The fifth part
Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Aleksandër Kondos, the Albanian weightlifting legend who lost his life at the age of 27 in tragic and still completely unexplained circumstances, during a car accident in Quens New York, USA, where he was placed as a political emigrant after fleeing Albania in May 1985, staying in Yugoslavia at the time, after the national team returned from the European Weightlifting Championships held in Poland in those days. The complete voluminous file of the former State Security in charge of Aleksandër Kondos, declassified by the Authority for Information of the files of the former State Security, where there are hundreds of pages belonging to the period from 1981 when the operational pursuit and surveillance of regularly against him by the secret services of the communist regime, until 1987, when that file was finally archived, after his tragic death.
In Tirana in the early ’80s, not only for many sports fans but also beyond the young people of the Albanian capital, a young man stood out and stood out, then at the age of 20, as for his portrait and physique , as well as for the appearance, with the foreign fashion clothes, which in his arm carried the sports bag that he never removed from his shoulder and on the other arm, a large radio-tape recorder, which he brought from abroad when going out with the national weightlifting team in international activity. He was Aleksandër Kondo, a member of the “Dinamo” weightlifting team of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (where at that time he served as a senior soldier in the Republic Guard, also his father), and also of the national team, which at that time, thanks to the differentiated assessment and treatment of the communist regime in power in some serious sports, had achieved high results in the international arena.
The name of Aleksandër Kondo as an athlete began to become more and more famous, especially after his high results achieved in 1984, in the Sports Palace “Partizani” of the capital, when he fixed the figures 200 kg. (in the style of pushing) electrifying thousands of sports fans, (that day more spectators were outside the sports palace than inside it), who under numerous applause, did not leave the square in front of the palace, without seeing that guy up close, who had amazed them with his results and performance. Since that day, Sander Kondo almost became a myth in Tirana and Albania of that time, as his results came ever higher, not only in national championships, but also in the international arena where he consistently had high results. .
But much more than this period of time when Sander Kondo, was at the peak of his career, his name became even more famous and began to be discussed throughout the country, at the end of May 1985, when during an international event in the framework of the European Weightlifting Championship that took place in Warsaw, Poland, (where he lifted 210 kg.), Kondo did not return to Albania, but together with his teammate, Xhelal Sukniqi from Shkodra, from Montenegro went to Belgrade, waiting to gain political asylum in the US.
The event of the escape of two Albanian athletes caused a great commotion not only because of the great name and fame that Aleksandër Kondo had at that time, but also because that event became the object of “quarrel” between Albania and Yugoslavia, as official Tirana at that time publicly accused (in the newspaper “Zëri i Popullit”), the Yugoslav authorities, saying that the two Albanian athletes had been abducted by the Yugoslav secret services (UDB) and demanded their return home.
But that claim of official Tirana had nothing real, as Kondo and Sukniqi denied it in the meeting that took place in Belgrade, between the representatives of the Albanian embassy and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the Yugoslav side, where Sander Kondo, after cursing the communist regime of Enver Hoxha again and again, tried to hit the Albanian diplomat with an ashtray, insisting that he should return to Albania, where his family and the whole society were waiting for him.
After that, Sander Kondo and Xhelal Sukniqi gained political asylum in the USA, where Sukniqi is still, while Kondo lost his life in a car accident on May 1, 1987, (always according to the official version of the communist regime of that time). ), and his remains were returned to Albania in 2003.
All these have already been known for years, as much has been written about Aleksandër Kondo as the legend of Albanian weightlifting and his father, Vangjel Kondo, has given several interviews in both print and visual media, and even made some television documentaries, for all his life and history, until the day he parted from this life. But again, the “Alexander Kondo case” has not yet been fully uncovered, especially the part related to his tragic death which continues to remain shrouded in mystery, as well as the surveillance of him by the Security of The Albanian State and its segments since 1981, which was made public for the first time by the Authority for Information of the Former State Security Files, headed by Mrs. Gentjana Mara Sula, who in 2018, handed over the file to the Kondo family, or more precisely to his father, Vangjel Kondo.
In that file that Mr. Vangjel Kondo has trusted him exclusively for the publication of Memorie.al, it is shed light and it becomes known, the evaluation, treatment and all the surveillance and persecution, which was done at that time by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, one of voice of Albania, such as Aleksandër Kondo, who was well known in the international arena. Based on this fact, Memorie.al will publish the complete file in question (with the relevant facsimiles), in some issues of the dossier section.
Continued from the previous issue
Information report of the senior State Security official, codenamed “Blerimi”, disguised as a diplomat, who met with Aleksandar Kondo and Xhelal Sukniqi, at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Belgrade, addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Tirana
Position, on 8.6.1985
On June 6, 1985, together with sh. ……………… we went at 10.00 in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, where we were received by …………………., The chief of to this office, deputy chief, as he himself said, because he did not give the business card, both with Yugoslav citizenship, …………………… As presented, a graduate political scientist, translator and a female technical worker – Yugoslav.
As soon as we started exchanging their business cards and I was telling the head of the office to talk to him, they immediately brought our two citizens, Aleksandër Kondon and ……………………… As soon as they entered, Aleksandri said “Excuse me, I do not give you my hand, in vain did you stand up, you even made the mistake of coming here, because we fled ourselves and no one kidnapped us, as you want to present. If it had been for us, they would not have come, but what can we do for those who called us? ”
We told him: how did it happen to you, because the whole family, society, our state, all your team of athletes are worried, who are waiting for you in their bosom, to continue their normal life. At this time, Alexander said: I do not want to talk to you at all and at this time he stood up to leave, and addressing Xhelal, to get up, with the words: we have no work with them.
We calmly invited them to sit down, noting that your state of mind, which we understand very well, should not be the cause of such behavior. Regardless of the circumstances that happened to you and how they happened to you, it would be good for you to tell us what happened to you.
Alexander said: what do you think; no one has kidnapped us, if you want to know, they have treated us very well, we thank them and as you can see, we are very well. We can hardly wait for this day to come here, in this country where people are free, not like in Albania, where people suffer for bread, have no freedom, do not let anyone go out and the people are held only by words beautiful. I am the record holder and have not seen any good from the sport.
We told him that this situation in which you are, should not make you fall into those positions and talk like this about your homeland, about the wonderful situation in our country, about all that we have built with blood and sweat , because we have not extended our hand to anyone, for a free country, which is the only one in the world, for the great work that the Party has done for you and for all the people, because who has not lacked either work or home , neither the school nor the socialist way of life, not bread anymore which is not a problem in Albania.
If you talk about privileges, you know very well that in our country there are neither rich nor poor, nor polarizations that some live very well and some suffer. You know that any kind of pressure should not lead you to this position. At this time we turned to ………………………, who until that moment had not spoken at all and we said: What …………………………, as it happened to you, that we have all this concern ?!
Alexander intervened and said: do not answer, because I answer these and he addresses us with the words that he, too, has the same thoughts that I have. If you want to know, I am telling you that I am the son of the Chief of Staff of the Guard and because of me, because I picked up two magazines when I was in Spain, he was relieved of responsibility. Although people know that we live well, you should know that for weeks we have not had bread at home. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. You talk like that because you are abroad and you have some loot. You do not know how the people in Albania live, who was brought to this state by the regime of Enver Hoxha. I achieved my goal, I will leave at the end of the world and I will be an opponent until the end of that country.
The people do not interfere,, Alexander interrupts ………………… saying that it is the fault of the government that has brought the people to that state, puts them in the mines and has left to that find.
We told him that your nervousness surprises us, which shows that something big is bothering you, and as for the others, that you said, do not allow yourself to be led by such circumstances to such expressions. You know very well that working for us is an honor and there is no one without a job, mines, lands, factories and every job is ours and everyone works and earns to live with honor and glory.
At this time, Alexander got nervous and said: This is how it is for you to speak; they made me a policeman, ostensibly because they gave me something big. What I am telling you, I say publicly, even on television, and I will say it.
We intervened, saying: It is not for you to speak like that, and the position and the event should not make you sink into the mud. We have heard interviews from here, but they do not belong to you. We tell you once again on behalf of the family, the Federation and our state, to return to your peaceful life, close to family, in our country, because you should know that after us, your family will ask to meet you .
Alexander stood up, with the same nervousness, but the chief of the office intervened and told them: sit down, if you wanted to do not answer, while the comrades who have come to ask and say their words.
We told him we wanted to know the story concretely. Alexander said: “Neither I nor my companion will answer, nor will we give you any details. We know what will happen to us if we return, but even if it is as you say, we do not want that life. Do you know that I will not answer you at all and you will leave me comfortable, or I will act differently to shoot you with this cup?!
We told him that with this situation, you can do this too and we will not respond, because we understand your situation, despite the fact that we are here as a representative of the state. We have not dealt with other pressures, not with you who we do not blame.
At this time the head of the office intervened and said: here I am and for me the law is your word: what you say, we will do to us (he said this addressing our citizens and repeated it several times).
Then he addressed us: You see that they do not want to talk to you, we have hardly persuaded them to meet you, so I have nothing else to say!
We told him that: it is our right to ask for all the details, because even the nervousness of our two citizens, leave all things unclear and do not convince us. Our citizens are shocked, this is explained by the way they behave, which is strange and not at all convincing and the psychological side does not show self-love, but leaves the circumstances unclear. Even here there are artificial nuances.
Alexander said that I do not want to talk to you anymore, he called ……………………and they left. We intervened by telling them that this is the first time we have come to this office driven by your innocence, so we tell you once again that we are here. The embassy is here and we look forward to asking for our help to return home, close to family.
Alexander said: I feel sorry for my family, let no one make a mistake, because I will not accept them, either my father or my mother.
We told her: your family has created its own history with war and sweat, but it goes without saying that your absence strikes them spiritually, so return to its bosom. They left.
All the while, Alexander spoke. He looked yellow, very nervous, but only he was prepared to speak, te he was silent and when we intervened, he immediately replied that I agree with what Alexander says, who did not allow it to speak. We think that they have a war of motives.
It must be said that Alexander said: even if you lay me down with gold, I will not return. I will return one day, but when the regime is overthrown, because one day it will be overthrown.
After they left, the chief of staff asked if we were clear and we replied: everything is unclear, starting with the way our two citizens behave, their answers, or rather not answering, about none of what we asked, which is about the artificiality and unclear state of mind of our citizens.
We are surprised by the lack of readiness to avoid even one circumstance related to their disappearance. A man aware of the act he commits, why not tell the whole story how it happened?! We believe that you understand this very well. The embarrassed chief said: this is their right, and we are a UN humanitarian body.
In this case we asked him if the employees of this office are Yugoslav. At first they pretended not to understand, but when it was repeated to them, they said: we are Yugoslav citizens, but that does not mean anything. The boss got up and showed us his ID card, as a UN representative.
We noted that we asked this question just to find out. We also told him that we would like to condemn some circumstances that remain unclear:
When did our citizens first come in contact with the country’s authorities and when were you notified?
The boss said that these are our issues and we cannot tell you. The Yugoslav authorities have clarified this to you.
We intervened because we knew no details and no circumstances. It is good that you, as an organization of an international organization, where we belong and make a significant, even very large, contribution to it, should make things clear to us. And in fact this is the task of such an organism. Clarifying things to the end would also contribute to the relations between our two countries. Your predisposition would serve such a thing. But this is missing. We do not ask for details of what they have deposited, but we want to know every circumstance on the loss of our citizens, for such a long time.
The chief said that they presented themselves on May 29 to the bodies of Internal Affairs, and to us on June 3. We asked him where the incident took place, but the chief did not want to answer and after the translator intervened, who told him in Titograd, there is nothing here, he confirmed this.
We asked him if: our citizens have sent a written request to the local authorities and to you. The boss got nervous again, said this is our issue and we are not obliged to answer. We told him again that: we know that we are dealing with an international body, which impartially, is obliged to make clarifications to the end, and not to respond in such a way. If you were in our country, you would ask the same questions which are natural.
The chief opened their documents (two formal files, with one process each – verbal) and showed us the signatures of our citizens, thinking that he had done his “duty”. We asked for written a prayer which is the first and foremost act in such cases.
He did not know what to say and added: more than that I have nothing to say. What can I say, since people are fleeing from Yugoslavia to Yugoslavia, while from Yugoslavia, there is no such case, at least for the last 10 years, he intervened.
We used the opportunity to express to him his surprise, how he is so uninformed, or even more, when it is known that hundreds of people have fled from Yugoslavia to Albania, of different strata and functions, to whom our side has returned mainly.
It would be up to this office to recognize this important fact, which would greatly assist in its judgment and practice. What we say to you, you also have in the press here. We were surprised by this fact, that you are so uninformed?!
The chief said: we are not a state in Yugoslavia, but an office that performs a humane task.
We made it clear that knowing the practice between the two countries would help you in this humanism that you emphasize to us. However, we need to know if this quick procedure of almost 3-4 days followed even with the fugitives in Yugoslavia?
The chief once said: yes, then he said: it depends on the cases and seeing that this was not the answer, he said: this depends on the cases and seeing that this was not the answer, he said: it depends on the authorities of the country, who fled through border and who with passport.
You should know that: our office does not act against Albania and we do not accept to get involved in political issues, what do you have with Yugoslavia, for communism, or for the Veterans League. If you want, we can contact you with other fugitives, if you want, although we do not have practice with other countries.
We told her: this is the first time we have come to this office and we are doing this precisely because of its occurrence and its strange way.
He said: why are you not clear?! We replied that: the uncertainty deepened even more, not only from the attitude of our citizens, but also from your attitude. In fact we should have been nervous, but the opposite happened. Unclear and nervous were our citizens and you as the office, which would have no reason to happen. These strange conversations, vague and without explanations, further obscure the circumstances of the disappearance of our two citizens. We can thank you for hosting and arranging the meeting, while others surprise us.
The head of the office said: Make us requests in writing, for example, by grade.
We responded: to our requests, for which we have not received any response so far.
He said emphatically that I have nothing else to say.
We left making the occasional greeting, but in an unclear state. At the exit of the building, the translator, who accompanied us, asked us: if he had done his job well as a translator.
We thanked him, but stressed that: except for the translation, everything is vague, strange and artificial.
At this time he shrugged.
We will try to gather details on the two persons to see their further condition.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed about this.
We record them for their files.
The information was provided to the First Directorate. /Memorie.al
“B l e r i m i”
Continues in the next issue