By Leonora Laçi
Continues from last issue
The prosecutor repeated the indictment.
Memorie.al The defendant, Dom Ndoc Sahatçija, was asked and said: Partly, the accusation is true and partly not. What I have days and what I have, I have told them in the process and I agree with it. I have finished Theology and Philosophy since 1932, in the School of Jesuits and we had Valentin, Andreini, Father Gjadri, Petris, Bekali and Father Faust and others as professors, and most of them were foreigners and they were on a mission for education ours, the Catholic Clergy prepares me, especially for us jacks.
As Italians, they also worked in this direction, in favor of Italy, and we had Italian as the language at school. At school, we made designs, all with a fascist spirit, like; “La Nuova Italija”, and another, according to our College, was considered an Italian school.
Now I remember that, the second theme, was the flight of depidevo and it showed the fascist heroism. Our college received subsidies from Rome and from the Bishopric and the Vatican and from benefactors. Italy gave this help, for its own policy. At first, the Clergy were subsidized by Austria, but when Austria was destroyed, the Clergy connected with Italy for economic support, and the Clergy wanted the Italian influence, and at the time of Zog, they started activities in favor of preparing the ground for the advent of fascism.
From the Pope, there came an encyclical and he talked about atheistic communism and called it a ruin for the family and said that this; it exists in Russia and it is against God, and in my opinion, after I had read the magazines as well, it seemed true to me, as a social system, you were not right, you took the fairy, but it was out of competence, but as a religious we raised the ghost, according to the Pope’s order.
We have been influenced by the Pope’s encyclical. In Russia, the lower classes wanted this regime and the biggest test, Russia gave it in the war against fascism, Italian and German and the propaganda that was done against it, was not true. The Pope, you try to extinguish communism in the world, but against fascism, it was not, no matter how many social systems there were, but the Pope, with fascism, was connected and fought communism, despite the fact that the Pope should be in the lower class. The clergy gave sermons in this direction and the clergy lived well, while the people suffered.
I have become a priest, in the time of the Bird. We in Lezhe, after the liberation, did not do anything in favor of this Government, but we followed our own path, by fighting the Government. Before the advent of fascism, the encyclical came to the Ipeshkevis (apostolic delegate), and the Ipeshkv, was Monsignor Bumçi and Monsignor Gjini, was deputy and Prendushi, and this came to all the Bishops, after it was pushed and translated and divided into part. When the event of September 9 took place, I happened to be in Troshan and there I heard it. I never consider my activity treason.
The statements you made in Seksjon were sung to you and I confirm them.
The defendant, Monsignor Frano Gjini, was asked and he said: The accusation has some extraneous ones, but there are also some that we have. I didn’t get any money; it’s true, because I worked for fascism, no. Before the liberation, I did not work to prepare the ground for the arrival of fascism.
I graduated from the University of Theology in Shkodër today 20 years ago and I served in Kurbin, Derven, Durrës, Shene-premte, Perlat and since 1930, I am the Bishop of Mirdita. Regent, Apostolic Delegate, I was appointed in November 1945. I did not have a personal friendship with Zogu, but I went and got to know him, to help the people of Mirdita and he gave me 150,000 quintals of blessings.
We received a subsidy from Austria, then we broke away after losing the war and we joined Italy. For the arrival of Italy, I haven’t done anything, I haven’t even worked. When I was in Orosh, in 1936, German tourists came and when I asked them if they were Nazis, they told me yes and I had a grudge against them. I found out about the arrival of fascism on April 5, 1939, but I didn’t know it before.
On April 6, I told them in church that whoever betrays the Motherland, betrays the country. The day Italy came, I was in Shkodër. I also knew Melon and Rrok and Jakomon. I have known Meloni since 1920, in Durrës, but I have no political connection with him. The Pope’s encyclical came in 1936 and the bishop was Thaçi.
I depended on the Apostolic delegate, Signor Donati, and he sent me the Encyclical to work on it en masse, but I didn’t order them to work on it, because communism is not known there at all. Marxism doesn’t know anything else, except the boss, he touches it with his hand; he doesn’t know god and religion. We fight atheism. When I was in Tirana, I met with an American Minister, whom I was introduced to by Monsignor Thaçi, and this is similar to Zog’s time.
It is not true that I was an agent of Zogu and Juka. I used to receive 10,000 lire per place and 18,600 per parish priest and divided them according to the importance of the parish. They gave me this money to sympathize with him, but I hated them. Clerics like Dom Lazer Shantoja and Bernardin Palaj have sympathized with the Italians. Italian clerics, they came for seminars and some talked about Italy, some didn’t, but I don’t know in detail, because I was outside of Shkodra.
The encyclical in Mirdita is not done. Religious organizations were formed here, such as Cathedrat, ‘Dombocho’, ‘Antoniane’, but these turned into political organizations. Monsignor Thaçi was responsible, and during the time of fascism, I did not make any contribution in their favor. And I have shown the people that; I am not satisfied and I have not worked for fascism, neither for Ball nor for Legatit. I had no relationship with Mark John Mark or anyone else.
During the Italian occupation, we held meetings in the Archbishopric and Thaçi said; to make a telegram and we sent a delegation to Tirana, to express our congratulations to Luogotence, and I was also in this commission. This is likely, after 22 days since you entered Italy. In the Commission, there were the persons who are noted in the investigative process. We held other meetings, but we did not make anypolitical decisions. Father Fausti said to hand over the Administration to the Albanians of the Seminary, and Father Karma accepted.
When I was in Orosh, Italian officers came, but I didn’t give them information, but I kept them for hospitality and food and they talked to me about Mirdita’s assets, above ground and underground. I spiritually hated Fascist Italy. Italy gave me the decoration of the ‘Order of Skanderbeg’, and he gave it to those he wanted to do for himself, and Thaçi and Volaj were also decorated this time.
The capitulation of Italy, we did not expect with regret, but the arrival of Italy and Germany, I expected badly. The clergy, in my opinion, did not work with the Germans. Father Antoni cooperated with the occupiers, as did Shestani and others. Father Antoni appointed Thaçi as regent, because he gave his consent – and in this meeting, we also had the Provincials and the Apostolic Delegate, but I opposed it. On August 6, 1944, we held a meeting in the Bishopric, but not for political work. I have not been connected with the Germans, or with the English.
An English colonel, buried in his hand, came to the cell and the priest was waiting for him, that I was in Lezha and you had told him about the landing of the Anglo-Americans in France, but not in Albania. When Gjon Marka Gjon’s house burned down, I ran away for six days and then came back. I liked the National Liberation Movement, for getting the occupation out, but I knew that there were also communists inside and as a doctrine, I hated communism, as an atheist.
In Orosh, I stayed until December 1945, when I then became Apostolic Delegate Regent. Thaçi died on 26/5/1946 and I was the Apostolic Delegate Regent then. I have heard about the Christian Democratic organization through the radio, but I have not held a meeting for the Christian Democratic organization, because I do not know anything at all. I have not created any Democratic Committees, N/Committees.
I went to Rubik’s 3 times. At the end of Frori 1946 and on May 29, 1946, and on August 27, 1946, Bernardin Palaj and Gurashi were also there, but we did not have political talks. He doesn’t recognize Zef Haxhin. Regarding political issues, I talked to Gurashi, I told you, and I told him about some peasants and workers why they work on Sunday and he told me that they are fukaras. We talked about the landing of the Anglo-Americans, as he asked me, but not with criminals.
I have made comparisons, but they are not true. Preng Lezaj, I have him in the Parish and after this, I have Gjon Hoti. What Preng Lezaj says is not true and this is our opponent. Assembly, we have not done anything against the Government. In 1946, I requested my own replacement, from the Vatican, because I was not up for this job, because the Government did not accept me, I presented this request only to the Vatican and not to the Anglo-Americans. I have written to parishioners, not to get involved in politics.
In Kallmet, Dulo Rrjolli came and was a parish priest and I told them not to participate in the work of the Government without my permission. I have no idea about the “Albanian Union”. I don’t know anything about Christian Democratic Committees, nor about the Joint Committee. I have cursed a peasant, that he had enforced the land of the church.
Prenk Lezaj, he stayed for 15 days and meeting with the fugitives, I have no more. I did not work against the Government, nor did I mention the landing of the Anglo-Americans. Regarding the December 2 elections, I said that where the people are, I am also there, but I did not vote. The event of September 9, I don’t know anything.
The defendant, Ndoc Sahatçija, said: Prenk Lezaj told me that; he met the fugitives and they had a meeting in Mal t’Oroshit. The defendant said: I don’t know anything, I didn’t even participate. Father Karma, they told me; do you want me to give you a wine and I have dried them? Hold it there. Frrok Deda, from Fani, I had him as a servant. Dear Mark, I didn’t take him anywhere. They sang to you the statements he made in the Section and I confirm them.
They sang confrontations to you and I deny them. The defendant, Dom Tom Laca, was asked and said: I have never mixed with politics. I first heard about the Democratic Christian Organization when the trial was held. I graduated from the Faculty of Theology in Rome. I have no cooperation with Zog’s government. Melon, I have seen it from afar. I received a subsidy of 20 or 22 napoleons a year, and before this subsidy, they received it from Austria and then from Italy. I know that Bernard Palaj and others have worked for Italy.
I did not work for fascism and for the Germans. I don’t know anything about Claire. When the opportunity arose, I helped the National Liberation Movement, like Gac Mazin, and others. The “Antonian” and other societies were religious, for some of them, he worked for political work, but I myself, not. I was the secretary of the Archbishop and in 1945, I went to the parish and when Mussolini rained, I happened to be in Katundin Trush and when I returned, I was told that a meeting was held in the Archbishop’s, where Thaci and some civilians.
On the above day and hour, the jury was formed as before, with the Prosecutor, Captain Namik Qemali and Secretary Shaban Dautaj being ready. The defendants were released from prison.
The prosecutor made the claim in writing, and ultimately, I request that the defendants be found guilty, as per article 2 and 3, point 1,2,7,8,14, of Law No. 372 and based on article 4, yes of this Law, I request the punishment of the defendants, as follows:
For Monsignor Frano Gjini, Dom Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushi and Dom Tom Laca, by death.
For Father Gjon Karma, with 20 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
For Dom Ndoc Sahatçi, with 15 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
For Father Mhill Miraj, with 10 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
For the defendant Zef Haxhi and Dom Nikoll Shelqeti, with 5 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
For the defendant Zef Pllumbi, with 3 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
The defendants were asked, for the last time, in order:
The defendant, Father Mhill Miraj, said: I said it in the process. I stand by the decision, but I have helped Yugoslav partisans, Albanians and on many other occasions, I have given help to the people of the National Liberation Movement, I have nothing else to say.
The defendant, Dom Nikoll Shelqeti, said: Before the God of the slave, I am not for such a punishment, because I have not done anything, but on the contrary, I have led and helped the people of the National Liberation Movement and preached in favor of to the government.
The defendant, Zef Plumbi, said: There are some writings I made, but not for propaganda, and I have not brought any harm to the government either and I am begging for mercy.
The defendant, Zef Haxhija, said: I am very sorry to suffer a small punishment, for an accusation of Demokristiane, that I was not, but only a victim, of Gjergj Volaj, but I had no part, that’s why I ask for innocence.
The defendant, Dom Ndoc Sahatçija said: The decision was fair and easy, because maybe my sincerity was taken into account before the trial, but many partisans, like Ndoc Mazi and Gjylbegu, had their bases in me, and after the liberation, I encouraged the works voluntary and the principles of your system, with all of us, we have also done agitation, opposite. I offered the Movement Officers, accommodation and food, reception, mercy and relief, if possible.
The defendant, Father Gjon Karma, said: As I have testified in the process and before the trial, I do not know that I have acted against the Government. When I have occasion to speak of power, I have spoken in favor of it (I have preached about it). I did not sabotage the reforms, but, on the contrary, I advised the people to look at their own work. The court says, no matter what, the decision must be respected.
The defendant, Dom Tom Laca, said: I have never been involved in politics. I am very scared, that I have been in Demokristiane. I first heard that name when the trial was held. I have not done anything against the People’s State. When I had the opportunity, we helped the people of the National Liberation Movement. I didn’t even know about the Committee, that I didn’t even have the inclination and this punishment is too much, I beg for mercy.
The defendant, Dom Nikoll Deda, said: I think the punishment of the Prosecutor is severe, because apart from the random meeting with Pjeter Deda and Cin Serreqi, I didn’t have anything else, but as I said, these were random. I received the subsidies under the title “Help to the Cult”. The preparation of the ground, for the arrival of Italy, by me or by the Clergy, is not true, nor for the fascisization of the people.
I, I went to Jakomon, and others, begging for help, for the establishment of the Church. I was not connected to Germany, but I gave bread, even to the people of the National Liberation movement, but also to the Germans, for hospitality, as an Albanian. I do not consider myself guilty. Long live Albania. I love God, with everything and my husband, as they are.
The defendant, Father Mati Prendushi, said: I have no knowledge of the Christian Democratic Party. As for against the government, I am quite convinced that; I didn’t do anything, but for help, I gave to the people of the National Liberation Movement, and I gave them shelter, like; Injac Ndoja and Česk Kabash, I held them for a month in the Parliament, if I was against it, I would never have split my head. I haven’t given any directives or instructions against the Government, if you get one, I’m ready. I feel innocent. Long live Albania and Albanians. And in deksha, I do not spoil work. I know I’m innocent.
The defendant, Monsignor Frano Gjini, said: Preng Lezaj’s testimony is fake, because it is not true. It is also not true that Father Gurash, that I told him, sabotaged me in the workshop, but I only told him that; why do they work on Sundays, which is a holiday?! About Demokristianen, I don’t know anything about it, nor about the program, nor that I was a member of it. As for the help of the National-Liberation war, it is true that I did not get help, because I had Gjon Markagjon in charge.
After liberation, I sheltered and fed three Military Battalions of the National Liberation War, in addition to various teams. I do not understand the Prosecutor’s request, as I have the whole organizer. As for Dom Sahatçi, what he says about me, he says in vain. I cursed the landowner based on the Church Statute, because he had taken the land of the Church, and when the law was made, I did not speak, but I denounced all of them, including the olive trees. I did not sabotage the Power. Memorie.al
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