Memorie.al publishes the correspondence with the denigrating letter of Enver Hoxha of December 1969, to the prominent linguist, albanologist and academic, Professor Eqerem Çabej, who had received an official invitation to give Albanian language lectures at the University of Vienna. But Enver categorically refuses and writes to Ramiz Alia: “He is exaggerating by going out. And today he is writing to me. I think another younger and neater can be sent. “It does not always make sense.”
They were from the same city and peers. They had studied at the same school in their hometown of Gjirokastra and then separated to meet again after several decades, but in completely different positions; Eqerem Çabej as professor of Albanian language, while Enver Hoxha as politician and head of the Albanian State. But in addition, they also differed in their schooling and intellectual training, as Çabej had graduated from the schools and universities of Graz and Vienna in Austria, while Enver had not been able to obtain a degree, and had even attended lectures for only six months in Montpelier of France and since he could not pass any exam, he was expelled from the university. So, after 1944, they continued on the roads and directions that life or chance had brought them …?! Even excelling and highlighting both, one in albanological sciences and the other as a politician …?! But while Enver was struggling with writing …, Çabej never had any ambition to become a politician. As early as 1942 he had refused to take the portfolio of Minister of Education and after 1944, he refused to even become an MP or take any other post like many of his colleagues coming from Western universities. But Enver, from time to time, called his old friend to “debate” on issues of linguistics and albanology, as he felt that he lacked the “suit” of the academic. Nexhmije Hoxha has written at length about the “great” friendship between Enver and Çabej in one of her memoirs (“My life with Enver”), where she mentions, among other things, all the honors that her husband’s, has done to the honored professor, taking him abroad several times for treatment, even until his last trip to Rome, from where he never returned to this life …?! But contrary to what Nexhmije Hoxha writes, some archival documents speak that date back to the distant year 1969, where Enver did not allow Çabej to go to Austria to give lectures after a series of invitations that came to him from his colleagues, academics with world fame. So, these documents that see the light of publication for the first time, show best, “their close friendship” and how much Enver loved and respected the prominent professor, Eqerem Çabej …?!
INSTITUTE FOR GENERAL AND INDO-EUROPEAN LINGUISTICS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA Vienna on 7.11.1969
Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring!
Mr. Professor Eqerem Çabej
Qemal Stafa Street 395/12
Tirana Albania during the summer semester 1970 as a visiting professor.
Very respected colleague Çabej
The Institute of Comparative Linguistics of the University of Vienna would like to urgently repeat his invitation to give lectures as a visiting professor of Albanian linguistics at our Institute. This activity would be a very essential enrichment of our linguistic formation, since we, in the absence of a suitable professorial power, have not been able to cultivate Albanian sufficiently for a long time, so much so that it was important for a famous albanologist world to give lectures in that semester at our university.
I refer in the meantime especially to an ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Education of (Austria) line 128,389. 1.4.1969, dated 11 October 1969 regarding the cultural and scientific cooperation with Albania. According to this ordinance, based on the cultural agreement with your country and with the will of Albania, there is a special interest to exchange scientists in some fields of Albanian studies, on the basis of reciprocity. It would therefore be especially desirable for you to accept our invitation to the summer seminar.
With the expression of collegial respect.
I remain yours with many honors
Prof. i Iniv. Dr. Manfred Mayrofer
President of the Institute for General Indo-European Linguistics
Today in the apparatus of the Central Committee, prof. Eqerem Çabej to refer to Comrade Enver, the issue that in the spring of this year the Rectorate of the State University of Tirana received an invitation from the University of Vienna, by which Eqeremi is invited to give lectures on the Albanian language during the summer semester in 1970. The University of Vienna personally notified Eqerem of this invitation.
Recently, the same invitation has been repeated. (He presented the invitation and its copy to the camera).
He says he does not know what has been done about this issue by the University Rectorate, that the problem is urgent, as the answer is required by the end of November. If the invitation should be rejected, he stressed, he agrees to give a negative answer, but added that going there to give lectures in Albanian is in the best interest of the Homeland. Eqeremi expressed the desire to meet with Comrade Enver himself.
11/22/1969. Informed sh. Shpresa Kroi on this issue
(Note by Enver Hoxha)
This one is overdoing it with going out. And today he is writing to me. I think another younger and neater can be sent. Not always because it makes no sense.
Telegram of Eqerem Çabej (Card)
Please give me a brief appointment with Comrade Enver for a very urgent job. Eqerem Çabej. Qemal Stafa Street 395/12
After the message of Comrade Enver given to Comrade Ramiz a few days ago to see the possibility of sending to Vienna a new lecturer, who will be able to give Albanian language lectures, Eqerem Çabej was interested to know the completion of the request that addressed Comrade Enver.
Comrade Ramiz instructed us that when Eqeremi came, to tell him that Comrade Enver had sent his request to the competent state bodies and that he would receive a response from the Rectorate of the University.
Eqeremi sent the telegram attached to Comrade Enver yesterday with the request to schedule a short meeting for a very urgent job. Apparently ay is not happy that another new cadre will be sent to Vienna and not him.
Note by Enver Hoxha:
I recommended this issue to Ramiz so that he would not enter me “from the window”, let Ramiz solve it himself.
I talked to my friends Androkli Kostallari and Eqerem Çabej
Nexhmija’s memories in the book “My life with Enver”
Nexhmija: “Enver has done the impossible for Prof. Çabej “
“Prof. Eqerem Çabej and Enver Hoxha, without question are the two most prominent sons who were born in Gjirokastra at the beginning of the 20th century and have placed them in the pantheon of their most honored sons, from the Rilindas to those who fought for Albania’s independence from the five-century Ottoman yoke as well as those who fought for the liberation of the homeland from the new invaders, the Italian-German Nazis. The two boys from Gjirokastra, as great Albanian patriots, one as a politician and the other as a scholar, are not only the pride of the people of this area, but also of the whole of Albania and the Albanian nation, for which they were given to them. The Albanian state was silent and ignored these two marked events, these two prominent personalities in the political and cultural reality of the country, such as Enver Hoxha and prof. Eqerem Çabej, but their friends, colleagues, friends, as in Gjirokastra, as in Tirana, in Albania, in Kosovo and wherever Albanians live, commemorated and honored them with dignity for the war and the half-century work they did, one in the way of freedom and independence, the other in the path of knowledge and science. Likewise, in the world, where there are benefactors of Albania and Enver, on the one hand, as well as on the other hand, collaborators and admirers, albanologists of our scientist, prof. Eqerem Çabejt, meetings were organized and articles were written. In all these activities, everyone had a total commitment from their own family. Although Enver and Çabej were not seen often, each obsessed with work, several times turned to each other and communicated constantly as friends. When work began on publishing Enver’s works, the editorial board fell into disarray, as, for example, in the writings of the first two volumes, which belonged to the wartime period, Enver mixed the two dialects, doing so consciously, deliberately to emphasize that the writing, the treatise, the call for war and freedom was addressed to all the people in the South and in the North.
When we told this preoccupation to Enver, as the author he was, he did not rush to answer, but turned to Çabej, to whom he posed the problem and asked: “How do you say we should unify them?”.
“The scientist did not answer; the writings preserve the originality of the time when they were created …”.
Then came the turn of later works, especially memoirs, where Enver did not stop at writing and, while rushing to throw them on paper, did not spare but used many words and expressions from all French. We suggested to Enver to translate some of them into Albanian. He told us again: “I will take Çabej’s opinion …!”.
And the prominent linguist of the Albanian language said to Enver: “No, there is no need, it is better to preserve the color of your language in speaking and writing, especially when it comes to personal writing, such as memories, diaries, etc. ”
Thus, when it came to editing in this regard and he was not convinced of their need, Enver told us: “I have permission from Eqerem Çabej …”. And with that he closed our mouths. This shows the trust he had in his scientist friend and how much he valued him. Eqrem Çabej also had faith in Enver’s sincere friendship. When his son fell ill, he turned to Enver, asking him to send him to Vienna for examination, and he went alone without being accompanied by any other person, as was the rule. Likewise, when he had the misfortune to get sick himself, he again turned to Enver to help him go for check-up and treatment abroad. He was sent more than once to Italy, where he underwent lung surgery. Enver was even personally interested in the health of his linguistic friend, which can be seen in the radiogram that he sent to our embassy in Italy on December 29, 1979, where it is said: “To be transmitted by you to Professor Eqrem Çabej as follows “I wish you from the bottom of my heart a happy and joyful year. I wish you a speedy recovery and that you will return to us in full health.” But only after 6 months, when Enver wished his friend a speedy recovery, on August 1, 1980 when we were in Pogradec for vacation, Enver’s personal secretary informed us that he had called Eqrem Çabej and asked to be sent for the third time in Italy, as he feels very bad from the operation he had done on his lungs. Enver, affected by the health condition of his friend, ordered me to call the Minister of Health, Llambi Ziçishti and tell him to start immediately, although there was no hope. Sad Enver told me: “We are losing a man with special scientific values in the field of linguistics.” On August 14, Ramiz Alia called us and informed us about the death of Eqrem Çabej. Enver wrote a telegram to the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences and a telegram to his wife, Shyhret. I also telegraphed her condolences. This bitter news made Enver close in on a long silence, which I respected, thinking that he, surely, was experiencing memories with his precious friend. During this silence, I remembered a telephone conversation that Enver had with Eqrem back in 1978, if I am not mistaken. One night, after dinner with the kids, we went up to the studio. The day before Enver had one of his heart attacks and the doctors had recommended him to rest and not go to the office. These obstacles created in him a bad mood, he did not tolerate apathy and detachment from the jobs that awaited him. Even tonight he was silent, thoughtful, sitting at his desk, when he suddenly said to me: “I will call Eqrem”. – “Which Eqrem?” I asked. – “Çabejn” – he answered me. “Isn’t it too late?” I remarked. And he picked up the phone and when the line gave the signal, he started the conversation: said his friend on the other end of the wire, but I could see that Enver was crying, as he used to do when he was excited. He continued to say: “I, as usual, have a lot of work to do and I still feel lonely … it makes you old, Mo Eqrem.” I had never heard Enver speak such a language, so longing, so social closeness, even with a certain feeling of sadness, probably also because in those days it was also impossible. In the end Enver told him: “I would like to meet. Looking forward to a day when you have free time. “Keep your personal phone number and take me whenever you want.” But unfortunately, it did not take long and Prof. Çabej became seriously ill and the two friends could not meet again to get upset “. /Memorie.al