Memorie.al / The secret file of the UDB, the Yugoslav Secret Service, in the years 1944-1953. This file includes detailed information on Albanian groups operating in Italy, Greece, Austria, Germany, France, England, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. The UDB file describes the Albanian emigration as having a political character, mainly during the First World War, especially with the emergence of the Frashëri brothers, Ismail Qemal Vlora, Mihal Gramenos, Çerçiz Topulli and other brave men of the Albanian nation. Who fought against foreign invaders? “Even during the time of Zog’s rule, from 1924, the Albanians continued the political struggle abroad against Zog”, continues the report of the Yugoslav secret service. It says that Fan Noli, then head of the Albanian government, escaped together with his friends, first to Austria and later to the United States, where he settled in Boston.
Continues from last issue
The National Committee “Free Albania”, which is supported by the Americans, conducts reconnaissance activities against Albania, dropping their landing groups between the air and the sea. Their intelligence activity in Albania is especially noticeable starting from 1949. Until now they have launched a large number of groups, some of which have been liquidated by the State Security Service. ), while the rest managed to operate in the field, until they were forced to emigrate to Yugoslavia or Greece.
For this purpose, the Albanian leaders in emigration during the years 1940-1950, have gathered volunteers, who wish to remain in Italy, to be sent to Albania when the need arises. The most active in this propaganda was the former mayor of Zog, Hysen Selmani, who is under the supervision of the Italians.
Representatives of Albanian political parties in Rome, during 1950, visited the emigrant camps in Italy, with the aim of recruiting people from emigration to their parties. Representatives of “Balli Agrar”: Sait Kryeziu, Eqerem Telhaj and Shani Ferizaj, visited the camp near Bari and the Santa Faro camp. The monarchists also sent their delegation: Hasan Kupi, Professor Gaqo Gogo and Captain Xhemal Laçi, visited Santa Faro, Bagnoli and Pegani camps.
The Vatican shows a lot of interest in Albanian emigration. We have already emphasized that the Vatican helps the “Independent Bloc”. The Vatican authorities were engaged in the first days after the war to organize help for Albanian immigrants, especially for Catholics.
After the end of the War, the Albanian government requested the extradition of many immigrants, which caused panic among them. In this situation, the Albanian leaders in Italy held a meeting, where they decided to send a delegation to the Vatican, to intervene with the Pope so that the Albanians would not be extradited to the communist government of Enver Hoxha.
The delegation consisted of; Col. Bibë Marikaj, former minister of the Fascist Party during the occupation, Professor Vasil Andoni, former secretary of the “National Front”, Xhafer Deva, Minister of the Interior in Albania during the occupation, and Zef Pali, a professor from Shkodra. The delegation was welcomed by Father Valentini, who was a vicar near the Pope.
He promised that he would personally intervene with the Pope so that, if the Anglo-Americans did not hand over the Albanian immigrants, they should maintain a correct attitude towards the Anglo-Americans, obeying their orders. “They,” continued Father Zef Valentini, “must be presented to the English and Americans as a strong political party, which would be a powerful factor for the overthrow of the regime in Albania.”
The conversations of this delegation with Father Valentini were immediately broadcast in the camps, where they sparked discussions and a great propaganda for the activation of Albanian emigration to the West. The reputable Albanians made an effort to activate and unify the entire emigration, which would create the conditions for a better treatment of them by the Anglo-Americans, the Vatican and the government of Rome. They made connections with the English officers who had been in Albania during the war and who knew the Albanian issue.
Albanian emigration to Austria
Before the war in Austria, there was a small group of Albanian immigrants. After Zog came to power in Albania in 1924, the then president, Fan Noli, after leaving, hid for a while in Austria where he sought asylum. At that time, apart from Fan Noli and Mustafa Kruja, later Colonel Muharrem Bajraktari, Xhemal Bushati, from Shkodra, as well as some Albanians from Kosmet, were in Austria. (Kosovo and Metohija)
Immediately after arriving in Vienna, Fan Noli began to work against Zogu and for this purpose formed the organization “Committee of National Liberation”. The group of Kosovars also formed the “National Revolutionary Committee” organization. All these organisms acted independently. Later, Fan Noli moved to Moscow, from where he went to Boston (USA), where he continues to live.
After World War II, Austria served as a refuge for many Albanians. Many collaborators of the German occupier, who fled from Albania and Kosmet together with the German army, found refuge there. Among them, is Xhafer Deva, who during the time of the Germans was the vice president of the government and minister of internal affairs?
Immediately after arriving in Vienna, the authorities placed the Albanians in a camp near Salzburg, while a small part in Vienna. At that time in Salzburg, there were about 300 immigrants, whom the Americans later sent to Munich. The majority in April 1945 went to Italy and from there to other countries.
During their stay in Austria, the Anglo-Americans, with the help of some Albanian leaders who fled to the West, began to select the people they would use for their informational work in Albania. Today in Austria, there is a small number of Albanians who do not constitute any political force. It should be noted that Xhafer Deva, who stays in Vienna, from time to time goes to Rome and Istanbul, where he carries out his political affairs and contacts his people.
Xhafer Deva shows great interest in the Albanians from Kosovo and Metohia and for that purpose, he met with some people who were in Turkey during 1953, to visit their friends. He had long conversations with them, being interested in the situation in Kosmet.
UDB: This is JOHN MARKA JOHN
Born in 1889, in the famous house of Gjonmarkaj. In 1927, he took the place of his father, the son of the brother of the deceased Prenk Bibe Doda, as hereditary chief, the “Kapedan” of Mirdita, who leads five Mirdita tribes: Dibra, Fani, Kushnen, Oroshi and Spači, as well as four Bajraq of Lezha.
The House of Gjomarkaj has for centuries led the resistance of the Albanian tribes, in the mountains of Northern Albania, against Turkish oppression and Islam. Their tower in Orosh has been a symbol of this war. Gjon Marka Gjoni, during the First World War and after it, was with the Serbs, but then he gave allegiance to Zog, who appointed him a colonel in the reserve.
During the occupation, the Italians gave him the title of “Prince”, making him a Senator of the Kingdom of Italy: on this occasion, a large ceremonial reception was organized in Rome by Mussolini. They also gave a high post to his son, Mark Gjon Markaj, making him a minister in the Quisling government.
Under the Germans, Gjon Marka Gjoni was one of the initiators of the “Shkodra Connection”, which gathered the heads of the tribes of the Northern Albanians, in the war against the National Liberation Army, as well as for the defense of the line of retreat of the Germans.
His son, Mark Gjon Markaj, fought even after the liberation of Albania, at the head of some remaining nationalist groups against the National Liberation Army in the region of Fan, in Mirdita, where he was killed. The other son, Aleksandri, continued the fight against the National Liberation Army and in April 1946, together with his group, attacked the mountain near Munella, causing great losses. Later he also commits suicide. His third son, Ndue, fled with his father to Italy.
John Marka John now lives in Rome. It belongs to the “Independent National Bloc”. Ideological leaders of the “Independent Bloc” are Ernest Koliqi, Ismail Verlaci, Kolë Bibe Mirakaj and Ndue Gjomarkaj. Together with Gjon Marka Gjon, they decide on the policy and positions of the “Block”.
In July 1949, the English colonel Maclin, who during the war, was the head of the military mission to the leaders of the nationalist guerrillas in Albania, came to Rome in order to work on the creation of a common political body, which would to represent all immigrant groups in the West. Gjon Marka Gjoni was also present at the conference called by him, from the representatives of various political parties.
Gjon Marka Gjoni, his son Ndue and another Ndue, his brother’s son, praise our government and Comrade Tito, emphasizing the hospitality shown to Albanian immigrants and add that Albania will know how to appreciate this hospitality.
John Mark John, with his son, Nduen, have many friends in the Vatican. Many of these friendships stem from the time when John Mark John, as the head of the Catholic tribes of Northern Albania, had close ties with the Catholic Church.
Gjon Marka Gjoni has a great influence on the people of Northern Albania and like him, his house, is known throughout Albania. His influence has recently increased, because his own people have been in contact with the people of those tribes, helping the people’s resistance against Enver Hoxha’s regime.
Letter from Gjon Marka Gjon, captain of Mirdita, sent to Mark Arapi, immigrant in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
Rome, May 1952
My dear friend Mark Arapi
I hope you and your friends are healthy. We are not bad either. To be honest, I’m starting to get bored. I am more concerned about Albania’s problems and I don’t know how long this will last. We must give everything of ourselves, and blessed is he who endures to the end.
We are worried by promises and words, which are repeated over and over again that; Albania will soon be freed from the regime of Enver Hoxha, Mehmet Shehu and their clique, but the current situation shows that this cannot be achieved in a short time.
But leave this work; this matter is not in our hands. We remained with our eyes and ears open, watching, listening, and waiting from every side for someone to have mercy on poor Albania and its people who are suffering from the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha and his friends. Our people today, remove the same sufferings that Jesus Christ removed on Golgotha.
Dear Arab, we immigrants who are in these countries, as I know, are divided into many groups and parties, in other words, we are spiritually broken and shattered, although we are trying to unite. May God grant us this wish!
Believe me that for now, the “Independent National Bloc” is the soundest party, which works with flesh and soul and strives for the general good of the Albanian people and not for personal interests, as some work.
I am extremely happy that all you immigrants in Yugoslavia are united and do not forget that these immigrants have the best intentions for the happiness of the Albanian people and that from you we expect the liberation of Albania from the regime of Enver and Mehmet and the clique theirs. What would happen to our liberation, if you did not follow this path, since there is no other path?
Now let’s leave this conversation. It’s been a while since I wrote to you; please don’t be angry with me. There was no other reason than that I was bored and not having fun. I was happy when you, Nikola and Ndue Pjetri, wrote to me that you are in good health and safe. I’m glad you’re together. I’m very worried, because it’s been a long time since I’ve had any news from Albania, so I’m asking you, if you learn something, to inform me.
Peter and his friends have not yet returned. Maybe he couldn’t or didn’t want to, but I only pray to God that he is healthy and good. Please write to me and tell me the truth, how are you living and what efforts are you making?! Is there anyone else among you who have drawn his sword? Write to me about each one separately, because I want to know.
I have nothing else to write to you, but I pray to God that you are healthy and well. Write to me more often, don’t be lazy, you young people, because I am sure that you are still capable and your hand works./Memorie.al
I greet you warmly.
Beloved and unforgettable captain, Gjon M. Gjoni, d.v.
The next issue follows