Memorie.al brings the unknown story of the members of the founding meeting of the Communist Party of Albania, whom Enver Hoxha eliminated all starting from the period of the War with Anastas Lula and Sadik Premten, to continue later with Koci Xoxen, Kristo He founded Tuk Jakova, Sotir Vulkan, Ramadan Çitaku and Koço Tashko. The only ones who escaped punishment were Pilo Peristeri who was left in the position of Director of the Tractor Plant and Sinan Hasani, who during the war was sent on a mission to Kosovo from where he never returned and after Tito’s death, he reached the post. of the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia…
79 years ago, on November 8, 1941, some members of the communist groups of Shkodra, Korça and Tirana, which had been operating illegally since the mid-1930s, gathered in a Tirana house and announced the creation of Albanian Communist Party. A few months later, Enver Hoxha became the leader of that party, who ruled Albania with an iron fist for almost 45 years, installing here one of the wildest dictatorships of the Stalinist model. The iron hand of Enver, who throughout the period of his despotic rule filled Albania with camps and prisons for political opponents, did not escape even those who had founded the Communist Party and had brought it to its helm. Who was the man who made the first attempts to create the Communist Party in Albania, who were those who participated in the founding meeting of November 8, 1941 and how did Enver Hoxha eliminate them all, by executing, imprisoning or exiling them?
Koço Tashko: I took Enver because we needed a Muslim
One of the people who first tried to create a Communist Party in Albania, was Zef Mala, who in the mid-30s, led the Communist Group of Shkodra. In July 1939, he convened a group of communists and announced the creation of a communist party. Following the exile of Zef Malë in Ventotene, Italy, his comrades lost contact with him due to the inability to communicate. This led to the complete dissolution of his party. Regarding the existence of this party, Koço Tashko testified: “When I went to Italy to ask for help from my Italian comrades to mediate the founding of the party, they did not wait for me at all. Maybe they knew Zef Malë’s Communist Party, founded in July 1939. “After Koço Tashko could not get the help of the Italian communists, he went to Yugoslavia and asked them to do the same. The Yugoslavs suggested to him that he could do the job very well, a member of the Central Committee of the Party. Communist of Yugoslavia Miladin Popovic, who was interned by the Italians in the Peqin camp, Koço Tashko accepted their suggestion and the action for the release of Miladin was entrusted to Mustafa Gjinish and Guri Dhori, Tashko’s comrade. in Tirana at the house of Shyqëri Këllez, which was the base of the Youth Communist Group.After many talks that Tashko had with the leaders of the three groups, it was agreed that they would hold a meeting at the house of Bojka Laz which was then rented by Xhemal Cani with his wife Zylfien. Prior to the meeting, Tashko had agreed in principle with the leaders of the two groups that when discussing the creation of the Party, neither of the main leaders would be elected to the post of political secretary. Tashko testified about this: “In those days when we decided to gather the groups, it occurred to me to take Enver Hoxha in our group, whom I had arranged to work in Tirana, at the hardware store of my friend, Esat Dishnica. I had to This was done after the other friends of our group such as: Mihal Lako, Koçi Xoxe, Pilo Peristeri, and others, were in Korça preparing for the demonstration of November 7. Enver was known as an intellectual, he had been a professor at the Lyceum of Korça and had studied some time in France.He was also of mouth and pen, he had an appearance to be admired.One of the most important things I thought of taking Enver with me to that meeting was that he was of the Muslim faith, because we “The rest of us were all Orthodox. This had to be done because a Muslim had to represent all the Muslim population in Albania,” Koço Tashko testified about Enver’s participation in that meeting.
Founding meeting of the SNP
The meeting for the formation of the SNP began on the evening of November 8, 1941 and was attended by representatives of the three groups. From the Korça Group were Koço Tashko, Pilo Peristeri, Koçi Xoxe, Sotir Vulkani and Enver Hoxha. From the Shkodra Group were Qemal Stafa, Vasil Shanto, Kristo Themelko and Tuk Jakova. The youth group included Sadik Premtja, Anastas Lula, Ramadan Çitaku and Sinan Hasani. Also present were Miladin Popovic and Dusan Mugosha, for whom the three groups had agreed to act as mediators and assist them with procedural matters. In addition to the delegates with mandates, there were present and other persons without the right to vote, such as Skënder Çaçi, etc. There were also guards and many trusted persons commanded by Ali Demi around the house. From the beginning of the meeting, the debates started, as Lula and Premtja did not agree with the proposal of the Korça Group to announce the formation of the Party once and then to discuss the problems that the groups had between them. According to the testimonies on Friday, it is said that the Youth Group had no announcement at all that the meeting would be held for the establishment of the Party, but they had gone there thinking that the meeting they had left half a few days ago at Bije’s house would continue. Voksh. After Miladin’s intervention, a vote was cast and the proposal to form the Party was won, followed by discussions. With a full vote on the evening of November 8, the establishment of the SNP was announced and the relevant resolution was drafted. About this Enver wrote in his memoirs: “It was a solemn moment and I hugged everyone. That evening I hugged Anastas and Sadik for the last time”. The meeting continued for another seven days, and Tashko was the most listened to by all, because he was the oldest communist with a mandate from the Comintern. On the last day of the meeting, the Central Committee was elected, where Qemal Stafa, Ramadan Çitaku, Koçi Xoxe, Tuk Jakova, Enver Hoxha, Gjin Marku and Kristo Themelko won. This came after Enver cunningly proposed that Tashko, Premtja and Lula be the three members of the commission that would elect the Central Committee and this was approved leaving them out of the Central Committee.
Enver was elected secretary of the SNP in March ’43
After the founding meeting, the Provisional Central Committee also assigned tasks to all members. Enver wrote about this: “In order to maintain unity, there was no election for president or secretary and we did the division of labor, where Qemali would deal with the youth, Baca (Çitaku) with finances, and I with the press and the organization of the Party”. This statement of Enver (in the book “When the Party was born”) does not stand true, because according to many testimonies, Enver was charged only with the finances of the Party. Thus, Isuf Keçi testified that he regularly handed over to Enver large sums of money that he took from Tirana traders for the Movement. According to Tashko, he insisted that no one be elected to the post of organizational secretary of the Central Committee, as that thing belonged to the Korça Group and so they called Dr. Ymer Dishica in that post. After the founding meeting the members of the Central Committee were dispersed to different districts. Gjin Marku in Berat, Themelko in Gjirokastra, Tuku in Shkodra, while Enver stayed in Tirana, where he would collect the Party finances. After November 8, 1941, Enver spent more time with Miladin at the house of Shyqëri Këllez. Regarding this, in his testimonies Memorie.al. among others, Shyqëriu said: “There in my house, Miladin called one by one all the members of the Central Committee and, among other things, asked them about the problem of Kosovo. When he asked Anastasius and Sadiku they said: ‘That problem has been solved on the basis of the Atlantic Charter since 14 August 1941 and on the basis of this charter, all peoples with plebiscites will decide who they want to join. Kosovo, being 80% Albanian, will of course join Albania. ‘ with my ears from Sadik Friday’s mouth when he said: ‘Miladin and Dusan are Serbian chauvinists.’ supported him in those debates. This coincides with the election of Enver at the head of the Tirana District, which was realized with Miladin’s proposal. Enver came to the helm of the Party in March 1943 when the SNP Conference was held in Labinot. At that meeting, Dr. Ymer Dishica, who had the largest function in the party, as organizational secretary, proposed Enver as General Secretary of the SNP, which was approved by open voting by all.
How the founders of the SNP disappeared
Ever since the November 8, 1941 meeting, Enver began cracking down on Central Committee members he saw as rivals in his fight to capture the party leader. From November of ’41 until March of ’43, when Enver was elected head of the SNP, Qemal Stafa, Vasil Shanto and Sadik Stavaleci, who were the main candidates for the head of the SNP, were killed. For these three, according to many testimonies, suspicions have been cast accusing Enver directly implicated in their murders. Also, in the March ’43 meeting where Enver was elected head of the SNP, the decision was made to expel Lula on Friday from the Central Committee of the SNP. For this, Enver charged the persons for their elimination. Regarding the murder of Anastas, Ferik Demir Çorej from Uznova of Berat, testified publicly for Memorie.al: “On March 12, 1943, a group of partisans of Ramiz Aranitas’s gang came to my house, commanded by Orhan Frashëri and a colonel They told us that that night they had shot in the neck of Glava a partisan named Anastas Lula, who had deserted from the ranks of the leadership and was cooperating with the occupier. He had been shot with a cigarette in his mouth after he shouted: ‘Long live Albania”. After Lula was shot, Enver ordered the same for Sadik Friday. But after Sadiku managed to escape the ambushes made by the partisans of Hysni Kapos in Tragjas, Enver went to Vlora himself. After that Sadiku hid and then fled Albania and lived in France. After these came the turn of Zef Malë. When he returned from exile he went to Peza, where Baba Myslymi told him: “Ik or baba mçifu in Tirana, because they want to kill you”. For this Myslymi had seen the telegram that Enver sent to Nako Spiro where it was said: “Dear Nako, Zef Mala not only should not go to Kosovo, but he should be decorated with a crescent bullet. He is not good therefore he should Find the way not to be understood, but in no way to neglect this, as Hyseni (Gogo Nushi) did with other advice we have given him, to which he will respond. Social greetings Tarasi (AQSH. P. 14, Dos 76. P 26.08.1944). After that Zef Mala hid in Tirana until the end of the war and then ended up in prisons and internments until his death in 1976 in complete misery. On Enver’s orders, Lazri, the owner of the house where the founding meeting was held on November 8, was also shot without trial.
Eliminations of the founders of the SNP after the end of the war
After the end of the war, Enver initially eliminated Koci Xoxen, accusing him of being an agent of the Yugoslavs. Koçi had the highest functions after Enver, as deputy prime minister, organizational secretary of the SNP, etc., and was shot on July 10, 1949. Then it was the turn of Kristo Themelko and Sotir Vulkan that Enver hit considering them as Xoxa’s people. Kristo was born in 1916 in the village of Vërnik i Bilishtit (shule) and had only 5 school classes. After being a captain in Zogu’s army in Milot, he was associated with the Communist Group of Shkodra. After the war he was appointed Commissar of the Third Corps in Berat with the rank of Major General, until 1947 when he was appointed Political Director of the Army. After Xoxa’s blow, Enver struck him as a Yugoslav man (he was of Macedonian origin) and appointed him Chief of Arizanat in Tirana, brigadier for shoemakers, barbers and tailors. Whereas Vulkan, who had been one of the oldest communists of the Korça Group (after Koçi Xoxes) after working as an officer in the background for some time, was degraded by Enver because he defended Koçi. Vulcan died in Tirana in 1964, a year after his son, Robert, was sentenced to 15 years in political prison for attempting to escape. Enver later eliminated Çitaku who had been with the Youth Group. After Baca remained ambassador to Belgrade for some time, Enver removed him and sent him as Deputy Minister of Finance and then to the Savings Bank. Citaku died on April 9, 1990 and at that time everyone was surprised, as they did not think that man was alive, as Baca had never left the house for years for fear of imprisonment. In 1956, Enver also eliminated Tuk Jakova (Deputy Prime Minister and Organizational Secretary of the SNP) after a Plenum meeting, he objected to the manipulation of the Party’s founding museum house with leadership figures. (Jakova died in prison and is suspected of being poisoned). In 1960, Enver eliminated Koço Tashko, accusing him of being a Soviet man. Tashko remained in prison until the age of 80 and died in exile in the Adriatic village camp near Mamurras. The only members of the SNP meeting who remained unharmed by Enver were Pilo Peristeri and Sinan Hasani. No harm came to Enver from Peristeri, and he formally left him as the candidate of the Politburo and Director of the Tractor Plant in Tirana, as Pilos’s main job was to speak at the Party anniversaries about Enver’s “genius” Hoxha. While Sinan Hasani escaped from Enver’s blow since during the war, he was assigned to work in Kosovo and never returned to Albania. He remained there and after Tito’s death became President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
In 1946, Pilo Peristeri did not give Enver the statement, saying that he had not been with the Korça Group.
Of all the participants in the founding meeting of November 8, 1941, only Pilo Peristeri managed to escape the blow of Enver Hoxha, resisting until the fall of the communist regime. But even he had not been able to escape “without getting wet”, having paid the tribute in the first years after the war. Sometime around 1946, when Enver Hoxha had not yet consolidated his iron power in the Party as happened later, he sent people to Pilo Perister, to ask for a statement where Pilo testified that Enver had been participant of the Communist Group of Korça since the late ’30s. But Pilo Peristeri told the people who went to ask for his statement, that he could not give it to them, since Enver had not been with the Communist Group of Korça. After that, Enver sent Pilos to one of his closest people, but he also responded negatively to Pilo, saying: “No, I will not lie to you, Enver was not with the Korça Group”. After Enver failed a second attempt with Pilon, he sent people to take the statement to Sotir Vulcan, but Sotir also refused to give that statement, giving the same answer as Peristeri. After that, Enver retaliated against the Peristeri of the Volcano by dismissing them from the functions they held. Sotir Vulkan was allegedly arrested for illegal possession of weapons and in the years that followed he was arrested and imprisoned for years and his son. But Enver had the biggest anger with Pilo, whom he initially sent to Kuçova, which caused him a big family problem. Pilo stayed in Kuçova until he agreed to give the statement about Enver and after that he was rehabilitated and brought back to Tirana./Memorie.al