By Hysen Selmani
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Bird, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
Alexander, May 8, 1947
“Honest Mit’hat Bej. It is undeniable that in order to face the threats and dangers coming from outside and the chaotic situation that exists inside Albania and all free Albanians, inspired by purely nationalist sentiments and, not being influenced of political or ideological conviction, have developed until today, in every favorable case, an activity. This has been done, seeking the recognition and protection of inviolable rights, in terms of Independence and national territorial integrity.
This activity, although it has been commendable and beneficial, should be strengthened even more. Likewise, there would be more efficient results if the above-mentioned efforts aimed at welfare and securing the future were concentrated and directed by a committee formed by people from all nationalist parties. . Precisely, in order to achieve this goal, so desirable for the protection of the national issue and for the eradication of harmful disputes, for the definitive success of the developed efforts, we have called. And, as Abdul Sula has informed you before, to all patriots of different groups, there is talk of meeting a Consultative Commission here, to freely exchange opinions on the realization of a common front. And, there is no need to remember that, in every case of danger, when the national unity has begged, the historical meetings of the past have given fruitful results, in the benefit of the high interests of the Motherland.
The development and trends of the international situation and today’s circumstances make it even more necessary for such a meeting to be held as soon as possible. This, based on cooperation, with everyone’s consent, so that each party is free to follow the principles it has set, until the stabilization and full establishment of national sovereignty in our Motherland is achieved. Then, the last word will be the people, to freely express their will, of course, in terms of the form of the Government they want. Having the full conviction that you, as well as all the informed patriots, will not fail to give your contribution in this necessary case of the national issue, and soon with all the instructions, Colonel Husein Selmani is to be sent. The king pardons you.”
Please Mithat Bey, accept my warmest greetings.
Dear Hiqmet Bey
So far we tried hard enough to send a person there. But now Colonel Husein Selmani is coming. This delay is caused by the lack of Italian authorities here to issue visas. Therefore, we are coming to your first proposal, to be chosen by one person from each group, that is, three or four people. Yes, you will get the details from me (Colonel Selmani). These people will come here and of course, the expenses have been ours.
I leave it to you to arrange this as you see fit. Until I come, (Colonel Selmani) I am of the opinion that this meeting will be in the general interest and in the benefit of Albania’s future and its integrity. And independence, without ideological changes, is of course the highest ideal of every Albanian.
At the same time, for the sake of the Motherland, do not take any action, no matter how small, that could jeopardize the protection and provision of high national interests. Exactly, this has been the reason that has caused our inaction, until now. Yes, in this way, we have informed the Albanians, inside and outside Albania. One more thing, as far as it was possible, and of course as we informed you: the expenses will be paid by us. The King blesses you all and you especially.
Wait, my dear Hiqmet Bey, my most heartfelt apologies.
King Zog I, after receiving promises regarding the settlement of Albanian immigrants, with the help of the two Royal Albanian Legations, of Turkey and Egypt, sent notes to the United States of America and Great Britain. He did so, seeking official recognition of an Albanian Government in exile. And he did this with the sole purpose of protecting the territorial integrity of the Motherland. At that time, it was very badly threatened by its Neighbors, especially Greece.
Two months after the delivery of the aforementioned notes, the United States of America, as well as Great Britain, replied to King Zog, saying that; After all, there was no possibility of forming an Albanian Government in exile. Meanwhile, they suggested that a Political Committee be formed, and for this purpose, the envoys of the American State Department came to Alexandria and began talks with His Majesty, King Zog, on the formation of this committee. They stayed two weeks and settled down. They were, Mr. Beria, Section Chief of the State Department, and Colonel Fils, American military attache. Also, there was an assistant. It was the place where it was decided and signed and not just a wish. It was unbiased and unbiased. But now Washington’s authorization was awaited.
Rome August 24, 1947
The envoy of King Zog, Colonel Husein Selmani, was in Rome on August 24, 1947. He held a meeting, which was attended by some of the ordered dignitaries:
1-Mehdi Frashëri, 2-Hiqmet Delvina, 3-Captain Gjon Marka Gjoni, 4-Dr. Qemal Jusufati, 5-Ismail Vërlaci, 6-Dhimiter Berati, 7-Ernest Kuliqi, 8-Ferid Dervishi, 9-Sotir Avrami, 10 – Ekrem Libohova. Colonel Husein Selmani, on the basis of the orders received from His Highness, King Zog, communicates the following to you:
- As for the surrender of the Albanian emigrants, which were requested by the Communist Government, Belgrade and Tirana, this has ended. After the Allies had decided to reject the demands of the Communists of Tirana. Thus, this fear was assured and there is no such fear anymore.
- Also, the Arab States, with King Farouk at the head, have wholeheartedly accepted the installation of the Albanian emigration in their countries, with all the rights, like the Arabs. Emigration will be located in three main centers: Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
- Instead of a government-in-exile, a Political Committee will be formed, composed of all the nationalist groups, based in Cairo. The chairman of this Committee, according to the wish of the King, will be Mit’hat Frashëri, having around him as a member, people from the ‘National Front’, the National Organization ‘Legality Movement’ and the ‘Independent Bloc’ and people, the party eventually.
The meeting ended with indescribable enthusiasm, writes the adjutant. He accepted all the conditions and without any conditions, they agreed to make themselves available as desired by the King. In this way, it was decided and for the first time with these talks, we broke up. After this meeting, they came and visited Colonel Husein Selmani; Xhemil Dino, Ajet Libohova, Nexhmedin Viriani, Zef Seregji, Ekrem Vlona, Col. Bib Mirakaj.
“Of course, says the adjutant, – and he communicated the message to them and they were satisfied. Also, the decision taken and decided by the meeting was made known to them. On August 30, 1947, engineer Xhafer Deva came to me and showed me that; this came in the name of Dr. Xhelal Mitrovica, Prof. Rexhep Krasniqi, Tahir Zajmi, and other Kosovars. He declared to me that, with all our heart and loyalty, we put ourselves at the disposal of His Majesty, King Zog. Then, he gave me a letter to submit to the King, in his name.
Where he added, expressing that; me and Dr. Xhelal Mitrovica, we hope to have a happy fate, I personally submit to His Majesty, the King, the tributes, together with our loyalty, of all of Kosovo. Please accept our deep gratitude, Xhafer Deva, the letter concluded. On September 1, 1947, Dr. Xelal Mitrovica, Ali Draga, Sulejman Kryeziu, who were aware that it was in their name, engineer. Xhafer Deva. The same talks were held with these as well.”
After the talks and visits in Rome, both with the Albanians and with the Italian authorities, I informed the “Barleta” camp that I would visit it on September 4, 1947, writes the adjutant. There in Barleta, there was also Mit’hat Frashëri of a large part of Albanians, such as: Hasan Dosti, Vasil Andoni, Zef Pali, Mehmet Alltuni, Isa Lika, Kadri Cakrani, and many other personalities. In Alexandria, I was in touch every day by phone about everything that was going on. Until now, all the jobs were completely based on the program, and they had hopes that even with the Italian authorities, we will benefit from what belonged to immigration.
Barleta, September 4, 1947
The envoy of King Zog, Colonel Husein Selmani, visited the Barleta camp. There, he was warmly received by Mr. Mit’hat Frashëri, Hasan Dosti, Dervish Rexhepi, Kadri Cakran, Vasil Andoni, Zef Pal, Halil Maci, Irfon Ohrit, Mehmet Alltun, Isa Likes, Vehip Runa and many others. . After greeting everyone, Colonel Husein Selmani and Mit’hat Frashër visited the entire camp together. It was all three groups together. As the visit to the camp ended, Colonel Husein Selmani, for the first time, talked with Mit’hat Frashëri, in the presence of Vasil Andoni and Baba Rexhepi. Mit’hat Frashëri, received the message of King Zog, with great satisfaction and without any change, accepted the arrival in Egypt, to be put in charge of the national duty.
“I also explained to Mit’hat what was discussed in Rome, i.e., that we were in complete agreement. After I finished all the talks, with Mit’hat Frashëri, together with them, I went to the head of the ‘Independent Bloc’ and two of the National Organization ‘Legality Movement’. With Mit’hat together, and there, the meeting took the form of a completely national union. It is understandable, in terms of the interests of the Motherland, because each group in it saved its own tendencies for later.
After we finished all the talks, we were completely in agreement and satisfied, a lunch was served. More than 300 people participated there. There were all the groups, together with Mit’hat Frashëri, with the head of the ‘National Front’, Irfan Ohri and Kol Mirakaj, with the heads of the ‘Independent Bloc’, Vehip Runa, Mehmet Alltuni and Isa Lika, with the heads of the National Organization. The Legality Movement’. Lunch was a pleasure, full of gas and brotherhood. Speeches were exchanged. First, Vehip Runa took the floor, then Mit’hat Frashëri and finally, Colonel Husein Selmani. All the speeches were patriotic.”
Colonel Husein Selmani, in the afternoon, went to the Hotel. There again he waited for all those who wanted to see him and talk to him. It was always Mit’hat Frashëri, on his own. Before he left for Regio-Emilia, he also had dinner with them. Then, they talked about many events that belong to the issue of Albania, as well as about the efforts, in the circle of the war, about the claims and obstacles that the Greeks had brought us”. As you can see even today, that she herself is in smoke and flames, from communism”, concludes the adjutant.
King Zog tells why he was not allowed to fight alongside Greece?!
“I had gathered the entire Council, which had studied and decided on the regulation of Albanian immigration. There were; Mehdi Frashëri, Hiqmet Delvina, Dhimitër Berati, Captain Gjon Markagjoni, Ismail Vërlaci, Ernest Koliqi, Ekrem Vlona, Tahir Kolgjini, Dr. Kemal Jusufati , Ferid Dervishi, Sotir Avrami, Ali Këlcyra, Koço Muka, Ragip Frashëri”, recalls the adjutant, who is himself in Italy. While there has been talk about the future of emigration, a big problem is for everyone, what to do with their families. The king, in his memoirs, promises that: “he is preoccupied with the future of the children of Albanian immigrants and for the best arrangement for them, ensuring every support, so that they can progress and become cultured”.
The organization of Albanian emigrants in Reggio-Emilia
The adjutant confessed how he was able to unite them and in the future call them all to Syria, Egypt and Jordan. The entire exile calms down and next to the King, Ernest Koliqi, Gjon Marka Gjoni, Eqerem bej Vlora, Ali Këlcyra, etc. also approach. Even the Italian government shows interest, while the Italian vice-minister of foreign affairs meets the adjutant, assuring him of the refugees. It seems that things are going very well, but suddenly, Colonel Hussein Selmani, is called to Egypt. The Council for regulating immigration has the names of Mehdi Frashër, Hiqmet Delvina, Dhimitër Berat, Kapidan Gjon Markagjon, Ismail Vërlac, Ernest Koliq, Eqerem bej Vlorës, Tahir Kolgjin, Dr. Kemal Yusufati, Ferid Dervish, Sotir Avramit, Ali Këlcyrës, Koço Mukes, Ragip Frashërit
Reggio Emilio, September 7, 1947
Colonel Husein Selmani, after finishing the meetings with everyone in the Barleta Camp, accompanied to the station by Mit’hat Frashëri and all the leaders of the different groups, left. “There were close to 300 people who accompanied me on the evening of September 6, 1947, when we left to visit the Camps of Reggio Emilio. They had been notified and, on the morning of September 7, 1947, we arrived at the camp. In Reggio Emilio, we were expected by all the leaders of the groups, Salih Myftia, with the leaders of Legality and Faik Quku, with the leaders of the other ‘National Front’. We were almost more than 100 people. Among them, there were also some Bosniaks, like Hasan Ago Senica, and others”.
After greeting each other, we headed to talk to the group leaders. He visited all the camps, where he felt great satisfaction. After visiting the camps, he first went to the center of the National Organization “Legality Movement” to Salih Muftija, in the presence of Hysen Prishtina, Neshat Kolonja, Mahzar Pustina, Selami Damani, and Omer Beshir and communicated the King’s message. There, he was received with cheers and great satisfaction, and then I informed you, about what was discussed in Rome, continue the adjutant. As decided unanimously it was accepted.
After that, I went to the center of the ‘Balli Kombëtar’ to N/Colonel Faik Quku and there in the presence of the three leaders of the ‘Balli’, here too, but in the same spirit, the message was received. And the talks were very frank and Faik Quku was aware of the talks with Mit’hat. I explained to them in detail about the talks in Rome and they agreed. After I finished with the party leaders, I called Dervish Biçak, Sadik Shaska, Qemal Begu. He talked long and wide with them, “and these especially, I gave you the King’s pardon.” He had close friends, but they were a little past their age. They always remained, for a union, in the middle of the Albanian emigration.
After all the visits and talks were over, a lunch was served to the three groups. It passed in a hearty, all brotherly harmony. Almost, they forgot all kinds of previous quarrels. The adjutant remembers that he felt a special pleasure around the bread and no speech took place. “Only, there was laughter and love between each other, and above all, there was love for King Zog. After lunch, Colonel Selmani went to the Hotel, where he hosted the Albanian colony of Milan and went to Milan and hosted some people from the Bosnian Principality. There, he had with him an Italian major, Professor Omer Beshirin, and Mahzar Pustina. As he finished all the visits to the Albanian colony in Milan, “of course the Lady and the Lord were there as well as the Bosnians and others”.
Colonel Husein Selmani, in Milan, charged Omer Beshir and Xhemal Ferra and Qemal Shtino. He arranged a cocktail party for all the colonels, right there in the lounges of the Hotel. This was done because he did not have time to return the visits. The cocktail went down well. Many speeches were exchanged, but Colonel Selmani charged Professor Beshirin to answer you. “This was an unforgettable pleasure, in the middle of the Albanian colony, in Milan”, continues the adjutant. Colonel Husein Selmani, after finishing everything in Milan, returned to Reggio-Emilio. He went there and paid a visit to the two British and American officers who were in charge of the camps. They received him very well and assured him that, whatever comes to your use, there is no need to miss it, to fill the lacks that may be felt. After that, Colonel Selmani thanked them and left. The envoy of King Zog I, who was Colonel Husein Selmani in Reggio Emilio, before leaving for Rome, surrounded by more than 1000 people, men, women, children, when they were being separated from them, he could not bear it and out of excessive longing, I directed these words to you, in the name of the King, telling you:
Dear brothers and sisters.
His Majesty, King Zog, after these tragedies that our beloved people are going through, not only spiritually, but also with every means at hand today, has intervened and done what is possible to meet your needs. And with you he came to help, in all aspects, for the systematization of emigration, as the King’s message also shows. In particular, the King is preoccupied with the future of the children of Albanian immigrants and the best system for them. He will try to provide every support, so that they can progress and become cultured. He has complete hope that: these sufferings that we are going through today will end and we will reach the common goal, as brothers that we are, of one blood and one land.
For this reason, we hope that where the Albanian youth will emigrate, they will have all the moral and material support to move forward on the path of acculturation. So that, when the day comes, I can best serve the high interests of Albania”. After this conversation, Colonel Selmani immediately entered the train and left for Rome. He saluted everyone, including the emigrants they did not disperse, until the train was no longer visible, he writes. Memorie.al
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