Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Qemal Stafa, who in 1935, after the death of his father, Colonel Hasan Stafa (soldier of the Zog Monarchy as head of the Shkodra Regional Recruitment Office), together with his mother, sisters and brothers, moved and came with the family to Tirana, under the care of Ramazan Xhepa, one of the close friends of the Stafa family, who had served as the ordinance of his father, Hasan, to whom he left his trust and family. Beqir Xhepa’s rare testimonies starting from the period when he first met Qemali in 1938, when he and his father, Ramazan, attended his trial in one of the halls of the Municipality of Tirana, as he had previously been interested in to find a lawyer, how Qemali charged him with the task of his personal courier and the orders he gave, other communists who took refuge in their home, such as: Enver, Vasil Shanto, Mustafa Gjinishi, Nako Spiro, Hasan Reçi , Kajo Karafili etc., Qemali’s relations with Enver, Nexhmija, Bab Myslymi etc., the mystery of Qemali’s murder on May 5, ’42 where his companion, Vançi Bajrakatari, with the nickname “Iron”, was sent with “service” on on May 4, and why Xan Xhepa went to the “Flora” store the next day and said to Enver: “He asked for Qemali’s blood” ?!, until the persecution of the Xhepa family during the communist regime with prisons and internments, where Beqiri himself, although he had been interned in the Nazi Mat’hausen Camp, was sentenced to prison four times, and why did he refuse to hand over Kemal’s relics, clothes, documents and revolver ?!
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Mr. Beqir, said that you can give many facts that prove that Enver Hoxha at that time, did not have any determining function among the main leaders of the Communist Party, and that Qemali and Gjinishi had more authority in the Party. What else can you tell us about this?
Apart from what I said above, that Enver, until the spring of 1942, did not even know Myslym Peza, I am telling you this one, that even at the end of 1943, Enver again did not have the authority and prestige that Mustafa Gjinishi enjoyed among key comrades of the Party.
How do you explain this?
I am a witness for this. In November 1943, Prime Minister Ibrahim Bicaku and the mayor of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, told my father, Xani, to speak to Myslym Peza, as German forces were preparing for a severe crackdown on partisan forces of a general operation, later known as the “Winter Operation.” After this announcement that my father received from his two close friends, he gave me a letter and told me to send it to Peza, handing it to either Spiro Moisiu or Mustafa Gjinish. So my father did not tell me to give the letter to Enver and he did not do it with his own head, but he also consulted with other communist leaders who came to our house. According to the order given to me by my father, I handed
the letter to Mustafa Gjinish and in the case that I went there; I was wounded and later arrested by the Germans.
How long did Qemal Stafa stay in your house?
Kemal stayed in our house until the end of April 1942 and he left our house for another base, just ten days before he was killed.
Why did Kemal leave your house?
Towards the end of April 1942, the Prefect of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, sent word to my father, Xani, telling him to remove Qemal Stafa from the house, as the Questura had fallen in his footsteps and searched all day looking for him tracked down to see the other bases where he entered.
With whom did Qazim Mulleti send words to your father, Xani?
Qazimi informed the father through the Chief of Tirana Police, Man Kukalesh and two officers of the Questura, Xhelal Peza and Gëzim Latifi.
What did they say to Xan?
Man Kukaleshi went to Xani at the store and said: “Qazim bey told me to take that boy out of the house and send him to Peza, because I have nothing to do, because he is being spied on by his friends.” According to the order of Qazim Mulleti, Man Kukaleshi told my father that based on the espionage of Qemali by his friends, the Questura had charged her agent, Jani Kristo (originally from Përmeti), who was tracking him down, observing all his movements.
Did your father, Xani, ask the Chief of Police, Man Kukaleshi or Qazim Mulleti, who was Qemali’s friend who was spying on the Italians?
Baba had asked Mani who the communist who was spying on Kemal at the Questura was, but neither he nor Qazimi knew anything at the time. At that time they did not know that person by name, because the communist who was spying on Qemali did it through letters without going to the police station himself.
Did your father have any doubts about who could spy on Kemal at the Police Station?
Ever since Man Kukaleshi told him that, Xani had doubts about Enver Hoxha.
Where did your father base those suspicions about Enver?
Xani suspected Enver Hoxha, because when he once went to the house of his close friend, Qazim Mulleti, he saw there Enver Hoxha, who was staying with his brother-in-law, Bahri Omari, who was a tenant at Mulleti. When he saw Enver, his father had told Qazim that the boy did not look like a good man. After that Qazimi had said to him: “Lene, lene, Xan, Enver is ours”.
After the message given to Xani, Qazim Mulleti, did Qemali leave your house?
At first, Qemali did not want to leave our house, telling his father: “No matter what, there is no wedding without meat”. But the father told him that when it was possible to have a wedding without meat, why do it with meat?! Seeing his father’s insistence, Qemali agreed to leave our house and went and took refuge in the house that the communist Beqir Minxhozi had rented, where he was surrounded and killed on May 5, 1942.
Did Xani meet with Qazim Mulleti to ask him more?
As a start I wanted to tell you that: with the Prefect of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, as well as with the Chief of Police and under the quaestor, Man Kukaleshi, our father Xani, had a great family friendship and for every reason they kept each other at the top of the country. Given this great friendship that existed between them, they sent word to him to remove Kemal from the house, as he was being spied on by his comrades in the Questura and Qazimi was not able to order the Questura, as Questor Papalilo himself commanded there. Both Qazimi and Man Kukaleshi could not arrest Qemali in our house, this could not even be thought, that it would be a great shame that would be left at their door. Therefore, for the manliness and character that Qazmi had with Man Kukaleshi, they sent words to the father about Qemali leaving our house.
Did your father, Xani, meet with Qazim to ask him specifically who could be the man who spied on Qemali?
On the same day that the father was informed by Man Kukalesh, he went and met Qazim bey himself and talked to him at length. I do not know the details of their conversation, but my father told us that Qazim Mulleti had told him that: The police station and he himself knew where Qemali entered and left and how many bites of bread he ate in those houses where he entered. According to Qazim Mulleti, the Questura was informed about all those movements of Qemali through one of his communist comrades who spied on him through letters. After that, the Questura had assigned its agent, Jani Kristo (originally from Përmeti) who was monitoring and following Qemali, in order to dictate the other base where he was hiding after leaving our house. And the Questura achieved this goal, because Qemali was surrounded in the house of Beqir Minxhozi where he was arrested by the Questura on the morning of May 5, 1942.
How do you know the event of Qemali’s murder on May 5, 1942?
As I told him, after leaving our house, Qemali went and took refuge in another base, where was the house of the communist Ymer Minxhozi, who had two houses, one where he lived himself and the other that I think he had taken with rent, where the other communists of his cell were housed. On the morning of May 5, 1942, the Questura sent its police and men to the Old Bazaar and arrested Beqir Minxhozi, who worked for a Tirana shopkeeper. During the arrest, he was found with a revolver, and as a rule, the Questura took him with him, telling him to take them to his house, to search the apartment. But, Beqiri, instead of taking the agents and police officers of the Questura, to his house where there were no communists sheltered, showed them from a distance, his other house, where Qemal Stafa was with some other friends. ?
Who else was in that house with Qemali?
As far as I know, in Ymer’s house, together with Qemali, a small group of communists were sheltered, such as: Kristo Themelko, Marie Lezhja, Gjystina Sata, Fiqret Sanxhaktari, Isuf Keçi and some others. Nexhmije Xhunglini, Naxhije Dume and the owner of the house, Beqiri, were also part of that communist cell.
Do you know how the arrest of Beqir Minzhoz was discussed by your father with his friends, exactly on the morning of May 5, shortly before Qemali’s murder?
It is possible that during the surveillance of Qemali by the Questura, he was seen meeting with the communist Beqir Minxhozi and so the Questura arrested him and forced him to show you the house where Qemal Stafa was hiding. But this is just an assumption, which has long been discussed, but nothing can be said with accuracy.
After that the house was surrounded by the Questura?
Immediately after the Questura found out where Qemal Stafa was hiding, she surrounded the house, which Qemali, together with Kristo Themelko, Drita Kosturi, Marije Lezhja and Gjystina Sata, only realized at the last moment when the carabinieri and police officers were looking out of the window. their home. After that they tried to leave the house and fleeing; only Qemali was killed.
What about the others?
The three girls were arrested, and Themelko managed to leave without being followed at all by the carabinieri.
It is said that Qemal Stafa was charged by the Party to go on duty in Vlora where he would meet Sadik Premten (Xhepi) and that was postponed for two days in a row on May 4 and 5, 1942. Do you know anything about this??
Yes, this is a known fact since that time. Qemali had taken on a Party assignment to go to the city of Vlora where he would organize the Anti-Fascist Movement, but what is not known is who was the person who postponed his trip to Vlora, twice, on May 4 and 5?
What do you think; did you learn anything about this?
My father, Xani, has dealt a lot with this thing, that is, with the truth of Qemali’s murder, because that boy had a trust and his murder shocked Xani severely, as he considered Qemali just like his son. According to all that Xani managed to learn from the many conversations he had at that time with all of Qemali’s close associates, all doubts fell on Enver Hoxha. He was suspected as the man who twice postponed his trip to Vlora, on May 4 and 5, 1942, because apart from what his father talked to, there was no one else to order Qemali, except Enver.
After Qemali’s murder, did your father, Xani, meet with Enver Hoxha and express to him any doubts about everything he knew about Qemali’s murder?
On the evening of May 5, 1942 or the next day, after Xani had learned about Qemali’s murder, he went to the “Flora” store and there met with Enver Hoxha, with whom he had a very heated debate. The first words that Xani said to Enver were these: “Enver, I ask for Kemal’s blood from you, because I know very well that he has been betrayed by his friends”.
What was Enver Hoxha’s response after that accusation made by Xani?
Enver Hoxha denied having a hand in that murder, telling his father: “You are seriously mistaken for Ramadan.” But the father did not give up his suspicion because that was added even more by Qemali’s companion, Vançi Bajraktari, known by the nickname “Iron”.
Who was this person?
Vanci Bajraktari was a young man with a very muscular body, who was charged by the Party with the task of accompanying Qemal Stafa at every step. Vanci was originally from Korça and he had come to our house many times during the time that Qemali was staying there. Vanci was a very loyal guy and he enjoyed entertaining him at home because he was a guy to do for him with the kindness and communication he expressed with people. Two days before Qemali’s assassination, on May 4 and 5, he was charged with a Party duty to go to the city of Shkodra. So he was not in the city of Tirana on the day of Qemal Stafa’s murder. But as soon as he heard the news of Qemali’s murder, he immediately came to Tirana where he met and had a heated debate with Enver Hoxha.
What did he talk to Enver about during the debate he had with her?
During that conversation between Enver and Vançi Bajraktar, no one else was present there, but he told all that he had talked to Enver to my father, Xani, when his father said to him: “Vançi, why did you leave Qemali to me? “Only, I had a lot of faith in you.” After those words that my father had said to Vanci, he had replied: “I have not been here and I was just returning from Shkodra where I was taken on duty. “Now I just came back from the Flora store where I had a lot of debate with Enver.” This is what Vançi told his father that day. I do not know how to say the whole conversation that Vançi had had with Enver, but my father told me that he had directly accused him as the main person responsible for the murder of Qemali and at the end of the debate he had, he had stated to Enver that in a sign of protest against the treacherous murder of Qemali, from that moment he left the War and the Party.
Did Vanci really leave the War and what happened to him afterwards?
Yes, immediately after that conversation with Enver, Vanci left the War and the Party worked as a plumber until the end of the War at the end of 1944. Even after the War he continued to work as a plumber for some time, but then he was arrested and put in jail for politics. While serving his sentence he became seriously ill and died in the Tirana Sanatorium under unknown circumstances, if I am not mistaken there from 1950, when he was released from prison. (Vanci has his people in Korça, a very good family and one of his nephews has come and met us several times)
After leaving the War and the Party, did Vançi Bajraktari come to your house anymore and what was he talking about with your father?
Even after leaving the War, Vançi came to our house and the only problem they discussed with his father was the murder of Qemali. Both Xani and Vançi were of the same opinion that Enver Hoxha was the main culprit and the man who had a direct hand in the murder of Qemali.
What about the other communist leaders who took refuge in your house, were there any doubts about Enver Hoxha, regarding that murder?
Apart from Vançi Bajraktar, on the evening of May 5, 1942, in conversations with our father, some other communists cast doubt on Enver Hoxha. But among those who were fiercest in these suspicions and who directly accused Enver were Vasil Shanto, Mustafa Gjinishi and Hasan Reçi.
Was Vasil Shanto also of that opinion about Enver Hoxha?
Not only was Vasil Shanto of that opinion, but from that time until the day he was assassinated, he had a strained relationship with Enver Hoxha. This is well known by many communists of that time who still live today, who also know that Vasili was killed during a service assigned to him by Enver Hoxha.
Did anyone from Qemal Stafa’s family talk to your father the day after his murder?
On the evening of May 5, Alajdini, Qemali’s brother, came to our house and said to his father: “Ramadan, Qemali was killed.” The father, with his head down, replied: “I know.” That same night, the father went to Qazim Mulleti to ask him to take Qemali’s body to perform the funeral ceremony.
Did Qazim Mulleti give Qemali’s body?
When he met Father Qazimi, he told him: “I cannot give Kemal’s body to you to take home, because I am afraid that the Communist Youth will hold a demonstration for us, but let the family go to the morgue and perform the occasional rites and ceremony there of the burial, taking him directly to the Bami Cemetery ”.
What did your father, Xani, do after what Qazim Mulleti told him?
After the permission given by Qazim Mulleti to his father, that together with Qemali’s family to go to the hospital and perform the occasional rites and the funeral ceremony, our whole family, together with Qemali’s uncle’s son, Fejzo Sejdini , the two sisters, Jalldizi and Drita, their brother, Alajdini and nanny Shahja, who had raised them, all went to the hospital where Qemali’s body was. There, after receiving some of the people who came for condolences, they took Qemali’s body and buried him at Bami Cemetery. After the funeral, almost all members of our family stayed for a few days at Qemali’s family where they waited for people to come to them for comfort.
But after that day, did your father, Xani, meet Enver Hoxha?
The day after Qemali’s funeral, Enver Hoxha went to his father’s shop by himself.
What did they both talk about with each other and did the debate about Kemal’s murder reopen?
As my father told me, Enver Hoxha went to his shop in Castile that day, because Xani had directly accused him of killing Qemali and he wanted to be acquitted of that. But again the father stood by what he had told him from the beginning, because he had a complete conviction, that Enver had a hand in that murder.
What position did Enver Hoxha take regarding the murder of Qemali and what explanation was given by the Communist Party to its members or to the people. Who did they blame and how did they justify that murder, what was the official position of the Communist Party for the murder of Kemal?
After the accusations made against Enver Hoxha by both his father and Qemali’s companion, Vançi Bajraktari, or the suspicions thrown by other senior leaders of the Communist Party, such as Mustafa Gjinishi, Hasan Reçi, Vasil Shanto, and others , Enver created an alibi, saying that Qemali was spied on by the communist Zef Ndoja. This was the announcement made by Enver and the Communist Party regarding the assassination of Qemali and this tried to popularize them as much as possible./Memorie.al
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