From Lek Pervizi
Memorie.al / They had punished him without doing anything and being interned. Only as the daughter of Gjon Markagjon, Captain of Mirdita. Five years in prison. She had to endure all kinds of torture from the Security officers. They had locked him for several months in a narrow, dark and damp cell, at the mercy of cold and hunger, they abused him constantly. My Kushrina Marta, young, beautiful, proud, came from one of the best noble families of the country, such as the Gjomarkaj of Mirdita, was endowed with an indestructible character. The screams and moans of the prisoners in those terrible nights had not weakened his resistance to evil.
The director of the prison was a spirited man. Short, with a frowning face, he enjoyed seeing the desolate prisoners chained to skeletons, who had no strength to stand. One of the investigators had told him about Marta’s pride and indomitable determination.
One day he brought her to his office. When she saw the director she had the impression that she was in front of a wild animal. She had heard of his ferocity and the crimes he had committed. Marta gave herself the courage to face him. She had faith in herself. Compared to her towering stature, he looked like a mouse. He had heard that I got out of his office safely, it was lucky.
– You, enemy of the people, remember that you will remain invincible? Listen my love; you want to stand proud and undefeated? Understand well, my desert, if you don’t know it yet, that we will destroy our enemies, after we have squeezed them well. The bullet is waiting for you and everyone else like you. Do you understand what I’m saying?
The director’s name was Strati Papa, the monster of Berat, as they called him. During the years of terror, he, together with Gjin Marku and Reis Malila, tortured and eliminated hundreds of innocent people with fake, bogus trials.
In his right hand he held a metal rod or ruler. After he threatened Marta with words, it seems that she didn’t care at all and looked at him as if surprised; he suddenly got angry and furious. His eyes widened, at the height of his anger, out of his mind, he had turned into a specimen of hell. Marta, her hands tied, was leaning on the table to keep from falling, she was so weak.
She looked down at that angry dwarf, realizing that all that anger came from the fact that he had never met such a beautiful, noble and proud girl in his life. Their eyes crossed. Unable to bear the calm and brave gaze of Martha, and fearing that he was being defeated, he savagely struck Martha’s hands with the tip of that metal ruler. The pain was so unbearable that the girl fainted and fell on the floor.
When she regained consciousness, she realized that she had been taken to the prison infirmary. A small room, with two metal beds, covered with torn and dirty blankets. A doctor seldom came there, and visited the unfortunate prisoners in the last rank, where the executioners eagerly awaited their punishment. They kept them alive to face court hearings. Another imprisoned girl was laid there, who tried to give courage to Marta. She had also spent several months locked in the torture cells.
– I am Netti Fuga from Berat. I was arrested a year ago. I spent all my time in the dungeon. They brought me here because of the strong fever that had caught me, so much so that they thought the end had come for me. We hope they will join us anytime.
A few days passed and no one came to see them, as usual.
The wound on Marta’s thumb was infected and very painful. Netti tried to calm him down, even though he himself was suffering from torture, fever, all bone and skin. They beat him constantly. In the middle of winter, after tying his hands and feet, they put him in a boat filled with water for several hours. Then they took him out and hung him by his arms in front of an open window, at the mercy of the winter wind. With his body blackened by the frost, they threw him into the cell half dead. Such terror reigned throughout Albania, from free life to the darkness of prison cells.
The wound became gangrene and Marta suffered a cut on her finger. At the same time, the investigation against her ended. She was assigned to an isolated cell with a wooden floor. Between the pine and the boards, she had noticed in the room below her, a man with gray hair and a waist-length beard, lying on the ground, because the room had no floor.
His gasps and moans were unbearable. Tuesday was filled with anxiety. How did you help that man? What did you do to me? The policemen came looking for him, and grabbed him by the leg and dragged him down the corridor and stairs to the torture room. His name was Hekuran Zhiti. He had found out his name from the police calls. The executioners shouted, cursed and barked like dogs:
– Dog, son of a dog, dirty ballist, Hekuran Zhiti, we will get the soul out of the butt. Either talk or you’ll end up roasted on a spit.
He answered with a voice that seemed to come from the ground:
– Alas, you cannot do anything to my soul. God has given it to me and he is the one who decides.
Do whatever you want with my body. I have nothing to tell you. I am and will always be your enemy. I feel myself that I am ballistic.
More than thirst and hunger, Hekuran was tormented by the inability to smoke a cigarette. One day, Marta heard it when she asked the investigating officer for a cigarette. He knew that the family gave him food and cigarettes, which the officers and guards did not give him and kept for themselves. The investigator kicked him:
– Don’t look, look, you want us and smoke. Are you not getting enough of our caresses?
Marta decided to ask the guard for a cigarette. The policeman looked at him strangely, because he had never seen him smoking a cigarette. He did as he did and handed him a cigarette, without saying a word. When the policeman left, she took out of a pocket a match that she had kept in vain. He lit a cigarette and threw it to Hekurani from a crack.
– Mr. Hekuran, take this cigarette – he said.
Hekurani was surprised by that voice coming from the ceiling. But just as he was with his hands tied he rolled on the ground and took the cigarette.
He leaned against the wall, and began to suck it with pleasure. When he stopped burning his lips, he began to speak in a weak voice.
– From the ghost I understood that a young girl. He thanked you for your noble gesture. Where do you come from and whose family are you from?
Marta answered that she was the daughter of Gjon Markagjon. Her name was Marta. They had interned him with his family in Berat. Then she was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.
– Keep your head up, dear. To be worthy and proud of the honorable family name. I know it’s very difficult. But it is better to die with honor than to live with shame. Hekurani was removed and taken somewhere. The room remained empty for a while. One day, some policemen came and filled him with flints. Two soldiers broke the stones by placing them with the sharp sides from above. Marta was curious for days about what they had invented.
What evil drove the man to undergo such monstrous tortures? She thought of a diabolical invention. When the work is done, the soldiers left and closed the door. The floor was all sharp flint tiles. A little while later, they heard some steps, footsteps and screams like howling, it was said that they were not people, but hungry wolves. The door slammed open. Several Security officers entered, with a stick in hand. They threw the prisoner they were carrying onto the steep rocks, naked to the waist, hitting him with sticks. Then they rode on his body, dancing like crazy.
– How nice to dance on the body of Hajri Karagjozi! Hop, hop…hop hop! The bridge in Drashovica, the bridge, the bridge…!
These criminals who thought they were communists liked to dance to this song. Hooray, yes! After they had had their fun, they left. The martyred body of the wretch was left there, completely bleeding, and we took care of it. Already dead. This horrific scene would haunt him for the rest of his life. She had witnessed an unimaginable carnage. It’s good that the executioners didn’t realize that she was looking through the cracks of the boards to see what was going on down there. After the trial and the five-year prison sentence, Marta was removed from there and transferred to the city prison, where she met and got to know other women. Each of them had a terrible story. The people of Berata knew Marta se, whose honorable family she was, and they trusted her for everything. Between them, she befriended a girl, Dituri Protopapa, who confessed her sufferings in prison.
She called herself a miracle that she was still alive. Her body was completely bruised, from the beatings with wood that had been done to her by the investigators. The criminal among them was the director Strati Papa, who, after pinning him against the wall, beat him mercilessly. Young, athletic body, why had she studied at the Institute of Physical Education in Italy, and had managed to endure that animal treatment. Seeing her determination and rebellious nature, they decided to test her in a barbaric way to humiliate her. Tying him up like a mummy, they had submerged him in a pit of faces.
– You asked for it yourself! Now go find that pride and bravery of yours!
Mid-January, freezing cold. Every officer who passed by kicked him, burying his head in the garbage and cursing him with dirty words. She answered the same. Knowledge was prepared with death. At least he wouldn’t suffer much longer. But, why is there always a but…! Knowledge told him how in the prison, a serious incident happened. A girl prisoner, Nani Mici, committed suicide by jumping from the window of an office of the Interior Department.
He too had been brutally tortured. Knowledge confessed that she had seen with her eyes how the executioners had torn the flesh of her body in several places, filling her wounds with salt. Unbearable pain. A cruel torture. Then the wounds had pus and were full of worms. A horror. Nani in the height of despair, taking advantage of a momentary carelessness of the guards, had thrown himself from the window, ending his life.
– What to tell you next. Who believes you? She said, No human mind, neither with mouth nor with pen, can describe the horrors and crimes of the communist dictatorship in Albania. Of that dictator himself, Enver Hoxha, the chief executioner who issued the orders that the Security forces carried out, the merciless weapon of a total terror. That is why it was called a totalitarian dictatorship. The stories of Wisdom had shocked Martha. She had experienced the hardships of the prison up close.
He remembered the desolate Tafil Hasnedari, whose fingernails had been pulled out with pliers, along with all the flesh. He saw his body, shaking and flinching under the electroshock. Who, not being able to endure those tortures, also threw himself out of a window to end his life? In such cases, death was preferable and salvation for the wretched. When you die with honor, suffering has no value.
With these testimonies, Marta showed and recognized the right of Albanian women, for their suffering and sacrifices under a political system from the wildest of communist Europe. Albanian women and girls, old women and mothers with children, regardless of age or class, felt the weight of the dictatorship’s hammer on their heads, which did not spare to hit them with fury. Not only did they lose their lives under cruel torture, but those who were lucky enough to get out of that hell alive, had lost their youth, and remained orphans without family and children, dead forever.
Marta, we arrested her at the most beautiful age of youth and imprisoned her, from where she came out at the age of 29, we exiled her all her life, she gained her freedom at the age of 75, to give evidence that could never be given in those conditions of terror. She reached the age of 87 in 2007, when she passed away. But her testimonies are so shockingly true that they should definitely take a place in the books of the inhumane crimes committed by the communist dictatorship in Albania. Her memory remained on this page of the book, never to be forgotten. Memorie.al