Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the large Shkodra family, Dedaj, where their first, Shan Deda, had led the Shkodra delegation to the Albanian League of Prizren in 1878 and then, they became very well known as one of the aristocratic families of that city, with numerous estates and properties that came as a result of their commercial activity. How Lin Deda was educated in military schools and academies in Hungary and Austria, his appointment by King Zog as military representative at the Prefecture of Shkodra, the friendship with the French professor Paul Guzhon and the aristocratic elite of the city of Shkodra, to the close friendship with King Zog who sent Lin with special duties outside Albania and in the ball that was organized in the city of Shkodra on the occasion of King Zog’s wedding celebrations, the first dance was reserved for him. How did Lin Deda stay in his duty as a soldier even during the period of occupation of the country and how did he manage to save the city of Shkodra from German mines and why the communists sentenced him and the other brothers to long years in prison and internment, where after release from prison, to make a living, he was forced to cage birds and mice…
One of the most famous families of the city of Shkodra from the second half of the XVIII century and then until the arrival of the communist regime in power, has been that of the Grandfather of Shan Deda, who had led the delegation of Shkodra in The Albanian League of Prizren in 1878. The first of that family, his name was Shan Deda and he was the man who had an extraordinary popularity and enjoyed a great sympathy not only with his fellow citizens from Shkodra, but also in the highlands above Shkodra where he was waited generously in almost all the hearths of their towers. While the four brothers of the Deda family, Sandri, Deda, Keli and Pjetri, devoted themselves to trade and did not continue high school, their younger brother, Lini, studied for officers in the military schools of Budapest and Vienna, continuing in the footsteps. of his father, Shan. A part of his story and that of the Dedaj family of Shan Deda that continues to be told even today in the city of Shkodra, among various conversations of what is left of the elite of the Shkodra aristocracy, we have summarized and are publishing exclusively for Memorie.al in the following post.
In the cream of the Shkodra aristocracy
After finishing his studies in Vienna, Lin Deda returned to his hometown in Shkodra, where he gained great authority in that city, joining the aristocratic elite of Shkodra. According to the testimonies of his contemporaries, he always wore a military uniform that shone and always walked on the road from the Prefecture to the Recruitment Office, accompanied by two soldiers who were his guards. Domenika Daragjati, the daughter of Lin (Angja)’s sister, recalls: “My mother Angjia, along with sisters Matilda, Liza and Pina, boasted of their brother, Lin, who was in the military and enjoyed great authority throughout the city of Shkodra. “It was a great pleasure at the time because there were few uniformed officers.”
Lini is remembered as a very smart man and who had acquired a European culture by knowing several foreign languages. He in Shkodra had a close friendship with the Frenchman, Paul Guzhon, who together with his wife, taught in the city gymnasium. Lini constantly stayed with Guzhon at the Grand Cafe and spoke French, discussing French and world literature, of which Lini had a great and deep knowledge. Also, from the mid-30s when the famous singer Tefta Tashko Koço, made a tour in the city of Shkodra, accompanied by Asdren and Lasgush Poradec, during all those days they stayed in the company of Lin Deda, with whom they had a close friendship. During the visit that soprano Tashko, with Asdren and Lasgushi made to Lin’s house, they were amazed by the many books in French, Italian and German that he had in the library. It is said that Lasgushi and Asdren greatly appreciated him for the culture and the deep knowledge he had about world literature.
Ahmet Zogu’s close friend
When Zogu came to power in December 1924, he appointed Lin as military representative at the Shkodra Prefecture with the rank of major, where he worked for years. Since then, Lini was associated with a close friendship with Ahmet Zogu, being his confidant, and after Musa Juka and the Serreqs, Lin Deda was the greatest support of the Head of State in that city. This is evidenced by the fact that King Zog in 1938 when he performed the wedding ceremony, made a special invitation to Lin Deda. The bird welcomed Lin home with his close yard circle and he attended the wedding dinner ball. Before that, when the ceremonies were organized in all the districts on the occasion of the wedding of King Zog, in the city of Shkodra, the King entrusted Lin to that, who opened the official evening dancing by dancing himself first. Regarding his close friendship with King Zog, in his memoirs, among other things, Lin wrote: “In the span of seven years, I have known the strong character of King Zog in the most extreme moments of his life. Once in Vienna in 1931 when you were assassinated, which killed Major Llesh Topollaj and in 1938 during the marriage with Geraldine, where as a guest I was present and remember the first dance and many other pleasant events of that day. In 1938, in the sensational celebrations made by King Zog on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Monarchy, I had a significant burden in the city of Shkodra, for the very way of organizing and conducting those activities that were considered successful. In the magnificent evening in Kafen e Madhe where the elite of Shkodra was invited, such as high school professors, doctors, engineers, artists and traders, etc., where most of them had completed their higher studies at European universities, after many congratulations were made in Albanian, they began to be made in the languages where they had studied “.
In Paris in national costume
During the years that Major Lin Deda served in the city of Shkodra, given the satisfactory economic situation of his family, where the brothers continued the successful trade, he made many visits to various European countries. According to some testimonies, it is known that in most cases he went in charge of confidential missions from King Zog. Regarding these frequent visits, Lini wrote in his memoirs: “A few days after the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the Monarchy ended, I left for Paris to spend the New Year in that capital which I had visited several times. I was familiar with most of the streets, monuments and many curiosities that the city held, from which I often felt detached from reality. After arriving in Paris and taking a seat at the hotel recommended to me by my friend Paul Guzhon, I walked out of the shop windows to smell the smell of a cultured place. In the hotel restaurant where every year New Year’s Eve was organized, under the sounds of music began to sing the famous singer Josefin Beker, whose songs I had on the turntable in my house in Shkodra. I saw that that evening no one paid attention to me, I went upstairs to the room where I wore the Albanian national costume. My entrance with that suit electrified the whole hall so that everyone approached me and asked me who I was and where I came from. I proudly replied that I was a major of the Albanian Remnant Army and had gone there to spend New Year’s Eve. This and the diction I gave to the French language aroused even more curiosity among those present in that hall, who did not leave me until the early hours of the morning. “Some of them begged me to stay in Paris forever, but I told you that I was in the military and my homeland was Albania.”
Meetings with Anglo-Americans
Lin Deda remained in the ranks of the Albanian National Army with the rank of major and after the occupation of the country by fascist Italy. Likewise, at the time when German troops entered Albania, Lini remained a military man with the rank of major and became friends with the Germans, especially with Major Hauzding, who was the Gestapo chief in Shkodra. Although Linn was associated with the Germans, because of his sympathy and culture he had gained in Austrian schools, he never became their tool. His friendship with the Gestapo major, Hauzding, and other German officers, had no other connection. Lin’s convictions were monarchist and he was a staunch nationalist. Likewise, during the Italian and German occupation, the other brothers and the entire Dedaj family did not interfere in politics at all. Although he had a German culture, Lin was an ardent sympathizer of the Anglo-American allied forces. This is evidenced by the fact that when the Anglo-American mission went and settled in the village of Bardhaj at the end of 1943, Major Lin Deda together with his sister’s son, Simon Daragjati, went and met with them for a long time. Lin’s secret meeting with the Anglo-American military was discovered by the Gestapo men and the Germans wanted to shoot him. But there is no data and evidence about this event to shed light and show how Lini managed to escape from the German shooting, after the meeting he had with the Anglo-American military mission in the village of Bardhaj.
Saves Shkodra from the Germans
Throughout the German occupation, Lin Deda remained in Shkodra where he continued to be very popular, especially in the ranks of the nationalist parish of that city, where most of them adhered to the National Front. Thus, during the assassination of the Shkodra communists against Major Ndrec Prenga, the Commander of the Shkodra Gendarmerie and Lieutenant Colonel Adem Boletini (Isa Boletini’s son), Lini together with a group of officers took place in the Great Cafe, before which the assassination took place… After this assassination, the nationalist party of the “Shkodra Alliance” led by Gjon Markajoni, wanted to retaliate against the communists to get their revenge, but among other things was the intervention of Lin Deda, which caused the blood to decrease to some extent and not to take revenge as some loyalists of the Captain of Mirdita had sworn!
In the last days of November 1944, when the Germans were leaving the city of Shkodra, they also mined the city. But according to some testimonies, after that, Lin Deda intervened near their command and asked them to appreciate all the facilities in the city of Shkodra, which were ready to be blown up. After Linn’s words, the Germans changed their minds and in the last moments before leaving, sent a soldier on a motorcycle, who demined the main objects to be blown up. Another piece of evidence indicates that Lini’s meeting with the Germans was prompted by the leaders of the partisan forces stationed on the eastern outskirts of the city. Likewise, the Germans, while leaving Shkodra, begged him to take him with them, but he refused because he did not feel compromised at all.
The Dedaj brothers are shot by the communists
After the end of the war, with the arrival of the communists in power, difficult days would begin for the Deda family. Thus, the first step taken by the communist state against them was the seizure of property, such as houses and shops, and bank accounts. Lini, feeling himself clean, did not hide and at first the communists did not disturb him. Unlike Lini, the other brother Peter, went to the mountains joining the anti-communist resistance forces and he was one of the main leaders who took up arms in the Postriba Movement in 1945 and was killed fighting on the mountains with the forces of Pursuit in a cave together with his wife. After Peter was killed, the other brother Kelly was arrested, who was shot in 1947. The other brother, Deda, was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in political prison, and his property was seized in his name.
After the assassination of Peter and the arrest of Deda, from the beginning of 1946 the communists arrested Lin as well, and with him was arrested his nephew (nephew) Zef Tirifoni and both were sentenced to 15 years in prison each. The tragic fate of the communist fury not only ended with Shan Deda’s sons, but it continued with his daughters as well. After the sentencing of Zef Tirifoni, Pinë’s son (his father Toni had worked at the English consulate in Durrës), the other sister Liza, they sentenced her husband Gjon Serreqi to a long political prison, leaving him without any support with only two small children Agetina and Guljelmin. Similarly, Angja’s son (the elder sister of the Dedaj brothers), Simon Daragjati, was arrested and, unable to endure the torture, was thrown from the third floor of the investigation in Shkodra (according to the official version), but is said to have been thrown himself. investigators. Regarding the arrests and convictions of the Deda family, their nephew Pjetër Çoba recalls: “My mother often cried for the fate of her brothers, especially the youngest, Lin, who was alone, because fate wanted her to remain unmarried. “My mother always followed Lin from prison to prison and into exile, with great sacrifices, bringing him some food strikes that we removed from our ration.”
Lini was released from prison in 1960 and then spent another five years in exile in Tragjas, Vlora, where to live, he arranged tents and mice, the “craft” he had learned in prison. When he returned to the city of Shkodra, his sister Matilda took him to Lin at home. But he did not want to be a burden to her, so he started working with the old “craft” of arranging tents. In addition to arranging the tents, Lini prepared to sell some sculptures with Italian patterns, which he had preserved since the 1930s. Likewise, Deda, while he was in prison, with no help, made circles of mice and bird cages to sell. After many years in prison, Deda went to Lezha and died with his daughter who worked as a stair cleaner. Lini, being the youngest of the children, had the good fortune to live longer from the whole family of Shan Deda, the man who led the delegation of the Shkodra Highlands in the League of Prizren, which was perpetuated by Padre Gjergj Fishta in “Lahuta of Malesia”. This was the tragic fate with shootings, prisons and internments experienced under the communist rule of Enver Hoxha, the family of traders Dedaj, who once shone with the greatness of their work, throughout the city of Shkodra. Their last Lini, who lived until 1982, while staying in the Great Cafe of the city of Shkodra, is said to have recalled his entire history and that of his family, and with a rare friend who joined him in his solitude, he remembered and repeated the words of Dante Alighieri, who said: “There is no greater pain than when you remember the happy days in misery” ./Memorie.al