By Meri Lalaj
Memorie.al / They were two sisters Ganimeti and Fazileti. Their father, Avni Ganimeti, came to Albania as a small child from Gjilan in Kosovo, to escape from Serbian persecution. Both sisters first attended the “Kyrias” Institute of the Qiriazi sisters in Kamëz and then the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute, being under the care and love of all their school friends, as girls of Kosovar origin. But even they, for their part, loved their friends very much throughout their lives.
Both sisters, Ganimeti and Fazileti, raised and educated in a proud and patriotic family, stood out at school for the respect they showed to school norms, to professors and their great desire for knowledge. Their father, Avni Gjilani, after a long patriotic activity in defense of the Albanian and especially the Kosovar issue, also served for eight years as a deputy of Kosovo, in the Albanian Parliament.
So, both sisters and their brother Fet, raised in this family environment very connected to the destinies of the nation, were kneaded from early childhood with patriotism and patriotism. Meanwhile, their mother, Sadije Koka, came from Delvina’s biggest and oldest family. She was the granddaughter of Ismail Qemali and had embroidered the national flag, together with Marigona and many other Albanian girls and women. This mother raised her children with the idea that true happiness is found only in your own country.
So when Ganimeti graduated, she did not want to complete her higher studies in Italy, for fear of marrying an Italian. Ganimeti stood out in all the artistic activities of the school, we see him singing and especially in the end-of-year events. She graduated with honors from the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute (we see her in the photo receiving her diploma), and after graduation, she was given the right to continue her studies at one of the universities in Italy, for Chemistry and Biology, together with her friend Musine Kokalari , who would study Literature.
But the family decided that Ganimeti, instead of studying, should choose marriage. In her memoirs, she tells about the night when it was decided to get engaged, that she woke up crying. Fate wanted her not to follow her dream and later, not to realize other dreams for life.
Thus, Ganimeti gets engaged and marries Rauf Fratari, the son of the well-known Independence patriot, from the province of Mallakastra, Hajredin Fratari, killed by the rebel forces of Haxhi Qamili. Ganimet’s husband, Rauf, being a soldier, had served in King Zog’s Royal Guard. This charming man, although he lived with Ganimeti for a few years, remained in her heart for the rest of his life.
So during the period of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War, Rauf Fratari understood from the beginning what communism represented and what the consequences would be under the influence of communist ideas, therefore he created a relationship with Abaz Kupi, accompanying him to the Peza Conference in September 1942 and at the Mukje Conference, in September 1943, together with the patriots Mit’hat Frashëri, Abaz Ermenji and Abaz Kupi, he would work and try hard, even for the union of Albania with Kosovo.
Even after the collapse of the Mukje Agreement, Raufi stood by Abaz Kup and staying on this side of the War, this was the reason that on November 27, 1944, he left Albania, to escape the revenge of the communists. Now Ganimet Fratari remains a single child, with two small children to raise, the daughter, Sabire, and the son, Hajredin, who bears the name of the martyred grandfather.
From now on, another life began for Ganimet, she would face hell and suffering, just like many other persecuted Albanian families after 1944. She became the symbol of the noble woman and dignified mother, with the spirit of sacrifice and high morals. In the years to come, she constantly had to stay in the shadows, invisible, to escape deportation, as the wife of the man who had been declared a “war criminal”.
In fact, it is a kind of obligation to tell the truth on the pages of this book about those wonderful girls who graduated from the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute, from the best Albanian families, were educated and educated in that model school for that time, why not a model even for the time in which we live, but to their bad luck, many of them were persecuted by a heartless regime, built and fed by a group of former friends of this Institute.
Ganimet, left without food, without a home and without the right to work, found real protection in the family of her father, Avni Gjilani, her mother Sadija and her brother Feti, who took an active part in the National Liberation War. They would be by their side in the most difficult moments of life. Ganimeti never worked in education in the profession for which she completed her education, also she knew several foreign languages, such as English, French, Italian, and languages she could not teach.
Only thanks to the education at that Institute, thanks to the subject of home economics, she became a lady to cut and sew clothes, and thus, Ganimeti bought a “Singer” sewing machine and with her own hands, quietly practiced the profession of a seamstress. to feed, raise and educate the children, her two angels. In the difficult and long years of successive suffering, she was forced to sell the only ornaments she had left, for a piece of bread, because her children were worth more than all the jewels in the world.
She never met her husband, Rauf Fratari, who was killed by the State Security, where he was on the run in New Jersey, United States of America. Ganimeti lived with a broken heart to see Kosovo, her father’s birthplace, with the worry of raising two orphaned children, with the father alive (a drama that was experienced by many other women of communist Albania), but she tried even the most difficult, when her only son, Hajredini, was put in prison in 1978.
Ganimeti, now sixty years old, was forced to follow her son from one prison to another for ten years, again sewing clothes for others, in order to earn something to support her son. Ganimeti was a classmate and friend of Musine Kokalari, she told her how Enver Hoxha had asked her to marry him, whom she called “mediocre” and “besides, I have a cousin”.
Ganimeti often told her children about the wonderful verses written by Musine, about her beauty in appearance and soul, but above all, about the last meeting with Musine, which left a deep sorrow in her heart. . Poor Musine was hospitalized and Ganimeti went to see her after many, many years, there he found out that Musine was suffering from an incurable disease.
Of course, Musineja was very happy to see her, but she was afraid that something bad would happen to her, because she was constantly being intercepted by the Security people and her only words were: “Go, why did you come, my Ganimet, go because I will see… you also have your son in prison… you have a lot of problems”! It was the time of interceptions. This was the last meeting between the two friends with that rare woman, of the rarest. They parted forever, as their whole life passed through nightmares, torture, persecution, it was a meeting that ended and was drowned in tears. It was the time of interceptions.
Although condemned by fate to suffer under the oppressive communist regime, Ganimeti, educated at the “Nana Mbretneshë” Institute, never let go of the book, she read after the tiring work of sewing clothes, she continued to read even when she was fading the light of the eyes. She read because she knew that only knowledge makes you strong, to face life’s difficulties, only knowledge brings you to the true light. Ganimeti also experienced other sufferings, when her children were not given the right to study for high school, the same thing happened to her great granddaughter.
Ganimet never lost hope from God, sending him prayers for the good of Albania, and finally the good year 1991 came. Finally, she found peace in her soul and the forgotten smile. One day she had prepared a lunch for her friends from the “Nana Mbretneshë” Institute, among them was Drita Kosturi, who tried to excuse herself: “Dear Ganimet…, me and many school friends, communism took our minds …, but believe me, before I try these good dishes that you have prepared for us, take this stick of mine and give me a good wood…!
Yes, give me a piece of wood, because I also said it in a meeting with the persecuted, after communism…, which destroyed you and thousands of others like you, left you without a husband, caused you and your family so much suffering for fifty years in a row.. I brought this communism to them and many others like me, even many of our friends from the “Nana Mbretneşe” Institute….! Although I myself suffered the communist hell like you,… now I find the strength to ask for forgiveness…” and drowned in tears.
Ganimet approached her and hugged her tightly, and with her trembling voice, but with the strength of her soul, she said: “My dear Drita, we were young,… you were more reckless, you thought that communism would bring progress…! You had dreams, we all had dreams, for Albania to become a thriving, prosperous country. You don’t have to apologize. Those who defiled the war of our people and destroyed our lives should seek forgiveness”!
This was the sad fate of one of those girls, who ran the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute, it is the story of a wife and mother, who suffered under communist hell and never bowed down and never forgot her noble origin. The communists stole everything: youth, wealth, dreams, family, but they could not take away the high virtues of the true Albanian woman.
She was one of those who had so many dreams for life, for the future and who loved Albania so much. Ganimeti is no longer alive, but this is just a tribute to a wise, beautiful, knowledgeable, suffering and simple Albanian woman, to an excellent student of the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute. Memorie.al