sleeping. He woke me up with a (common) kick and addressed me with these words:
– I’m going straight to the “river bank” (the black river bank saw so many brave men taking their last breath!) and I’m going to kill that friend of yours with my own hand. That day for all of us, not only for those who knew Zalo well, but also for all other honest and anti-communist prisoners, was a dark day of mourning…!
…An event that shows the courage of that youth, in the first years of the communist terrorist government and perhaps even of the entire period that government ruled, is this:
The “Qemal Stafa” stadium is being built. The youth was imprisoned in Tirana prison, every day he went, tied up under the handcuffs and under the bayonets of the officers and policemen of the regime, working in that stadium. He went and returned, in the morning and in the afternoon, in some open trucks.
One day, right in front of the square that is today “Skanderbeg” Square, in all four cars that were full of young people in handcuffs and armed policemen, a singing of patriotic songs broke out at once: “Let’s gather here, here…” and “… on your feet, nephews of Gjergj Kastriot”.
And while we fervently sang this song, the policemen and officers who were escorting us, instead of giving way to the cars in front of them, started shooting at us both with the butts of their rifles, with the clubs they always carried with them, and with their fists. and with kicks.
And the people who were there gathered so much that it took the form of a spontaneous demonstration. In the faces of each of those gathered in that place, you can clearly see the pity, for the tortures that were being exerted on our young bodies, as well as the joy, for our courage, in that dark time.
In the midst of that crowd, there were, perhaps, also members of our families or tribes and friends, who could imagine the sufferings that would follow us in the damned cells, as soon as we got off those tools, the tortures would be much worse. heavy from what was happening under their eyes in that square.
But the result was not that severe: As soon as we arrived at the prison yard, under the whips and kicks of the policemen, as we were tied, we were waiting for the torture to continue. The executioners Muço, Skenderi and company, as soon as they found out about this incident, they let loose like beasts with all the means of violence in mind and in hand…!
At that moment, before these monsters had even started their craft, a car accompanied us and some others arrived. A man cut him short, almost worried him and with the appearance of a man of position, who apparently was the Minister of the Interior in those years, he immediately turned to the director of the prison, Janaq Karapataq (a good man, among the bad ones):
– “Why are you tying up this guy? What’s up ba…”?
The director told him the incident of a few hours ago.
– “They cornered you on the way, you went back to prison”!
– “And what songs were they singing…”?
The director continued to show him the type of kangs and shouts in the form of protest.
– “Shame” – he shouted with authority to all those who were present. – “Shame, shame on you all… We remembered what kind of song they sang! These songs, which you are telling me, are Albanian patriotic songs. And what’s wrong with these songs for you? Did you know that these actions lead to grist in the reaction mill? We remembered that they were singing songs of fascism, “xiovinezza” and others… Shame, shame”, he continued, we were angry!
– “What about you, boy, why did you hold this anti-popular demonstration?” These songs were nice to sing during the time of fascism, just like the communists sang them, in the prisons of that time, and not today, at a time when our country is governed by a government born from the blood of this people! – Let him go to his place and don’t touch him with your hand” – concluded the short man, as disgusting as he was kind, in that case…! Memorie.al