By Hysen Selmani
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Zog, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
Istanbul, June 23, 1940
His Majesty, King Zog I, sends on this date to Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli, the telegram as noted below, the adjutant describes: “To his Excellency Xhaxhuli, at the Royal Albanian Legation in Istanbul. Very sensitive to patriotic sentiments, all you and the Albanian colony, who show their ready will for their freedom.
All Albanians must be sure that I will do everything for the liberation of the Motherland, dear. I have absolute faith, in all of you and in the Albanian colony in Turkey, that it will fulfill its historical mission, in the Turkish Hospitalier land, helping our efforts, for the holy purpose. Thanks to all our com-patriots and you.”
London, Ric Hotel, June 23, 1940 ZOG I
His Highness, King Zog I, sent the reply of the telegram to the Albanian Government in Istanbul, thanking them for the good wishes, and adding that, with a special person, he would send all the instructions. For now, they should continue in the first program. Then, he asked about Prime Minister Kotta, that he didn’t know anything about them. The king, for a week, was looking for his address and possibly his phone number.
Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli sent and printed thousands of copies of King Zog’s telegram and sent it to all notebooks, as well as the Albanian colony. We also sent it to groups in Yugoslavia and Greece. Meanwhile, Minister Xhaxhuli, in the Turkish notebooks, also thanked the Turkish friends, who participated together with their Albanian brothers, in the Royal Albanian Legation, in the ceremony that took place. In this way, by sending copies of the King’s telegram, the Groups in Yugoslavia and Greece, you needed them to always be ready, and with high morale.
“That, today, – the adjutant remembers, for the telegram – our Great Allies are in the war against fascism, and the war is one hundred percent won by the allies. The time is waiting day by day for us to participate in the activity alongside the allies, that the Anglo-French now have America on their side soon.”
Germany has begun bombing, with such a frenzy in London and all over the British lands that the German planes do a lot of damage. But the English are not at all confused, they are sure of their victory. Several French Armies, which are located in Syria, Algeria, Morocco and Senegal, agree and make it known that neither the infantry nor the navy have surrendered to Germany. But they will fight together with the British, against Germany, until victory, which is quite certain. That the German reserves, within a year, are falling, while the Anglo-sanctions are increasing to a large extent”.
Fait a Londrës le 8 Aout 1949
Mon cher et tres grand Ami,
J’ai ete tres touché des felicitations que Votre Majeste a bien voulu m’adresser pour ma personne et pour le people Tchecoslovaque. Je regretted de ne pouvoir les lui faire connaitre qu’ulterieurement. A la suite de l’aide politique que le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste Britannique vient de nous apporter la nation Tchecoslavaque est certes ecore plus inebranlable dans sa foi a la victire des Allies et en la liberation de tous les peoples.
Je suis tres sensible a ce que Votre Majeste veut bien associer mes efforts politiques a ceux des peoples de l’Europe sud-orientale et reconnaitre que la politique de l’Europe centrale prechant toujours l’harmonie avec celle de l’Europe sud-orientale que nous avons poursuivie a Prague, peut seule garantir la paix et l’heureuse existence des petits Etats. Je suis convaincu que tous les peoples qui desirent sincerement la liberte la reconquerront et joueront dans histoire le role qui leur incombe. Je suis d’autant plus convaincu que l’Albanie retrouvera sa liberte et sa place d’une nation independente sur la Peninsule Balkanique que l’usurpateur de sa Liberte n’a pu trover que des mensonges pour justifier le crime odieux qu’il a commis envers la fiere nation albanais en 1939.
A mon tour, je prie Votre Majeste, de vouloir bien agremer mes plus sinceres de meilleur avenir et de prosperite pour le vaillant people albanais ainsi que mes meilleurs voeux de bonheur personel pour son Roi.
Je saisis cette occasion pour Vous reiterer, mon Cher et tres grand Ami, l’expression de mon profound respect.
A Sa Majeste ZOG Ier Rou des Albanais, Londres.
Cher et Grand Ami. Son Excellence Dr.Edouard Benes, President de la Republique Tchecoslavaque.
A l’occasion de la fete nationale Tchecoslovaque je me fais un grand plaisir de Vous envoyer mes plus sinceres felicitations. Le glorieux people Tchecoslovaque se voit encore une fois oblige de feter sa fete nacionale sous des conditions tragiques et douleureuses.
Mois non seulement il continue sa grande resistence, mais encore plus il donne l’exemple aux nations opprimees sur le chemin qu’il faut suivre pour regagner le liberte de l’Europe.
Je suis sur que tous les Albanais, quie souffrent et luttent pour les memes ideaux de justice, s’unissent a moi pour former les voeux les plus sinceres pour ce people et pour le bonheur personel de son grand chef qui encore une fois le conduira a l’independence.
Veuillez agreer Cher et Grand Ami, l’expression de ma grande et inalterable amitie.
In this correspondence of Zog, with the high Czech authorities, Czechoslovakia expresses itself with courteous notes and evaluates the relations between the two countries. From the Czech side, the King’s role is appreciated for the freedom of his people and the work he is doing in this difficult time to return freedom to the homeland. On the other hand, the Albanian King greatly appreciates this sense of the Czech government and wishes them luck in this very troubled world.
But it is on the verge of war and both high authorities, of both countries, understand that they have nothing more to say.
Istanbul, August 18, 1940
The groups, together in Yugoslavia, send us an urgent report through the Turkish Embassy in Belgrade. Where do we inform, surely now, the messengers returned from our centers in Albania and declare: “The Italian army has marched against Greece in this line: Bilisht, Voskopojë, Vaskop, Selenica, Borovë, Vithkuq, Klisyre, Delvinë, Përmet, as well as a Militia Brigade, under the command of Hazis Çami in Delvina.
Captain Gani Ohri, commander of a mountain battery, was urgently ordered to leave for Korçë with his 65/27 battery and is assigned to the 6th Artillery Group in support of Ndrec Prenga’s battalion in Voskop. Lieutenant Ahmet Cami, who was left to secure materials in Librazhd, with a company, was ordered to go to Bilisht, at the disposal of Major Fuat Dibra, with all the materials for the works.
Now it is quite clear that Italy has been escalating the problem against Greece, but Greece is also aware. She, too, is preparing in the depths of her border, with the greatest speed. Works have been dictated in the North-West of Follorina, Gramo and Pinda. Also, it is proven that there are also troops, which are based in these countries, according to the Italians”.
All the centers in Albania, according to the words of the adjutant – like the battalion commanders, in the vicinity of the Greek border, as well as the youth teachers and teachers, are urgently asking for instructions that time is running out: This is day by day, the Italian-Greek war . This is biased by the Italians, because they speak openly about the lesson against Greece. And, that the Albanian battalions, the day the Italian army has to teach Greece, these will fall to the Italian army. And there are two ways: either they will join the Greek army, or they will retreat through the mountains. And, we beg for instructions as soon as possible.
- Mustafa Gjinishi
- Shaban Tirana
- Kadri Vasili
- Hasan Reci
- Abedin Cici
- Akif Lleshi
- Shaqir Dema
- Gani Serdari
- Haxhi Lleshi
- Himce Kaba
- Colonel, Kucuk Ullagaj
- Major, Murat Basha
- Captain, Hamza Drini
- Captain, Shyqyri Baftjari
- Captain, Abdulla Ymeri
We presented this report, very brief and very reserved, to His Majesty, King Zog I in London, asking how we should act, – says the adjutant.
Istanbul, August 18, 1940
His Majesty, King Zog, sent a telegram to Colonel Hussein Salman, in response to the report, as we note. “Colonel Husein Selmanit, Istanbul; I received the reports. I understood all the goals you set out, wait for instructions by letter. Are you in contact with Prime Minister Kotta, send me his address by telegraph?
Ric Hotel, London 18 August 1940 Zog I
Colonel Husein Selmani immediately submitted to His Majesty, King Zog, the reply of the telegram: “To His Majesty King Zog, Rice Hotel London.
Prime Minister Kotta is in Hotel “Britannia”, Athens, we are in contact. Asafi left for Ankara today, according to the order and regarding the last report, we are waiting for instructions, respect”.
Istanbul, August 18, 1940 Husein Selmani
The British Government has made available to His Majesty, King Zog I, the Minister Plenipotentiary who was in Albania, Sir Andrew Ryan, as well as General Jocelyn Percy, for all facilities. Unfortunately, all the efforts of King Zog, to recognize the Albanian Government in exile, from Great Britain and to be accepted as Allies, this has not yet been achieved. Perhaps, this is also what prevents King Zog from giving instructions on our prepared actions against the Italian army. But it is understood that it could also be some Greek obstacle.
King Zog I, with great care, is following and watching the events that are unfolding. It seems clearly that Italy will teach Greece, so Prime Minister Kotta in Athens is always in talks with the Greek Prime Minister, Metaksain. To date, no conclusion has been signed in an agreement. This leaves us: “to doubt the Greek position, where it will come out with these delays, and time is not ready”.
“Greece claims, writes Hysein Selmani – and has begun a mobilization, supposedly secret, but German and Italian agents track them country by country. Greece, now sure that Great Britain, is at war with Italy and it is said that, have entered Greece, a large quantity of British organizers, dressed in civilian clothes. Sufficient war materials, they have ready on the shores of Volos, everywhere to unload in Greece. However, the British Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean, it is much superior than Italy’s. So much so that it does not allow it in the vicinity of Greek waters in any way. And now, this raised the nose of Greece, which did not make a decision with our Prime Minister, Koço Kotta”.
Now, in these recent times, it is said that even a part of the British Aviation has been given to Greece, and many Greek pilots train in Crete, on these machines.
Istanbul, September 7, 1940
Our Minister Asaf Xhaxhuli returned satisfied from Ankara, because the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Ismet Inonue, has accepted it immediately, as well as listened attentively to everything he has presented, about the situation in Albania, also also for King Zog’s stay in Great Britain and also Italian movements around the Greek border.
President Inonue said to our Minister, Asaf Xhaxhuli: “Mr. Minister, as I have told you before, Turkey has never failed to support Albania, when we were in Yallove. I, King Zog I, I proposed to him that he should stay here, that the most suitable place for the King is Turkey. But, with this great change of atmosphere, he has done very well that he is now in Great Britain. Why, even if he were here, in under these circumstances, he had to go to England, because everything is solved there. The whole key to politics is solved there.
I ordered the Turkish ambassador in England, Dr. Tofik Ruzhdiun, to be in close contact with His Majesty, King Zog I. And I have good news. The President added that Turkey, under any circumstances, will support Albania and its thesis. Not only do we have our own interests, but Turkey never forgets the blood sacrifices that Albanians have shed in the interest of the Turkish state. And, therefore, for any event, be connected with the Turkish Government.
Regarding Italy, for the occupation of Greece, today is no longer that time, as if Albania was completely isolated. Yes, today Italy is at war with Great Britain and the occupation of Greece is not easy. In fact, the British Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean are far superior to Italy’s. But Mussolini’s great mind does not have to think long and, you will learn, but without gains and with another loss for Italy.
I don’t understand anything – said President Inonue – what is the reason of Greece, now that it does not agree with you, that in the event of an Italian attack, the Albanian forces should join the Greeks. Yes, as an ally, and your prime minister in Athens, with Metaksai, has not yet achieved anything. I don’t understand what claims they have, but here is also the fault of the English, and the Greeks, as always, want to take advantage of the cases. Regarding the Greek minorities in Albania, there is no other reason.
Greece has now begun to mobilize. But it is the British who are interested in the defense of Greece. They have taken great measures and will not allow Greece to be occupied by the Italian army, but nevertheless, you must also be prepared inside and get in touch with the British. And, as you say, don’t fail to reach an honest friendly agreement with the Greeks and allies in the eventual war against Italy, which is the common enemy”.
With these words, very cordially, our minister, Asaf Xhaxhuli, took leave and left. He went directly to the Turkish Prime Minister, Shyqri Saraxhollu, who received our minister, Xhaxhuli, very well and in the talks, informed him about all the problems related to the Albanian issue. The Turkish Prime Minister, according to the adjutant’s handwriting, listened to them with special interest and said: “As the President has explained to you, we follow the Albanian issues with great attention and there is talk that Italy has decided to teach Greece. This can to be today for Italy against Greece. This is too late, as the British Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean are not going to allow the Italians to advance a single step.
Only, you need to come to an agreement with Greece, so that in the case of the Italian attack against Greece, you will be allies and fight side by side with the Greeks, against Italy, which is a common enemy. You say that, to some extent, your forces are ready in Albania, so that you can connect them already now, with a regular program with the Greeks. That your battalions, around the Greek border, which are in the ranks of the Italian army, as well as the gangs inside, are prepared, in the program of how they should act, at the right time and how to communicate with the Greek army. Or even a command of yours, which at that time will be located in Greece. Memorie.al
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