Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Qemal Stafa, who in 1935, after the death of his father, Colonel Hasan Stafa (soldier of the Zog Monarchy with the duty of Chief of the Shkodra Regional Recruitment Office), together with his mother, sisters, and brothers, moved and came as a family to Tirana, under the care of Ramazan Xhepa, one of the close friends of the Stafa family, who had served as the ordinance of his father, Hasan, to whom he entrusted his trust and family. Beqir Xhepa’s rare testimonies, starting from the period when he first met Qemali in 1938, when he and his father, Ramazan, were following his trial in one of the halls of the Municipality of Tirana, as he had previously been interested in to find a lawyer, how Qemali charged him with the duty of his personal courier and the orders he gave, other communists who took refuge in their house, such as: Enver, Vasil Shanto, Mustafa Gjinishi, Nako Spiro, Hasan Reçi , Kajo Karafili, etc., Qemali’s relations with Enver, Nexhmije, Bab Myslymi, etc., the mystery of Qemali’s murder on May 5, 1942, where his cousin, Vançi Bajrakatari, under the pseudonym “Iron”, was sent on “service” on May 4, and why the next day Khan Xhepa went to the Flora store and said to Enver: “Qemali’s blood was demanded from you”?!, until the persecution of the Xhepa family during the communist regime with prisons and internments, where Beqiri himself, edh and why was he interned in the Nazi Camp of Mat’hauzen, sentenced four times to prison, and why did he refuse to hand over the relics, clothes, documents and gun of Qemali ?!
“But our friendship with Qemal Stafa’s family increased even more after 1935, when shortly before his death, his father, Colonel Hasan Stafa, left him with the trust that our father Khan Xhepa would take care of his children… Given this great friendship we had with that family, on April 6, 1939, when fascist Italy was expected to land and the prisons exploded, the unarmed Qemal Stafa came and took refuge in our house. He constantly came there to treat him, his uncle, Dr. Qemal Sejdini. Qemal Stafa left our house only ten days before he was killed, after the Prefect of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, who was a friend of our father, Khan, sent word to him through the Chief of Tirana Police, Man Kukalesh and to his two officers, Xhelal Peza and Gëzim Latifi, telling him to remove Qemali from the house and send him to Peza, as his comrades had spied on him at the Police Station and he was wanted by candlelight. After that, my father barely managed to get Qemali out of our house, and he fled and settled on another base, at LD’s house, where he was surrounded and killed on May 5, 1942. As soon as he learned of Qemali’s murder, his father Our Xani went to the Flora store and said to Enver Hoxha: “I only ask for Qemali’s blood from you.”
This is how Beqir Ramazan Xhepa, the former courier of Qemal Stafa, who was telling us all the mysteries of that sensational event, remembered one of the most talked-about stories from the period of the war until the fall of the communist regime. which took place on May 5, 1942, an event that shocked not only the Albanian communists, but also the entire city of Tirana. But who is Beqir Xhepa, what is his past, what connections did he have with Qemal Stafa and what tasks were assigned to him at the time when he was serving as his personal courier? Why did the Prefect of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, say to Ramazan Xhepa, about Enver Hoxha: “This is ours”? Who postponed Qemal Stafa’s trip to Vlora on May 4 and 5, 1942, and under what circumstances was Qemali besieged and killed in the house that Bekir Minxhozi had rented? Why Qemali’s personal companion, Vançi Bajraktari, or as he was otherwise known by the nickname “Iron”, on May 4 left with “service” for the city of Shkodra, which was the fierce debate he had with Enver Hoxha in the store “Flora ”The day after Qemali’s assassination and why he withdrew from the War and from the Party that day? Who was Jani Kristo, the person who spied on Qemali in the Questura, and how did Kajo Karafili kill him with the assassinations, after he was taken to a certain place by the Chief of Tirana Police, Man Kukaleshi? Why on the evening of the day that Qemali was killed, Ramazan Xhepa, went to the “Flora” store and said to Enver Hoxha: “I am looking for Qemali’s blood in you”? How did Enver apologize after the accusations of Xan Xhepa and Vançi Bajraktari and which of the communists did he accuse of being a spy for Qemal Stafa and how did he order his execution after leaving the Tirana prison? What was the relationship of Qemal Stafa’s family with Enver Hoxha after the war and why did his mother and sisters refuse to wait for Enver Hoxha in their home on the occasion of May 5? How did Enver Hoxha eliminate them, executing the four people who accused him of killing Qemali and how did he imprison, deport or execute all those people who were surrounded in the house where Qemali was killed on May 5, 1942? Why did Enver Hoxha massacre the whole Xhepa family, imprisoning, torturing and executing them, and why did Beqir Xhepa himself, the former courier of Qemal Stafa, who had suffered in the Nazi camp of Mat’hauzen, be imprisoned four times? suffering for years in the prisons and psychiatric hospitals of the communist regime, where did it come from only in 1988? Why was the murder of Qemal Stafa, together with that of the Hekal Councilors, the only two events of the war period that the communist regime continued its investigation until the mid-1970s, and who were the people convicted of them? For all these mysteries and many other facts about one of the most talked-about stories since the war, we know the exclusive testimony of Beqir Xhepa, who also made available to us many letters, photos, photos, documents and personal belongings of the famous hero, Qemal Stafa (which we are publishing in this article), where his death was used by the communist regime as a symbolic day to commemorate all the martyrs of Albania.
Mr. Beqir, what is the origin of your family and where did you live in the city of Tirana?
The origin of our family, Xhepa, is autochthonous from Tirana and at least since the end of the XVIII century, our house has been somewhere behind the former cafe “Flora”, between Rruga e Durrësit and “Mine Peza”. It was an old one-story Tirana house made of adobe and our family has lived there since the period of the Zog Monarchy, and then during the years of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. That house no longer exists, as it has been demolished and palaces have been built there, such as this apartment where I live.
What were the connections of the Xhepa family with the family of Qemal Stafa?
Our family’s connections with Qemal Stafa’s family date back to around 1922, when our uncle, Bahri Xhepa, was a soldier in the city of Shkodra and served as the captain’s office, Hasan Stafa, Qemali’s father. Since Hasan Stafa had created a very good consideration for Bahri, after his release from the army, Hasani took our father, Ramazan, as his ordinance. Both his uncle and our father, Hasan Stafa, considered and treated them not as ordinances, but as all his children.
Did that just cause your family to maintain a long-standing friendship with Hasan Stafa’s family?
Not only that, but our family’s friendship with Hasan Stafa’s family increased even more after 1935, when shortly before his death, Hasani left it up to our father, Xani, to take care of his family. At the time of the death of Hasan Stafa, who held the rank of Colonel and served as Chairman of the Shkodra Regional Recruitment Office, our father’s family went to attend his funeral, and Qemali’s mother, Tabja, (Sabria) told Khan that Hasan had entrusted him to take care of his children.
What did your father do after that?
After the burial of Hasan Stafa, the father, Xani, went back to the city of Shkodra and told Qemali’s mother that he could not take care of her family in that city and therefore decided to withdraw them. all in Tirana. That decision that the father had made, Qemali’s mother approved, and so they came to Tirana with their families.
Was this the reason that Qemal Stafa’s family came to Tirana?
Yes, that is the only reason they came to Tirana.
Where was Qemal Stafa’s family settled when he came to Tirana?
Since our house was very small and Hasan Stafa’s family consisted of many people, his father, Xani, first settled them at the house of Hoç Këllez (Abdyl Këllez’s father, the former deputy prime minister who was later shot by Enver Hoxha) whom the father had as old friends as the autochthonous tyrants who were. After staying for a while in the house where they were very close, the father removed them and arranged them in another house on Kavaja Street, near Llagamët. Even after settling into that house, our father, Xani, kept going and caring for them, whatever the problem.
What about you, do you remember Qemali in those years and when did you first meet him?
When Stafa came to Tirana, I was about eight years old and I have in mind Qemali who was about seven or eight years older than me, but to fix it I fixed it in 1938, when he appeared in court as a communist. along with Vasil Shanton, Zef Malë, and many others. The trial against them, if I’m not mistaken, took place there in September 1938 in the Municipality of Tirana, and our father, Xani, found two lawyers for Qemali to defend him in court.
Who were those two lawyers?
The two lawyers my father chose for Qemali, as far as I remember, were Spiro Stringa and Vasil Dilo, but Qemali refused to defend himself with a lawyer and wanted to defend himself.
Did your father, Ramazan, attend any of those hearings?
I don’t know, but I remember that in one of the hearings of that trial, my father had taken me with him and when Qemali was leaving the Municipality to get in the car accompanied by gendarmes, he did it to Khan by hand. . At that moment, my father told me that the boy with the glasses in his hand was Qemali.
What about after that time when you saw Qemali again?
I saw Qemal Stafa there again from the end of March 1939. At that time, while Qemali was serving his sentence in the Berat prison, his brother, Veliu, who had been hospitalized in Paris, died. Upon receiving the news of his death, our father, Xani, became interested in King Zog, who decided that Veli Stafa’s body should be returned to Tirana and that the state would pay half of the expenses, while the other half would be paid by the family. his.
How did your father manage for Zog’s government to pay the Stafa family half of the funeral expenses of Qemal’s brother, who had been convicted of being a communist?
Zog’s government didn’t look at those things much, but Dad intervened with him as he had a great friendship with the King, as our grandmother, who was a well-known chef, was constantly called to the Royal Palace to cook on any occasion when lunch or dinner was served. Daraka. But Zogu not only paid half of the cost of bringing Veliu’s body to Albania, but he gave permission to Qemali, who attended his brother’s funeral and received people for condolences.
What about the day you saw Qemali again?
About a week after the burial of Veli Stafa, the Italian fascist invasion of Albania took place and on April 6, 1939, Qemal Stafa came back to our house. On that day, the Tirana prison exploded, where Qemali was after being transferred from Berat prison on the occasion of his brother’s death, and while the political prisoners were fleeing, the prison guards fired and Qemali was wounded.
How long did Qemali stay in your house?
After being released from the old prison so wounded, Qemali stayed for about two months in our house, but also after he recovered from the medication he did there with us, his uncle, Dr. Qemal Sejdini, he continued to stay in our house again. Qemal was just like the son of the house.
Do you remember any conversation with Qemal at that time?
At that time we went out to the garden of the house and played and talked with him. Just in the spring of 1939, Qemali called me to the yard and told me to go to his mother, Sabrija, or Tabja, as we called them at the time, and ask her for her father’s revolver, Hasan Stafa.
Did you go to get the revolver and why did Qemal want it?
I immediately went to Tabja, who at that time lived in Llagamët on Kavaja Street, and told him about the message that Qemali had given me. At first she refused to give me the revolver, saying, “I will not give it to you. Whatever he wants, let him come himself if he wants, and I will tell him.” We gave him a school, and he deals with such things. “But after I did not move from there, she was forced and gave me the revolver of Hasan, which was with the signature of King Zog. Kemal wanted the revolver because he was a communist and wanted to protect himself from those who followed him.
During the time that Qemali was there, did other communists come to meet him?
From April 1939, when Qemali came to our house, until May 1942, many communists came to meet him, such as: Mustafa Gjinishi, Vasil Shanto, Gogo Nushi, Shyqëri Peza, Kajo Karafili, Enver Hoxha, Hasan Reçi etc. During those three or four years, our home became one of the most important bases for the war”.
What about Nexhmije Xhunglini, did he come there to your base?
No, Nexhmija never came to our house, but her brother, Fehmi Xhunglini, constantly came and took refuge there.
From the communists who came to your house at that time, did you know, or rather did you understand, who seemed to be the most important of them all?
At that time I could not attend the meetings held in our house by the communists, nor could my father, Xani, attend their meetings. We just took care of them, preparing the room for the meetings, the food they ate there, and keeping them outside so that they would not be dictated to. But since our house was for a long time one of the main bases of the communists, it was not difficult to understand that one of the most important people who came to us were Qemal Stafa and Mustafa Gjinishi. Qemali had been known as a communist since 1938 when he was convicted by a court and he had admitted to the world before the court that he was a communist. That had given him undisputed fame and authority among all other communists. While Enver Hoxha at that time was not known as a communist. Qemali and Gjinish were the two most important and it seemed as they gave orders and orders for everything and what they said was done.
What about Enver Hoxha, what authority did he have at that time among those communists who came to your house?
Of those communists who took refuge in our home, Enver was, as it were, one of the last in importance. If we take their names one by one, like Qemal Stafa, Vasil Shanton, Gogo Nushi, Mustafa Gjinishi, Hasan Reçi, or Kajo Karafili, all of them undoubtedly had a greater authority than Enver Hoxha. Even by the spring of 1942, Enver was completely unknown, and even Myslym Peza did not know him at all.
Who brought Enver to your home for the first time, and why do you say that Myslym Peza didn’t even know Enver?
For the first time, Enver Hoxha was brought to our house by Qemal Stafa and it happened there around the spring of 1942. As for what Myslym Peza did not know Enver Hoxha at all until the spring of 1942, he told me Myslym Peza himself.
When did Myslym Peza tell you this and under what circumstances?
This happened around the end of the spring of 1942. At that time, Esat Dishnica took the floor to my father, Xan, to go and meet him at the Flora store. After that, the father went to the Flora store and met Esat, who told him that Enver Hoxha wanted to bring a pair of binoculars to Myslym Peza. Xani took it upon himself to send the binoculars to Myslym, and he charged me with that. I put the binoculars in a bag and set off and walked to the village of Peza e Vogel, where Myslym Peza was staying at the time. I met Lymi in a large shade of trees where he was drinking raki with appetizers, with some of his men. As soon as he saw me, he said to me, “O son of Xan, what is the matter with you, father?” After meeting me and asking me about Xan and the other people in the house, I took the binoculars out of my bags and handed them to him, telling him that Enver Hoxha had taken them. As he began to look at the binoculars, turning them around, he said to me: “Who is this Enver Hoxha, my father, that I don’t know him?” I told him that Enver was the man who was staying at the Flora store with Esat Dishnica. But even after that explanation I gave him, Myslym did not remember who Enver Hoxha was and replied: “God knows my father knows him, but these binoculars are good”, and he took them and put them in his bag.
What does Enver Hoxha say in his memoirs that he has known Myslym Peza since July 1939?
It is not true what Enver Hoxha wrote in his memoirs, because at that time Myslymi was in emigration to Yugoslavia and he returned to Albania only in December 1939. I know this very well, because in that long since he returned from Yugoslavia, Myslymi has come to our house for the first time. I remember him as now that December day of 1939 because at that time the Italo-Greek War had begun and our father had sent us children to a friend of his in the villages of Tirana. When I returned home, I saw many villagers at the door, and when I asked who had come, my mother told me that Myslym Peza had returned from Yugoslavia, and that some Peza villagers who had been led by Dyl Çelmeta had come to our house to receive her. Myslym’s close friend.
What tasks did Qemali himself entrust to you at that time?
As early as 1941, Qemali appointed me as his chief courier. He was constantly giving me and entrusting me with whatever order he had. He would give me those orders, sometimes by letter and sometimes by word of mouth, to take them to various bases, such as the Flora store or to the Frog House, which was an important communist base located somewhere there. where today is the Albanian Telegraphic Agency. That house was located on the banks of the Lana River, and since the sound of frogs could be heard all night, that house remained the “House of Frogs.” Qemali loved and respected me so much that he often told people who did not know us: ‘Beqiri is my little brother’. Three months before he was killed, Qemali gave me his revolver with this picture you see, where he later wrote: Beqiri. March 10, 1942. Qemal Stafa ”
You said above that Qemal Stafa and Mustafa Gjinishi were among the most important communists of all who came and took refuge in your house and what Qemali said was done. How do you explain this, do you have any concrete facts?
There are many facts I can tell you about this, but I will give you just one example. At the end of October 1941, Enver Hoxha wanted the founding meeting of the Albanian Communist Party to take place in our house, but Qemal Stafa and Gjinishi did not agree and it was done as they said.
Why didn’t Qemal want that meeting to take place there?
Qemali did not accept, because our house was located very close to the Gendarmerie building, which was on Durrës Street where the Court of Tirana was and today are the offices of lawyers. From that meeting that would take place there, our house could even be seen by spies and could be deconstructed as a base, so Qemali did not want to. He wanted to preserve our home as a major communist base./Memorie.al