Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Beqir Balluku, former Minister of People’s Defense, member of the People’s Assembly, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the ALP and first deputy prime minister of the government led by Mehmet Shehu, who was shot in a secret tunnel on the outskirts of Tirana near the village of Linza on November 5, 1975, after being sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of Albania, accused of being “the leader of a coup group in the army”. Rare testimony of Çlirim Balluku, the eldest son of the Balluku family, since the origin of the family, the period of the Zog Monarchy, his activity during the Antifascist War, schooling, functions and duties after 1945, relations with Enver Hoxha, Mehmet Shehu, Hysni Kapon, Gogo Nushi, etc., from the senior leadership of the ALP, as well as why the criticism and attack on him began in 1974, who were the ones who attacked him the most in the first meetings, what was he told his children when he returned home after being attacked as an “enemy of the people”, his internment and family, the execution together with his two subordinates, Petrit Dumen and Hito Çako in one of the secret tunnels of Linza on the outskirts of Tirana, how the family learned that when he was in exile, until the many vicissitudes after the ’90s to find his remains in the village of Vranisht in Vlora, where they were buried by order and under the care of Kadri Hazbiu.
“The crackdown on our father, Beqir Balluku, who for years held the post of Minister of Defense and First Deputy Prime Minister in the government headed by Mehmet Shehu, began in June-July 1974 with the extended meeting of the Army Assets, which was held in Villa Zogu of the city of Durrës. The blow against him was prepared on the basis of a scenario well designed by the main leaders of the high “pyramid” of the ALP, with special people within the ranks of the Ministry of Defense. This is also confirmed by the fact that the accusations against him started at a time when the material with the theses that were to be submitted for discussion in the Defense Council, had not yet been made public and were locked in the safe of the office in the Ministry of Defense. After that, he was analyzed in the meetings of the Politburo, where Enver Hoxha was the first to direct the attacks on him, accusing him of being the greatest traitor that Albania had until then. After those meetings of the Politburo, the father was analyzed in the Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee of the ALP, which was held on July 25, 1974, where he was attacked by someone more and someone less. At the end of that Plenum he was expelled and dismissed from all party and state functions. After that meeting, the father was not arrested like many of the former senior personalities of the top communist leadership who had been beaten years ago, but was released to come home. I remember like now when Dad came home after that meeting and told us everything that had happened at that Plenum, as well as the decisions that had been made there in the address of his person. At the heart of those words that our father said to us that afternoon in our house, where all of us family members had gathered, was that he was not a traitor and had never betrayed the Party and Enver Hoxha. After that day, the father stayed for another ten days without leaving the house at all, as even those who hit him had not yet decided where they would send him. During those ten days that my father did not leave the house at all, near our villa in Bllok, the security measures were strengthened, which was evident from the addition of the Guard soldiers. During that time, in the conversations he had with us, for the first time Beqiri spoke openly against the senior leadership of the Party, telling us that she was hitting him in vain and everything that was said in his address was manipulated “.
Testimony for Memorie.al, Çlirim Balluku, the eldest son of the former Minister of Defense, member of the Politburo and the first deputy prime minister in the communist government headed by Mehmet Shehu, who tells the whole unknown story of his father , Beqir Ballukut, considered one of the most popular leaders of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, who was shot on November 5, 1975 in a secret tunnel on the outskirts of Tirana near the village of Linza, along with his two subordinates, Chief of Staff Petrit Dumen and Political Director of the Army Hito Çako.
Who was Beqir Balluku, what was his origin and past and where was he educated? How did Beqiri first associate with communist groups, who were his closest comrades during the War and how did he first meet Enver Hoxha in 1943? What were the accusations made against Beqir Balluku by Enver Hoxha at the meetings of the Politburo and the Fifth Plenum held on July 25, 1974 and what was Beqiri told to his family after that meeting where he was expelled from all party and state functions ? What happened to Beqir during those ten days that he remained isolated in his Block villa, who was the only man who could enter his house and what orders did he give to his children? What did the party secretary of the Albanian Radio-Television, Liberation, ask Beqir’s eldest son when he called him to his office and what was the answer he received from him? How was Beqir removed from his Bllok villa to be interned in Roskovec, Fier, and how was he arrested on December 7, 1974 when he was interned in Selenica, Vlora? How did the Balluku family learn of Beqiri’s execution and how were they treated from that period until 1991 when they remained interned in Selenica, Vlora?
Çlirim Balluku, is the eldest of six children of Beqir Balluku, former Minister of Defense, MP, member of the Politburo and First Deputy Prime Minister in the communist government of Mehmet Shehu, who remained in those high positions until 1974, when he was accused and beaten by Enver Hoxha, calling himself a saboteur, enemy and leader of the “Military Coup” that aimed at the violent overthrow of popular power in Albania. As the eldest of the Balluku family, Liberation remembers him quite well and has experienced many of the events of that distant time when his father was at the highest peaks of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, as well as later when he was attacked by Enver on the most serious charges, which have already been made public to the wider reader by numerous publications in the daily press after the 1990s. Based on this fact and to get to know even more with the unknown side of the figure of Beqir Balluku and his family, in the continuation of dozens of articles of this nature that have found a place in the pages of Memorie.al, we addressed you for a long interview with Mr. Çlirim Balluku, which we are publishing starting from this issue.
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Mr. Çlirim, when you were together at home, was it discussed why Beqiri was not arrested in the Plenum?
Of course, yes. The arrest was not made because of his personality and the sympathy his father enjoyed among the people. In this case, Enver thought of doing the actions step by step and gave importance to the element of time. For all this and what fate awaited him after three months, the father knew well.
After Roskovec where did they send your father and family?
After staying in Roskovec for about a month and a half, the father and mother removed Lulen and Agim from there and interned them again in Selenica, Vlora, placing them on the first floor of an old building.
How long did Beqiri stay there and when was he arrested?
There in that apartment of that old palace of Selenica, the father remained isolated without going outside at all for a minute, until December 17, 1974, when he was arrested.
Who was at home the day the father was arrested, did he expect to be arrested and by what forces was his arrest carried out?
On the day of December 17, 1974, when the father was arrested in Selenica, Vlora, only his mother, Taibeja, was at home. On the same day that his arrest took place, the VI Plenum of the Central Committee of the ALP took place in Tirana and immediately after the end of that meeting, Petrit Dumja, Chief of General Staff, Hito Çako were arrested without leaving the courtroom. , The Director of the Political Directorate of the Army and Rrahman Parllaku, one of the senior officers of the Ministry of Defense. As far as I know, their arrest was made after in that Plenum they were accused of being “Beqir Balluku’s closest collaborators”. For the arrest of the father there in Selinica, special forces of the State Security were mobilized from Tirana and from the Branch of Internal Affairs of Vlora. As my mother told me, they were a very large group and after the arrest of the father, they started a very meticulous search by raiding the whole house, During that search they seized and took with them all the numerous documents and photos they found there. After they left, for a few hours our mother was left all alone at home.
After the arrest of your father, what happened to you other family members who were in Tirana?
The same day that the father was arrested, other special forces of the State Security, went to the house of our aunt, Zybejde Kafazi who lived in Tirana and took him together with Agron and Lulen and on the same day brought them into exile in Selenica of Vlora.
But after the beating and internment of your father, Beqir Balluku, what measures were taken against you and other brothers and sisters. I mean, did they immediately move you from the jobs you were in until then and did you stop going to school?
Immediately after the beating of the father, measures were taken against us, his children. So I was fired from the Albanian Radio-Television where I had worked as an electronic engineer since 1970, my second brother, Ladin, was fired from the Institute of Military Studies where he worked as an engineer and also from the football team “Partizani”. Drita and Zana were also removed from Education where they worked as teachers and in addition to these measures that were taken against us who were employed, attacks were not absent on Lula and Agim who continued the University of Tirana, who were expelled with the motivation “sons of the enemy of the people ”.
Did they inform your family to assist in the father’s trial that took place in Tirana?
From the day of our arrest on December 7, 1974, our family knew nothing about our father’s fate. So we did not have any knowledge about the conduct of that trial either, because all of us in the family who were in exile were never allowed to come to Tirana.
When was Beqir Balluku executed and when did you learn that?
Even about the execution of the father, we had no knowledge and that I learned during the time I was interned in Memaliaj together with my second brother, Ladin.
Who communicated that to you?
Towards the end of 1975 or the beginning of 1976, when Ladin and I were still interned in Memaliaj, we were informed to go to a meeting where all the people would attend. The execution of Beqir Balluku, Petrit Dumes and Hito Çako, to whom “the party had given the deserved punishment, shooting them as enemies of the people” was communicated at that meeting, which I remember was led by the Democratic Front.
After what happened to your family and where did you suffer the exile?
In January 1977, Ladin and I were removed from Tepelena and sent to Selenica, Vlora, to be reunited with the rest of the family, mother, Lulen, Agim and Agron. While her sister, Drita and Gjergj were interned in the town of Rrëshen.
Where did you settle down for work in Selenica and how were you treated during the entire period you stayed there?
We kept my mother at home, Ladin, Gimi and Goni and I worked in the mine, while my sister, Lulja, worked in agriculture. The treatment we received there is understandable and needs no response.
But while the state was thinking about how to oppress us more, there were also many good people trying to help us. The revenge of the dome of the communist regime on our family did not end with the deportation of us to Selenica, because a short time later, in 1979, our brother, Ladin, was sentenced to eight years in prison, accusing him of agitation and propaganda. When he had not served more than nine months in prison, Ladin was re-sentenced to another ten years, and he was released in March 1991, most recently a political prisoner. At that time we were also released from exile and returned to Tirana.
During your time in Selenica, did you befriend any of the families who were interned there?
There in Selenica of Vlora where we were, there were several other interned families and the number of people reached 37 people. But we had acquaintances and family friendships only with the Ngjela and Mamaqi families. We talked about Kiço Ngjela above in this interview, that his acquaintance with our father has been since the time of the War in the Second Brigade. Likewise with my Lover Mamaqi he had family friendship. Only with these two families we had friendships during the time we were interned in Selenica./Memorie.al