Memorie.al/ publishes some unknown archival documents issued by the Central State Archive in Tirana, which show the decision taken by the royal government of the Zog Monarchy headed by Prime Minister Koço Kota, in February 1939, on issuing tourist visas to Jews living in various European countries seeking to come to Albania. As well as the correspondence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, headed by the Minister, Ekrem beg Libohova, with some of the consulates of the Kingdom of Albania accredited in different European countries, such as Berlin, Zagreb, Belgrade, etc., headed by well-known diplomats, Rauf Fico, Tahir Shtylla, etc., regarding the circular issued by the cabinet of Koço Kota, for the facilities that should have been created for the Israelis who wanted to come to Albania and not return to Germany, as they were immediately interned in camps of Dachau and Buchenwald.
In the Balkan Forum against Anti-Semitism, which was held a few days ago in Tirana by the Albanian Parliament, but also in various activities of this nature, such as that of January 27, known as “Holocaust Remembrance Day”, it is noted with pride that “The Albanian people protected and sheltered the Jews during the Second World War”!
That being said, unfortunately is only half the truth! We say this because the Jews in Albania were not only protected and sheltered during the Second World War, but also during the period of the Zog Monarchy, mainly from November 1938 (November 9 and 10, otherwise known as ” “Crystal Nights” or “Nights of Broken Glass”) when in some of the main cities of Nazi Germany as well as Austria, the first attacks on Jews began, by SS paramilitary formations (extremist hooligans) who attacked, broke, looted and destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes, businesses, and businesses.
As a result of this pogrom, about 100 Jews were left dead and thousands more ended up in concentration camps in Dachahu and Buchenwald. This, the “Crystal Nights”, would also mark the de facto painful beginning of the Holocaust that would take the lives of more than 6 million Jews as well as Russians, Poles, and other non-Jewish ethnicities (whose midst and Albanians), in Nazi extermination camps in Europe.
After the ’90s, many documents have been made public, where ministers, prime ministers and other senior officials of the Zog Monarchy, such as: Mehdi Frashëri, Koço Kota, Vasil Avrami, Yzedin Beshiri, Rauf Fico, Tahir Shtylla, but also in period of occupation (1939,1944) as Qazim Mulleti, Kol Bib Mirakaj, Shefqet Vërlaci, Mustafa Kruja etc., were provided with visas and passports, with dozens and dozens of Jews, bringing them to Albania, where they later found refuge and protection from Albanian families. As above, among other things, this is confirmed and made known by some archival documents issued by the Central State Archive and published for the first time in this article, exclusively by Memorie.al
Decision of the Council of Ministers on the issuance of tourist visas to Israelis
Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers in its meeting today held under the chairmanship of Mr. Koço Kota, Prime Minister and Deputy. Minister of P. World, with member ZZ. Faik Shatku, Minister of Justice, Ekrem Libohova, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Musa Juka, Minister of Internal Affairs, Kol Thaçi, Minister of Finance, Abdurrahman Dibra, Minister of Education, Rrok Gera, Minister of National Economy, following his decision no. 118 dated 28.I.1939,
In order for Israelis to be able to obtain a visa to come to Albania in the form of tourism, they must also have the following conditions:
- For each person, it must be noted in the passport that he has with him at least 500 fr. Ari to cope with this amount of stay in Albania for a month, in accordance with the above decision. By the word, every person, it is understood that when a family comes here, every member of it should have each of 500 fr. Gold, you note in the passport:
- It must also be marked in the passport, accept the return to the same country after a month of stay in Albania of any Israeli person or family, or have in the passport the mark of such acceptance of another State (affidavits’).
If these two conditions are not met, the diplomatic and consular missions of our Kingdom should not issue passports for Albania.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTER Tirana, 27.2.1939
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
T i r a n ë
The above copy is sent to you for knowledge and action of the decision of the Ministerial Council.
Letter from the Albanian Ambassador to Belgrade, Tahir Shtylla, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana
ROYAL DELEGATION OF ALBANIA Belgrade, 22 February 1939
No. 101/18. Extremely urgent
ABSTRACT: On granting Israeli tourist visas
In connection with her circular P.T. Ministry with No. 637/67 dated 8.2.1939, corresponding to the issuance of tourist visas for one month to Israelis wishing to go to Albania, I have the honor to submit to Your Excellency, that the Honorary Consulate of the Kingdom who have also received the upper circular , we will give a wide application to this, easily granting tourist visas to Israelis seeking refuge in our country. Thus, our Consulate General in Zagreb, the head of which favors the Israelis, because he is an Israeli, will have his hands free with this circular and will fill Albania with Israelis.
Therefore, in order to avoid such an inconvenience, I consider it appropriate to limit the application of the circular in question, only to the Career Representations and not to those of Honor, and in case Your Excellency, you consider this proposal reasonable. ‘me, Please, by means of another circular, deprive the Honorary Consulates of the right to grant tourist visas, which, ordinances that have requirements for tourists of this origin, let them address to this origin, let address this Legation or Career Consulates. Waiting for a response from Your Excellency, I wrote to the Honorary Consulates in Zagreb and Split, awaiting my guidance on this matter.
I therefore ask Your Excellency to grant me a quick reply.
Please accept, Mr. Minister,
My highest honors.
Letter from the Consul of the Albanian Legation in Berlin, Rauf Fico, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ekrem Libohova, in Tirana
KINGDOM LEGAL OF ALBANIA Berlin, March 10, 1939
Abbreviation: Circular receipt announced,
No. C.V. 637/75
I have the honor to submit to her P.T. Ministry receiving the circular no. C.V. 637/75 dated 4 March 1939.
I am obliged to present to you how this circular completely prohibits the issuance of tourist visas for Israelis, for the reason that no one can smuggle more than 10 marks from Germany. As for the Israelis, getting foreign currency is impossible. The Jews provide the right money after leaving Germany, so no one can guarantee that they had 500 fr. Gold.
Please, Excellency, accept my high honors.
Mr. Ekrem Libohova
Minister of Foreign Affairs
T I R A N Ë 15 MARCH 1939-1 APRIL 1939
Letter from the Royal Albanian Consulate in Vienna, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana
ROYAL CONSULATE OF ALBANIA IN VIENNA
Vienna, March 13, 1939
No. 138 / II
Abbreviation: Circular Ggerja No. C.V.617 / 75. Dated 4.3.1939. On the tourist visa for Israelis
Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
We have the honor to announce that we have a note on what is mentioned in the Circular in question about the tourist visa of the Israelis.
A qi knows well the situation of the Israelis here, he really understands, that on the basis of the Decision of the Ministerial Council no. 210. (dated 25 AD) will not be possible at all for an emigrant, to have a tourist visa for Albania because:
- Cannot carry more than RM 10, except for travel tickets.
- Although the return of the Israelis to Germany has not been officially stopped, the experience of a motmot tells us that no Jew has ever returned here. Their repatriation would result in deportation to Dachau or Buchenwald.
In this case we are announcing for adjustment, that from those 48 emigrants for whom we were authorized telegraph within the month of k.m. with the issuance of tourist visas for a month, so far 23 people have received visas, while the rest; i.e. 25 do not even have passports. So, in order to avoid any dispute, please let us know as soon as possible whether the latter will be issued a tourist visa or not./Memorie.al
With special honors