By Caf Jonuc Culaj
Memorie.al/ At the age of 39, Dom Luigj Pici, whom I knew personally, passed away. He was treacherously killed in Rec and his bones were laid to rest there. The people loved him very much. For 45 years there would be someone, Muslim or Christian, who would place flowers on his grave every November 10, there was neither cross nor name, but everyone knew who was resting there. In silence the people cast their eyes upon that grave, to his eyes he was a headstone.
Dom Luigj Pici was born in Ulcinj in 1907, his father, Nushi, as a patriot, wanted the unification of Albanian lands into one. He also had friendships with Cafo Beg Ulcinj and other patriots who wanted this union. After six years, when Luigji was only 6 years old, his father moved to Shkodra, leaving behind a house and an estate. He had 3 sons and he educated them all. He gave Louis religious direction. In 1926 he was ordained a priest and after that he started his duty in the village of Mali Kolaj, near Velipoja, where he left very good memories. He was very young, only 19 years old.
He was then transferred to the parish of Rec (Malësi e Madhe). There he worked, worked and lived until 1946, when he died. Then I had just been born and I knew him better from my parents and fellow villagers. I later became acquainted with him when he taught me to read and write. There was no school in the village of Kopliku or Bajza, for my age they were far away. I, though of the Islamic faith, laughed at his student. Even today I remember his requests in the lessons he gave us in the house where he lived and where he voluntarily performed the duty of a teacher.
To him, both Muslims and Christians were the same. He always called for unity between them. I do not forget how many times he emphasized: “We are united by blood, language and history. “Before they had me as a Catholic or a Muslim, we are Albanians and moreover we belong to a chosen race.” He did not lack, with what happened to him, even material aid for the poorest. The child does not forget these.
The day before April 7, 1939, to the surprise of many, he joined a group of mountaineers who marched to the Koplik Sub-Prefecture to seek weapons, but to no avail. (Fascism was seriously threatening Albania).
Even today, after so many years, I remember not me, but everyone who lives and remembers well at that time, that on April 9 (Easter Sunday) in the Church of Rec said the word that should have been engraved somewhere: ” Today the Albanian people are trying the fascist occupation. Christ has wept twice; once when he was born and once at the end, not because he was dying, but because he saw the country being invaded by foreigners. With these words and with his later attitude he proved himself as one of the best anti-fascists. It was threatened by the invaders, but defended by the people. There is no government that can stand before the people when it is up to them to decide.
Dom Luigj Pici, in addition to being a priest, also became a freedom fighter. He carried the cross, but also the rifle. Blessed the people, but also fought against foreigners. He became a source of inspiration for the mountaineers when he took part in many anti-fascist actions (cutting telephone wires in July 1942, attacking the police post in Vraka, after a few months, or even in the Rec War at the end of August 1943). Dom Luigj Pici participated and was elected in the highest forums created by the Anti-Fascist War, such as in Dobraç and then in Shkodra (1943), he was elected a member of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Shkodra Region.
At the end of the war, he was chairman of the Regional Front, and in August 1945, at the First Congress of the Democratic Front of Albania, he was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the General Council of the Democratic Front. He was also offered the position of Minister of Education, but he preferred to perform his duty as a priest in Rec.
Dom Luigj Pici fought for democracy, but she was killed as a baby. The regime mounted in Albania, took it on its feet. After the elections of December 1945, many deputies who had broad visions for democracy, sought in the Albanian Parliament, pluralism, sought a broad-based government, where all political currents were represented. But Enver Hoxha and his friends did not allow it. Progressive ideators were declared enemies. As a result, false trials were held, and many prominent figures were shot, such as: Shefqet Beja, Kol Kuqali and Riza Dani, Kol Prela, etc. Many others were sentenced to long prison terms. All of them were ideal friends of Dom Luigj Pic and many other clergymen. The latter were also tried and sentenced to death. For Dom Luigj Picin this was a tragedy, because he had fought in the name of law and for the right and not for the vileness and organized crime.
In this situation, Dom Luigj Pici could not remain silent. With the courage and bravery that characterized him, regardless of the danger that threatened him, he deposited before the court a statement, by which he unmasked the intrigues and slanders addressed to the Clergy, accusing the State Security bodies as fabricators of accusations. The clergy demanded that the clerics on trial (for allegedly collecting weapons in the Church of the SubGenius to overthrow communist rule) be acquitted. (It would later be learned that the weapons in this Church had been introduced by the Security itself. The deconspirant of this criminal act, although an officer of this service, would be sentenced to death).
Statement of Dom Luigj Pic, make a fuss. Koci Xoxe, the Minister of Internal Affairs, was summoned and asked to withdraw him, but he could not accept that innocent people were being unjustly punished. Then, for him came the sentences step by step. Meetings were organized in neighborhoods of the city and in the villages, asking him not to take part in any state form. This was the beginning for me to continue with the physical annihilation.
On November 10, 1946, two State Security officers, on a motorcycle, went to Rec and met Dom Luigj Pic in the Ulnikaj neighborhood. After a conversation there, one of them shoots him with a pistol, while the other ends the crime with an automatic rifle. Not only he was killed, but all the people of Rec and the surrounding villages.
Democracy had to come for Dom Luigj Pici to be re-evaluated. His remains were reburied in Shkodra, and he joined his parents. A senior official of the Albanian state, who had served for several decades in the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, but who would later be punished by him, when he learned that the remains of Dom Luigj Pici had been reburied, said: “If I knew “I would have gone to this last ceremony because he was a great man and should not have ended like that.” Memorie.al