By Saimir Maloku
Memorie.al/ publishes some of the unknown stories of Saimir Maloku, a former military engineer who graduated with a ‘Gold Medal’ at the University of Tirana, who was arrested by the State Security on May 13, 1976, in the presence of 600 people in a large movie theater in the city of Burrell, accused of being a “potential agent of British Intelligence and of agitation and propaganda against popular power and the communist regime.”
Regarding the real reason for his arrest, Saimir Maloku testifies: “Because the Albanian Public Television broadcast only 4 hours of television broadcasts per day, I in 1970, reading a lot of foreign scientific literature, managed to build a simple electronic television device (converters of UHF Band to VHF TV signals). This invention of mine made it possible for the Albanian people in the future to watch freely the shows of the Italian and Yugoslav television stations of the UHF Band, especially in the mountainous and coastal areas of our country.
The first question the investigator asked me in the first investigative session was: “You are a famous Western spy, just like Mata Hari.”Tell us, you filthy enemy, your agency activity with the Secret Agencies of 17 Foreign Countries of the West and the World”. This is because the State Security had great doubts about my meetings with foreign tourists over 8 years and the numerous postal correspondences with philatelists of the above countries. Today this investigator is alive.
During a search of our home in Tirana and my hotel closet in Burrell City, State Security found and retrieved the Holy Books of the Bible and Quran in English; many old English books and magazines; some dictionaries and blocks with sketches of modern television antennas; my electronic television equipment with two transistors and a television signal amplifier; etc “.
All these and other events of his life, from: childhood, schooling, youth period with life in Tirana in the early ’70s, pursuit and surveillance by the State Security, graduation, appointment as a military liaison engineer in a section of Burrel, the arrest, trial and public unmasking, investigation, prison, etc., Saimir Maloku has summarized in a book entitled “HOW I SURVIVED IN THE COMMUNIST HELL” (EMAL publication in Albanian and English), parts of which he has given for publication exclusively for Memorie.al
Continued from the previous issue
“Saimir Maloku has been meeting foreign tourists for ten years”
On 13 May 1976, at 13.00, in the largest conference and cultural hall of the city of Burrell, located 100 km. away from the country’s capital, Tirana, the highest representative of the Communist Party and Burrel Army I.F. in a brief and extraordinary meeting in the presence of nearly 600 people declared: “Western foreign countries through foreign tourists, who are their agents and who visit our country, aim to overthrow our popular power. Therefore, the meeting of the military and citizens with these tourists is strictly forbidden. Among us there are also such as Saimir Reshit Maloku, who for almost 10 years has met at his home in Tirana with many English, Swiss and Swedish tourists.
“For these meetings of his with foreign tourists, he will be investigated and will be held accountable before the Party and the people for his agency connections with them.” As soon as he finished his statement, two State Security officers immediately put metal handcuffs on me. They, pushing me and grabbing me by the arms, quickly got me into a small police car. I was then taken to the building of the Police and State Security Directorate. This was also called the Burrell Department of the Interior. There, after checking my body and personal belongings, the police put me in an underground and very small cell of this building. Also, the Police informed me that I would stay in this underground cell throughout the time of detention and investigation until I go to court and then they would send me to political prisons to serve my sentence. After two hours later came the State Security investigator with the initials A.B. and informed me of the second charge against me “For agitation and propaganda against the People’s Power”.
For both of these extremely serious charges I could be sentenced to be hanged or shot. My public arrest was made by order of the communist Prime Minister M. Shehu, on May 4, 1976, where he wrote with a pen and signed the arrest warrant, where he wrote: “To be arrested immediately. He is a vicious enemy! ” This is located in the secret letter no. 1742 Prot. DT. 26.4.1976 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the First Directorate of State Security and that of the Army.
“Saimir Maloku, British intelligence agent and puppy of the West”
In this letter I am accused of great suspicions as a possible agent in the service of the British and Swedish Intelligence and for marked hostile activity against the government and the Party Communist. In my file, he described me as: “Puppy of the West and Beqir Balluku, etc.” Also, the same arrest warrant was issued for me by Hysni Kapo – Secretary of the Communist (Labor) Party of Albania, considering me: “Man from a Western micro-bourgeois point of view”etc. Also, this file was investigated and signed by senior State Security investigator D.V. and Deputy Attorney General S. S.
This information was provided to me by my investigator A.B. reading me my arrest file. The Albanian Radio Television station also gave a brief announcement about my arrest on the news show. I must emphasize that Beqir Balluku was a former Minister of Defense and he did not allow me to be arrested in 1973 for meeting with foreign tourists. In November 1975 he was shot with the felony charge and fabricated by State Security “As a man of the West, who through a military coup ostensibly sought to overthrow the People’s Power, etc.” He and my father, Reshit Maloku, were peers and close friends of the youth of that time as well as classmates at the American Technical School of Tirana.
My public arrest caused a great commotion all over Albania, because my family belonged to the most patriotic, older and more sporty families in Tirana. What was the Albanian Communism that made such public arrests to instill fear in our people and strengthen its regime? Albania was the country with the wildest communist past in history European of the second half of the twentieth century. For almost half a century the crimes of the communist regime were innumerable. Based on data published by the Albanian Rehabilitation Center for Trauma and Torture Victims and the Institute for the Integration of Former Political Persecuted People of Albania, the communist crimes were as follows: He executed 5,037 men and 450 women for political reasons; imprisoned 26.788 men and 736 women; deported and expelled nearly 50,000 families just because their ideal was today’s Western Democracy.
Nearly 700,000 people were persecuted by the communist regime for 47 years when the population of Albania in 1991 was about 3.5 million inhabitants. The communist regime to cover up and hide from the people and the international public the serious crimes it had committed in its first four years where there were thousands of innocent victims, for demagogic and propaganda reasons, at its First Congress in 1948 changed it. The name of the Communist Party to that of the Labor Party. But for the people it was and remains again the Communist Party, which was created on November 8, 1941 with its leader E. Hoxha. The communist dictator did the same in his speeches, as the people say: “The wolf changes its skin, but not its habit”.
The Communist Party of Albania was like an African ostrich or an Australian ostrich, which, to hide its body, plunged its head into the sand of the desert. This is because despite the change of its name, our people and the Party itself always called the members Communists. While the pious citizens, who supported the Communist Party, our people called them Enverists, militants or extremists of communism. Their aim was to publicly discredit and insult the enemies of the people and their families.
They were also like bridges connecting the Party with the people and seeking to work in comfortable posts or jobs and with high salaries. The question arises why the dictator Hoxha and the communist regime when the Communist Party changed its name to the Labor Party did not change the name of all its members who were to be called workers instead of the communist name? So the Communist Party had in the foreground the expression: “Do as I say and do not do what I do.” Therefore, in my story, I will not change the name of this infamous party, but will leave it only as the Communist Party, which ruled for 47 years, establishing a totalitarian state and the most brutal communist dictatorship in Europe. Communist historians like the Benjamin of this regime even today let them call this party as they please.
Dictator Hoxha in his speeches before the people said: “Let us build socialism with our own forces”. In 1976, when I was arrested, the new Constitution proclaimed the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania.
When socialism was overthrown in Albania, on February 20, 1991, the communists, based on the proverb “Whoever sits under the pear tree, will eat the pear”, resorted to a new political and demagogic tactic to throw a punch in the eye. The Albanian people, without removing the term “socialist” and the name of its press. So, on June 13, 1991 the communists Albanians changed the name of the Communist (Labor) Party and again kept the newspaper “Zeri i Popullit”, created by Enver Hoxha and his Party since 1942.
The newspaper “Zeri i Popullit” was the official newspaper of the Communist Party, the Labor Party and the Socialist Party. So, the ideological axis of this newspaper has been the communist ideology, adapted according to the historical and political period of our country. In 1991 the Labor Party changed its name to the Socialist Party. This is the main reason that the layer of political persecuted calls the Communist Party the parent Party; The Labor Party as the Party – daughter, while the Socialist Party as the Party – granddaughter. And all this is the origin of the Communist Party in Albania and as the main reason that communist criminals and their horrible crimes were not convicted.
Almost all of our persecutors were communists and as the most honorable elite of the dictator and the Communist (Labor) Party. Time has shown that now, in the years of Democracy, they and their children were and are the main support of the Party Socialist. Whereas yesterday’s communists today are called socialists, while communist extremists are called “enverista”. Unless today’s socialists and other parties are reformed political, there will be no real democracy in Albania. This is causing mass emigration, mainly of Albanian youth to Western countries.
So, Albania, as before, still continues to move in many directions with the old communist mentality to this day. The old fox does not change its early habit, but it always remains a wild animal of the forest as the people say: “You grew old, my cunning fox grew old, but you did not break the old habit and you never forgot it”. This is the main reason why yesterday’s former communist historians continue to camouflage the old communist regime, according to the popular saying “A good lamb drinks in two mothers”. So these former communist historians have good jobs and high salaries both yesterday and today.
How meaningful still sounds today the expression of an old man in Romania, who when asked by some Western journalists in 1992 what was the difference between the communist regime and today’s democracy, he replied: “The children of “Our communist leaders became our leaders in the time of democracy and are specialists in politics like their fathers.” For expressions of this nature, the people say: “Whoever burns this expression, let his back be scratched.” There is an urgent need of Albanian politicians for all political parties in our country to completely distance themselves from the past and the communist mentality and to build the Memorial in honor of the Victims of Communism, to place the Monument of the Allied Soldiers and to recognize as a national holiday the day of February 20, 1991.
Without symbols of Democracy there is no real democracy in Albania, but only pseudo-democracy and slowing down of the process of Albania’s integration into the European Union. Before the decommunization of Albania took place, the Western countries opened their doors to hundreds of thousands of Albanian emigrants with democratic and pro-Western views. I must emphasize that the Communist (Labor) Party of Albania in 1991, when democracy was won in our country, had over 100 thousand members. It is not surprising that during these 28 years of Democracy almost all state institutions have been usurped by the former communists. The misfortune of the Albanian people, both during the communist regime and today, is that it is too politicized, like the expression: “We live without bread, but not without politics”.
When I was little, my father, Reshit, used to tell me that even if you catch a wolf alive and feed it, it does not tame because it intends to go to the forest. Like the wolf habit, both the dictator and the Communist Party declared to the people that the compass of their work was the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. This is the great analogy of the wolf with the Communist Party, because time has shown that both were harmful to human society in our country and in the world. Thus Communist Party she was as clever as the cunning fox with her propaganda and as the wolf for the crimes she committed against the people and had turned her like cattle.
The communist dictatorship isolated and surrounded Albania with barbed wire and high electrical voltage, with soldiers and border dogs wanting to hide the truth that was happening in our country. The politically persecuted families, who lived near the state border, were interned by this bloody regime in the most lost and poorest villages of Albania. The communist dictatorship used different forms according to the Soviet or Stalinist model to keep the people always submissive. For this purpose, she set up many prisons and several concentration camps surrounded by barbed wire, such as Tepelena, Fushë-Krujë, etc. The people called these concentration camps death camps. From poor hygienic-sanitary conditions, bad food, from the hard and exhausting work, the violence of the Police, the many diseases, etc., many people died there.
Even more dramatic and incredibly alarming was the death of hundreds of young children from poor conditions and infectious diseases such as dysentery, measles, jaundice, etc., who lived inside these camps. The communist regime, for fear of being severely punished by international human rights organizations and courts, was forced to close these concentration camps in March 1954 in Albania. Our people were very alarmed about the existence of these infamous death camps. Thousands of political prisoners were also forced to work as slaves, drying up swamps such as Maliq and Tërbuf or opening drainage and irrigation canals where most of them died from hard work and malaria.
My father, Reshit, told me that after the liberation of the country, the Communist Government used devilish methods of detecting political opponents of the regime.
During the election, two large ballot boxes were placed in a secret ballot box at the polling stations. Citizens were given a small rubber ball in black. Most of the citizens, out of fear, threw the black ball in the box where it said “Pro Government”. While political opponents threw it in the box where it said “No to the Government”. This second box was emptied from the last part and the balls fell to the ground uncovering them. Likewise, the ballot paper later in the electoral elections for the suspected political opponents there was a secret number and after the voting it was revealed who they had voted for.
All political opponents and their families were later exiled or deported. The final result was falsified in the elections where 98 percent of the Parliamentary Elections, as always, were won by the Communist Party. This reminded me of the hilarious story of an athlete who competed alone and at the end of the race said I took first place. This difficult political situation in our country has worried Western countries to give a correct answer. So is the position or the opposition to blame? Time will tell who is right. The abolition and abolition of the Ministry of Justice as well as the institution of Advocacy strengthened the communist dictatorship by establishing a totalitarian regime where the Communist Party controlled the Albanian state and society alone.
The Communist Party through the State Security and the Police for the slightest suspicion arrested every citizen of Albania. Neighboring and western countries were considered by the communist regime as enemy countries, seeking to overthrow popular power. This regime openly violated the International Convention on Human Rights in the world. On October 6, 1966, dictator Hoxha and the Communist (Labor) Party, in order to have full control over the courts and prosecutor’s offices, which were considered independent institutions by the Constitution, until 1990 abolished and removed the Ministry of Justice as one of the institutions. Keys mentioned above, ostensibly as unnecessary. These powers were taken over by the Supreme Court.
Communist dictator Hoxha stated that the Central Committee of the Communist Party and its Congress brought under full control all the courts as well as the decisions they took.
Almost all State Security and Police officers as well as judges and prosecutors were communists. They were called as the main levers of the Communist Party (of Labor) to control and maintain power in power. After a few months, dictator Hoxha, influenced by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, secretly ordered the Communist Party to abolish religion in Albania. In every country of the world the laws of the state deal with the various crimes that arise openly, while religion deals mainly with the secrets of the spiritual world of the people and man. But the communist regime was a masked and bloodthirsty tyrant. Therefore he to control the spiritual world of the people and to establish communist morality opposed with an unparalleled hostility to religion and religious cults in our country.
He also retaliated against honorable people of the religion by shooting them and sentencing them to severe imprisonment. A great philosopher said: “A people without religion is like a horse without a bridle.” Even the dictator Hoxha rode back the “horse of communism” and with his war against religion isolated Albania and our people in the international arena. Hence the above expression for the religion of this great philosophy spread widely to all the poor and anti-communist families of our people at that time. That made that with tens of thousands of Albanian citizens praying and praying secretly during marked religious days. But the Communist (Labor) Party and the State Security used secret and cunning methods to expose these secret believers, especially those of the Muslim religion. She ordered the communist secretaries of state institutions, enterprises and factories or agricultural cooperatives to invite these suspected believers to their offices during the fasting days of the month of Ramadan and to entertain them by giving them pork sausage, water, etc. While teachers in schools asked young students if their parents did not eat during the day or if they prayed secretly and still had the holy books of the Qur’an and the Bible in their homes.
The abolition of religion in Albania caused a great spiritual wound
The abolition of religion in Albania caused a great spiritual wound to our people, followed by suffering, crime and deteriorating economy. This increased the great hatred of the people towards the dictator and the communist regime. To strengthen control on Police and State Security the communist regime called the City Police and State Security Directorates Branch of Internal Affairs for each district. Numerous arrests were planned and made there according to a pre-determined ominous plan. As I pointed out earlier, in 1967 the communist dictator declared religion illegal. As a result, religious institutions were finally hit and destroyed, and Albania was officially declared the only atheist country in the world. Consequently, the communist regime demolished 740 mosques, 608 orthodox churches, 157 catholic churches and 530 Bektashi tombs and tekkes. This is based on an informative report and a secret order of dictator Hoxha distributed to Communist Party organizations throughout the country.
For these extremely barbaric actions of the communist regime against religion, God gave his great curse. A few months later, on November 30, 1967 in the area of Dibër – Librazhd a very strong earthquake of magnitude 6.6 Richter fell. As a result, they broke up with hundreds of houses in 177 villages and many died and were injured. With these barbaric actions, dictator Hoxha and the communist regime showed the world opinion that they are the greatest enemies of religion in the world. Western and international foreign media described dictator Hoxha as the greatest Antichrist in the world and the Communist (Labor) Party as the Devil’s Party. They wrote about how the dictator who had the religious surname Hoxha and the prime minister with the religious surname Shehu removed and ignored with the greatest shame the traditional religion of their parents and grandparents for centuries.
Dozens of revered priests and imams were shot
Dozens of revered priests and imams were shot and imprisoned in horrific communist prisons. A very large number of revered clerics, along with their families were interned or deported to the most lost places of Albania. Many of them died in prisons and in exile. The communist dictator in many of his speeches, with the greatest shamelessness declared in front of the people: “Religion is opium for the people, while now the Lord of Albania is us the Communist Party being the only atheist state in the world, etc. The Communist Party is the heart and brain of the people. “Traitors must be punished, while our enemies are the bourgeoisie and the imperialists.” During this time the propaganda tools and speeches of dictator Hoxha had such a profound effect on the people that they poisoned and perverted his brain into believing that the Communist Party was everything that decided their fate and life. Most people in everyday life swore or prayed, saying, “For the ideals of the Party.”
This meant that they decided to believe in their lives only in the Communist Party, underestimating the members of other family. So the “infamous crimes and ideological views” of communism had penetrated deep into the brains of our poor people. The Communist Party and the dictator Hoxha, by perverting the brains and minds of the Albanian people, had turned it into cattle, doing whatever they wanted with it. Through the walls of schools, state institutions, military facilities, in other prisons were placed large banners of dictator Hoxha where it was said: “State security should monitor, detect and strike only the enemies of the people and the party.” Enver Hoxha.
The communist regime for propaganda reasons called the Secret Police the State Security. In this state institution, the most infamous and hated of the communist regime, worked about 17 thousand officers of the Secret Police and their collaborators, who were paid by the state. Dictator Enver Hoxha called the State Security as the most beloved and sharpest weapon and state institution of the Communist Party. He was the vigilant eye of the people and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the country ours, because “water sleeps, while the enemy does not sleep”. Central Committee of the Communist (Labor) Party and dictator Enver Hoxha gave orders and directives to the State Security for the arrest, deportation or deportation of political opponents and their families on vain and dubious charges to intimidate our people.
Therefore, the State Security, with the help of collaborators and informants of the Secret Police as well as communist extremist militants, compiled and compiled secret files on these false and imaginary political enemies of the communist regime. The annihilation of these supposedly hostile groups was called a triumph or victory of the Communist Party led by Enver Hoxha.
Security file for my father, Reshit Maloku, open even after his death!
When the Communist Party ordered the arrest as political opponents of the persons they wanted, in this case the State Security used the most cunning and sophisticated forms. One of these forms of persecution was that The State Security used many provocative and low-moral people to approach and speak provocatively, pretending to be dissatisfied with the communist regime. How to speak against the regime or not to speak, they denounced for agitation and propaganda or for non-denunciation of the above persons. They also used in special cases electronic mini-transmitters with very small transmission radius up to 50 or 100 meters distance for eavesdropping on dangerous persons. These were placed in their homes or workplaces. Often in these conversations the State Security placed apparatus electronic recorders such as tape recorders or electronic recorders and microphones for recording these conversations. Then, they deciphered these conversations taken from the T.O. as these recording tools were called above. I often heard from some of my friends or acquaintances, who said in secret: “In Albania, even the walls of the house have ears”. People started to get scared when talking to each other inside their homes or in work centers. Often the inhabitants of the capital for this reason used a common expression: “Communism made us with a penalty on the head and we do not know what to do wherever we are: at work, in the office, at school or at home.” So, the shadow of the “communist gogol” had entered every nook and cranny of society.
The innocent victim of these infamous and insidious methods of State Security was me and thousands of political prisoners or internees in our country.
Almost 60 percent of intellectuals who had studied in Western countries or at the American Technical School in Tirana with their children were shot, imprisoned, and interned. I, Saimir Reshit Maloku, also had this terrible bad luck. Due to a serious illness, my father Reshit Maloku was not arrested, allegedly accused of being a possible agent of the British Intelligence, and a 2 A form file was opened against him. It is surprising that the Communist State Security kept him opened my father’s file until 1989, i.e. even three years after his death./Memorie.al
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