From Ardian Kati
Memorie.al / D. D. confess for the first time the torture from the staged accusations by the communist investigators. This is one of the cases that the “Trauma and Rehabilitation Center” has recorded in its archives, as a living testimony of the crimes of the dictatorship. The D. D. file is one of the most flagrant cases of how the communist regime dragged people down to total degradation. Her family never managed to settle in one place, even on the edge of a cliff. Her daughter, at least for the first 15 years of democracy, having immigrated to Italy, has never tried to come to Albania, only because of the horror of communism, maintaining the syndrome of fear of that time, when the hours were burning, day and night.
This is one of the cases that the “Trauma and Rehabilitation Center” has recorded in its archives, as a living testimony of the crimes of the dictatorship. The ex-persecuted people recount the tortures, the staged political accusations and their lives after regaining their freedom, which now constitute the living file, recorded with cameras and voice recorders.
The names of their persecutors are spoken openly, without shame, but remembering everything as the day it happened. Nothing from their memory has been erased. They are truths that have never been told and they claim that whole books would be needed to write the details from the most slanderous, in the interrogatories and prisons.
Based on these testimonies, the Institute of the Former Political Persecuted has drawn up 200 files, with the names of people who have fabricated endless murders and deportations, for various reasons. In the framework of gathering these testimonies to evidence the torture, to shed some light on the consequences of the persecution, during the years of the dictatorship, as well as not to leave an important part of our society in oblivion, were formulated by the ‘Trauma Center and Rehabilitation’ by distributing a number of questionnaires (500).
These questionnaires were distributed with the help of the Institute of Former Political Persecuted, throughout the country. The purpose of the distributed questionnaires was to document the socio-economic condition of the former political persecuted, to highlight the psychological consequences of the victims of political persecution.
The former political persecuted are now more concerned about their economic situation and family relationships than about the suffering they experienced in the past. The long political persecution, on the one hand, has had consequences on the levels of isolation and self-esteem; while on the other hand, it has also affected the level of their credibility. This is closely related to how they experience the present and how they see the future.
Is there a prejudicial stereotype of the politically persecuted as a neglected and forgotten group? As we separate the case of the persecution of women, their persecution, as a response to the recent open debate in the media, about their treatment by the dictatorship’s investigator, if rape existed as a phenomenon. From these testimonies, although it is considered difficult for women to denounce, the persecuted women mention without shame, all kinds of torture that they have suffered from their persecutors.
Ms. D., do you remember the investigator?
The investigator? Gospel, Gospel… he had come from Berat…!
How did the investigator treat you?
Very bad. I went captive and cried; I heard a child’s voice. While he was singing; “My orange mother, I smelled you” he said, and threatened me, saying that; you talked to me about this and that, slandering and fabricating various things, so that I would accept them. I don’t want to hear the song. That’s our job, that’s our job; hang in there, show D., show D. But I didn’t have…they put me down, they lifted me up,…they put me down…torture.
What tortures does the investigator remember?
In the interrogator, they stopped my excrement. I was knocked out, I didn’t ask for anything else, not even a beating.
I was tickled, I was cold. I covered myself with half a blanket and put him to bed. Those dungeons of Skrapar, they are underground, they are not level, and they were very cold. Should I go to the bathroom?! “Make it and delete it, so we don’t find it there” – they told me. And I managed to go to the bathroom twice a day. At 6 in the morning and at 6 in the evening. This was the worst of all. It was neither the bread, nor the blow that you couldn’t go to the bathroom for…!
Did they use physical violence?
Here are these. They gave us the alarm at 12 o’clock at night. The Deputy Head of the Branch, Reshat Guri, and the investigator named Vangjel, threatened me that I would not be able to see the children, that I would have many consequences.
Have you now met these people you mentioned?
I have met them.
What did you tell them?
You didn’t achieve your goal, villain! What more can you tell them? One is dead, the head of the Interior Branch.
But after six months, the investigator said that you went to court, how did this process go?
After 6 months, the investigators took the file to court. After analyzing it, the court sends the representative to the Internal Branch and says: “The material you gave me, I do not comment on it in this form, as I may receive consequences for my work, because I do not have material for radio broadcasting about this person. No information was given; nothing was seen, so how can we blame him? It’s a useless accusation”! But they did not consider this. While they replied to the court, not to reject the charge they had put on me, that they had no intention of getting me out of prison.
“Regardless, he will not be released from prison, but not for this charge,” said the judge. Then, they insisted that the charge be dismissed, for abuse of office. As for the prosecutor of Berat, he was ready, whatever was thrown at him, and he said that I had done it. “I saw them” – he said. He was very aggressive and very fierce, very determined, to oppress any man unjustly, his way of working. I went to court and these charges were brought against me…!
Was the trial open?
The trial was held and they were announced from Tomorrica, with loudspeakers shouting: “Listen to the betrayal of a woman against popular power”. And whole windows were filled with people. Someone said “hang”! “Come out, come out – said Refati the judge, – there are some rules, not even the relevant article; the way of doing this is not criminal. Slowly, slowly” was his command. I was sentenced to 4 years for embezzlement and abuse of our Party…!
Their threat was that; since you can’t beat us… you beat yourself! They are punishing me for 4 years, the claim of the prosecutor and other members, since I was the mother of 6 children, without relevant education. And they left me three years. After the sentence, I was taken to the city of Stalin. I spent about 2 years there, where my husband, Barjam, was then arrested.
When were you in prison?
At the same time, when I was in prison, Barjam was also arrested. It was 1975, when they gave him an order from above, to go to Prrenjas – Gur i Kuq. They told him after that, that a good specialist is wanted in Skrapar, and that he should be happy that they were taking him. My husband refuses, saying that he had six children to support. Then they give him an order to appear before the vice-president Reshat Bregu, with the firm decision to go, whether he wants to or not.
A prosecutor, I don’t know what they call him, who came from Berat and the vice-president, took Barjam in the “Jeep” and (Barjam’s explanations) and took him to Poliçan. In Poliçan, they threw a blanket over his head; so that he wouldn’t be seen, and they took him to the Berat dungeons, saying, look what a favor: we threw a blanket over you, so that when you come out tomorrow, they won’t tell you that you isolated yourself.
They threatened him to talk about who he was talking to, about the grievances he had against the government. He told them that he did not talk to anyone that his mind was on feeding the children, when they threw him from the mountains of Tomorri. They kept him there for 2-3 months, when my brothers were interested in me, they told me that Bajram is not in Prrenjas, he became like a lost person and they couldn’t find him. Where my people did not ask for Eid. He lost. No one had seen it.
Time passed, they had come home, they had done a fine check, they had taken care of the pillows and quilts and they took him to court. They punish him for 8 years. 8 years for agitation and propaganda against popular power. He was very specialized in his work, had talent and worked overtime. At the trial, they brought two witnesses, whom you had never seen anywhere, and they told him that he had spoken to them, against the regime. He said no – I didn’t even talk to them at all, because I knew the fear.
But, he says: “If I didn’t have thoughts against the system, I would be a liar.” Because he was tortured together with his six children, without a home, without bread, moving from time to time to different jobs, as far away from home as possible. Then another witness comes out, who says that my husband spoke about his dissatisfaction with the system and that he wanted to disappear. The investigator reacts by saying that; he would not kill him, because it would be a great pleasure, but he would load him with stones on the mountain of Tomorri and order him to descend with them on his back. This is torture. As we have removed. In 1976 I got out of prison.
When you were in prison and Bajrami was in prison… where were the children?
Barjami was in Spaç…! The children stayed alone at home, and no one came in to help them, they almost got leprosy.
What did they live on?
What did they live on? Here, my brothers from Tirana were wondering about anything. But even from the neighborhood, there were some good communists, such as Kareman Ylli, Teki Malindi, who allegedly went for a walk and threw some peace (with ALL inside), because the causeway was near our house. They had humanity, because seeing the injustices, the children felt pain. The girls looked at him and it was hard for them to remember that they became like trash cans.
How sorry she was and she took the package to take it away, very angry, when she saw that it contained 4-5 thousand ALL. This was repeated many times by our friends. The brother was coming from Tirana; leave them as much as you can, because they were also targeted. This is how my children spent their lives.
You were released in ’76?
In 1976, on December 22, I came home. I found the children.
From Stalin City, did you go straight home?
Yes straight home.
How did you experience the release from prison?
The most beautiful thing, there is none. I breathed and found the number of children exactly, without suffering. I didn’t need to ask because I imagined it, to make a visit, and leave 6 children and the one at the breast burst crying…! But it is God, the very great absolute power, who has seen the injustices done to us, to our children. That there was no way to live. Here you leave 6 children, one in the udder, the eldest is 12 years old, and this is to show with regret and to get all the information, that there is a God. The villain works and wants to strike, he wants to exterminate him, but his absolute power and he kept my children. There is no other opinion.
How many hours did it take you to make the way from Stalin City to Çorovode?
I don’t know if it was that state of… will I make it or won’t I make it… alive, to see my children, I don’t want anything else.
Yes, did you go home…??
Yes, I went home…! I found the children. It was a joy beyond words. I didn’t know then where this one is, where that one is. Lots of neighbors coming in and I didn’t know anything about household items. The house was empty; everything was taken from us, even a “Sonra” radio, which I had bought with the loan money, when I was working in Fier. They took that from me too. Yes, one does not count the deck, the curtains, the mill or the radio….! But God’s help, I found all the children alive at home. I didn’t even feel the absence of Barjam. I thought about the children, their torture, without us.
Did you go home, start work?
No, I didn’t start work, but the brothers came and told the first secretary: please, this one with 6 children, needs our education, we don’t want them to fall in Tirana (because Tirana took you away, and Fieri, and all), but we want to give a bread. Let’s share a loaf of bread, because from Tirana, we can’t afford it. To Malindi, he told us that he would raise this as a problem with the Party and the Interior Department…! He laid it. They refused! For a moment they refused. “We will look at it again” – he says to his brother. So we were left waiting. In 1981 or 1982, my husband was released from prison.
They didn’t allow you to escape from Skrapari to Tirana?
We were not allowed. Not to Tirana, to the districts, said the brother. To have them close, to give them half a loaf of bread, Tirana was not discussed.
They didn’t even let you?
Where did you work?
I didn’t work.
What do you live with?
The brothers from Tirana used to bring us bread. We had nothing. While my husband was in Spač.
When was your husband released from prison?
In ’82…counting in ’75……with an exemplary behavior in Spaç, without missing a day, doing the daily norm, very rigorous at work, in the tunnel and all. He comes to Skrapar and an employee of the Interior Branch speaks to him, he says: “A document has arrived, with a biography of your work in Spaç, which is very exemplary.”
“But why here, I have not been exemplary. You buried me in vain; I who have been here was also there”? – said my husband. They released him, providing him with a job, but my husband refused, saying that he would rather be without a job than to be subjected to the same intrigues that were done to him and to be sent to prison again.
I mean, your husband refused to work?
It didn’t work…!
Can you tell us how you found pluralism?
We had come to Tirana before 90, some 3-4 months, with the reason that; I had a sick daughter, she was shaking at night. Pluralism? Who can explain it? Great joy, all my children were happy, they forgot what was done to them. They are knives for life, but for the moment we were happy, that the villains were displaced, for 16 years they cut (took) our movable and immovable property, they left us 6 children without school, it was a time full of crimes,
Are you satisfied with democracy?
Very satisfied. Where there are comments…to speak.
Did democracy serve your integration?
It has not served us.
Are you politically disillusioned?
A lot. Memorie.al