By Nazmi Berisha (Dyzi)
The fifth part
Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Nazmi Berisha, originally from the village of Llap in the Municipality of Podujeva in Kosovo, who was seduced by the propaganda of the communist regime and the programs provided by Radio Tirana for “socialist prosperity” and escaping the rank-and-file methods of the Titoist regime, in 1960, he decided to flee and came to Albania, crossing the Buna River by swimming in the great cold of that harsh winter. The rare testimonies of Nazmi Berisha, how he was received in his homeland, where the soldiers and border officers of the Shkodra district, after tying him with wire, sent him to the Internal Affairs Branch, where for 24 hours they did not even give him bread for eaten, and then sent to the town of Shijak where was the “Filtering Center” of Kosovar emigrants. The whole adventure of the 20-year-old boy from Kosovo that the State Security accused of: being a UDB agent, who had sent on a secret mission, Cedo Topallovic, the president of the UDB for Kosovo, to meet with the Rear Admiral of the Fleet, Teme Sejko and the inhuman tortures inflicted on him in the Internal Affairs Branches of Lushnja, Kruja, Tirana, etc., where he was kept in isolation and asked to become a collaborator of the State Security, as witnesses, his compatriots from Kosovo, and his refusal, which made him spend 20 years in the prisons of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. The articles published by Memorie.al, have been selected from his book, ’20 years in Enver Hoxha’s prisons’ published by the Publishing House “UEGEN”, Berat, 1995.
Note to the editor and publisher
Evidence of civic courage, living testimony of a completely heartless human suffering, an archive that is valid for today and tomorrow.
Prison scenes run in front of you, honest and cannibalistic characters, ordinary people and you are left stunned by such a low action, so without dignity and profane of the communist administration.
20 years in Enver Hoxha’s communist prisons! The author never equates the dictator with Albania. The total disappointment of a guy who ran towards the star of his love, is not obscured. Everyone had almost the same fate. An unparalleled patience, an unwavering will of a diverse psychology full of dramatic colors, a monstrous fatigue,
Here is this book by Nazmi Berisha.
The characters are real.
Let each one pray to the God of truth.
Continues from the last number
The “Purgatory” of the Dictatorship
My first trial in Tirana
Pursuant to Article 65 of the Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of Albania, I was accused of being a “traitor to the people”, for the criminal offense of “espionage for the benefit of Yugoslavia and to the detriment of Albania”. A paper format typed on a typewriter. A nation that, concretized in these lines, foresaw my sentence from 10 years in prison, up to shooting. In that indictment was marked the date of the trial for me and the body that would try me, which was the College of the Supreme Military Court of Albania in Tirana. This wonder fell like a bomb on our room and as it is understandable, became the cause of much discussion.
Lukmani, did not stop consoling – “Hajt, man, do not be yours, you are young and this time the sentence higher than 15 years will not be imposed, than…”! But his face betrayed him.
– “Work of Satan”! Shouted Uncle Costa there in the evening.
As if unnoticed, Lukman’s hand fell on my shoulders.
– “Biro, do not sit down and stay with me for a while now. Do not worry about the promise that is one, never yes, but your sentence does not last 20 years. “So, keep your head up and do not sit on the bed.”
Would the world be overthrown if I were shot?! Jo. Then I had to gather myself and calm down. Nothing would find my beloved even after the sunset of my star…!
Here is the day of judgment. Exemplary morning toilet as a groom. I even drank the tablets. I looked even fresher, even though I was old enough to be fresh. The road was full of cold tips, resembling icy water on the body. Here is the hall. The audience I thought would fill to the brim consisted of civilian-clad military men. Circus, Parody. My two witnesses also caught my eye, with their hands tied. My eyes darkened. Unlucky people too.
My indictment was being read. Judge Faik Minarolli had taken a serious look. There was no sign of doubt on his face. Farsa, whose character was undoubtedly also the judge, the trial panel, the plainclothes officers in the courtroom. The prosecutor, sideways, rolled the pencil in his hand nervously. Lawyers, like the prosecutor, were simply present. Among us were the cops.
Ali was first accused of coming to Albania as a Yugoslav spy to join the Teme Sejko Group. So, do we both. According to the turn, Aliu got up and admitted the unfinished act, claiming that he had been sent by Cedo Topallovic, who shortly before leaving, had told him to meet with Nazmi Berisha. “I stood up and without giving me permission, I protested quite worried.
– It is not true, he is lying or a blackened old man.
Meanwhile, Asaf Kondi, Deputy Prosecutor of Albania, who ordered our claim, he winked at the secretary not to note my reaction.
They did not make me long. Straight to the investigator. And they attacked me like beasts. The questions bit each other, starting with those famous spit-sprinkled pessaries and wrapping them all around me in danger. Shehu and Kraja were not enough and Shkëlzen Bajraktari hit me, I do not know from Tropoja or Kukës?!
After the ordeal, they did not take me to the room, but to the dungeon. My hallucinations were being renewed there. The dungeon friend was introduced to me: Adem Kalaja from Korça, a former Security officer, I later learned that he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for theft, but the Security used it as its own weapon, dungeon after dungeon. The most insignificant thing in all this strange state, was the man, be it the judge; the black man was also afraid of his own secretary. Fear in this state, spread like circles created in water by throwing petashuq stone. Even Enver Hoxha was afraid of his collaborators, whom he shot one by two, every year. In Albania, everyone was handcuffed, although they declared themselves free.
-… I was sent as a spy by the Yugoslav UDB, in order to overthrow the popular power in Albania and help the counter-revolution…! I fully adhere to my statement in Kruja, which I gave without pressure and with my free will.
I sat on the black bang of shame and my furious conscience bit my heart like an unknown animal. Finally, the tragicomedy, before it had its climax would have had the appearance of purgatory. That role would be played by the poor lawyer. I demanded justice. Judge – the clown with the others went outside. Meanwhile Bilbil Klosi entered, who looked at the three of us with contemptuous eyes. Then came the climax. Ali Zuka and Selim Xhakaj – 18 years in prison each. Nazmi Berisha – 12 years. The prosecutor had sought the same sentence for all three, 25 years in prison. So, it was not a joke, the court in Albania was independent! Dirty game with kavie – people!
After two months in the Psychiatric Hospital, I was returned to the old Prison of Tirana, I met Lukmani again with friends, after three days they took me to room No.3. There I found Petro Gaxhi, a former member of the Central Committee of the ALP, born in the villages of Gjirokastra. He was convicted as a participant in the Tirana Conference in 1956. He had been in Sazan prison, a real hell. Every time the door was opened, no matter how much food could come, the poor Peço trembled all over, so much horror that he was scared. Even after closing the door, he wanted an hour to recover. He felt tortured especially by the use of electric current. There was also a young man from Shkodra, living in Kavaja, a teacher; his name was Peter Arbnor. He was convicted as a member of the ‘Social Democratic Organization of Albania’ illegally. His father, Filip, was shot in Korça in 1945 as an opponent of the communist regime.
At first, Peter was sentenced to be shot, but Peter’s mother had gone to Enver Hoxha himself and told him: ‘you killed my husband, you sentenced my daughter to 8 years and now you want to kill my son? Do you not have the point of pain, man, for a mother who is breastfeeding? ‘ Peter knew nothing of this, and although he was sentenced to be shot, he was overjoyed and did not give up. The sentence was reduced to 25 years.
Notes from the house of the dead
-In Burrell Prison- the first time
“Notes from the House of the Dead”, Dostoevsky’s novel, was still unknown to me, while the Albanian characters of Burrel prison were the same, but displaced in time, on the ground and in the climate.
It all starts with the damn morning movement, after a furious awakening, dizziness of getting in the cars, confusion in the yard, rustling of the bus. Next to me was Todi Xoxo and Lutfi Sejko. Further 60 more. I met Shaban Basha from Peja, Sytki Hoxha from Gjakova, Halil Vukali from Plava and Beqir Sadiku from Starova in Pogradec. Inside the bus tied with German handcuffs. The first prince was Qamil Mane, director of all prisons in Albania, riding in a jeep and accompanied by several officers. Burrel as if it did not catch your eye. Especially when you feel so attached to the bars. The perimeter wall was over three meters high, except for stones and cement. On the roof of the prison, two – three soldiers. We, the actors, in this house of the dead, had to play a new act of our tragedy. Between the lines came Asllan Uka, a captain from the villages of Burrel, an unbearable chakra eye. The phrase “Burrel, come in and don’t go out!” Was circulating.
An old man once laughed at the captain’s foamy words. They beat the poor man and at least brought him alive. At five o’clock we woke up. This applied to going to the WC, always according to a political order, first the foreigners (who were called us Kosovars) and then the revisionists. Then came the morning time, which was also divided according to political criteria. After eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, by the same token, the appeal was a crazy ritual, a devilish invention made three times a day. Nights! Oh god! The nights too were a torture in themselves. The monotony of prison, and more closely that of prison, is naturally part of psychological torture.
The first winter in Burrel, three prisoners died from the cold. The humidity of the prison rooms in Burrel, penetrated to the marrow. In this prison I met Hulusi Spahiu of the Spanish War and the opponent of the ideas of Enver Hoxha, whose wife was interned in Savër of Lushnja. I cannot forget the Spaniard who often came to prison. I met in Burrel Pandi Kristun, the former “collaborator” with Koçi Xoxen, who was released from prison in 1964.
The Trombone Truth
– In Burrell Prison-
Though young in age, sickness, torture, and terrible grief seemed to have subdued me. Evil was beating elsewhere, I could not bear the Burrel of human horrors like that. The first meeting would be with Qani Kalon, the director of the prison (who came from Shkodra prison), the mare and pigeon carrier, they were his Achilles heel. Burrell, this man had made him both gloomier and harsher and more torturous.
All of us there would encounter the undeniable truth. Two were the most powerful ones. Spaç revolt and Kapllan Resuli! They wanted to handcuff the truth, but it could not be kept that way.
The new acquaintance for me, Fadil Kokomani, an excellent former student of Moscow, who had given Khrushchev the right for his policy, and of course denigrating the Albanian leadership. This one together with Vangjel Lezhon, Nuri Sallaku, etc., had tried to escape, of course they were caught and here they were next to me with 25 to 20 years in prison. Fadil Kokomani was in a deplorable state in prison, and it was even said that he had gone insane. But the Security could not get the water under the mat so easily. In the madhouse of Elbasan, where he was sent for treatment, he met a girl and confided in her that he was playing the role of Security. But that was it! It ends in Spaç, where he finds Vangjeli. Here he was present in one of the handcuffed historical truths, supposedly forgotten, so traumatized, in the Spaç Revolt!
Four friends, young boys, sentenced to many years for attempted escape, did not let one of their friends go to the directorate, because they knew what he would find. The guards come and attack these boys, but they, hand in hand, do not give their friend alive. Another group of policemen comes to force them to hand over their friend. Then other prisoners come out. A real fight begins that was neither seen nor heard until then in the prisons of Albania. Tirana is alerted, Mehmet Shehu, having with him Kadri Hazbiu, Llambi Ziçishti and Feçorr Shehu, comes to Spaç prison himself. Feçor Shehu’s cry in the prison yard, aided by a megaphone, is lost like a voice in the desert. Special police units come with parachutes and…, medet oh God, rifles and thugs are jumping! The organizers of this uprising, four young men, Hajri Pasha from Vlora living in Elbasan, Skënder Daja from Tirana, raised in an orphanage, Zef Pali from Durrës and Dervish Bejko from Starova in Pogradec, shot them right in the prison yard. They started the macabre beatings in the dungeons, corridors and rooms, where the prisoners were found. For days, weeks, months, the blood stains in Spaç prison were not removed. And why do they say it was worse in the fascist camps?
You say that everything ended with that?!
While researching the situation in Spaç, a letter was found, which had been sent to Ramiz Alia and Hysni Kapos: Fadil Kokomani, Vangjel Lezho and Xhelal Koprencka. This is how the real organizers of the prisoner uprising in Spaç were found! Could there be a punishment other than shooting for them? The Politburo analyzed their work and concluded that the enemies of the party and the people, educated in the Soviet Union in the spirit of Khrushchev, were the organizers of what happened in Spaç prison. And Security had no trouble finding the firing squad. Of course, a report was made to the Politburo on what happened, but not a word was written about what the convicts gave in front of the barrels of weapons. When will we learn this truth?
To my impressions about the great truth, is added the figure of Isuf Çela from Lushnja, sentenced to death and “mitigated” as a sentence of 25 years. He was convicted for taking part in organizing the assassination of Myzeqe’s political secretary. And Mehmet Shehu for that party secretary, killed 60 people in Myzeqe, just as he killed 60 people in Mirdita for Bardhok Biba!
Uran Kostreci from Elbasan, imprisoned for escape and sentenced to 15 years in prison, plus another 10 years for agitation and propaganda during the sentence. His father was convicted as a nationalist and Uranus was educated. He could not stand the communists and certainly considered them traitors to the nation. I did not know a brave man like Uranus, who defended himself against all injustices. The hunger strike was his weapon that was always emptied and he emerged victorious. Uranus hoped that soon in Albania, democracy would be established, that the organization of political parties would be allowed and that we would enjoy the support of the West. Uran Kostreci had written “The Epic of the Locusts”, thus mocking the work of Shefqet Musaraj “The Epic of the National Front”.
-In the Sanatorium and the Hospital of Tirana-
I would prove once again on my body the ignorance of the doctors without human conscience, of the hospitals-prisons of Albania. He sent me into their hands ‘tubercular adenitis’ and the weapon of the hunger strike, which frightened the communists and the prison commanders so much. Their anger was cynical and utterly inglorious.
This time I went to the Sanatorium with Uran Kostrec, but he was not accepted, so I had the opportunity to meet new friends in prison. I met Faik Dragusha from Shkodra, a friend of Fadil Hoxha and his classmate, arrested as a pro-Westerner. He was a pure Democrat. I also knew a villager from Kukës, who was tortured by keeping him in the refrigerator, and thus was ‘donated’ to TBC, although still unpunished. There was also an officer in the Sanatorium, an ordinary convict, who said that he had seen the electric bed of Halim Xhelo (Koçi) in prison. His name was Niko and he was from Gjirokastra. I also met a thirty-year-old man from the Peshkopi district, sentenced to 18 years for allegedly attempting to escape. Hmm, during the investigation, the anti-human ignorant had damaged his testicles with electricity and he was sick with orchitis.
Since in those days I read that Fadil Hoxha and Asllan Fazliu in Kosovo had given speeches in defense of Kosovo Albanians (words of “Rilindja” quoted by “Zeri i Popullit”) I was prompted to write a letter to Enver Hoxha. Are you saying that dizziness? Maybe, but inside me, the broken and handcuffed soul of an Albanian patriot did not leave me alone, so I explained to him what I was and what I was looking for.
I thought of things in detail, I would use the hunger strike once again, until I was convinced that the letter had fallen into the hands of the criminal, always hoping. Because hope is the last thing that dies in man! And here it bears fruit, after two or three days, comes one of the deputy ministers of Internal Affairs of Albania, dressed in civilian clothes.
– Hey, what do we have? You are on a hunger strike, huh… And what do you want?
I answered what is already known.
– Like that? Yes, we sent about 30 Kosovars to the University! Because Kosovo dung has come here, and the good ones have stayed there!
I looked him hard in the eye. What would I say to that ignorant man?
The next day straight to Hospital no. 2, (ward 7) Psychiatry room.
Artificial nutrition. The strike thus ended. Meanwhile, the experiment with the pathology clinic was continuing. There I met Adem Karapic, a former well-known football player of Albania and former coach of the National Team after the war. Ademi had been a classmate of Enver Hoxha in Korça. Ademi also saw injections mixed with formula B / 12. They caused me vomiting, chest pain.
Again, in the Sanatorium. The experiment was successful. Write to him one more time and you will see it later! Inside me cried a crushed soul. Through streams of inner tears, I met Martin Caku from Mirdita, sentenced to 10 years for agitation and propaganda. Gjin Markun is from Mirdita, former member of the Central Committee of the ALP and Commander of the VII Partisan Brigade, former fiancé of the well-known partisan, Margarita Tutulani, and then the husband of a Montenegrin, Svetlana’s father, former student of a military academy in the Soviet Union, formerly decorated by Stalin, a staunch liberal communist, proponent of Yugoslav communism, an incorrigible arrogant. Getting to know Gjin Marku through the streams of your pain was another massacre you vet! Memorie.al