Memorie.al publishes the unknown memories of Zylfi Sali Lami, originally from the village of Shtiqën in the district of Kukës, a sucker of one of the well-known families of that area, who after attending school in “Normale” of Elbasan, in 1942 in the ranks of the Communist Party and during the period of the Anti-Fascist War, he took an active part as the initiator of the Luma Çeta and then as a Commissar of the XXIV Partisan Brigade, coming out of the war with the rank of captain, as Head of State Security for the province of Luma. Testimonies of Colonel Zylfi Sali Lami. The Chairman of the Internal Affairs Branches in some districts of the country and the former deputy of Kukës in the People’s Assembly for some legislatures, from the pursuit and siege of the “Muharrem Bajraktari Gang”, and the people who were killed there, the conflicts with Colonel Beqir Ndoun , Koci Xoxen and Haxhi LLeshin, the machinations of the UDB chief for Kosovo, Cedo Mihjovic, to the intrigues of Feçorr Shehu and Kadri Hazbiu, who released him at the age of 46 and tried to arrest him.
Who was Colonel Zylfi Sali Lami, the deputy of Kukës and the Chairman of the Branches of Internal Affairs in some districts of the country?
Zylfi Lami, also known as Zylfi Saliu, was born in the village of Shtiqën in Kukës in 1922. His father, Saliu, was one of the most prominent men in the province who took part in the armed resistance against the Serbo-Montenegrin and Turkish invaders. During the coup d’etat of the fanatical forces or as it is otherwise known from the historiography of the communist regime before the ’90s, as the “June Revolution” of 1924, although their family supported the forces of Bajram Curri and Fan Noli , in the years of the Monarchy, their family had no consequences from the Zog regime. On the contrary, Zylfiu received a scholarship to continue his studies at the “Normale” school in Elbasan, completing them in 1939.
During the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War, the Lami family took an active part and some of its sons joined the partisan units and formations of that area. One of them was Zylfiu, who became the main initiator for the establishment of the Luma gang. In 1942, Zylfi Sali Lami was admitted to the Albanian Communist Party, and a year later, he was appointed political commissar for the province of Luma. In 1944, with the creation of the 24th Partisan Brigade, he was appointed its commissar, a position he held until the end of the War.
From the War he retired with the rank of first captain, and in 1945, was appointed Head of the People’s Defense Sector (SEMP, forerunner of the State Security), for the province of Luma. In 1946, he was transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tirana and in the same year, he was demobilized and his name was put on the list of anti-party persons, to be beaten and convicted. After that, for some time he worked in the Trade sector, and after 1949, he was rehabilitated as a victim of Koci Xoxa, to return again to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
From that period until 1968, Zylfi Sali Lami, in addition to being a deputy of Kukës, would serve for years with the rank of colonel, in the position of Chairman of the Branch of Internal Affairs, for the districts of Kukës, Tirana, Berat, Fierit, etc. In 1983, Zylfi was one of 160 people called to testify in the investigation and trial of former Interior Minister Kadri Hazbiu.
From the period of the War until his death in 1999, Zylfi Lami has kept a regular diary and many notes, some of which he was able to provide to Memorie.al.
Although these notes were written before the ’90s and in the context of the ideological frameworks of the time and it also speaks of “enemies, agents and traitors”, we think that they have an importance and interest for the public, as among other things clearly show the nature and character of the system of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, especially when these were held by persons with important positions at that time, such as Zylfi Lami, former Colonel of State Security and member of the People’s Assembly.
Memoirs of the former MP, Colonel Zylfi Sali Lami
“How did I surround Muharrem Bajraktar and I still have his revolver at home today”?!
The third case was the siege of Muharrem Bajraktar’s gang, on April 16-17, 1946, in Shpatëz of Gjabrica. Instead of Beqir Ndou taking part in these fights to defeat this dangerous criminal, he went to Prizren for “personal needs”. We liquidated almost half of Muharrem Bajraktar’s gang, along with his two sons, Myftar and Ymer. Even from our friends, Abaz Gjuta and Nuhi Voka from Shtiqni were killed, etc.
The criminal Muharrem Bajraktari escaped together with his brother Bajrami, being injured. This would not have escaped if Ferit Sinica, the former area commander, had done the siege properly. The latter would later be revealed as the enemy. Muharrem’s revolver used by his son, I already have. It had these characteristics, Waffenfabrik Walten Zehla Mehlis Thur Walteres Patent, caliber 76. m m, Mod 99, Nr. 751 342.
Beqir Ndou, not only did not come, but made other mistakes after the event. These are found in the documents of the period April-July 1946. Even in the siege of Lajme against the rest of Muharrem Bajraktar’s gang, he was indecisive and did not attack the southeastern wing of the country, where the gang was surrounded. On the north-western side, the battalion commander Shyqyri Taka attacked and was killed heroically.
Here Bajraktar’s gang was finally defeated, although he was again wounded and managed to escape. The events flowed one after the other. I was released, and decided to be liquidated by Koci Xoxe, (this fact was later testified by Pilo Shanto, Beqir Ndou, and Irakli Kocani).
My criticisms of Haxhi Lleshi
In 1948, after the 11th Plenum when the Party and especially Comrade Enver, unmasked Yugoslav revisionism and its agent Koçi Xoxe with friends, elections were being held for the 1st Congress of the SNP. There were cases where any, although not persecuted, presented themselves as such. These were confirmed by time, later by who they were. Not only was I removed and demobilized by the State Security, but while working in Trade, I was planned to be eliminated by Koci Xoxe. (Security documents specially followed by Isa Agoviku, later accepted by himself, but also first by me).
This was the first salvation for me. But later I was sentenced again and in 1968, at the age of 46, I was released. But these are a little difficult for me to analyze. Let us not detach the thread of the story about Beqir Ndoun. He was nominated in the list of delegates to the I Congress. Only praise was woven without pointing out the flaws. This was not fair, as there were some who pretended to be washed.
I got up from the hall and discussed the candidacies of Beqir Ndout and Haxhi Lleshi. I agreed with both candidacies, but I also pointed out the shortcomings that I knew. I criticized Comrade Haxhi for the event in Fushë Alia. Esat Ndreu introduced us there, but he should have analyzed the situation better and not trust Esat. Comrade Haxhi, called the criticism right and told me that these issues had been discussed and that he had taken his share.
How did I criticize Colonel Beqir Ndoun?!
I criticized Beqir for what we said. Their origin was from the first acquaintance when he, showed disbelief for the Party confidants and this came from the shock and weakness in his nature. He remained silent about the criticism and did not respond to it in public. At the break he wanted to fill my mind that ostensibly he did not remember! I stayed with mine and told him that if he wanted, we could continue the debate in the hall. He withdrew and called the conversation closed.
Many friends have reminded me of this, later and of course these things are recorded in the minutes of the conference. Yes life is relatively long and during it, you have to face various enemies and traitors like those disguised in the ranks of the Party, the troubles would continue long. At the end of 1948, due to the activity of the Yugoslav UDB, the situation in the district of Bicaj (Luma) was very serious. By decision of the Party and personally of Comrade Enver, I am recalled to the Security and appointed as Head of Security for the Bicaj and Luma area.
Conflict with Beqir Ndoun!
In 1949, I came to Tirana for work reasons. Beqir Ndou had become Deputy Minister of Interior. There was also the work of the Framework. Without starting a good conversation about the job I had come up with, he started with the old ones. He had not forgotten anything from the past, and spoke with a boastful arrogance of Nikaj Mërtur! He started telling me that the things I had raised for him in the Party Congress, I had done wrong and that at that moment he had become Deputy Minister of Interior. I listened to it to the end without interrupting it in order to bring it all out. But I was barely restraining myself.
As he came inflating like a balloon, but I imagined from the past a wicked man. I counted all the things from the beginning and told him that you did not mind. He got angry and started shouting. It was heard so much that Kadri Hazbiu entered the adjacent office for work reasons. Beqiri did not want Kadriu to find out about our conversation. I did not remain silent, but told him that we would go to the minister and explain the story of our quarrel. But since the minister, Mehmet Shehu, was not there, we left it to Kadriu to tell them, and that the Party would see this problem according to him.
The three UDB agents!
It never occurred to me that in early 1949, I would be dealing with three UDB agents. With their main boss, Cedo Mihovic, Nazmi Kursani, Mazllum Nimani, and Njazi Spahiu, they had quarreled over issues of principle and I did not allow them to commit illegal actions against Albania in 1945-46 when I was chief in Lume. I did not allow Albanian citizens to be arrested and taken to Yugoslavia to be executed, as was the case with Vula.
I did not allow them to arrest villagers from Has, who had allegedly committed crimes in Kosovo and had taken refuge in fugitives. I did not allow their forces to cross into our territory in order to capture the fugitives. As I did not allow people from Kosovo to be shot in our territory, as was the case of Chedo’s girlfriend, partisan “Dara”. On the other hand, I allowed dozens of Kosovars to escape, who were passing through Albania and executed on the way to Montenegro.
For all this, they reported to the center and the man from Belgrade, Koci Xoxe, released me and appointed Beqir Ndoun as boss! Yes he was partially discovered earlier and convicted by the Party. He was arrested, later released, to be re-arrested. What struck me most recently was their conversation with a friend. And this after it was discovered by the Party and Comrade Enver, the work of Mehmet Shehu’s polyagent, Kadri Hazbiu, of his gang.
In the middle of 1968, I met with Kadriu, Feçori, and Fadil Paçrami about the work of the State Security Party. Apparently, they had agreed and released me at the age of 46. Paskan made a very long circular for me, sent to all the bodies of internal affairs.
Kadri Hazbiu wanted to arrest me!
One of my friends who worked in the internal affairs bodies T.Ç., among other things, told me that: Kadriu, after his release, was looking at all costs to find something for your arrest. He was trying to find a stick or a reason. Although I, continued T.Ç. to have known him since 1940, in the dormitory of “Normale” in Elbasan as a revolutionary. We had nothing to do with your work that you had done properly.
I asked him to bring evidence. Kadriu brought me things that surprised me. They were various slanders extracted from the archive of Koci Xoxa’s time, which the Party had long condemned. These were timely prepared by L.M. of N.K., who were convicted as Yugoslav agents. Beqir Ndou had put a cap on them as a former Deputy Minister. Now, Kadriu and Feçori had added theirs. Because they were not true and the Party had timely condemned these forms and materials. With the sentencing of these agents, we opposed their opinion in the Party. /Memorie.al