Memorie.al publishes the unknown letter of the legend of the Albanian Circus, “People’s Artist” Telat Agolli, addressed to Enver Hoxha in 1982. Agolli: “Feçori told me, you are our man, we as a party and Insurance need to help us and to say that the Haxhihalili brothers are UDB agents, that they were sent here for certain purposes, that when you were in Yugoslavia you were given orders for them in the UDB offices, etc.
Telat Agolli, or as he is otherwise known and as the legend of the Albanian Circus, (he had entered that tent since he was 13 years old), while he was at the peak of his splendor and artistic career, suddenly one fine day, sees himself under handcuffs and locked in one of the cells of the Tirana Investigation. Even being accused as an agent of UDB and in his investigative process assisted the highest cadres and officials of the State Security of her time, up to the Deputy Minister of Interior, Feçorr Shehu. All those who lived at that time, remember that the arrest of the great master of the Albanian Circus, was followed with great fanfare among the people and was rumored for a long time, not only for the fact that he was a well-known name, but also for what was said and whispered about him, during the time he was arrested and held in the Tirana Investigation. For example, it was said that he had burned the Circus Tent in Saranda, which was spread by the State Security itself, in order to make his arrest as credible as possible to the people and the general public?! Although Telati appeared in a trial in several instances and was convicted and suffered for more than six years in Spaç prison, the truth of his beating remained for a long time covered with fog?! This even after he came out of prison gaining innocence and returning back to the Circus, with all the rights that had previously been denied. Even after the overthrow of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime, the great master of the Albanian Circus refused to ever speak publicly about his tragic fate and everything that had happened to him, in those most terrible years of his life and family as well. … ?! He remained faithful to this silence until he passed away a few years ago (October 13, 2016) in the US, where he had gone to visit his family. But what happened to him and why was he punished? In this regard, we know this letter that we are publishing below, where Agolli tries to explain to the communist dictator Enver Hoxha, all the injustices or physical and psychological torture that were done to him, by Feçor Shehu and his people of the State Security. And according to archival documents, the famous master of the Circus, did not complain about his arrest and unjust sentence, only after the arrest and beating of Feçorr Shehu, but that he has done since Feçorri was at the peak of his power. Which leaves no room for speculation or doubt that everything he has written there, (from the position of an honest and idealistic man), is not stifled by him. But he became a tragic victim of the State Security phalanxes and their intrigues, as did many other writers and artists, who had the misfortune to be swallowed up by the gears of that monstrous regime.
Continued from the previous issue
“Why did I decide to confess to the investigator what Feçori was asking me”
In the end, I decided to end the situation because it seemed like I was going crazy. I told Koço that since it was about the archives and the discrediting of the Yugoslav revisionists, I would accept to say for myself whatever was asked of me, but in no way would I accept to say non-existent things about Haxhihalilat and no one else here. For others, I told them write whatever you want and I am signing them. After trying for a few days for me to change my mind about the latter, when he saw that I did not give up, Koço, all the rage together with Nasho Gjinopulli, started writing and preparing the materials. They suggested to me what I should talk about, and I invented nonsense which they had supposedly told me about Dibra when I was visiting Greater Dibra, or when they came here as visitors. Psychologically overwhelmed, I said everything that was required of me with full conviction that it was needed for the archive and for the discrediting of the UDB without the slightest doubt that they needed this material to use in court. In April 1977, after 11 months of investigation, my first trial took place. Before I was put on trial, I was introduced to the indictment within minutes. When I saw why I was accused of treason by espionage, I was outraged by the deception done to me and declared that I would deny it all in court.
“I was accused of espionage for giving information about Balluku”
The espionage charge was so fabricated without any facts and without any evidence that the court immediately dismissed it as unfounded. How ridiculous it was, I’m just saying that. The indictment alleged, among other things, that I had spied on him by giving information on the betrayal of B. Balluku, called Gafur Bllata from Dibra e Madhe, when he had come to visit Albania. But during the trial it was proved that I with the above had had only a casual meeting in Tirana in the presence of a third, in June 1974. How was it possible for me to give him information on the betrayal of B. Balluku in June when it is known that this was agreed only after the Plenum of July 1974? Instead of being released after denying espionage, the prosecutor asked to be tried for agitation and propaganda. As there was no evidence for this new crime, the court returned the case for further evidence. After that the investigation became for me a whole unbearable hell. Koço Josifi was furious. He told me openly, we will not leave you without punishing you, even in prison we will punish you for dying there like a dog. My wife often brought me food, but he did not give it to me because he had imposed a strict starvation regime that made me lose another 20 kg of weight.
“False witnesses were also brought out of the Circus”
The materials of the investigation, for the second crime that was being hatched against me, were prepared by gathering from my staff some witnesses of pressure accusations and some with whom I had quarreled for work reasons when I was the artistic director of the Circus. In fact, I had talked to them in a critical light about various aspects of life in Yugoslavia. But only phrases taken from the context of the conversations were taken which distorted their true content. However, even as they were presented in court, these were ridiculously insufficient findings, even for a formal and not at all harmless propaganda. For example, according to what was said in the investigator and in the trial against me, how I did the agitation, a witness testified that Telati told me that in Yugoslavia artists were paid a lot, but did not say that in this case I told him that hence they are bourgeois). Another stated that Telati told me that their milk was bottled in the house, but did not say that I had told them that not everyone bought milk, as it cost four times more than here. Two witnesses caught red-handed for immorality and expelled from the Circus, testified that Telati told us that in Yugoslavia they danced without shoes?! Another complained that I had allegedly advised him to betroth the girl to a Yugoslav, and that this “Yugoslav” was in fact a Roma from Ohrid, who had gone to visit the witness himself and, on this occasion, proposed to take him. the daughter for the son etc. To refute these and to prove what attitude I had taken in Yugoslavia and upon my return, I asked during the second trial, which took place two months later, to question 10 witnesses who were serious and well-known people.
“Professor Zejnulla Ballanca defended me in court”
The court summoned only one of them, Zejnulla Ballanca, a lecturer at the Faculty of Political and Legal Sciences. In his testimony, which was recorded verbatim in the minutes of the court hearing, among many others, he said: “I told what I was testifying to two or three years ago in front of many people. When I was for lectures in Kosovo, some young people from Dibra came to me, and told me that when Telat Agolli went to this city, he had a sensational quarrel with the head of the political section of UDB, Edip Markun. This civilian and slightly drunk had provoked Telati who was staying in the club with some of his acquaintances. Telati had understood who Oedipus was, he had been silent at first but he had shouted at him that you are Enver Hoxha’s puppy, Telati had grabbed him by the throat and raised him in the air like a cloth and had replied that he was dirty, you are Tito’s puppy while I am the son of Enver Hoxha. After that, Telati was removed from Dibra by his own people and immediately sent to Albania. This gesture of Telati had made a great impression and had immensely enthused the youth of Dibra who hate the traitor Edip Marku. I apologize to Comrade Enver, who is mentioning this testimony before you. I do this not to brag because I did what every true Albanian would do to defend the name of his leader, but to point out something else. This evidence even legally proved the opposite of what I was accused of. She proved that by doing my duty and breaking the turrets to a stinking udb-ash, I had done concrete act of agitation for the Party and my beloved leader.
“I did 6 years in prison, but I never lost faith in the Party”
Under normal circumstances, especially after dismissing the espionage charge against me as false, the court should have taken into account this proven fact and not sentenced me for agitation against my power made up of fabricated and non-existent empty talk, just because my sentence Feçor Shehu insisted. Despite the above great injustices done to me, I want to assure you of one thing, Comrade Enver. I suffered 6 years of deprivation of liberty, of which 13 months in the isolation cell of the investigation, but during all these years not a day, not an hour, not a minute, not a second, I did not lose faith in the Party, I did not feel myself either enemy of the Party nor hostile to my Party, as such a thing was and is unimaginable to me. On the contrary, my slogan “I am the son of the Party and the Party will one day give me the right that belongs to me”. This slogan inspired me in the ward where I was serving my sentence, when I worked as an underground miner, to achieve the daily rate of 300%. She pushed me with full conscience to become the right wing of the ward command, to keep close and to educate them with the word of the Party with the variety that I organized in the ward and in other forms, the repentant elements that can to be reeducated. She then gave me the strength to unmask and crush them by confronting them manfully, the incorrigible enemy elements, even though they threatened to kill me with an iron and would not let me out. alive from prison.
“Please, Comrade Enver, the issue of my trial should be reviewed”
If you ask Comrade Enver, the comrades of Spaç Command will definitely tell you that Telat Agolli has always lived with the Party and for the Party. This is Comrade Enver, the story of my case, the story of the man whom the whole of Albania once applauded, made the People’s Artist, the Party, and who was mercilessly discredited and persecuted by its enemies. Now that you have granted me freedom, I am grateful to the Party, forever without any claim to work, salary, title, or any other benefit. Please, Comrade Enver, for one thing only, order the review of my trial on the straight path of the Party line and socialist legitimacy. I have the courage to ask for this, among other things for the following reason. I had a friend, Enver, a mother-in-law, like all honest Albanian mothers. She had me single boy and the light of her eyes. The circus giant kept calling me a pet as if I were still a child “My little Lati”. When I was arrested and tarnished in public by the shameful stamp of a traitor and agent, at first, he did not believe me and tried to pray for clarification of my position. They tell me that he was convinced of my guilt by saying that; The innocent party does not punish you and cursed me. He did not come even once to see me in prison. Out of shame and great sorrow that the only son of the traitor came out, he fell ill with cancer and died. Ever since I was released from prison forgiven, but not innocent, I cannot dare to go to the cemetery and visit him. Give me the opportunity, Comrade Enver, to remove the stain of undeserved shame from me, to fall on my grave, to apologize for the great evil I caused him, and to say to him: all, not me, but those who darken my life, and cut you short, they are the true traitors of the People and of the Party. In order to be able to verify in time the accuracy of the content of this letter, two weeks ago, through the Internal Directorate of Tirana, I sent such a letter in greater detail to Comrade Hekuran Isai. As always with unwavering conviction in the infallible justice of the Party, I look forward to the consideration of my prayer.
Who was Telat Agolli?
Telat Agolli was originally from Dibra e Madhe, but he was born in Tirana on February 15, 1932. The master and founder of the Albanian Circus, the famous Ali Xhixha, offered the little Telat in the premises of the Circus, at the age of 13, when he was on the acrobatics course and since then he has not left there anymore. In the following years, in addition to working in the Circus, Telati studied, graduating from the Institute of Physical Culture “Vojo Kushi”, in Tirana and also specialized in acrobatics in China in the years 1960-1961. While attending the circus, he never devoted himself to the sport of gymnastics and weightlifting. Telati was the national champion in gymnastics (1954), and also the absolute national champion for 20 years in weightlifting with 99 national records. He also exercised the role of weightlifting coach of the Club “17 November” and the national team, where he was distinguished for high results. Under his leadership, many young people were trained who later became future champions and big names in weightlifting, not only in Albania but also in the international arena, such as Ymer Pampurin, National and Olympic Champion, Bujar Bodinaku, Mirjam Hakani etc. Telat Agolli has been honored and holds many honorary titles such as: “Master of Sports”, “Merited Master of Sports”, “Honor of Albanian Sports” (by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, in 2000). He was also awarded the “Gratitude” medal by the Albanian Olympic Committee, as well as many different cups and medals. Agolli was also honored with the high titles “Merited Artist” (1969) and “People’s Artist” (1975), and was honored in 2010 with “Gratitude of the city of Tirana” by the Municipal Council, with the motivation: “For high civic and intellectual values, put in the service of the city of Tirana ”./Memorie.al