By Aleksandr Ndoja
The third part
– An unusual confession by Mihal Pumo, about his life in Mirdita, after he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in political prison, his mother, Nina Pumo, professor of the University of Tirana…! –
Memorie.al / It was September 1977, when I started the fifth grade in the town of Rrëshen. We had a tutor teacher, Jolanda Bajramin, language and literature teacher. Most of the students were local, from the city and villages in the area where there were no 8-year schools. But some of the students from the city came from other areas of the country, whose parents had come to Rrëshen with different jobs, such as doctors, agronomists, engineers, teachers, policemen, etc. In my class there were also two boys, one of whose parents was of foreign nationality, but whom the communist regime had declared “enemies of the people” and had arrested. They were my classmates, Mihal Pumo with a Russian mother, and Orest Kalaj, with a Greek father. Both were orphans, with living parents, but in prison!
Continues from last issue
Mihal, what about your father Muntazi, where he worked after the fall of communism and the Pumo family, is it already united?
The father did not work in Moscow, but now he enjoys a regular pension here, and this is not a privilege, but a right of every resident of Russia. This May 22, my parents have been married for 64 years. They are a real pride for me, as a symbol of endurance and love, bravery and selflessness!
From what have you talked with your parents, how did they meet each other in Russia and do they have any opinion today, who prepared their ordeal, prison, exile?
They were both students of “Plehanov” University and met during a dance evening. The father was sent by the Albanian state to complete his higher studies in Moscow. After they met, the parents got married and in 1958, the father returned to Albania and the mother went with her lover, (my father) to the hell that she had never imagined…! Our ordeal was prepared by that “dog” who prepared the ordeal for the entire Albanian people.
Who do you blame for these events so severe for your family?
I believe this is a rhetorical question…! The strangest thing is, a feeling I experienced sometime in 1990, before I left Albania for the Soviet Union…! I was hanging out with my friends in New Tirana, when during the big break of the high school “Petro Nini Luarasi”, the niece of the executioner Enver Hoxha, Valbona, a very beautiful and elegant ezmer girl at that time, passed by…!
At that time, some guys started insulting him with the worst words that even I, as a man, had a hard time listening to…! Since I was with my friends, I intervened by telling these guys that you can’t be brave with women…! I felt very sorry for him… wasn’t this the right person, to whom one should vent his anger and anger…? Stockholm syndrome? No! Simply, we were and remained human, while her grandfather was a monster!
How do you remember the teachers you had over the years in Tirana and Mirdita, for example, our common teacher, Jolanda Bajram?
I have in my memory a very dear and unforgettable teacher for me at the primary school in Tirana, Eleonora Prifti. She loved me very much and I used to go to school and learn with great joy. She was a rare woman. Maybe I remember it and remember it well because of the fact that those were three years when I was just a happy child…!
I also remember Jolanda in Rrëshen with the greatest love. She remains one of my favorite teachers! She was always very kind and very kind, not only to me, but to all the students. Moreover, she was well prepared in her subject, Language-Literature.
What do you remember about teacher Jolanda?
I also remember and never forget a written exam in mathematics, when for missing a comma; I was given a grade 9, without any other mistakes…! I was used to the fact that teachers often gave me grades lower than I deserved, especially in high school. I was clear why this was done…!
There were plenty of honest teachers who were not influenced by the biographies of the students, but there were also those who blindly followed the directives given from above. As I fondly remember my best friend, Orest. My mother, Muzoja, treated me as her own son, as did his aunt, Dysho. Wonderful and long-suffering people. I am eternally grateful. We were connected by the “excellent” biography and the hatred for that regime.
And of those who had biography problems as well as your family at that time, who were you friends with and how do you remember them now?
At that time, we had the honor of speaking often with a magnificent woman, as Musine Kokalari was. How I remember her room now, with the library of books on all the walls, a desk with a bust of Luigi Pirandello. She always advised us to read as much as possible. Of course, he also read constantly. As long as she was alive, no one came to see her and she died abandoned and lonely.
After her death, at once some cousins were found there from Kavaja, if I’m not mistaken, they took all her books…! To continue further, I better remember many high school teachers, where undoubtedly the most loved ones for me were: Fatos Bejko, Merita Pelo, Vitore Leli, Pavël Dhimitri, Dardanesha Andoni, Lume Meta and of course, Ndue Gega, a phenomenal teacher, with a very sharp sense of humor, provided that the day before, he had not lost his “Vllaznia” in football.
What about cases of provocations, or that you were endangered, did you have during the school period?
In high school, there were also various vicissitudes such as, a constant constant of my life…! Once someone provoked me, calling me – “revisionist and superpower…”! I gave him back – “go to countries and peoples…”! Suddenly they held a party meeting and wanted to expel me from school…!
I threw that turn and narrowly escaped, just like in another more flagrant case. I had a hobby and made model buildings with “Astra” razor boxes, attached with double lens. After building a mockup of the hotel, I needed the lettering on top. Where could I find the letters?
The simplest thing were the banners with polystyrene letters (or bread-fish, as we called them) that were used to make banners with Enver Hoxha’s quotes that were everywhere. But when I started to remove the letters, some of the class spied on me…! Imagine an “enemy” who was destroying Enver’s quotes…! After that, they immediately called the vice president of the Department of Internal Affairs, the secretary of the Party, etc.
They held several meetings and surprisingly, someone felt sorry for me, and the case was closed without arresting me. There were also less dramatic but somewhat funny cases when, in the Marxism class of teacher P.C., since it was the last hour, I listened to the Italian “Hit parade” in the last bank, with a small radio-transistor that, I carried it with me in my bag, without anyone seeing me.
This and several other teachers were very careful to give me a grade of no more than seven, which meant that, with that grade in the subject of Marxism, you could not continue higher studies. Ironically, in Moscow, in the Philosophy exam, the state commission of the prestigious university in Moscow gave me the maximum mark, 5 (ie 10, according to the Albanian scale of that time). This makes me understand that my worldview was not Marxist at all, or the absurdity of that time crossed every limit…!
Mihal, thank you for agreeing to give this interview!
I thank you for remembering those difficult times that we and almost the majority of Albanians have gone through.
The document that exiled the Pumo family to Perlat for the second time, on February 3, 1989…!
File No. 732, year 1989.
Decision no. 2, dated 3. 2. 1989 of the Central Commission of Internment and Deportations
Muntaz Pumo, born in 1933, born in Gjirokastër and resident in the city of Rrëshen, middle class, with higher education, merceologist, married, has two children, not convicted, with Albanian nationality and citizenship.
Mihail Muntaz Pumo, born in 1967, born in Tirana, resident in the city of Rrëshen, with secondary education, unemployed, single, not convicted, with Albanian nationality and citizenship.
Muntazi has been in the Soviet Union and studied Merceology.
During his studies, he married Nina Pumon, who in 1975 was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment for espionage, agitation and hostile propaganda, and in 1987, he was repatriated to the Soviet Union, together with his son, Iliri.
Muntazi has served in Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria and Cuba and when he returned, he propagated the “good” life that takes place abroad.
He said: “…Albania is like a prison, compared to other countries, when I see these government officials with ropes around their throats, I don’t take it away from you, as they have destroyed my life, punished my wife, taken me away from Tirana they brought me to Rrëshen, where I eat stone chicken…”!
His wife Nina, during the investigative process, said that she was commissioned by the Soviet Intelligence, which would receive information of a political nature through her husband, who worked at the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
In 1987, Muntazi wrote to his wife in the Soviet Union that: “…There is no need to comment and explain to us the completed action of your departure, as it was necessary and I advise you to always be optimistic that, we we will meet again…”!
He also urges his son, Mihal, to escape to the Soviet Union, telling him to be careful.
While Mihali writes to Nina: “…I think we should hold each other tight because, things have to be fixed one by one, I firmly believe that we will see each other soon, I have no reason to be pessimistic and I want you too, dear mom, to have this optimism…”!
I feel sorry for the father who will remain lonely, also the girl I know will remain a hostage to me, I will never forget her…”!
To be exiled for five years in the village of Përlat, in the district of Mirdita.
The term of internment begins on 3.2.1989 and ends on 3.2.1994.
The unity with the original is verified by the Archive System Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. /Memorie.al