By Ilda Lumani
Memorie.al/ Liri Belishova, former leader of the Anti-Fascist Communist Youth during the War, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP for Propaganda until the 1960s, in this interview given shortly before to be separated from life, has confessed for the first time some of the unknown sides of the period before and after the war, starting with her acquaintances with Ramize Gjebrena, her close friend since they were together at the “Nana Mbretneshë” Women’s Institute in Tirana, Ramizesa’s engagement to Nako Spiro and her tragic shooting, by the command of the 5th Assault Brigade headed by Shefqet Peçin and Hysni Kapo, the role of Enver Hoxha and Miladin Popovic in the elimination of Ramizesa, Nako Spiro’s reports with Enver before and after the War, when and how the contradictions and conflict between them began, the beating and punishment of Liri Belishova after her visit at the head of an official delegation to the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China with Haxhi Lleshi in Gogo Nushin, Enver’s accusations against her as an “agent of the Soviets”, the prison sentence of her second husband, Maqo Çomo, and her exile for 30 consecutive years until the collapse of the communist regime, her relationships with Nexhmije Hoxha and Belishova’s dissatisfaction with the book written by Nexhmija, where she and Luan Omari also talk about Ramize Gjebre’s relationship with Misto Mamen, Belishova’s comments about Vasfi Barut’s book, which she considers to be a derogatory book that does not have nothing real in its pages, even her personal life; the losses of loved ones, who were punished by the communist regime because of her, the meeting with Nefo Mufti in Tirana and what she told him about Enver and Nexhmijen, up to her public apology, about her personal responsibility until the period that he was in high positions, and for all the black people who were brought to the communist regime, all Albanians, etc.
Ms. Belishova, when Ramize Gjebre was shot, Nako Spiro was in Tirana at that time, how did he experience this tragic event? How do you remember it?
After the overthrow of the dictatorship, when I returned to Tirana after 30 years of imprisonment, I felt a duty towards the memory of my friend, as well as a kind of bequest from Nako Spiro, to take care of honoring the memory of Ramize. I took the initiative and in cooperation with her family members (Mr. Apollon, Ali, Shpëtim Gjebrea, etc.), we organized in March 1994, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Ramize’s murder, in the hall of the Academy of Sciences.
Also, a few years later, I proposed to Lieutenant-General Rrahman Parllak, chairman of the United Organization of Veterans of the National Liberation War, and this organization, in cooperation with the family members of Ramize, organized in May 2005, a memorial meeting at the Soldiers’ House, a tribute beautiful and fully deserved for Ramizena.
President Berisha, in November 1994, decorated Ramizena with the “Highest Order of the Flag”, and on May 5 of last year, to honor her memory, he visited the family. The Gjebrea family, a noble family with outstanding patriotic traditions (the famous Baki Gjebrea was Ramize’s uncle), understood Ramize’s case correctly, condemned her murder, everyone was proud and proud of their Kreshnik daughter.
The memory of Ramize and Nako Spiros has connected me a lot with her family. I am honored to have friendly relations with them. I have had Ramizena as a friend since the “Nana Mbretneshë” Institute, and we were in the dormitory together, but we became especially close during the War – she often came to my house for lunch and to sleep, she became like home.
In the end, I want to say that Nako Spiro, this crime shocked him a lot and together with other important issues of the War and after the war, made him reflect on Enver Hoxha and Miladin, on the Communist Party, on communism as a doctrine and as a realized system in the form of communist dictatorship.
Mrs. Belishova, have you read Vasfi Barut’s book on Ramizena? Your opinion, especially about what you write about Nako Spiron?
Yes, the last few days. I have not even read the parts of this book that were published in some newspapers, thinking that I will read the book myself, and which are events that I know. The author writes kindly about Ramizena and condemns her murder. But, unfortunately, in this book, there are serious flaws, inaccuracies, wrong and strange interpretations, etc. Even the memories referred to are not clear whether they are memories written by the persons themselves, whether they spoke and someone else wrote them, and whether these are signed.
But I am only answering your question about what was written about Nako Spiron. I am very surprised and revolted; they are so baseless and so malicious, that it is really not worth dealing with. In the 400 or so pages of the book, there is not one correct thing about Nako Spiro, a good word, but everything has been distorted, or purposely not mentioned at all to denigrate and blacken his image.
It goes as far as Nako Spiro, puts him in a group with Enver and Nexhmije Hoxha, Meladin and Dushan, “Xhako” and others, who accuses them of murdering Ramize! So in “Parallel Life”, where everything about Nako is distorted. Thus in “Lice and cholera of the soul”, where, among other things, he says: “correspondence” (of Nako with Enver and others) exposes the horrors of politics and dirty morals, destroys malice, revenge, crocodile tears. Likewise in other parts.
Judge for yourself: What can you call this man? He had the opportunity to see things clearly and correctly. I and others have spoken and written, Nako’s letters are in the Archive. There is no one who has not been touched and shocked by the deep pain and noble attitude of Nako then, or when he reads the letters today, especially the one he wrote to Enver Hoxha, when he took office. And Vasfi Baruti says that; Nako took this position that he did not love Ramizena!!! And what position should Nakua have for Vasfi Baruti to call him right?!
He accuses Nako that, having the file at his disposal, he does not write to Enver about who are the real culprits for the murder of Ramize, but only holds the 5th Brigade headquarters responsible. First, Nakua had no file. Enver sent him only the letter of “Xhako” and no other, lest it fall into the hands of the enemy (see the letter of Enver and Meladin that I quoted above (P. 14, D.76).
This letter of “Xhako” was addressed to the Central Committee of the Albanian Communist Youth, where he makes self-criticism, while the letter of “Xhako” of 19.2.’44, which talked about the “sins” of Ramize, Nexhmija did not show it to Nako and took it with him when he left for Panarit (see letters dated 4.4.’44, P.14, D.72). That Nakua was going crazy at that tragic time, he didn’t talk openly even with his friends and didn’t write to the Party Center anymore.
“Unfortunately”, Vasfi Baruti was not born at that time to write this book and for Nakua to send it to Enver Hoxha. He accuses Nako of “raping” Ramizena in Vlora, repeating it several times as an important “sin” of his. In Vlora, Ramizeja arrived on July 1, 1943 and was sent as Political Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Communist Youth of Vlora to help, because Vlora has always been very important, even more so after the “faction” and the problems that they came out
Neither Vasfiu nor I know who proposed and decided that she should go to Vlora, there are no documents. However, cadres have been constantly sent from Tirana to help the various districts and partisan parties, even in Kosovo and Macedonia. These cadres were not sent by Nakua, but were appointed by the relevant Party bodies. But when Ramizeja came to Tirana sick, in October 1943, Nakua did his best to keep her in Tirana.
- He wrote to Enver Hoxha that; Ramizeja has malaria and needs to stay here for at least 2-3 weeks, but the best thing is to keep her, because we need her for the work with the youth and at the same time to help Nexhmija for working with women.
- He proposed to Enver to expand the Central Committee of the Albanian Communist Youth with Drit Çaushi, Niko Opar and Ramizena. However, both proposals were not approved by the Party Center.
- Nakua rightly did not agree with Ramizeja going to Berat, because in the first place, everyone knew her there and she risked being arrested immediately. But, on this occasion, he again proposed that Ramizeja better come to Tirana, ‘because we really need work with the youth’ (P.14, D.76).
There is nothing about Nako that has not been distorted and misrepresented. Even the lecture on morality that I mentioned above, he does not treat it the way we all heard it, but with the most surprising absurdity: Nakua spoke about the immorality of condemning Ramizena! It’s pointless to dwell on others, it’s not worth it.
But why did this man see Nako Spiro so badly? He is a very popular figure and loved by all. Many witnesses of those times have died, but many are still alive. Why it is not based on the memories of Generals Rrahman Parllaku and Halim Ramohito?!
Why don’t I mention at all what I said and wrote about Nako, what I said above, which contemporaries, Nako and Ramize’s family members know?! He doesn’t say a word about what Nakua and I did for Ramizena after the liberation, and anything he mentions he attributes to others, up to Nevzat Hazmedar…!
For every person, even more so for the dead, it is written with responsibility, with respect. Especially for a figure like Nako Spiro, one of the most prominent leaders who launched the Anti-Fascist War, the man who spent his whole life for the liberation and progress of Albania, the great patriot who sacrificed his life in efforts to protect the independence of the homeland and the country’s interests by Yugoslav chauvinists.
All the people honor him; even the democratic state honored him with the high decoration “Honour of the Nation”. It is known who hates and fights Nako Spiro, even after 63 years of dissolving into the soil. What about Vasfi Baruti, what happened…?!
Mrs. Belishova, Nexhmije Hoxha has stated that; Nako Spiru told him that he was in a dilemma to choose between Ramize and Liria (Belishova), both of whom he valued in terms of intelligence, determination, etc. And Vasfi Baruti, during the book, often says that; “Spirtua” (your nickname) was inserted into the heart of Nako Spiros. He even questions whether or not Ramizeja was the fiancee of Nako Spiros. What is your comment?
I believe that Nexhmije Hoxha is not correct – many years have passed. Ndofta, Nakua during the War, talked to him to express his love to Ramize and to get engaged, and after the liberation, he talked about me. Her statement surprised me, because in that period and while Ramizeja was alive, I did not feel any kind of affection from Nako towards me.
In February 1943, when I was admitted to the Central Communist Youth Committee of Tirana, Ramizeja was 20 years old, and I was 16 years and four months old. Me, my close friend, Fatbardha Toto, etc., because of our young age, and because of the War, we didn’t even think about love and engagement. And the truth is that no one has harassed us.
As for what Vasfi Baruti wrote, they are completely baseless and with a bad intention that, allegedly, Nako did not love Ramizena. But the simplest question is: why then did you get engaged and marry him in 1943?! Nakua married me after the liberation, in January 1946.
Throughout the book, it is often said that Nakua had “Spirit” in his heart, loved “Spirit”, cared for “Spirit”, etc. Where is it based?
What are “factology” and “documents”?
- He quotes a letter that Nakua wrote to Nexhmija about the delegation that would go to the Yugoslav Youth Congress, and tells him that; “Spirton” will not start, because the road is long and he cannot afford it. I was very weak then, I often had seizures in the injured eye, and it is not at all true that Nakua wanted to stay with me in Tirana, because in those days he was going to the Përmet Congress.
- He quotes the letter (written by Nexhmija and signed by Nakua) for the delegates from Tirana, who will attend the 1st Congress of Anti-Fascist Youth. They advise that “Spirtua” leave by car on the road to Korça, if it is safe (P.56, D. 49, Year 1944). These are “love documents”?
What about Misto Mamen, was Ramizeja engaged?
I did not know that Ramizeja was engaged to Misto Mamen and I did not hear anything during the War and after it. The author brings this out because Nexhmije Hoxha and Luan Omari wrote that Ramizeja cried a lot when Mistua was killed. But, we have cried a lot for Misto and for the other comrades, even more so for those whom the organization and the war had connected us the most.
Here I want to emphasize that one of the most beautiful things of our Anti-Fascist War has been the friendship and brotherly love between illegal and partisan youth, our extraordinary, pure and noble bond as fighters for the liberation of the homeland and for the dreams of life cloud.
Today, this may be hard to imagine. We felt like a mother’s daughter, we were ready to give our lives to protect our friend. Several have written about this pure fraternal friendship, but I was most impressed by the memories of Professor Stefanaq Pollo.
Something about the movie “Furtuna” and the director Çuhrai. What do you remember?
In 1959, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the liberation of Albania from the fascist occupiers, it was thought to make a film about the National Liberation War. For this, he asked the Soviet Union for help, and they sent the famous director, Churai, and the writer Arkady Pervenchev. They had many meetings, Enver Hoxha also met them. The orientation was to make an epic, grandiose film.
Several Albanian authors presented their scripts; I only remember Dhimitër Shuterić and Petro Marko. However, it was finally decided that the two Soviets and Llazar Siliqi and Fatmir Gjata would write the script. Çuhrai did not run away, as they say, he was the director of the movie “Furtuna”. I don’t remember that Çuhrai wanted the film to be about Ramizena. But I remember the Petro Markos script was for him.
The film “Furtuna” was not liked very much by the Albanian leaders, unlike what happened with the film “Skënderbeu”, which was received with enthusiasm. But in Moscow, according to what I heard, they criticized him a lot, even for the slingshots.
Now let’s jump into some questions from another area. Mrs. Belishova, how would you describe your life? How would you define it?
A tragic life, the tragic life of an Albanian woman.
I lost my five dearest people; Meet Spiro and her second husband, Maqo Çomo, two brothers, Fatmir and Bardhyl Belishova, and above all Drita, my daughter. An unbearable pain, which can only be understood by someone who has suffered such a misfortune. All victims of the communist dictatorship, for which I fought and worked with extraordinary dedication.
My father, grandmother, mother and two mother-in-laws died in deep sorrow. It was 30 years that destroyed my life. When I left Tirana, I was only 34 years old, in full bloom, when I returned, a broken old woman. And, the most terrible thing was that my children suffered in prisons and deportations, or from other persecutions, the five brothers with their families and the husband’s relatives, up to cousins and friends.
There are others who have suffered more, but I will talk about them below. How did I hold on? Mainly, that I was right. Yes, my life turned dark. Not only five thousand people were killed. We are also killed who took our souls chika-chika. How heavy and difficult was the process of disappointment for me…! Communism was the whole meaning of my life, an illusion, an extraordinary dream. Extreme indoctrination had turned us into fanatics.
We didn’t have the opportunity to read literature that criticized the communists, but we didn’t listen to the radio either, calling the devil’s literature heresy, treason, like a believer. But the bitter reality, no matter how much I tried to justify the things I found in different ways, opened my eyes. The tragic liquidation of Nako Spiros shocked me a lot, but I also saw this more as the fault of the Yugoslavs and Koçi Xoxes.
I was very young. But, maybe the instinct of self-defense also worked subconsciously. Only after Stalin’s death, especially after the 20th Congress (although he also revealed only the tip of the iceberg), could not continue with illusions, with excuses. The historical importance of the report on Stalin was that now his own party said these things, they were no longer “slanders of imperialist enemies”. Memorie.al
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