Memorie.al / Mita Jakova were born in the city of Korça on February 20, 1914, and completed elementary and unique school in her hometown. During the period that she continued her studies at the Korça High School, she joined the ranks of the National Liberation Movement and then joined the partisan ranks as part of the formations of the First Assault Brigade with Commander Mehmet Shehu. Tuk Jakova was born in Shkodër in 1914 and completed primary and secondary school in her hometown, while she was forced to interrupt her secondary studies for economic reasons and worked as a carpenter in the workshops of her city. During this period of time, he became one of the main leaders of the Communist Group of Shkodra headed by Zef Malë and as a member of that group, in 1941; Tuku participated in the founding meeting of the Albanian Communist Party. After that, he took an active part in the National Liberation War, first as commissioner of the First Assault Brigade, which was created in August 1943, in the village of Vidhkuq in Korça, and then as deputy commissioner of the First Assault Division of the National Liberation Army. After the end of the war, Tuk Jakov was awarded the high title “Hero of the People” and the rank of lieutenant general. Similarly, after 1945, he held some of the highest functions in the party and state hierarchy, such as: member of the Political Bureau, organizational secretary of the Communist Party, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Trade Unions of Albania, Ambassador in Belgrade, etc. Immediately after the end of the war, in December 1944, Mita and Tuku got married and from this marriage, four children were born, two sons and two daughters. In 1951, when he was a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, the first clashes began between him and Enver Hoxha. As a result, he was attacked by Enver Hoxha (accused of softening the class war), until in 1955, he was expelled from the Politburo and the Central Committee, dismissing him from all party posts and state. In June 1955, the family is expelled from Tirana and settled in the city of Berat, where Tuku works again as a carpenter (department manager) while Mita, first as a teacher, and after a while, she is also forced to work as a worker. In November 1956, he was notified of the first measure of exile as a family, and after two years, in 1957, Tuku was sentenced to solitary confinement in Kanina Castle, and in 1958, he was declared a traitor and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 1959, Tuk Jakova died in the prison hospital of Tirana, under mysterious circumstances, which even today have not been clarified yet! Meanwhile, his family, Mita, two sons and two daughters (Vjosa, Agimi, Besniku and Bujana) continued to stay in exile and they were able to return to Tirana, in the early 90s, after the collapse of the communist regime. Mita Jakova passed away in 2014, at her home in Tirana. The part that we have selected for publication in this article is taken from the book “Painful Exchange of Letters”, where part of their correspondence is made public during the period that Tuku was serving his sentence in Tirana prison.
FRAGMENTS FROM THE BOOK “PAINFUL EXCHANGE”
This is the first letter I am writing to you from prison, as those friends of the Branch there have told you, I was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Please don’t be upset, but look at work, look at your children and your health. Don’t worry about me, I’m fine, I’m not getting bored, and I’m living in the hope that I’ll be sent somewhere to work in my profession. That way, I will no longer be in trouble for money, because I will earn it myself with my work. But for now (as they say), I’m in the old prison of Tirana, waiting to be organized in a job center. If I change the address, I will write immediately.
Greetings and hugs, Tuku!
27.IV.1958, Old prison.
Very dear Tuk
How much I have waited for this your first letter from the Prison! Now I just received it and I am answering you.
I have as much to write to you as you have had to write to me. But can all that we felt and thought about each other be written down on paper after January 3? Although your letter was only a few lines long, it made me very happy that you started writing to me again. I am now starting to count the days again until I get letters from you again and again.
Zhan of Mita! How dear and dear your letters will be to me hereafter…!!
Don’t worry about me! I understand very well the great task I have in life, to raise and educate our children for a long time alone. And that I understand this duty and other social duties, therefore I will find the strength to overcome pain and overcome any difficulty.
Don’t get bored either! I hope you get assigned to a job as soon as possible. You love work and it will be your best friend from now on, to not let you get bored.
That’s why I’m glad, that you start working and not that you won’t fall on my neck for money like you wrote me. Of course, after so many months you will need some clothes or something else.
Write to me please without any shyness. The children are all well. Today I received a letter from Vjosa. He wrote to me how much preparation they were doing at school for May 1 and how happily he was waiting for that day, because after so many years he was celebrating it again in Tirana.
You had all the grades of the 3rd semester again. So did Besnik, while Agimi again had a 4 in language, although he has progressed well in grammar. I am worried about how he will pass the exams to get the release certificate. I will write about this again. Bujana is like Bujana. He reminds you a lot and speaks a lot of jewels.
The children behave very well with me and do not annoy me. Mother has been gone for 12 days. So I have to go through every despair alone. Why alone? I have children, what about you?
We wrote Tuk, as many times as allowed. I will write too. When you get settled I look forward to seeing you.
Children kiss you.
I embrace you longingly, yours,
Berat, 6. V. 1958
Very dear Mita!
Although I sent you a letter a week ago in response to your first letter I received here in prison, today I am writing to you again.
It is May 24 – This day has always been very dear to us. Every year this date renewed the unforgettable memories that bind us both. I’m avoiding the romantic side of this date, (although I liked to write and what to write) and I’m stopping a little with our current reality.
In my family life, May 24 coincides with moments of happiness and despair. A wise popular proverb says: “Life is not always a square with flowers”, so it has its own joys and sorrows. Starting from this reality, I advise you to be patient and stay strong over despair, because we have obligations to our children and you, you must be for them, both Father and Mother, and face the life of alone, as long as we are apart. In this regard, I was very happy with your words that you wrote that: “You understand the duty that fell into your life”.
I also sent a letter to my mother and asked her to come and see me with Vjosa. I also asked him if he would be able to bring me some dry food to eat, because now we have entered the prison norm and we don’t have food like we used to.
As for the spoils I had with me, I stopped: the mattress, the quilt (no sheets and no bed), the pillow, the new pajamas, the gray suit, the old jacket, the trousers, the leather raincoat, cigarettes, sandals, 3 shirts, 3 pair of underpants, 2 rowers, woolen flannel, cocoon, white hat, waistcoat, towel, chess, and 5 books. All the others promised me that they will send them to you, so please if you received them and if not, then when you receive them give me a list of what you received, because I have their inventory. Also if we have any confiscation and if so then let me know what.
I’m healthy so far, I’m not bad. Write me how you are with health, how you are with smoking, how are the children and especially Bujana, how are you doing. When the toads receive their evidence, we will let you know how they came out with lessons. Kiss the toads for me.
I kiss you longingly
Tuku Tirana, old prison, 24.V.1958
P.S. Today I received the 500 lek you sent me.
Today I received the second letter of dt. 17.5.1958. I believe that by now you will have received the letter that I sent you before this and you will have calmed down about our health and everything that I wrote to you. A few days ago, I sent you another 500 ALL, thinking that it has been a long time since I sent you.
When you write to me again, I expect a long letter, as you promised me. I understood from today that you are upset and depressed. I love you so much Tuk! Don’t be sad and don’t despair, whatever your circumstances are! Try to overcome everything with patience, wisdom. When you get bored and depressed, remember me, remember the children! I have seriously decided not to despair.
Don’t you remember that I do this because I have no reason? On the contrary! During the last few months I have been through different moments. Sometimes I have cried my troubles with myself (because I have no one) and then, on my own, as a second person, I have returned and given courage to myself, using all that I know from people’s misfortunes and their will and courage to overcome them.
Now I will think about work, how to do it in the future as well as possible, how to educate the children better and meet their needs within the possibilities, I will also think a lot about you so that even though I am far away I will always be close to you with strength, determination, enthusiasm for life, love for work, care for children, love and loyalty, I will transmit all of these to you. Do you understand me Tuk? That’s how it is. Even you, wherever you are, regret that you have a duty to be like that! When you are asked for work, don’t spare your strength! I know this, I also wrote it in vain.
During the last months, I have read many books, among which “A hero of our time”, by Lermontov, “The road of suffering” (trilogy by Alexey Tolsoyt), so far only the first volume “Sisters”, “Uncle” has been translated into Albanian. Gorjoj” by Balzac, “Storm in the Gang” by Tagore, “If I were a boy” by Stërmilli, “Lulja e Kujtimit” by Postol, some selected Chinese pieces, etc. It will take a long conversation to tell you the impressions about each one, especially the first ones. When I read “Storm in the Gang” (which you wrote in a letter to me that you read it and liked it very much), how many times I reread those parts that impressed me, and with my imagination I wanted to find your impressions as well .
Komolo became for me dear, wise and with all the good qualities that the author wore, as much as it is for all those who know her and live with her in the novel. If you can and you need books, write to me and I will send them to you. We also wrote about everything you need. We are in the last days of the school year. We have a lot of work these days. On dt. 24.V. we end the lessons. I start my vacation there from June 5.
The first days of the holidays I will deal with the arrangement of the house, because I have not done the summer chores yet. Then I will write how I will arrange the holidays. Children will write after getting the conclusions. I am sending you the picture of Vjosa that came out just for you. I expect it to arrive on June 4. We are all in good health. I’m starting to give back little by little. We all kiss and hug you.
They love Mita a lot!
I have sent you two letters, this is the third and I am waiting for an answer from you.
I also wrote a letter to Vjosa’s mother asking them to come and see me, but they are not showing up and I am worried. I am also writing to Fran today.
In your first letter that I received, you asked me to write what I need, and I am also answering you.
First of all, I would like you to come and see me during the holidays if they give you permission. If you come, take Vjosa as well, and bring me these goods:
Dry sausage, cheese and a little sugar, a loaf of bread, a mat, a small comb, a toothpaste, a bar of soap, some postage stamps, a copy pencil, envelopes and paper and some cigarettes. As you see these are expensive things, so sell that fine suit of mine. In case you can’t come, then I’ll send you a package. In case you will come, I would bring with me some loot that I have here, such as the gray suit, the leather coat, etc. because I have nowhere to leave them, they are falling apart.
Don’t be upset, Jean, but continue to stay strong and patient because that’s how you make me happy and I love you more. I, for my part, am trying not to get bored. In terms of health, I haven’t been bad so far and I haven’t complained of a headache or anything…! I seem to be getting used to the prison climate.
Write me how it goes and how the toads turned out with lessons. Children kiss for me. I kiss you longingly
The old prison, Tirana.
P.S. I also forgot to order a new book (novel) with him.
Very dear Tuk!
I have been writing to you for two whole weeks as of tonight. During this time I have not received any letter from you. I don’t know how you are doing and how you spend your time in general after May 24th (the date of the 3rd letter I received). Did you settle down with work? Like you, this worries me too. I constantly think about you, about food, sleep. I’m worried, don’t be upset, etc., etc. Every time I cook something good to eat it gets stuck in my throat.
Yes Tuku I say, what do you eat today? It hurts me that I’m far away and I don’t have the opportunity to see you often and bring you something to eat. It’s been so long since you were punished and you haven’t seen anyone close to come to see you and bring you anything. Who knows how long you’ve been waiting for Nana and Vjosa. Nana is in Durrës and she can’t come to see you, and you know that she doesn’t know where she’s coming from, but someone did. That’s how Vjosa remained without coming. She burst into tears when she came because she hadn’t had the chance to meet you. I started my vacation on June 5.
During these days I washed and cleaned the house. And when I fall asleep in a clean room and bed, my mind still goes to you. Where does Tuku sleep? How do you sleep And it still stabs me in the heart. Life is a wonder! I think of you in what circumstances you live and I still try to be orderly in life (all the more so now that I’m busy to keep the house, children, etc. in order as much as possible. I do this for myself to lose my mind and for the child to have a good influence on the family environment…!
…I asked for permission to come and see you and stay a few days in Tirana, but I have not received any answer. I’m still waiting. If he comes, I will also bring the children. I don’t know what I will do to Bujana. Even children remember you a lot. Our children are growing Tuk! I am happy to see all four of them like doves. Gimi loves work very much. He gets bored without work.
He started again to deal with those construction tools, which he carefully wipes and oils. One day he said to me with all seriousness: – My Mom! If you could find me a job until the schools open, I would pass the time and get paid to help you. I told him that you are young, my son, and that your duty is to learn and become good.
– Why, he answered, Dad was even younger than me when he started working to help mother Chi…! I had to make a long explanation. After I see that he is bored, I think of sending him to Durrës for a few days. He’s having fun too. Lately I’ve been seeing you every night in my dreams and it keeps coming out of nowhere. That’s how I miss it more.
I am sending you 500 ALL (five hundred). It’s been 1 month since I sent you. And what does 500 lek a month do for you? If I go to Tirana and sell something, I will send it again. Text me for anything. I look forward to the letters.
I kiss you with longing and love
I received your letter no. 2 of December 10. I am sorry that you have not yet received my letter of November 5th. You’ll probably get it by now. As always, your letters make me happy because there I learn about your situation.
I was glad that you were well, and on the other hand, I was sorry that you had started working extra hours out of necessity. I am concerned about your health because you are not physically fit enough to handle a double workload. Indeed, this initiative of yours is a noble initiative, from the point of view of the bond to the family it amounts to heroism, and as such I can only congratulate you with the deepest gratitude, but if this (regardless of the willingness of yours for sacrifice) damages your health even a little, it costs me and the children dearly.
I am worried about this and on this occasion I would like to emphasize once again that you should not worry about me, because I can live in these prison conditions, and if you are forced to make this sacrifice for me, you must know that with this you do not honor me, but put me in a dishonorable position, similar to the position of a criminal towards his wife and children. Therefore, I ask you to take care of your health, keeping you only to that extent at work, which does not exceed your physical strength. Did you understand me?!
I received a card from Fran for the New Year. He had come to Tirana with his son because he was sick and he was sorry that he had no chance to come and meet me. I want to reply on January 20, so don’t be upset that I won’t write to you on this date. Although it’s late, I wish you a happy new year.
Kiss the children for me
I hug you all
I kiss you
The old prison, Tirana, January 5, 1959.
Very dear Tuk!
Today is February 5 and you will have written to me. I believe that you will sit down to write to me with joy, after it has been 1 month since you parted with my letters.
I wish that during this time you have been in good health and be well always. It’s been quite cold lately and I’ve been wondering if you’ve caught a cold! How many times have I thought of you when I sit and warm myself by the fire!
We’ve all been pretty good. We had wood and we didn’t feel the cold inside. Even outside, both I and the child were dressed. So don’t worry about us. Bujana has to learn 4 more letters and then she will write a letter with her own hand. She is even now able to write and has a lot of desire, but I told her to write to Daddy on the day you have the primer celebration (that is, when they celebrate the end of the primer). That’s how we left it.
The other children didn’t write to you because of my fault. I usually write to you at dinner, they are sleepy then, I forget to tell you at lunch. I used to be a Tuk, but now I’ve become one. It wasn’t two weeks ago that I bought the umbrella for 750 ALL and I don’t even know where I left it. After a few days when it started raining again, look for the umbrella, it’s not there! Why didn’t I ask about it? I cursed myself as much as I could, but the umbrella was gone. Every time the children find out that I sent you a letter, they are surprised that I did not inform them. Dawn continues to improve.
I am sending you a very small package: 1 pair of woolen socks, 1 kg of sugar, 100 g of coffee, 5 packs of cigarettes, 1 toothpaste, 1 toilet soap and the llth volume of the novel “War and Peace”, I read it too . I’m not going to write anything about it, read it and enjoy it yourself. I am sending you in a compost box because otherwise the mail does not accept them. Save this box and when you come at the end of March (if they will give me permission) return it to me so that I can send it another time.
I don’t know why I’m closing my eyes tonight; it seems I’ve been up late reading “The Peaceful War” for three nights. Reading it, I forgot that the next day I had to get up early to go to work. Yes, that’s all.
Good night soul! Sending you kisses and hugs, your Mita…
Letter no. 8. Berat, 5.1.’59
P.S. I am also sending you 4 envelopes and letters that happened to me at home.
… Take heart!
This time I went to meet you happier than the other times. Because I would not come to sleep in the hotel, but I would go to my grandmother in Durrës, and the next day we would both come to your place. I did not find my mother at home. She had gone to Tirana, to Kola, because Filipi was on vacation in Dardha with his family. I spent 2 hours in Durrës with Aunt Toninja and then I left for Tirana, I took Besnik to tell her that I was coming and I was waiting for her at the hotel. She did not come that evening, but the next day, Thursday, August 20. I had bought everything I had thought of and we set off to meet you.
Soul Mita! Can I tell you how worried I was when I learned about your health? I was on the road and I had to hold myself in front of a new pain, unheard of until now, but I’m telling you that from that moment and now I have a knot in my throat that makes me breathe with difficulty.
It is too much to write how much effort I made that day to leave the food I had prepared somewhere (they only kept the tobacco, 6 cigarette papers, 1 cigarette pack and 1 kg of sugar) or, if it was not possible, in any way to see you, at least to secure two words from your hand. They told me that you were fine and that’s why I should be calm, but you understand me: “could these words calm me down?”
Dear Tuk! If it was work to make every sacrifice or go through every difficulty, what I wouldn’t have done to be, even for a minute, on your head. But in such cases man is powerless. However, in my imagination I could hear your voice calling me and I was there with my mind and soul at your head, man! You seem to me to try and ask me only for water.
I didn’t care if it hurt you, but I would wet my dry lips with a wet napkin and put another one on my hot forehead. Did you feel how close you were to me in those difficult moments? Maybe you really didn’t have it too hard and you’re fine. That’s what I would like with all my heart, despite the fact that I feel bad.
Returning this time without meeting you, I felt how happy they make me, even those few minutes to see you well beyond the bars. I don’t know if you feel it or understand me, how precious your health and life is to me and the children and if you know this well and love us very much, please live healthy for us, so that we love you very much .
I asked the Ministry to come see you as soon as you get out of the hospital, and they didn’t oppose me for that.
I found the children quite well. They welcomed me very cheerfully, but immediately noticed when they saw me return with the food. I had to be cool and reassure them that you were fine.
What else can I write to you? I wish, I wish a hundred times, that you are well and that this letter finds you healthy!
I kiss you hard.
Your myth that loves you very much
Write to me at length about health
Berat 21, August 1959
(Unfortunately, this letter was not received by Tuk Jakova. He died suddenly, on August 26, 1959, in the prison hospital. The official version communicated to Mita Jakova was that the death was caused by appendicitis, but this death still remains an unsolved mystery. .) Memorie.al