Memorie.al/publikon some of the unknown stories of Sajmir 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, Sajmir 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.”Show us your vile enemy 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 department of Burrel, the arrest, trial and public unmasking, investigation, prison, etc., Sajmir Maloku has summarized in a book entitled “HOW I SURVIVED IN THE COMMUNIST HELL” has given for publication exclusively for Memorie.al
Continued from the previous issue
State Security since 1965 has placed me, my father, and other members of my family under close surveillance and prosecution for possible foreign intelligence suspicions, mainly of British Intelligence, based on the frequent visits of foreign tourists to our home. And for the postal communication I had made concerning quite a few philatelists from 17 different countries of the world. I had then also become a member of International Philately and exchanged with them hundreds of postage stamps. The addresses of these foreigners were given to me by the English tourist S. di. E. So they sounded the alarm and took extreme measures to monitor my family members.
The suspicion that I, through postage stamps, sent secret information abroad!
The State Security, as I will point out below, suspected in vain that I was sending secret information to these 17 foreign countries through these postage stamps. With the directive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of State Security, the state bodies of the local government and the Police Directorate of Tirana committed a barbaric and unprecedented act in those years, expelling from their homes some politically persecuted families with surnames. Çoka, Mania, Gjika, who were the neighbors closest to my house. These families were extremely poor, but also very loving. My family and that of my uncle helped these families a lot with food and clothing. Immediately in the above houses, the state police bodies placed four extremist communist families, where three of the heads of these families were State Security officers.
These communist families were originally from the province where dictator Hoxha was born. The State Security had secretly instructed the members of these communist families to make friends with my family in order to come in and out as often as possible and to listen directly to the family conversations in our house, where many friends came to visit, our neighbors and relatives, especially after we were equipped 116 with television set. A ground floor of one of these two-story houses became the secret and important office of the State Security where many modern electrical interceptions were installed where four of their officers worked day and night. This secret room was 20 meters away from my house and from there the building of the Turkish Embassy, which was nearby as well as my house, was eavesdropped on and monitored.
Installing radio interception equipment for my family
The State Security radio technicians also installed large tape recorders with large sound recorders in order to record for days our family and Turkish Embassy staff conversations. These devices were placed under the roofs of this house. I have witnesses of this criminal activity of the State Security, those who lived in the house next to this building. The State Security then expelled this politically persecuted family and settled the family of a former State Security officer and collaborator.
His house was in front of my house and this added to our suspicions that we were being monitored on all sides by State Security men. My mother told us about this: “The wolf came to us behind the door of the house and is waiting to eat us”. Time has shown that her words best foreshadowed the tragedy that befell our family. As I have written before, in September 1965, the principal of my school called me to his office, on behalf of the State Security, for the meeting I had had two months ago with the English tourist. There I explained to the director, in the presence of another state person that the British tourist S. di. E. was a friend of Albania, invited by the Government and the Albanian Committee for Cultural Relations with the Outer World, as an influential member of the English Marxist-Leninist Organization and worked in the British Archives.
I also insisted that they verify this, because he helped Albanian historians in the British Archives. A week later, in a very short conversation, the school principal told me: “Saimir, your statements were verified and they were correct.”Be careful with these people of the State Security, because they have put many people in prison in vain for these things”. State Security has since put my family under surveillance, opening a secret file for this purpose. Many State Security informants and associates who lived near my house and in my neighborhood provided information about me and my family. But my family was very well known and enjoyed the respect of many residents of Tirana, as one of the most patriotic families. Everyone knew my father very well and the contribution he has given in the construction of many roads and hydropower plants in Albania and as a prominent athlete.
On the instruction of the State Security, I was appointed to Burrel
In 1967, on the instructions of the State Security, as soon as I graduated from the High School of Radio Communication, I was assigned as a punitive measure to work in military unit 3711, near the town of Burrel. As I have pointed out before, I worked there for two years and mainly in the mountainous area of Biza e Martaneshit, which was located at an altitude of 1200 m. above sea level. By direct order of the Ministry of Defense, I was entrusted to come into use and maintain one of the two newest, most modern and most powerful radio communication equipment in the Albanian Army, equipment brought from China.
Dictator Hoxha, because during the Second World War he liked this wonderful and very strategic place in the area of Biza of Martanesh, ordered the construction of a military unit of the Albanian Army, which would be used in case of war. . Many of the early inhabitants of this mountainous and touristy area had become my friends, who told me about British air supplies as well as the British Military Mission under General Davis during the War. I thanked them for these occasional explanations and gave them some flashlight, bought them some food, or on quite a few occasions, gave them my handheld radio, to listen to the news or music.
There, in my work, I made friends with wonderful people like: M. Poçari, V. Gjyli, B. Gjoni, F. Mera, A. Grimci, M. Haxhia, O. Shabani and others. I was distinguished and highly praised by the command of ward 3711 and by the Ministry of Defense for my work as a radio communication officer, as well as for rescuing some people from natural disasters during the winter period in the mountainous area of Martanesh. I was also promised by these institutions that in 1969, I would continue my higher engineering studies at the State University of Tirana. This was incredibly good news for me and my family. On this occasion, I would be near the already paralyzed father as well as the television. Even at an early age, I had expressed the desire to learn the craft of radio engineering and, growing up, to practice repairing home TVs.
At age 17, I mounted an electric radio myself
At age 17, I mounted an electric radio with four light bulbs and a small sound center. This great experience of mine greatly facilitated my inclusion in my engineering field studies. In those years most of the military of the Ministry of Defense were dissatisfied with the communist regime because for weeks they worked in mountainous and hilly areas, away from their families and the monthly salary was low. Also, based on the experience of the Chinese army, during the Cultural Revolution of 1965, dictator Hoxha and Prime Minister Shehu ordered the abolition of military ranks and the appointment of political commissars in the Albanian army.
Also, it was decided that the Albanian people and youth, based on their order and the Chinese theory of the revolutionary triangle “Teaching, work, military training”, it was decided that one month a year to participate in military training. The school youth had to participate for a month, for each school year, to work on actions for the construction of the country’s railways and highways or the opening of new agricultural lands in the hills and mountains. The dictator Hoxha called the youth the youth of the shares. 118 The theory of further revolutionization of the Party and power began together with the anti-religious revolution everywhere in Albania. Based on the experience of the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1965, dictator Hoxha included in the program of the Communist Party (Labor) the fight against bureaucracy, the concept of class warfare and the further revolutionization of all life in the country and the abolition of religion.
Orders for the prohibition of religion and the demolition of churches and mosques
To control the spiritual world of our people, the communist regime on February 6, 1967, declared Albania as the first atheist state in the world. On February 27, 1967, the Central Committee of the Communist (Labor) Party issued a secret order to demolish all churches and mosques as well as tekkes in Albania. It was ordered that every communist should be an atheist, because the religious worldview is incompatible with the Marxist-Leninist current and the political line of the Communist Party. Youth should be at the forefront of the fight against religion and the demolition of religious buildings and cults. Extremist militants, led by their communist bosses, tore down, smashed and removed from the graves religious symbols or inscriptions in Latin or Turkish, severely damaging the old public cemeteries of towns and villages, especially those in the capital. Behind these communist vandals stood the State Security and mass organizations as levers of the Party. The youth, following the slogans: “Clerics, hand over to the youth the keys of churches and mosques!” Attacked with great vigor the demolition of religious buildings and cults.
Hundreds of churches, mosques and tekkes were destroyed. Part of the churches became warehouses and warehouses of agricultural cooperatives and as stables for keeping livestock. The Catholic churches of Tirana and Shkodra were turned into handball stadiums and sports gyms. Some religious sites became museums for foreign tourists. Dozens of priests and imams were imprisoned, exiled or shot. The year 1967 marked the most brutal persecution of the communist dictatorship. The darkest period began for the believers, because the State Security ordered the people to hand over, burn and destroy all books, icons or religious objects that were “in” the premises. Residents began secretly praying in the rooms and basements of the houses. Dictator Hoxha boasted in his speeches before the people, saying: “Albania is the only atheist country in the world”, “Religion is opium for the people”, “We uprooted religion by replacing it with Marxist-Leninist ideology”, “God of Albania” is the Communist Party “,” Glory to Marxism-Communism “,” Down with the enemies of the class, long live the Party “, etc.
The cult of the individual for the dictator Hoxha
The cult of the individual for dictator Hoxha began. People also called him the dictator of proverbs, because he had studied for a year at a university in France, not completing his studies. Here are some of the expressions of dictator Hoxha in the congresses of the Communist Party or in the rallies in front of the people: “Whenever you want, the Party catches the rabbit with the cart”; “Let the dogs bark, the caravan goes forward”; “Water sleeps, the enemy does not sleep”; “In capitalism people are like wolves to each other”; “Albania 119 is an invincible fortress on the Adriatic coast”; “Proletarians of all countries, unite”; “The enemies have us in the muzzle of the rifle, while we have them in the muzzle of the cannon”; “To build socialism by relying on our own strength”; “We also eat grass, but we do not cross the Party line” etc. The communist ideology also entered the schools strongly, where many revolutionary songs about the Party and Enver had to be taught and sung by the youth through military actions and exercises.
The Saturday of the week was called “communist Saturday”, where citizens had to work for free for many hours in actions in the village and in the enterprise, the factory plant of one or the other city. The modernization of the army began, the construction of 174 thousand bunkers, of many military enterprises for the production of weapons, ammunition and military shoes and clothes, etc. The people and the youth were thrown into these actions and military exercises according to the Chinese model. Military exercises were extremely tiring in both mountainous and hilly areas. Those who refused to take part in the military raids were also sentenced to prison. Every year about 30% of the national budget went to military spending. The old military uniform was replaced with the new model of the Chinese army model. Compulsory reading of dictator Hoxha’s books began everywhere, at work, in brigades of agricultural cooperatives, in schools and in the army.
This number of books or works of dictator Hoxha exceeded the number 40 over the years. Often in the daily press such as “Zeri i Popullit”, “Bashkimi” and even in the literary-artistic newspaper “Drita”, analyzes and comments about these works were published. . The newspaper “Zeri i Popullit” first appeared in 1942. It was the official newspaper of the Communist Party, the Labor Party and the Socialist Party. Thus began the spread of the individual cult of dictator Hoxha. The people were terrorized by these revolutionary measures such as: morning gymnastics on the sidewalks of departments; often dressing and why not, even cutting the hair in the Chinese way as much as was said, certainly secretly and in a low voice: “We became like the Chinese and Albania became a small China in Europe.” “We became like aunt’s boys and they are shaving us like them, putting our morning gymnastics in state offices, schools, military units and others.”
Lightning sheets in Tirana, like “dacibaot” in China!
Also, dictator Hoxha returned, as years ago, just like Stalin, and imposed the obligation to teach Russian in schools, starting with the completion of primary school. “And now, as Mao Zedong is following in our footsteps, please do not force us to teach Chinese in schools.” According to the Chinese model, groups of Albanian red guards moved through the streets of Tirana and the main cities of Albania. They unmasked young boys and girls who dressed in Western fashion or wore long hair and sang or danced to modern American and English music, calling them “gagarela.” In the media the communist regime claimed that the dances of Rock and Roll and Twist harmed the health of the youth by distorting the limbs and spine of man. 120 In the main streets of Tirana were placed some large stands with the inscription “Bodeci” where the communist militants placed the pictures of these boys and girls above to expose them widely to the people.
Often at the door of school, work or the cinema these extremist militants holding a red cloth ribbon would not allow all the boys and girls who wore skirts at the bottom of their legs or publicly tore them, or those guys who had long hair like the Beatles, others. A man’s most evil weapon is his mind with wrong and bad thoughts and concepts towards life and society. This makes him a murderer, criminal, slanderer, spy, swindler, extremist, mischievous and so on. Both Communism and the Stalinist experience that entered like a caterpillar in the minds of the dictator and his loyal comrades of the Communist Party and tens of thousands of its members and militants planted in Albania during 47 years that unprecedented terror accompanied by murder, hanging, shooting, imprisonment, internment and deportation of tens of thousands of innocent inhabitants of our country.
It was the dictator Hoxha, who when he took power promised our people that: “We ate with a wooden spoon and when we build socialism, we will eat with a golden spoon”. He always said at the end of his public speeches: “Forward to greater victories for the construction of socialism in our country.” The communist regime through powerful means of propaganda showed our people that Marx, Engels and Lenin were the fathers and classics of communism, while Stalin and E. Hoxha were as faithful sons and ardent and worthy implementers of the cause of communism. Revolutionary violence was used for this. Communist propaganda had filled the facades of ministries in Tirana with large portraits of the above persons or during the parades of the people during national holidays where dictator Hoxha greeted the people and why not, even throwing flowers at them.
Construction of trenches and collectivization of agriculture
There was also a lot of military training in the mountains and work on the construction of tunnels, trenches, military depots, etc. The people of Burrel and Martanesh, where I worked, as well as of many mountainous provinces throughout Albania, were quite dissatisfied with the abolition of religion and with the cooperatives of the villages or with the numerous arrests made by the State Security. Many highlanders, in order not to collectivize the cattle, started selling and slaughtering thousands of their sheep and lambs en masse, selling the meat at a very cheap price. Some of these villagers for many years hid some of their livestock. This greatly damaged the development of livestock in our country and made the people during the meat crisis eat imported chickens, mainly Hungarian. Even at weddings or funeral ceremonies no beef, beef or pork was used because the state meat warehouses were empty and had only imported chickens.
Eggs were also rationed so that when people had weddings, they would not eat or eat eggs for four or five months to get them at the time of the wedding. Or stay up all night in front of the dairy shop for a bottle of milk. Here, these were the “fabulous miracles of communism”, which stunned the people with the famous expression of dictator Hoxha: “We will eat grass and do not violate the ideals of communism”. You were surprised when at work people at lunch break ate bread with cottage cheese or cheese accompanied by onions or leeks. State Security officers working there were viewed with contempt and hatred in military units. This honorable situation in the Albanian Army continued for many years.
Punishment of senior military
In 1974 the communist regime arrested and shot many high-ranking military leaders, including high-ranking figures such as Defense Minister Beqir Balluku, Chief of General Staff Petrit Dume, many generals and arresting hundreds of innocent officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers. . State Security officers made the law in the military at the time. So murderous and inhumane were the senior leaders of the Communist Party and the Government to the people that instead of buying wholesale cows and cattle or building as many cow stables and poultry establishments as possible, they ordered the purchase of weapons and explosives factories and the manufacture of weapons and ammunition, tanks, Mig aircraft, or the construction of thousands of other bunkers. So let the people suffer hunger, but in the foreground was the defense of the homeland.
University studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering
As I have pointed out before, in September 1969 I began my undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Electronics, which was the most difficult branch for High Schools in the country. For a year before I started my higher studies I had read and studied the books of Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry of the High School. This gave me the opportunity to study at university more easily. All the faculty members were amazed and created a remarkable respect for me for the convincing results up to that time. I was a full-time student and studied for about four hours in the afternoon after returning from school. My dream was to become an electronic engineer. It was the greatest desire of the youth of that time to continue their studies at this faculty. This is because by that time I had mastered the profession of radio technician to the maximum. In the evenings, almost every night, my house was turned into a movie theater where dozens of citizens came to watch TV shows. The desire of the citizens of Tirana to watch Italian television programs was extraordinary. Often I watched them wipe the tears from their eyes with great joy when they watched these TV shows, which had become a spiritual food for them. The people of the capital have witnessed this very impressive event and they still respectfully remember my parents who kept the door open./Memorie.al