By Sokol Paja
Memorie.al / Eduard Margarit Dilo, tells exclusively for the newspaper “Dielli”, the organ of the Pan-Albanian Federation of America ‘VATRA’ in New York, the family persecution by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha and his successor, Ramiz Alia, the torture, the persecution, isolation and imprisonment. In a statement given to the editor of “Dielli”, Sokol Paja, Mr. Dilo describes in detail the terrible persecution of his family, the persecution by the State Security and the clashes with the communist leaders of the dictatorship.
The tragic story of the persecution of the Dilo family
– The confession of Eduard Margarit Dilo –
“The patriotic attitude of the family of Ilia Dilo Sheperi and Aristidh Ruci, where my grandmother, Sava Ruci, was from, is already known in the Albanian public. Although my family at the time of the Second World War was one of the main bases where the leaders of the freedom fighters were housed, mostly students of my grandfather, Ilia Dilo Sheperi, although our house in Sheper was one of the first to be burned by the invaders, could not escape the vicious persecution of the clique of communist criminals who took power at the end of 1944.
If we stay true to the truth and the documents, we notice that the purges made by the clique of criminals who ruled the Albanian people for nearly 50 years, could not leave the family of Ilia Dilo Sheperi out of this genocide. Why? Because the Dilo Sheperi family was a patriotic family that could not cooperate with the Serbo-Slavic agents who took power. Let’s refer to the facts: When Enver Hoxha was about to form the General Staff of the National Liberation Army, he asked for a meeting with Jani Dilo in Tirana.
“With the formation of the General Staff,” Enver told him, “We need a capable commander who knows several foreign languages to talk to foreigners, that’s why I thought of you.” – “I would gladly fight with you, if we don’t tame the Italian, and beat the Yugoslavian or the Russian here, not abandon Kosovo and give it to the Serbs”, answered Jani.
This was the last meeting with his old school friend, in Gjirokastër and Korçë, to whom the victory of the war would smile. The agreement of Mukje, before the ink had dried well, was rejected with the intervention of the Yugoslavs…! The civil war began. Its price, not only for the loser but also for the winner, would be very heavy. Those who won were the enemies of the Albanian nation.
How did the revenge of the communists begin?
In November 1944, after Enver Hoxha’s government entered Tirana, Qirjako and Margarit Dilo were banned from working in the workplaces where they had worked, respectively; Qirjakua, head of the Mortgage Office at the Ministry of Finance, and Margariti, head of the Construction Office at the World Ministry. They, imbued with a western culture, surrendered the work and the offices where they worked. In order to live, they began to trade. The activity went well and they afforded the living expenses for the family of 12 who lived in Tirana at that time.
In March 1946, they spoke to the Executive Committee about Qirjako and Margariti and informed them that; they should leave immediately for Sheper, as a family. The order was firm; if they did not leave in two days they would be arrested. At this time, Koçua, who was serving as a soldier in the Liaison Command in Tirana, was transferred to the border post of Peshkopia. The family members left for Shepër, where they took shelter in the hut that had escaped unburnt from the war. They started farming to survive.
In June of that year, they spoke in Gjirokastër about Mihal and Margariti. Mihal is appointed veterinarian in the District Livestock Enterprise, while Margaritin, Ing. in the District Construction Enterprise. With these appointments, the economic situation of the family changed a lot and they began to reconstruct the hut where the family members lived in Sheper, in satisfactory conditions for the time.
Jani Dilo is sentenced to death by the communists
In 1947, in the list of enemies sentenced to death in absentia, the communist regime announced the name of Jani Dilo (one of the exponents of the National Front). The Party and State Security bodies called his brothers Qirjako and Margari, and asked them to convince Jani to return to Albania. They replied that they had no relationship with Jan and did not know where he was.
In October 1947, they arrested Margariti in Gjirokastër and after 40 days and nights of terrible torture, in a trial with closed doors, in one of the prison halls in the Castle, by a military court, they sentenced him to two years of imprisonment, accusing him of; “saboteur of the 1946 elections, destroyer of relations with Yugoslavia, agent of the Anglo-Americans, etc.”
He served his prison term in the fortress of Gjirokastra, the drying up of the marshes in Myzeqe and Maliq e, Vloçisht of Korça. It was 85 kg. when he was arrested and it turned out 42 kg. from prison. I remember from childhood, the marks left by executioners with red-hot iron, on my body and limbs. In 1948, Qirjako was arrested and tortured for three days and nights at the police station in Topovë (Zagori).
Accusation: “carrying weapons without permission and concealing Aristidh Rruci’s gold”. Unable to secure witnesses, for the weapon that Security itself had put in the shelter of the hut where Qirjako’s family kept cattle, and since the gold was found in the family of the commissioner of the Internal Affairs Branch, Qirjako was released. In 1950, Margariti got engaged to my mother Viktori Xhamballo, sister of two martyrs: Pano Xhamballo, an important leader in the National Liberation War (killed in Mirdita, on September 1, 1944, in infidelity and mysterious circumstances) and Spiro Xhamballo, shot by the Germans in Pristina camp.
When it was learned about my mother’s engagement, he was called to Gjirokastra by Mihal Bisha, former Secretary of the Party Committee at that time, and Prosecutor Subi Bakiri, and was pressured to break the engagement. Since my mother refused to break the engagement, they threatened you that they would fight Dilos together with him. And “mother Party” kept her word, not only for her, but also for us, her children.
The punishment of Koço Dilo
In 1970, Koço Dilon, Ilia’s little son, was arrested in Fier for trying to escape to Greece. After 105 days of torture in several secret cells, he was sentenced to 10 years in political prison, which he served in the Spaç camp in Mirdita. I emphasize that in every arrest and imprisonment that took place in our family, they confiscated everything: even our clothes, the little food we had and parts of the premises of the house where we lived, as well as the dowries of unmarried girls.
Childhood years of Eduard Dilos
A horror that I wish no child on the planet we live in has to go through. In the year I was born, collectivization was carried out in our village. My father did not decide to become a member of the agricultural cooperative, for the reason that he was ill, therefore unable to work. He did not object to the agricultural cooperative taking the land even of the few cattle that the family had.
After that, the punitive measures that the dictatorship began to exercise against my parents and us small children began; – we were cut the quota of grain, which the state gave to each family member at that time, and later with the creation of the bakery, we were not allowed to buy it at all. We were not allowed to keep goats or cows. Some of the cadres who were placed in the direction of collectivization and power in the village and, later in the province, were extremists that we did not meet in life when we grew up, in any part of the homeland.
We finished high school as children of the “enemy of the people” (as it was called by the “mother Party” and State Security) Margarit Dilo, taking refuge with our relatives in different cities. A parenthesis here: according to the files we received from AIDSSH (the Authority for the Information of Files of the former State Security), I have at my disposal the persecution that was done to us by the State Security, to the members of the Dilo family.
Here I find the explanation of the exceptions that were made to me by the school gangs in my high school years, but thanks to the large family network we had in the different cities where I was housed, I was able to finish high school. I started in Fier, went to Tirana, Gjirokastër, and finished in Fier. I want to point out the love with which my schoolmates surrounded me, the love and care of good teachers, who never differentiated me from other students.
This honest contingent had the courage to highlight the talent they noticed in this generation of the Dilo family. But everywhere closed doors to continue higher education. My mother, with her children’s matriculation certificates, with very high results, did not leave the door without knocking, did not leave her brother’s friend (a high-ranking party and state official at the time), without meeting, but with all the waiting well, she could not secure a place in the university auditoriums for her children.
For the sake of the truth, I testify: After the meeting he had with one of Pano’s friends, (Xhamballo), a senior party official, he received the answer from his wife, a senior official, in a letter sent to him by the basic organization of the party of Zagoria. In this letter, it was requested that we, the children of Victoria, be gathered in the village and if we did not obey, they would take us to Spaç where we had uncles.
Fortunately, this letter, from the postman, fell into the hands of my first cousin, a party functionary at that time in Zagorie. Today this letter is in our family archive, together with many “blackened” characteristics, sent to the enterprises where we worked, by her son-in-law, party functionaries at that time, in the Zagoria area.
Everywhere in Albania, there were honest people who felt sorry for their homeland, people who, despite being active in the party or having leadership positions, did not agree in their conscience with the injustices that were being done. With the change of the system, not only did they tell us about the persecution that was done to us, but they also gave us these “characteristics”.
Exhumation of the remains of Ilia Dilo Sheperi
In the 1970s, as a result of the intensification of the class war in Albania, there was an organization of foreign political emigration, to overthrow the criminal gang of Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu, who ruled the Albanian people. The reasons for the failure of this initiative have already become publicly known. Failing this initiative, external emigration acted in some of the Albanian legates in different countries of the world where they were accredited, bringing them concerns.
An ideal occasion for the functionary lady and gentlemen to hit the Dilo family. Why? That the mediocre ones remembered that in a coup d’état, our family would take revenge for the crimes they had committed against it. The State Security, according to the orders of these officials, accused our uncle, Jani Dilo, as one of the leaders of these movements. The relevant organs of the communist regime of that time have spoken with members of our family and asked them to convince Jani to return to Albania.
As a hostage, they arrested my uncle, Koço Dilo, in Fier, on the charge that he intended to escape. In the investigator Koçon, as well as outside it, they prepared the opinion that they would execute him. Jani Dilo, a man with a lot of power in the state where he lived, sends a letter to Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu and a copy to the family, where he explains his political position and asks them not to mistreat the family.
State security pressures on the family and its complete isolation
My father dies at this time, at the age of 62. The Party and the State Security jointly forbade the provincials to participate in the funeral and funeral, and also forbade the opening of the grave. Our family opened the grave itself and the coffin was carried to the cemetery, only by us family members. Although a child, I helped open my father’s grave and carried his coffin on wet shoulders.
The cannibalistic gluttony of those samples, (that we cannot call them people), who were at the head of the party and the power, whether in the criminal gang that ruled the country, or in the province and the countryside, reached the point where they exhumed and removed drag, the remains of my grandfather, Ilia Dilo Sheperi. My uncle Qirjako Dilo informs Enver Hoxha about this vandalism and points out that sacrilege (molestation of the dead) is prohibited since the creation of humanity on earth.
The letter fell into the hands of Enver Hoxha and he sent a member of the Central Committee of PPSh to verify. For 10 consecutive years, the sons and daughters of Ilia Dilo Sheperi disappeared at a young age. For ten years in a row, this family opened the graves for their family members and carried the coffins of their relatives on their shoulders, since no one could approach us, due to the fierce pressure exerted by the party and state bodies, led by the State Security. .
I am telling a detail, so that today’s generation can know Albania and the Albanians of those years; When the daughter of Ilia Dilo Sheperi, Viktori Dilo, died in Fier (today she holds the title: “Merited Teacher”), the procession that accompanied her body, when we left for Sheper, was very long and there were many wreaths. In Sheper, when we family members passed with the coffin on our shoulders, in front of the House of Culture, the song blared from its loudspeakers; “This is the sword that rests on the head of all the enemies that the world has.”
The forging of the “New Socialist Man”, with cannibalistic feelings
They arrest at this time in Nivan (Zagori), Enrik Qirjako Dilon, laying him on the square and beating him, four criminals – the operative, the local policeman and two spies. How low and despicable this act was done in front of his elderly mother, Ifi Harito Dilo, Enrique’s sister and brother. Handcuffed with barbed wire before they put him on the “gas of the internal affairs branch”, they tore his shirt to stop the blood flowing from his hands from plowing their car. After two months of inhumane torture in the dungeons of the Internal Affairs branch in Gjirokastër (also using electric shocks), he was taken to the Elbasan psychiatric hospital.
The beginnings of democracy, the murder and massacre of the corpse of mother Kaliopi Dilo, on the threshold of the house?
In 1991, after the fall of communism, in the group of Albanian-American businessmen, invited by the Albanian state, was our uncle, Dr. Orest Dilo M.D. He promised the Albanian state that he would invest significant capital in his homeland. Upon returning to America, he sent a commission of specialists to Albania to coordinate the investment activity. At this time, in our Sheper, a secret hand with the nickname “Black Hand” distributed tracts, which emphasized the revenge that would be done if the state was overthrown.
In these execution lists, there was the name of the old mother, Kalopi Dilo, who lived alone in the Dilo family estate. One dark night at the end of January 1991, a gang of criminals executes mother Kalopin at the doorstep. An execution resembling the age when man was in barbarism; execution by beating with sticks, gouging out eyes and beheading with a knife. To lose the marks, they also used acid in the skull. The employees of the Internal Affairs Branch and the investigator who participated in the examination and expertise of her corpse, wanted to cover up the crime with; “clinical death and the eating of the skull by the house dog”!
But thanks to the insistence of the people of the village and the province to discover this unprecedented crime, during the entire existence of life in this province and from the statement of the local doctor, that the skull was not removed by the dog, but acid was used to eliminate traces, it became possible to catch criminals. In a trial held in Gjirokastra at that time, there was a tendency to let the criminals go free. But, thanks to the pressure from the hall, where there were also former employees of the Justice of that regime, the court was forced to give sentences; from 2-14 years, for group members.
The press of the time treated this macabre murder, as; “Adolescent work for the gold rush”!
It is unfortunate how the press of the time treated that macabre event: Could the 40-year-olds and 25-year-olds who committed that crime be called teenagers?! Could there have been gold left in a house that was raided and seized several times by the State Security weapon?! In Kalopi’s mother’s house, only 2000 old ALL were found. After a year, with the intervention of a high state official who covered “Drejtesina”, the criminals, authors of that murder, were released.
With the release of the law on the free movement of people, the vast majority of Ilia Dilo Sheperi’s family members immigrated to different countries. Thirsty for knowledge, the deprivation they had in their homeland, to get an education, within the possibilities of emigration, they tried to realize it in the countries they went to. For their children, they made every sacrifice so that they could sit in the seats of university auditoriums, and they achieved their goal.
Today, on two continents, 11 sons and daughters of this tribe make their intellectual contribution. We, the generation that was denied the right to university studies and publication in those fields where we had talents, are proud that by emigrating, we realized these objectives.
A message as a form of peace
I take the opportunity, through this writing, to convey my message to the Albanian people and the generations to come: I turn my head back and remember the orders of my parents, uncles, aunts…! “Times will change sons and daughters, but keep in mind: For the country to move forward, we need: education, education, education and tolerance. Do not due to the bad guys, what they did to us, because violence begets violence and is a product of barbarism”. Memorie.al