Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Qemal Stafa according to the testimonies of Riza Deliallis, originally from Shijak, who had Qemal as a classmate during the time he was in the gymnasium of Shkodra and then in Tirana, as well as in Elbasan where Qemali went as a delegate from Tirana to organize the communist movement and to bring the communist literature to the group that had been formed in the city where he was born. The rare testimonies of Qemali’s classmate about his close friends and acquaintances as well as the attitude he held in the trial that took place in Tirana against the 73 defendants in February 1939, who were accused of subversive communist activities, where from only Qemali admitted that he was a communist and Rizai was the only one who was released from the courtroom, as innocent!
May 5 marks the 78th anniversary of the assassination of Qemal Stafa, one of the most famous and famous communists of the war period in Albania, a day which in his honor was proclaimed and commemorated symbolically as “Martyrs’ Day”. Regarding that distant event of 1942, when the young communist boy Qemal Stafa, was killed in unknown circumstances somewhere in a suburb of Tirana, many hypotheses and doubts have been thrown, which have not been clarified and clarified even today. of this day. Which were made public only after 1990, when the communist regime in Albania collapsed and various people, up to those who were with Qemali in the last moments of his assassination, have given their versions and versions related to that event., trying to shed some light on the great enigma…?! One of those who has known Qemal Stafa closely is Riza Xheladin Deliallisi, from the city of Shijak, one of his closest friends and comrades since school time in the high schools of Shkodra and Tirana, as well as in prison, i the only surviving of the 73 defendants who appeared at the famous trial in February 1939, who recently told us all the unknown aspects of that trial that never became public during the years of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, or worse was manipulated by the official propaganda and historiography of that time.
Mr. Riza, in short, what is your origin and when did you first meet Qemal Stafa?
My origin is here, in the city of Shijak, where our Delialli tribe has lived for many generations, where I was born on February 3, 1920. My first acquaintance with Qemal Stafa originated in 1934, when both we continued our lessons in the classical gymnasium of the city of Shkodra. In that year I was in the third grade of high school, while Qemali was two years before me, in the fifth grade.
Why did you choose that city to continue your high school, when you were closer to Tirana?
In those years when I had to attend high school, my family was not in a good financial position and because of that I was in danger of being left without school. But fortunately, at that time came to us here in Shijak, Shefqet Bekteshi, who was the son of my father’s aunt, Xheladin Deliallis. Shefqet at that time lived in the city of Shkodra and begged my father to take me with him to continue his studies in the gymnasium of Shkodra. And so, it happened, I continued high school in that city and slept in a room with my cousin, Emin Bekteshi (Shefqet’s son), who was three years older than me.
Your friendship with Qemal Stafa in the city of Shkodra consisted only during school, or even more?
I met Qemali and stayed for hours not only at school, but also in my free time, as he often came to the family of Shefqet Bekteshi, with whom the family of his father, Colonel Hasan Stafa, had a great friendship… This friendship and this close connection between the two families had been established since the beginning of the ‘30s of the Zog Monarchy, when Hasan resided in that city, serving as the head of the Recruitment Office of the Shkodra Region. As I said above, Qemali often came to the Bekteshi house with his sisters, who also had friendships with the daughters of that family, like Emine, and others, whose name I cannot remember now.
Besides you, who were Qemali’s other closest friends in the city of Shkodra, so what was your close social circle at school and after it?
Qemali was a very loving, polite and very communicative boy with the society and because of this he had an extended social circle. But among his closest friends was Qemal Draçini. Likewise, one of Qemali’s other close friends was Ndoc Mazi, whom I had as a classmate.
Did your friendship with Qemal Stafa continue even after his departure from the city of Shkodra?
My friendship with Qemali continued again in the following years, as I also left the city of Shkodra and came to attend classes in the gymnasium of Tirana. Although Qemali was two classes above me, we maintained company and met often even after leisure time. Our social circle also included many students who later made a name for themselves in the fields where they studied, or the professions they chose in life. Among them I can mention: the famous doctors Maksut Dërrasa, Petrit Selenica, Qazim Bakalli, or the famous actor, “People’s Artist”, Sander Prosi, whom I had classmates in the high school of Tirana. Although in 1937 I left the Tirana Gymnasium to attend the Normal School of Elbasan, the occasion brought me to maintain the friendship and meet again with Qemal Stafa, when he came to that city to spread communist ideas and to made propaganda to the communist youth group of that city where I was also a part.
What was that communist group, who did it consist of and who led it?
As in some other cities of Albania such as: Shkodër, Korçë, Tirana, Gjirokastër and some others, in the mid-30s in the city of Elbasan had entered and propagated communist ideas, which were initially embraced by young people of schools and ordinary workers. Our communist group in Elbasan was led by Riza Tola, who worked as a shoemaker and was much older than us. In that “Communist Group”, as we considered at that time, were students of Normal and some simple workers such as: Abdyl Myzyri, Suhbi Dedej, Kiço Kasapi, Mihallaq Gjinikasi, etc. At Riza Tola’s shoemaking, we young communists of that group often gathered and held various meetings and conversations about communist ideas, or we exchanged books and that little literature with communist content and ideas that we could have obtained at that time from various sources.
Who introduced you to communist ideas for the first time and who introduced you to that communist group?
For the first time, my classmate, Abdyl Myzyri, spoke to me about communist ideas, in whose house I lived during the years I attended classes at the “Normal” School in Elbasan. I slept in a room with Abdyl and during the long conversations we had together in our free time, he also talked to me about communism, giving me the relevant literature, which was banned at the time. Likewise, it was Abdyl who introduced me to the communist group of Elbasan, which as I said above, was led by Riza Tola. Rizai received instructions and instructions from Qemal Stafa, who came from Tirana and held meetings with our communist group in that city.
Did Qemali often come to the city of Elbasan and how do you remember those meetings he had with you?
Qemali often came to the city of Elbasan, as he was born and lived there for several years with his family. Every time Qemali came to Elbasan, according to the orders and instructions previously given to us by the leader of our group, Riza Tola, we would gather at the bar where he had his shoes and there we would meet with Qemal Stafa. Our group consisted of about 15 people and Qemali and Abdyl Myzyr talked to us about communist ideas, where among other things Qemali told us: “Only communism will be able to overthrow the old capitalist order and save the Albanian people from the suffering where it has brought it Zog’s regime “. From the first meeting, Qemali met me warmly and told the friends of the group that we were both old friends from the time we continued high school in the city of Shkodra. In addition to propaganda, Qemali also brought us communist literature from Tirana and gave us the necessary instructions on how to preserve and distribute them to our highly trusted sympathizers. Among his main messages were: the expansion of the group and the preservation of the conspiracy, as both our group and Qemali were personally under the constant surveillance of the Zog gendarmerie. Based on this fact, ie for fear of persecution, Qemali returned during the day to Tirana and rarely slept in the city of Elbasan.
How long did your group meetings with Qemal Stafa last in the city of Elbasan?
Our group meetings with Qemali continued regularly, if I am not mistaken, until September 1938, when our group was arrested by the people of Zogu gendarmerie who, as I said, had been following us for a long time.
How do you remember your arrest and who was the first to be arrested by your group in Elbasan?
My arrest came after the arrest of my first close friend, Abdyl Myzyri, whom Zog’s gendarmes went and captured at his house. After his arrest, Abdyl was severely beaten by the investigator and he was forced to tell almost all of our group members. So, the gendarmes did not find it very difficult to identify us as members of that communist group and immediately came to arrest us all. As soon as I learned that Abdyl had been arrested, I immediately went to his house and took the two books, “The Communist Manifesto” and “Economic Development”, which were banned because they had communist content. A few minutes after I left from there to hide the books, the gendarmes came there along with Abdyl, to do a house search. They asked for the two books that Abdyl had told us we kept at home, but his mother, Mam Hajria (as we called her), told them: “Do not check in vain, those books came and Rizai took them.”
But after that, were they caught?
They came to me and found me in the Agricultural Work course, which we were conducting somewhere not far from the school, with our teacher Vasil Stralla. When the three gendarmes and a civilian who accompanied them came to handcuff me, our teacher, Vasili, told them: “I will never allow you to take my student, whatever he has done. I will take him and I will deliver it to the school and if you want to eat it, take it there after talking to the school principal “. And so, it happened, the gendarmes came after us and arrested me in the school directorate, after presenting to the principal the arrest warrant signed by the commander of the Elbasan Gendarmerie, Major Gjush Deda. After I was arrested, I was taken to the investigator, where I was interrogated by the commander of the Elbasan Gendarmerie, Major Gjush Deda.
In the investigator, you were also asked about Qemal Stafa?
There they asked me about our group, how many people it consisted of, who the chairman was, how many meetings we held, what we talked about there, who came from Tirana, what instructions they gave us and other questions of this nature. They ask me more about Qemali, saying: “How many times did Qemali come to Elbasan, who did he meet, what did he tell you, what were the instructions and directives he gave them?”, Etc., etc. Based on what they told me, I realized that Qemali had also been arrested in Tirana, which was true, as we met in Tirana Prison (today Prison 313 near the Central State Archive).
Apart from you and Abdyl Myzyri, who else was arrested from your group in Elbasan?
Initially, all members of our group were arrested, such as: Riza Tola, Subdi Dedej, Kiço Kasapi, Mihallaq Gjinikasi, etc., but then Kiço (in the ’80s Kiço Kasapi served as Secretary General of the Council of Ministers in Tirana. Our note) and Mihallaqi, released for lack of evidence. While the rest of us, after being held for three or four weeks in the Elbasan investigation, were sent to Tirana.
During the time you were detained in the Elbasan investigation, were you tortured?
Yes, they tortured us a little, but not like in the time of communism, as I was arrested and kept in a cell in 1948, but it cannot be compared to that of Zog’s time with that of Enver Hoxha, in terms of treatment in prison.
When you were taken to Tirana Prison, who else did you find there who were known as communists and under what conditions were you held?
In Tirana Prison, at the time I was sent there, sometime in October 1938, there were 73 people accused of communist activities, who had been arrested by the Zog regime in several major cities in Albania. Among them were the main leaders of the communist groups of Shkodra, Korça and Tirana, etc., such as: Zef Mala, Niko Xoxi, Qemal Stafa, Miha Lako, Vasil Shanto, Vojo Kushi, Sadik Staveleci, Riza Tola, etc. We, the 73 people who had been arrested on charges of communist activities, had placed us in a large and special corridor, creating very good conditions for us. From the first day they gave us: clothes, sheets, blankets, new pillows and the food they gave us was extremely good and plentiful. The prison authorities told us that King Zog himself had given the order to create those conditions, who was said to be directly interested every day in conducting investigations there. Until the day we went to court, we were not allowed to meet with our families, but the family members were quite calm, as not only were we in good condition, but no one touched us with their hand during all the time we were there.
From your group of 73 people, who was considered and considered the most dangerous communist, both by you and the authorities of the Zog regime?
The leader of the group was undoubtedly Zef Mala, and after him came Vojo Kushi, Qemal Stafa, Qemal Draçini, Ndoc Mazi, etc. But Qemal Stafa had the greatest authority, because at that time it was said that after his arrest, Zef Mala had shown all the members of the group.
Did you personally meet Qemali while you were in prison and who were your closest friends who accompanied Qemal Stafa there?
I met Qemali the first day they sent me to that prison, because as I said, we had been placed in a big corridor. The closest friend with whom Kemal was associated almost all the time was Tuk Jakova. Likewise, apart from Tuk, who was an extraordinary man and enjoyed the respect of all, Qemali was also associated with Vasil Shanton, Sadik Stavelec and others.
Was there communist propaganda in prison and the main leaders like Qemal Stafa, Zef Mala, Vojo Kushi, Sadik Staveleci, etc., did they have contradictions with each other?
During our stay in prison there was no communist propaganda, as we were under surveillance, but Qemal Stafa and others instructed us and gave us courage for the position we had to take both during the interrogation of the investigator and when we went to court.
How many were you convicted of?
I was able to escape unpunished and be released immediately after sentencing, only after Kadri Kërçik (my aunt’s son) intervened with the presiding judge, Abedin Xhiku, whom he had a friend. After the verdicts were handed down, I was told: “Take your clothes and go immediately to your aunt in Tirana.” While all the other convicts were sent to Mbreshtan in Berat, to a labor camp, from where they were all released. a few days later, when fascist Italy entered Albania.
But after you were released, did you engage in communist activities?
Not only was I not taken, but I found it difficult to resume school, which I had dropped out of due to arrest, as I was a communist and was not accepted into the school. My friend Suhbi Dedej and I were able to resume school only after an order given by the mayor of Elbasan, Ahmmet Hastopalli. He called us to the office and said, “You are not communists, you are good boys and you have been confused in vain. Go to school now and learn well.” After that, not only did we resume school, but we also got the class.
But after 1945, what did you do and how did your life go?
After 1945 I was appointed a teacher in the Shijak area, where I worked until 1948, when I was arrested for anti-communist activities. But after a few months I was acquitted, given the compensation money and appointed a teacher in Maminas. On one of those days, Enver Hoxha came to visit, as the collectivization of agriculture would take place. Enver also came to check on our school, where he praised me for a good job. After that, I was appointed school director in Xhafzotaj, where I worked for 20 years until 1968. Then I was brought to Shijak, where I retired in 1975.
What about the Communist Party (and later the ALP) did you try to be accepted as a member of it and were you invited on anniversary occasions to talk about Qemal Stafa and the famous trial where he was convicted?
Not only did I not try to get accepted into the Communist Party, but even if I did I was not accepted, as my uncles were shot by that regime, being accused of being enemies of that power. As for Qemal Stafa and the trial against us, I was never invited to speak in any case. That trial was apparently forgotten, as most of those who were there and received light sentences from the Zog regime were later declared “traitors and enemies” by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, and so on. ‘more could be said about them./Memorie.al