Nazmi Berisha (Dyzi)
The fourth part
Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Nazmi Berisha, originally from the village of Llap in the Municipality of Podujeva in Kosovo, who was seduced by the propaganda of the communist regime and the programs provided by Radio Tirana for “socialist prosperity” and escaping the rank-and-file methods of the Titoist regime, in 1960, he decided to flee and came to Albania, crossing the Buna River by swimming in the great cold of that harsh winter. The rare testimonies of Nazmi Berisha, how he was received in his homeland, where the soldiers and border officers of the Shkodra district, after tying him with wire, sent him to the Internal Affairs Branch, where for 24 hours they did not even give him bread for eaten, and then sent to the town of Shijak where was the “Filtering Center” of Kosovar emigrants. The whole adventure of the 20-year-old boy from Kosovo that the State Security accused of: being a UDB agent, who had sent on a secret mission, Cedo Topallovic, the president of the UDB for Kosovo, to meet with the Rear Admiral of the Fleet, Teme Sejko and the inhuman tortures inflicted on him in the Internal Affairs Branches of Lushnja, Kruja, Tirana, etc., where he was kept in isolation and asked to become a collaborator of the State Security, as witnesses, his compatriots from Kosovo, and his refusal, which made him spend 20 years in the prisons of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. The articles published by Memorie.al, have been selected from his book, ’20 years in Enver Hoxha’s prisons’ published by the Publishing House “UEGEN”, Berat, 1995.
Note to the editor and publisher
Evidence of civic courage, living testimony of a completely heartless human suffering, an archive that is valid for today and tomorrow.
Prison scenes run in front of you, honest and cannibalistic characters, ordinary people and you are left stunned by such a low action, so without dignity and profane of the communist administration.
20 years in Enver Hoxha’s communist prisons! The author never equates the dictator with Albania. The total disappointment of a guy who ran towards the star of his love, is not obscured. Everyone had almost the same fate. An unparalleled patience, an unwavering will of a diverse psychology full of dramatic colors, a monstrous fatigue,
Here is this book by Nazmi Berisha.
The characters are real.
Let each one prays to the God of truth.
Continues from the last number
Once, through my somnambulistic state, I asked for a meeting with Mehmet Shehu, arguing in front of them, that he is brave and the brave neither forgive nor kill, just as you do not! And I cannot determine the time, they brought me another “general” – Nevzat Haznedari. Wonder! As soon as the general came in, he jumped up and hugged me. The great affections of senior officials are strange! I almost ran out of breath. I could not judge at that moment the true motive of the cordial behavior, but it aroused in me unspeakable hopes and emotions. How I did not fly away from the sudden joy. I watched the man intently as he was watching my file. It was rosy, shaved, with a serious look, healthy. The general’s clothes were worn like a duvaku bride. Once, he asked the officers about me. And they showed that I did not accept anything. The general immediately turned to me:
– How, more, are you not ashamed to deny the deed done? Do you think that we do not know anything, that we do not know who sent you? – Shut up. After a while he addressed the officers
– Why don’t you confront the witnesses?
A hammer struck me in the head with lightning. It was the blood that fell on me so suddenly. Witnesses? Surprise is a small word to say. The cordiality also melted. Even this general who aroused a vision for me, was washed with blood. The gear of that perfect mechanism named, Insurance, worked. I was shaken by those moments of hope.
The other investigator, Shefqet Kadiu, was waiting for me in the dungeon. I told him what had happened to General Nevzat Haznedari. Shefqet was worrying too much about my fate. My youth was in pain. But it did not take long, and the guard came to take me to my investigators. They, almost like mad, used all their arsenal of insults, underlining my arrogance, because according to them, I was a dangerous agent, that I had behaved so badly with the general that I was no more, that I was denying the statement given in Kruja, that there were witnesses who would confront me, etc. And as a start, a letter of my mistress burst before my eyes, who ordered me to meet in Durrës, “Shkëmbin” which was the node that would connect me with Teme Sejko. He had radio receivers connected to the US 6th Fleet, Yugoslav troops, and Greek troops. And finally, their screams. Do not forget that we eat grass! Your attempt to disguise yourself is in vain.
It is not convincing to tell you that everything does not stand up to the truth. Something more powerful had to be found. However, with only reasoning in mind, I tried to align my thoughts with myself enough to calm down. The interest to destroy me did not come only from UDB, which had my family on the black list. You could tremble with all this nonsense, or you could suffer something extremely pathological, yet that was the stubborn truth. No one else for us nurtured a desire for annihilation. That is, the UDB had close ties to the Security, and the victim was Kosovo. O God! Where did all that mutual swearing propaganda come from. I did not know anyone in Durrës. I only knew Remzi Berberi, who tricked me in Kruja. I stubbornly denied the charge. She told them, responds to UDB which, has targeted our family. What was happening to me was a monstrous slander. And I asked the investigator, do you doubt yourself? I doubt so much about myself. I have nothing to do with what you are accusing me of. In vain then, you are wasting time gentlemen.
No trial drank water. Their persistence filled my face with splashes of saliva, and brought out the fact that the scales of power facts, was with them. Fax newly in my head the UDB game. And there was no doubt about it. However, they were shaking in front of me the serious card with witnesses! Therefore, I had to admit my guilt, because they had neither knowledge nor faith. Would it not be better for me to die? Death is the golden cap when you are covered in shame. I was washed, I was at the altar of truth. I had to live to prove to the generations the truth of UDB’s cooperation with the State Security.
I could not see the sadness. I was telling Shefqet Kadi, everything, not forgetting my spiritual shock. He told me that he knew the “Rock” in Durrës and that he was a sworn enemy of the Party and the people. I suspected for a moment of Shefqeti, but never thought he was a Security collaborator. Shefqeti told me that he would admit his guilt, even though he had not done one, because there was no joke with the Security, they would lead to the shooting. Then accepting the charge would mean escaping the harassment, torture, beatings by bosses and guards. Shefqeti, I do not know if it is his real name, removed me as a friend in those moments. Because his task was to break my resistance. After a few days, he comes to me happily in the cell, telling me that: he had accepted the charge. He was no longer tortured, given good food, and met with family. And it would happen to me too.
A dilemma, a new war of motives. What could I do, I was terribly hungry and when I saw Shefqet eating, I did not even think about it. Greed triumphed. I sat down to eat at a terrifying speed. I got full quickly.
One day I was hearing the voice of my father and that of the midwife? What was going on! They were in Kosovo but their voices came to the dungeon. I was not mentally well? When I returned to Kosovo, I was convinced that no one from my family had been to Albania except me. I started hitting the wall with my head. Shefqeti, informed the guard and the latter, tied me up and took me to the director. Once again, the same avaz with investigators Nazif Shehu and Nazmi Kraja. I told them I heard the voices of my parents torturing me. They said that you are badly immersed in the sludge of the Titoists and we do not allow you to stain our organs. In the dungeon again, I heard the voices of my parents and my fiancée. O God, I said to myself, she too is tainted in this work! I was quite normal but still the voices resounded. So, the denial of the charge charged the situation of my parents and my fiancée with guilt. Should I be stubborn and become selfish and think mostly of myself?!
Shortly before I left for Albania, based on Chedo’s order, in Ali’s shop, where he was to fix a pickle bin, he had ordered him to meet with a UDB agent, Nazmi Berisha. This Ali said, kept in touch with the UDB, and sent them a barefoot photo of Çerma. I instructed Nazmi not to deal with xsi affairs, but he did not listen to me. Cedo Topallovic instructed me to meet Aziz Zhilivoda and Selami Tetova, who were also UDB agents. Later they were imprisoned and I learned that Azizi was coming and going to Kadri Hazbiu and did not understand the traps of the State Security. So now I had to speak to say what they were to say. This man has never been a friend of my father, and I did not know him in Kosovo, but in Çermë. I sent the photo to the family and I came out there in a white shirt. Do not lie boy, said the investigator, we know that the picture falls into the hands of UDB and being barefoot is discretionary for our country.
This meaning you know, I have known. You can punish me, but I have done nothing against the country, I am and I will remain a patriot. Then they introduced the witness Selim Xhakaj. He said that he should keep in touch with me from Semani and that he should meet with me by order of UDB. My protest was fierce. When I was in Çermë, I had heard about Ramadan Bogujevci and Selim Xhakaj. I was interested to know about the family and since UDB followed me step by step, I wrote a letter to Selimi about the fate of the family. Others are lies. Investigators scolded me and shouted at me: UDB agent. And in the face of undeniable facts, they objected with insulting words.
As I was returned to the dungeon, I had time to think in peace. I did not even suspect that the witnesses had forced them. Did they not want to do the same to me? My letters have been censored, and everything else. Would I accept those half-truths? Never ever. In the meantime, I started listening to the voices of my parents and my fiancée again. The nurses came and tied me up, bandaging my head and mouth. It was not long before I was taken to the hospital. I had the tests okay. Dr. Ylviu told me that I was playing the role assigned to me by the Yugoslav police. I told the doctor that I was hearing my parents screaming from the suffering, and that I was young and had not been educated for work. He made it clear to me that by what I was doing, I was punishing my family with death. Oh God, it’s true that my family was arrested! But only one question was not answered: how is it possible for them to come to Albania like that?
One word from him was enough and everything became true to me. After two weeks, I was sent back to the dungeon, and the calls still did not leave me. I had come to cry to shout, but in vain and towards nothing. I was climbed one floor higher with the other prisoners. I said that now they would prepare some trick for me. There I met Et’hem Çako, anti-communist and exponent of the National Front, and then Llukman Lutfiu, from Tetovo, who had parachuted down with Çako from Italy. I also found the doctor Aleksandër Kalivopulli, who was imprisoned, allegedly exchanging letters with a Greek doctor. This letter, he would hand to Costa Phil and his two friends. They, through the perfect tricks of the Security, had come from Greece, to get some gold, and would return there again.
They were held there as witnesses, as if they had sent the Greeks to associate with Teme Sejko and Alexander Kalivopoulos. I found there and another minority, Costa Mendja, imprisoned with the same scenario as them. He was even forced to testify against Temes and Alexander. The poor man had almost lost his mind from the torture. Surprisingly, the reason returned to him. You saw both Alexander and Costa, both sleeping side by side, as if nothing had happened. Then why should I blame Ali and Salim? They are both victims of the same scenario as me. In that room was Isa Libohova, from Gjirokastra, but married in Shkodra. He was imprisoned for contacting saboteurs coming from Yugoslavia.
Costa told me that he had fallen in after the death of Hilmi Seiti, the head of the Shkodra Branch of Internal Affairs, who was a Cham. He was eliminated by the Security and to lose track, he was buried with great honors. Sajuan, like Isa, fled to Yugoslavia, while his family was interned. Costa kept telling me that Hilmi was friends with Teme Sejko. I wondered who was to blame for all these things. Certainly, only Enver Hoxha, this devilish face. What did he need to do to kill his countrymen? But then I was convinced that he was an imitator of Stalin.
In that room was Ebdal Bilishti from Korça, who had decided to return to Albania. He had been sentenced to 15 years, even though he was a true intellectual who knew several foreign languages and had a broad artistic and historical culture. And while he was in prison, he fell ill and sought medical help for his eyes. The students, the practitioners, had blinded the scholar. Human cavie! And he said that Enver Hoxha took my eyes off me. I had heard about Nuçi Labin in Çermë, who was a true patriot and had fought for ethnic Albania.
In that room his brother, whose name I cannot remember, but I learned that he was in France after the June Revolution. There he had known Enver and Gogo Nushi. He had been in prison since 1945 for agitation against the state. It was rumored that this man knew some evil deeds of those two men that had been done to him in France. He called Enver the political cook of Albania.
There to pretend in the head the purpose of the monster: the selection of the victim. It never occurred to me that these things could happen anywhere in the globe, except of course Yugoslavia. One day they took me from that room to the investigator. A gentleman greeted me. The General Prosecutor of Albania, in his fifties, wearing the clothes of an important official:
– The boy – he told me (he also used the word dear and intimate, boy) – now you have quite hindered the investigation, in court you will adhere to the statement given in Kruja, otherwise you will suffer worse than you remember. What I am saying to you in the capacity of the General Prosecutor of Albania, is in the interest of you and your life.
I complained to the Prosecutor about the torture that is being done to my parents. As if bitten by a snake, he jumped up.
– Look, boy – leave the prophets, leave the Belgrade carpenters you taught me by heart, this is what they do, the Yugoslavs, not us. We do not bite you on the back!
– Comrade prosecutor, – I said, are not you and those who taught you, a prosecutor of freedom and human dignity? I do not want an answer, no. Let those who think with their heads give this answer.
The Prosecutor turned his back on me and left. I thought he would do me a disservice with his hand, but it did not happen. It often happens that the slap of the little one confuses the big one, so much so that this big one is a chess piece in someone else’s hands.
My investigators came in as the smartest and bravest. Demek, did you see what the Attorney General did and said or not? Well, we warn you once again. Be careful in judgment. That’s your life. We feel sorry for you because you are young and do not take the situation seriously. Therefore, we order you to accept the deed, to be correct in your judgment and not to do stupid things, otherwise the capital punishment awaits you.
Thoughts, good and bad, flooded my room. I naively hoped that what was happening to me would have crossed the Security walls, but with the arrival of the Attorney General, the sand building collapsed. Then I asked Lukman and Costa, what should I do? How did I understand the Prosecutor’s visit? Lukmani told me that he did not believe that he was the General Prosecutor of Albania, but if he was, then you have to change tactics, you have to admit the unfulfilled act, to save your head. I was young and I loved life, I did not want to die in vain. I felt that I was weakening, that my hands and whole body were shaking, that I started to cry. Why, why did they poison my life like that? Why did they kill my new heart? Who would explain the truth after my death?
– Lukman – I called – please, what do you teach me, how to act?
– Brother – he told me softly and friendly – you will be punished whether you accept or not. The difference is that if you do not accept, you can do worse than you think.
The others had the same opinion.
– Well – I said – I will accept the unfinished deed. But how will I feel from this shame I was doing to myself?! What will I tell people when they ask me later? How can I live with a conscience?
Everyone folded their arms but did not give up the advice. I did not know what to do. I saw the executioners with axes raised up and my head resting on the trunk.
I was acknowledging my “deed” and these people present in the truth of folly would be the first witnesses. Everyone, as soon as I told them so, rejoiced immensely and hugged me in turn. It was clear: he was in pain for my youth, who was flying through the fog right at the bottom of the abyss./Memorie.al