Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of events 30 years ago in the city of Shkodra, where on January 14, 1990 a protest demonstration was organized aimed at removing Stalin’s bust from the city center park. The rare testimony of two of the main organizers and protagonists of that event, Gjergj Livadhi and Victor Martini, who, at midnight on January 14, 1990, were arrested by State Security with the support of the Special Forces who had come from Tirana. and were taken to the Shkodra City Department of Internal Affairs, where inhumane physical and psychological torture was used against them by its top executives, putting the gun to Victor Martin’s head, or pinching the body with needles. to see if he was still living, or had he died from the torture that had been inflicted on him?
In the first part of this article published in yesterday’s issue, through the exclusive interview of 68-year-old Gjergj Livadhi from the city of Shkodra, we were introduced to the beginning of the event of January 14, 1990, where thousands of residents of that northern city of Shkodra Albania, which the communist regime regarded as a “reaction chamber”, turned out in a silent protest in protest against holding Stalin’s bust in one of the main squares of their city. According to the testimony of Gjergj Livadi, who was one of the main organizers and protagonists of that demonstration, the first person who came up with the idea of toppling Stalin’s bust was his close friend and friend, Dede Kasneci, who in the afternoon of January 10, 1990, had long talked about that problem with the other Shkodra resident, Rin Monajka. The next day, Rin Monajka went to the Serreq neighborhood where Gjergj Livadhi lived, and after telling him about the conversation he had had with Deda the night before, he asked him to gather as many people as possible and bring them to the park where there was Stalin’s bust, where a silent demonstration would be held in protest of the removal of that bust. Rhin Monajka assured George that the demonstration would definitely take place, as several Italian television stations had reported on it. After that, Gjergji went to his neighborhood where for less than half an hour, he gathered about 100 people and went out with them into the city center where very few people were. The non-attendance of the inhabitants of Shkodra that morning in the square where the demonstration was supposed to take place, was related to the fact that the thing had fallen on the State Security and by order from “above”, January 11 was declared a day off. That same morning, January 11, as Gjergj Livadhi met Dede Kasneci and Flamur Elbasani in the city center, their friend, Rin Monajka, somewhere on one of the streets of Piacca, met with the German ambassador who had come from Tirana and had had a two-to-three-minute conversation with him about the demonstration that was expected to take place. The German diplomat had told Monajka: “Hey, what are you waiting for?” Whereas the main exponents involved in organizing the demonstration expected to take place on 14 January in the main square of the city where Stalin’s bust was located, on the evening of 13 January the Special Forces had come from Tirana under the leadership of the head of Security. The state, Zylyftar Ramizi, and support from the Inner City of Shkodra, made the first arrests, and one of them was Gjergj Livadhi himself, who was taken to the Branch where he began to question Zylyftar Ramizi himself. But what happened to Gjergj and what happened the next day, January 14, 1990? The testimony of Mr. Gjergj Livadhi in this second part of his interview, exclusively for Memorie.al, and together with this interview we are also publishing the testimony of Victor Martin, one of the leading organizers of the January 14, 1990 demonstration aimed at lifting Stalin’s bust. from the park to the central square of the city, which tells exclusively Memorie.al, the inhumane torture inflicted on him in the Internal Affairs Branch of the city of Shkodra.
follows from the previous number
Mr. Livadhi, how did the events of January 14, when you planned the demonstration, take place?
I haven’t been to the square that day, as I was told I was arrested by State Security in the early hours of January 14th. But what happened next I learned from friends when we were arrested and held in the cells of the Internal Branch.
But besides you, who else was arrested by the main organizers of that demonstration that was expected to take place?
Dede Kasneci and Flamur Elbasani were arrested along with me. This happened because on the 13th, together with some friends, we distributed anti-Communist leaflets in the neighborhood of “Parrucë”.
But what happened the next day, January 14, how did the events unfold?
On the morning of January 14, thousands of Shkodra residents rallied, where numerous State Security and special forces from Tirana surrounded Stalin’s bust, making a fence with their bodies. Likewise, snipers were put at every point and altitude in the city and police cars were constantly moving on the streets. The first spark was given by Ndoc Liqejza, who openly called on the people, speaking out loud, to come closer and bring down Stalin’s monument.
What happened after his speech?
After his words, there was a noise that, as it were, was approval and, if I am not mistaken, Ylli Gërshana shot a police car with an iron, breaking a windshield.
What happened after that, did the Police and Security respond?
Police immediately arrested the person, putting him in their cars, and the crowd moved in response to his arrest. At that point, security men and police began to panic, saying that 300 people had been arrested.
After that, did the people leave…?
By no means did the people of Shkodra stay in the square, without moving at all, until 1 pm and he was very furious and ready to explode. After the demonstration was dispersed, State Security men and police began mass arrests.
How many people were arrested?
The arrests lasted for ten days, and reportedly numbered around 300. The main organizers were isolated in the Shkodra Branch, while others were sent to Tirana or other cities.
When was the trial against you?
The trial against us began on May 21, 1990 and lasted five days. The President of the Court, Sh. M., who later became Minister of Justice, sentenced the main organizers to 12 years in prison for us. We all said that we were innocent, only Kolec Hublina admitted that he had wanted to give a speech on the fall of Stalin’s bust. After the trial ended, Dede Kasnecin and I were taken to the Saranda prison where we were released with the last political convicts on March 31, 1991.
Testimony of Victor Martini, Isolated from Security in Elbasan Psychiatry: “How I was tortured in the Shkodra Branch in front of Çapajev Taci”
Who is Victor Martini?
Victor Martini was born in 1940 in the city of Korça, while his family originated from the Hoti Highlands, part of the Albanian territories that are now under the jurisdiction of Montenegro. Victor’s father, Gjush Martini, during the years of the Zog Monarchy served as a Kingdom soldier in several districts of the country, such as Shkodra, Tirana, Elbasan, Korça, etc., where his six children were born: two daughters and four sons, Paskualin, Angeline, Victor and Rudolf.
With the coming of the Communists to power in 1944, the Martin family would begin a long journey of suffering and tribulation, with prisons, internment, and hard labor. So in 1946, Victor’s father was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison, for the sole guilt of having served as an officer of the Bird Monarchy. He did not come out alive after he died in 1954 while serving a sentence in Burrel’s terrible prison.
To escape the persecution of the Communist regime, shortly after his arrest and conviction, the family’s eldest son, Paskualini, with his younger sister, fled Albania and ended up in the former Yugoslav republics. A short time later, her second son, Angeline, fled Albania, while Viktor and Rudolf’s two other sons, who remained in Albania, aged 15 and 13, respectively, ended up in prison as political prisoners. Likewise in the prisons of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime, Paskuali and Angelina, who were outside Albania, ended up. Pasquale returned from State Security after being trapped in electric clone wires on the Czechoslovak border, while Angeline came to rescue his brother from the shooting.
While the four sons of the Martini family, Paçi, Lin, Victor and Larry (Rudolf) were in the communist regime’s prisons, their mother was left alone, a heroic woman who worked the hardest to earn a living, and to send her to children who were scattered in camps and prisons. After leaving Burrel Prison where he suffered for more than seven years, Victor and the other brothers who were released a few years later worked in the heaviest of the wing jobs, although Victor was with one foot and Leaving with one hand. In January 1990, when the mass demonstration for the removal of Stalin’s bust took place in the city of Shkodra, Victor Martini took an active part in being one of its main organizers.
He was arrested and tortured in the most barbaric manner by the State Security, ending up in Tirana Prison and Psychiatric Hospital in Elbasan.
As the democratic process began in the early 1990s, Victor became fully involved as one of the founders of the National Association of Political Persecuted for the Shkodra branch and also of the Torch newspaper.
In 1994 Victor left Albania for the United States, where he lives and currently lives with his family and other brothers. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of that event, Mr. Martin received a lengthy exclusive interview for Memorie.al, from which we have cut the section that we are publishing below in this post.
Testimony of Victor Martini
“As I was talking with Dede Kasneci at my house about how we would organize a demonstration to remove Stalin’s bust, the doorbell interrupted our conversation. At the gate I came across a well-known person working at the Interior Branch who said: ‘Victor Martin you wanted’.
As I told them, ‘I am, I’m coming to wear my jacket,’ they immediately grabbed my arm and led me to the end of the street, where the minibus was waiting, with which I was taken straight to the mayor’s office at the Interior Branch. When I was brought in, Police Chief Naim Lezha said to me, “In the name of the people, you are arrested,” and one of his subordinates hurriedly pulled the bars out of his pocket and watched as he tried to swallow me alive. .
His face resembled a hollow beast.
“I am convinced there will be some misunderstanding and you have no reason to keep me here,” I told them.
“Tell us the reason,” he told me and kicked me with the force of his left leg. Then he pulled out a rubber band from his belt and threatened to tell me, “You’re going to tell me what to do tomorrow or mother’s milk will get you out”.
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about,” I said, trying to defend myself.
While I had not finished speaking yet, his rubber stick slammed over my back, protected only by a thin blouse. Then they sat me down in a chair with their hands behind me and struck me with no mercy. The stick went up and down on my shoulders and over and over and he said to me, “Hey, will you show it or not?”
After about an hour of torture, my body had turned purple. Another stranger came in, approached, and, after taking off my jersey and canoe, I recognized the purple color of the body. “So you decided to die as a hero?” He laughed ironically and then added, “Go on, go on …” he came out the door again. With him came the vice president. After leaving them, I was left alone with that person unknown to me as Shkodra, who forced me to stand up, ruthlessly slapping me on the buttocks.
My body began to tremble, but as it came, I no longer felt the pain at first. The Branch Officers began to come in order to relax, and one of them said to me, “Why do you get in your neck, all your friends have shown, except you” ?!
I replied that I knew nothing about the job, but they kept asking me why I had taken Deda Kasnec on a motorcycle.
As I said, “What has Deda done, has anyone killed her?”, One of the sampists started ruthlessly punching me. Then he put his hands on my shoulders, close to my neck, and with nails began to tear my flesh.
They threatened to take me to the iron lug. Chapayev Taci himself came in furious and, putting a gun to my head, said to me, “We will shoot you, we will not give power to the enemies”, and coming out the door he added: “Krebac!”
The sampist kicked me in the head. I was stunned, my eyesight lost, but I didn’t fall. As in the fog, I heard the calls of the sampist. “Speak speak”. Then they grabbed me by the arm and lowered me into a chair. I decided to hang around, to rest for a while and through the slightly open eyelashes I tried to see what was going on in the room. Naim Lezha got up from the table, taking a needle and began to try my body to see if I could pretend. I did not find it difficult to cope, because my body was no longer in pain, it was swollen immensely. After I had a bucket of water on my face, I began to recover, but soon began to vomit.
They brought me a bucket, my hands loosened, and they didn’t disturb me anymore. I trembled and looked at the floor where there were blood stains. Even from my leg I noticed blood flowing. By ten o’clock in the morning we were left alone in the room with the vice president, who occasionally watched the clock. At about twelve o’clock in the evening, there was a roar and the sound of cars being heard from time to time. Noise was heard in the corridors. At one and a half hours I was handed over to the Investigator and slammed into my cell. It was easier for me to lie on my feet than to lie on the floor because of body aches. At ten o’clock in the evening I was taken to the interrogator’s room. My body had been trembling and my teeth were gnawing at me, some of the pain and some of the January cold. The investigator told me to sit in a chair. Then he got some papers, lit the fire in the stove and started asking me who I had met with in the last few days. I counted some people who had nothing to do with the issue of the demonstration, and when he asked me about Ded Kasnec i said the same answer I had given to others. After five days, I was taken out of the cell and taken to an ambulance. My hands trembled terribly. Shortly thereafter they brought Ndoc Liqejzën, Gjovalin Rolben, Pjerin Velin, Paulin Shtjefnin, Gjovalin Zefi.
Two policemen got in the car with us and after three hours we found ourselves in Tirana Prison Hospital. They kept us there for 17 days and then took us to the Elbasan Psychiatric Hospital. As soon as they put me in there, three sambist grabbed my legs and arms and slammed me into the place where the sick were visiting, with my chest down. One of them ordered the nurse: “Quickly make the needle” and he obeyed the order. I was convinced that this needle was deadly. It was clear to me that they were killing us without trial and would have us unmarked. My tongue began to tremble and I was no longer able to control my limbs. They grabbed me by the arm and slammed me onto a bed in the corner of a large room. I was thirsty, crying out how much power I had to bring me water, but no one answered.
The hospital director, through Doctor Union, had informed us that by the end of March we would be released from this isolation. The word was about an Interior Ministry order. This time the institution of psychiatry was, as in many other cases, dependent on the Ministry of the Interior. Meanwhile, I had informed Lisa to bring my clothes. On March 30, Lisa and her nephew came from Tirana in the hope that we would all come back together. But no. When Liza and Mondi were introduced to Dr. The union, the chief of the pavilion, had told them that the order was directly overturned by the interior minister. O Lord! Lisa’s horror and tears shook the hospital and the whole surrounding area. We had already lost hope that they would let me out of this place, where the disaster creatures lived…
On the morning of April 1, about nine o’clock in the morning, Doctor Union called us into his room and told us that we were free and could leave our homes. I was overjoyed… After getting dressed, we made our way to the mall. I went to the post office and announced that I was waiting for dinner at the train….
Mondi, Lisa’s nephew, met me on the train to Shkodra. Though age difference with Mondi, he was overjoyed at my sudden return.
Larry had not yet healed the wounds of the January 13 torture night in which the Minister of Interior himself had participated…
But the city had taken a sad turn, with people gathering home early. Outside the streets of Shkodra there was a silence as in the desert. Only military shoes could be heard at night on the sidewalks and alleys… / Memorie.al