Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the air disaster of May 1, 1938, when the plane of the Tirana-Brindisi-Rome line crashed near the mountains of Formia (Maranola) in Italy, where 19 people lost their lives, among others including the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania in Italy, Xhaferr Vila, the head of the Italian archeological mission in Albania, Piero Marconi, the famous German journalist, Othuar Krainz, and many other foreign citizens, English, American, German, Greek, etc. But also in this air accident were “buried” finally the famous gifts and jewelry of King Zog and the newly married Queen Geraldina Appony, which the Albanian royal family, by order of Zog, decided to return from Tirana to Italy, Austria, and France, where they would then be repackaged in the warehouses and shops of the most expensive and prestigious firms of the time.
Full 82 years ago, on April 30, 1938, a plane of the Tirana-Brindisi-Rome airline, on board of which a number of high Albanian and foreign personalities had boarded as passengers, as it had left behind the space on the Adriatic Sea and had landed in Brindisi, during the voyage to Rome, crashed near the mountains of Formia. In this air disaster, one of the worst in the history of Albanian-Italian civil aviation, from a number of sources of the time, it was announced that in addition to VIP passengers, the famous gifts and jewelry were “buried”. of the marriage of King Zog and the newlywed Queen Geraldina Appony. According to many original sources of the time, these clothes and jewelry of the Albanian royal family, by order of the King, the First Bird, were decided to be transported to Tirana from Italy, Austria, and France and where they would then be returned and repackaged. in the warehouses and shops of the most expensive and prestigious firms of the time such as; ‘Chanel’, ‘Caraceni’, ‘Bulgari’, etc. The American and Italian media of the time themselves describe the Maranola plane crash as one of the most tragic, due to the fact that the precious gifts of the much-talked-about royal wedding, along with some of the most prominent personalities of the time, such as the ambassador Albanian in Italy, Xhaferr Vila, the well-known Italian archaeologist Piero Marconi and the American correspondent of “Newsweek” for the Balkans, Helen Lindhheim, would never arrive at the respective destination… ?! Below in this article we are giving some excerpts from Albanian and foreign newspapers that commented during that air disaster.
News reflected in the American weekly “Newsweek”
“ALBANIA: CONNECTION AND DETERMINATION. AIR FOR CASES HAVE ZOG MARRIAGE WITH GERALDIN ”
The abdication of Edward V in December 1936 left King Zog I of the Albanians as the only single in Europe… Albania celebrated last week with 3-day celebrations the marriage of the Muslim King to the Hungarian Catholic Countess Appony. Zog’s gifts to his Queen, a diamond wreath placed on the Albanian crown, a bracelet, a pendant, were chosen from the jewelry sent to Tirana by the firms of Paris and Vienna. On Saturday, he decided to return the jewelry he did not buy, worth $ 1,052,000 on a plane. The plane was swept away by the storm and crashed on Mount Maranola in the Apennines. The shepherds found the bodies of 19 passengers, but few traces of jewelry. Diamonds and other precious stones were burned, platinum and gold melted. (Return was secured). Among the unfortunate passengers were the Albanian ambassador to Italy, prominent archaeologists, and the American correspondent, Mrs. Helen Lindheim.
The news reflected in the prestigious “Corriere Della Sera”
“BLOOD, ARCHAEOLOGICAL MAP AND PROPERTY PERFORMANCE IN MARANOLA HUMNERS OF FORMIA”
Today, on the morning of April 30, a severe air tragedy was recorded in Central Italy in the Maranola Apennines. Ala Littoria’s Meda S.73 aircraft, which among important passengers, also transported the archeological map of Albania as well as the luxury wedding gifts of King Zog I of the Albanians, suddenly crashed into the rocky massif of Maranola (Formia) causing the immediate death of all passengers. Other details are not known. In the following hours, other facts will be made public.
The air tragedy that “buried” the archeological map of Albania
Unfortunately, other tragedies have “blackened” this air route, but the most serious is the one of April 30, 1938, when the plane of the line Tirana-Brindisi-Rome, on whose board, together with the crew, was traveling full of 19 people, collided with rocks and crashed near the mountains of Formia, somewhere between Naples and Rome. Among those killed in the plane crash was Albania’s powerful minister in Italy, Xhaferr Vila, head of the Italian archeological mission in Albania, professor Piero Marconi, famous German journalist Othuar Krainz, and several other citizens. foreigners, Italians, Americans, Greeks, Germans, etc. But along with the loss of these human lives, another tragedy, perhaps even greater, occurred in that tragic accident. The archeological map of Albania was lost and “buried” there forever, an invaluable and unrepeatable asset, for which the famous Italian professor had worked for more than a decade in our country. In addition to dr. Aleksandër Meksit, (former Prime Minister of Albania in 1992-1997), one of the most famous archaeologists and researchers who have worked for years at the Institute of Cultural Monuments, as well as several other well-known specialists of Albanian archeology, This is also known from a letter that Marconi himself sent to his Italian friend a few days ago, informing him of a new archeological discovery he had made in Albania. But how did the catastrophe happen, in what technical conditions were the Tirana-Rome flight, before that trip that remained and the last one for him, in what atmospheric conditions did he travel that day, who were the other people who lost their lives in that air tragedy, how was that serious event conveyed by the Albanian state at that time and the Italian government? In this regard, we know some articles that we have taken from the Albanian press of that time, which widely reflected that bitter event, as well as an editorial written by Sterjo Spasse, the former famous writer (of the period of socialist realism), who in the years of the Zog Monarchy worked as a journalist.
News reflected in the newspaper “ARBNIA”
A sudden plane crash in Italy has killed 19 people. Among them is Minister Xhafer Vila and many dear friends of our country
As lightning spread in Tirana as early as Sunday at noon, bitter news, that the Trimotor “I Meda” S.73 of Ala Littoria, which departed from the Tirana airport on Saturday morning and which arrived on time in Brindisi, departing from that city in Rome, disappeared. The brave man who served the usual Tirana-Brindisi-Rome air postal route, this time took with him our Minister Xhafer Villa, the head of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Albania, Professor Piero Marconi; Honorary Consul of Albania in Rome, Ermengildo Pugni; Durrës Fashio Secretary Giuseppe Crisulo, well-known German journalist Othmar Krainz and other travelers. The plane was supposed to arrive in Rome on Saturday afternoon, but you’re not going anywhere. It was certain, then, that some misfortune would have befallen him. After the departure of Trimotor from Brindisi, the weather was bad and a dense fog had covered the mountains on which “I-Meda” would fly. During the afternoon of Sunday, until late at night, the whole of Tirana lived moments full of spiritual pain, waiting and judging the most bitter telegraphic news coming from Rome. Late at night it was reported that Trimotor was found crushed in the mountains near Formia and that all 14 passengers along with 5 crew members, a total of 19 people, including Minister Vila, were found dead and charred.
How did the disaster happen?
The Trimotor flew from Brindisi to Rome, being perfectly tidy in every way. The pilots of the aircraft, from the most experienced Italian aviators, the aircraft, a perfect camera, from the best material. Although time had begun to falter, the plane took off and would have successfully completed the voyage if it had not climbed a bad fatality, fatality from those who stand above human powers and foresight. Between Naples and Rome, the plane encountered very bad weather and dense fog. 120 km. lark Rome, in the mountains near Formia due to dense fog, the plane tried with a mountain top was crushed and rolled. At the time of the rock attempt, the plane crashed. Due to the fog, no one had seen the disaster or the plane flying over those places. Sometime later, some shepherds passing by discovered the wreckage of the plane and immediately alerted the nearest authorities. The 19 passengers were all found dead and partially carbonized, so much so that it was difficult to identify them.
Telegraphic news on the disaster
Here we are publishing the telegrams that came to us from Rome about this catastrophic catastrophe.
Rome 1. (Time 20.00).
It has not yet been possible to obtain even the slightest information about the fate of the plane that provided the Tirana-Rome line service and that was received in vain at Littoria airport last night. But, now it seems certain that the plane with 19 people on board, suffered a serious accident between Brindisi and Rome because nothing has been learned even today about the fate of the Albanian Minister in Rome, Xhafer Vila, who was on that plane. The competent service does not provide any information on this matter. The news circulates that several Italian and foreign journalists were on the plane.
Rome, 1 (20.10).
It is learned in the Albanian Legation that Xhafer Vila, the minister of Shqipnis in Rome, died in the accident that happened on the Tirana-Rome line plane, among the districts of Naples.
Rome, 1 (20.30)
The Tirana-Rome line plane has crashed, in circumstances still unknown, in the Maranola Valley, a small four-kilometer village. from Formia, between Rome and Naples, and immediately caught fire. Five crew members and 14 passengers were found dead. The charred bodies of the victims were taken to the Fascio House in Maranola where they were supervised by the fascists. The wreckage of the plane was found only this afternoon. Among the victims are counted; four German travelers, an Englishman, an American, the Albanian Minister in Rome, Xhafer Vila, a Greek and a citizen of the free city of Dantzig.
Rome, 1 (21.00)
According to the first information coming to Rome, the accident on the Tirana-Rome line was caused by fog. The plane, which took off at 11.30 am, crashed into a mountain pass in an uninhabited area not far from Formia and caught fire. Some shepherds were the first to find the wreckage and the charred bodies of the victims near 3 p.m. They immediately went on foot to Maranola, the nearest village, from where the news was sent to Formia. The bodies of the victims were taken to the Maranola cemetery this afternoon. A cortege of aeronautical personalities from Rome and the inhabitants of the province followed the mortal caravan. Families’ decisions on funeral arrangements were awaited.
Rome, 1 (21.25)
The plane that crashed was lost between the Tirana-Rome line, collided near 13 o’clock on the top of a mountain near Formia, caught fire and fell to the ground. Some shepherds found the rubbish and informed the authorities. The plane is a Trimotor of the Italian company “Ala Littoria”. The Albanian Minister of Interior in Rome, Xhafer Vila, eight other foreign travelers, five Italians, and five crew members had been found dead. The victims are truncated in a horrific way and are completely carbonized, making it impossible for them to be identified. It is believed that a German is among them. The bodies were placed in coffins and sent to the Maranolas Fashio House where fascist militias are guarding. The victims were later taken to the cemetery. The General Director of the “Ala Littoria” Association, Mr. Klinger, and General Pellegrini, of the Civil Aviation Department at the Ministry of Air, lead the corpses. It is believed that the plane was hit by lightning.
Rome, 1. (23.00)
The communiqué published on the air disaster, which resembled the Brindisi-Rome flight, gives the names of the crew members and the carbonized passengers: chief pilot Muller, second pilot, Magri, radiotelegrapher, Mariani, mechanic, second engineer, Meluzzi, Tait, Minister of Albania in Rome, Xhafer Vila, Marconi Piero, Armando Pacifici, Salvatore Chizari, Domenico Morelli, Ermengildo Pugni, Giusepe Crisuolo, Othmar Krainz, Walter Krapke, Yacob Fridrich Ballscmeich, Karl Grotzneimff Brouel, Samuel, Emma Geroge Haydakail (Greek).
Condolences for the loss of the Minister, Villa
Yesterday, all day long, the house of the Villa family in Tirana has been a place of pilgrimage. The personalities and people of the people came to offer their deepest condolences to the family for the great and unexpected tragedy that struck them. Indeed, Minister Villa enjoyed a special sympathy and consideration. We learn that the family’s wish is for the heartless body of Minister Villa to be brought and buried in the homeland. Yesterday morning the Villa family received a telegram of condolence, with very painful expressions, signed by Shk. His Excellency Count Ciano, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy. Also yesterday morning, Shk. To him, Jacomoni visited our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shk. His, Eqrem Libohova, expressing his condolences on behalf of the Fascist Government for the loss of Minister Villa.
Pierro Marconi and Othuar Krainz
Among the victims of the air, disaster is the Chief of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Albania, the eminent scientist Pierro Marconi. The deceased was loaded onto the plane by Brindisi. On April 29, he wrote a letter to our colleague, Mr. Lorusso Atoma – perhaps his last letter – arrived in Tirana today. There he reports them for a new discovery he had made in Albania and says he is only going to Italy for a few days. Among the victims was our distinguished German colleague, Othmar Krainz, a talented writer, a proven friend of our country. The deceased lived in Berlin and collaborated in a number of first-hand notebooks such as “Essener Nationalzeitung”, “Der Mitteldeutchee”, “Volkischer Beobachter”, “Der Angliff”, “Der Hamer” etc. At the time of the Great War I earned more decorations for his bravery. He was a member of NSDAP. He has published a number of valuable books and studies. He has traveled halfway around the world. He has written over 20 beautiful articles in Albania and in his book “Pride of World Politics” he has dedicated a special chapter to His King N.M.
Special correspondence from Rome
Rome, – The death of Minister Xhafer bei Villa in the air disaster near Formia has produced a deep impression among diplomatic circles and among the official spheres of Rome. Italy’s Foreign Minister, Count Ciano, as soon as he was informed of the disaster, sent his condolences. The Albanian Legion was attacked with phone calls by the diplomatic corps that could not believe the disaster and demanded a refutation of the lamentable news. A number of personalities, friends of Albania and personal ministers of the Minister, have expressed their condolences to Mr. Vasfi Xhomos, Charge d’Affaires of Albania in Rome. The loss of Minister Villa is especially felt in official circles where he enjoyed widespread sympathy and was valued for his value as a subtle diplomat and friend of Italy. In the Albanian colony he leaves an indelible memory; his, his mistress, had gained deep sympathy among the students and the Albanian colony of Rome of the late minister. The survey continues to determine the cause of the disaster, despite the fact that it seems certain that bad weather and fog have stopped pilots from seeing the road. It is learned that there were 20,000,000 jewelry francs on the plane, delivered by a Parisian jeweler from the Rue de la Paix, which appears to have been completely destroyed. In recent hours, it has been learned that the body of Minister Villa will be transported to Bari to be brought to Albania. (Edda de Mistura)
The consolations of Ciano and Gen. Parian for the death of Vila
On the occasion of the fact of Mr. Xhaferr Villa’s loss, His Excellency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania received from His Excellency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mr. Galezao Ciano and from the Deputy Minister of War, General Pariani the telegrams that follow: Shk. T, Eqrem Libohova. Minister of Foreign Affairs-Tirana. They were deeply affected by the great tragedy that cost my life Shk. To him, Xhafer Villa expresses to Your Excellency my condolences to the Fascist Government. ” Ciano.
His Excellency, Eqrem Libohova, Minister of Foreign Affairs-Tirana. “I am alive and well in the great loss that befell the Roman Legation for the heavy loss of Minister Villa, and I beg the Excellency not to be kind enough to accept the most sensitive manifestations of my deepest condolences.” General Pariani.
Air crash details
After the latest information, the catastrophe that cost the loss of 19 missing people, it seems that it will be possible in these circumstances. He could only move forward between Naples. At 11.30 a.m., the plane was scheduled to arrive at Littoria’s airspace near Rome. By 2.30 am the plane was battling the storm surrounded by dense fog. It seems that the pilot when he saw that so many hours of flight had passed, believed that the plane had crossed the high mountains and that you would now be near Rome. Because of the fog, nothing could be seen. Guided by this assumption, the pilot will land the plane lower than the height of the mountain peaks. In reality, the plane, although flying for so many hours, had made very little progress and continued to be inside the mountain range. Following the flight, he encountered the May-mountain rock on which he attempted.
The press of the time reflected in detail all the funeral ceremonies
Today, the heartless body of Minister Xhafer Villa comes to the homeland, with the “Aquilone” controller. (My final details are catastrophic)
Yesterday morning, when the Minister of Italy in Tirana, Shk. His, Jacomoni was ready to go to Rome by plane, a telegram (telegram, our note), coming from Italy announced that the heartless body of the deceased Xhafer Villa arrives on Wednesday morning in Durrës with the “Aquilone” controller. This news stopped the decision of Minister Jacomoni, since Shk. He wants to assist in the funerals, to say goodbye to his missing colleague. Also yesterday morning, they left Tirana for Durrës, to be loaded, not to mention Bari, in order to escort the body of Minister Villa, Mr. Dhimitër Berati, Secretary of the P. of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Felatun Villa, the son of the deceased, together with other members of the family. Before the ship left, they were informed by Tirana about the landing that came from Rome and was forced to return to the capital. The contractor who brings the soulless body of the Minister is taken to the pier of Durrës today at 8.30. Xhafer Villa’s body will be brought to Tirana in large numbers, where he will be received with honors. At the entrance to the city, at the end of Nana Mbretneshë Street, there will be people waiting for the body of the deceased: A company of soldiers with the Military Gang; Ministerial Body; Diplomatic Corps; Min, Foreign and other clerks all in ceremonial attire. The procession will pass through “Nana Mbretneshë” and “28 Nëntor” streets and will stop at the Old Mosque, where the religious ceremony will take place and the occasional speech will be given. Then the heartless body of Minister Villa will be taken to the Bektashi Tekke for burial.
The editorial in the newspaper “ARBNIA” of the well-known journalist and writer, Sterjo Spasse
“Marconi was the pioneer of our archeology, after Ugolin”
Prof Pirro Marconi, President of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples and one of the pioneers of archeological discoveries on our land after the late Luixi Ugolini, was left in the last air accident that took so many loved ones away from us. The deceased was a man who had probably not passed his forties; looking so elegant in his dark spots, in the deep eyes of the sweet thinker, in the face drawn by the noble visages of the artist, you could not give him even forty years; we have before us his gentlemanly physiognomy which has devoted itself to science. Pierro Marconi had come among us to change the guard left vacant by his unforgettable predecessor Luigi Ugolini, who, during his stay in Albania, and precisely under Butrinto, succeeded, in the virtue of a hard and dangerous job, to give to us and to all of Europe, some of the hidden masterpieces divided the centuries-old land and testify fourfold to the advanced civilization of our country. Above all high quality, the tireless researcher and digger Luigi Ugolini enjoyed the magical virtue of soulful communication with the land he discovered as the holder of treasures still unknown, and that of the deep love he felt for our country which he chose as his homeland. second spiritnuer. It should be noted that much has been said and written about the ancient civilization of our country; stories were told and it was written that we were worse than we are; in reality, these scholars who use the pen to mark the letter of a mold book, and not the powerful hoe of science, to see up close what our earth is like, this four-kacilla researcher reached, and it never is. too much to repeat, to show us in the eyes of our public opinion as people that has inappropriate traditions with the most civilized peoples of the world. Luigi Ugolini came among us with the lover of a working apostle; he had the genius of more than one note in serious texts on a first-hand civilization and one of the brightest enjoyed by the great peoples of our people today. And he did not use pins but fell to the ground through, with the light of a glance the researcher was convinced that, under the arbnor soil, and precisely on that piece of land ruined by his order cut and full of kindness towards the wing workers, there was a word and a work of the weather that showed us what we were and what we are, and, that is, a people who had given their word, not only in war but also in construction work, in civic work. This was the work of Pierro Marconi’s predecessor, who honored us to change the guard that his comrade-in-arms, Luigi Ugolini, had left. We all remember Piero Marconi and we cannot forget him when he described to us all the work of his friend Luigi Ugolini and visited us for his purposes because he belonged to the future of discovery, not only in the beautiful part of Butrinto, but also in that proud of Northern Albania. We remember that here, a short time ago, Aj spoke to us at the National Cinema, about how much Aj himself had continued, after the brilliant work of Ugolin, and about his tough goals for that work to continue with a real loyalty. how much the pioneer colleague of art and soul had been left in abeyance, for the mortuary seized him. His speech captivated us all for that form of study and study that makes you remain the third in the imagination that transcends the boundaries of facts to make a burning desire. With his fierce disappearance, Pierro Marconi left us with a dreamlike memory of his visionary presence and the unrelenting workforce for the sake of the triumph of a page of history that makes us raise our heads and say that we are the same heirs. beautiful and proud departure in history. Pierro Marconi remains, next to Mr. Xhafer Villa, close to fellow journalists and missionaries of the same world light on Albania and its joy. We bow before His untimely death and give thanks to Him in the world, being convinced that He hears us. (ARBNIA newspaper, May 3, 1938)/Memorie.al