By Hysen Selmani
Part thirty seven
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Bird, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
Alexandria, December 5, 1947
“His Majesty, King Zog, was extremely worried by the complicated situation that was developing in Albania. He sent you the respective Notes to the Great Powers, both to the United States of America, as well as to Great Britain and France. These were about the sufferings and horrors of the Albanian people. It was a great sin for this poor people that the Anglo-Americans did not stand firm as they did for Greece. And that with the salvation of Albania, they had also stabilized Greek peace, from the communists who destroyed it. They are destroying it every day and the end is not known.
Every day, King Zog’s house in Alexandria was open to American, British, French, and Turkish, Arab, Spanish and Greek friends, among others. Where there was no day or night, no foreign guests and also Albanians, no measure. So was the Egyptian colony, who were closely associated with the love of the King.
Today, on December 7, 1947, a Greek delegation of several deputies came again, headed by Andonopolos, to talk with King Zog. The king received them very well, as always, with a smile and the first word he said to you was: “I don’t know why we Albanians love you Greeks, and you don’t love us Albanians?! This is a surprising sin because; we are two nations that are closer to friends, older. And, we also have the same interests, to protect each other. But still you, you are not honest with the Albanians”.
The Greek delegation presented Madhnis Se Tij, King Zog, with the friendliest tributes of Marshal Papogos, the Greek Prime Minister. They made him understand that, as Your Majesty explained, so do we true Greeks, that love and brotherhood reigns against our brave Albanian friends. But the circumstances, as well as a part that you are talking about, that have worn the jacket backwards, are the ones that have caused this enmity, between two nations, friends and brothers. That they will always protect their equal interests and, with full sincerity, against any enemy that may come to Albania, or come to Greece. Let’s not think about the past, that the European circumstances left us handcuffed.
King Zog, told you that: “You will be my personal friends, until you return to Athens.” Come and talk for days, especially we will eat dinner together here. We also have Zerve e, Spiro Milo. But if you want, talk and get them too. It depends on your desire, how to judge it and he ordered Colonel Husein Selman to accompany them to the “Houri-vazhe” Hotel, and told him that; to tell the Director that these are the friends of King Zog, and that they should be treated the best.
But not that there is any hope, – even from this Greek delegation, these too, like all the others, that all the work depends on Great Britain and America. It is not up to them, when they see the need, to give up unreasonable demands. And, especially, it is an indescribable stupidity that they consider that they are at war with Albania. This is not equaled to any conscience, that when Albania was attacked, by Fascist Italy, on April 7, 1939, the Greeks did not give any help, not material, but also moral. In particular, they telegraphed Mussolini, congratulating him, that they became chief (allies) with Fascist Italy, and others.
King Zog told the Greek delegation: “I wished and wish that with the Greeks, we arrive at a friendly and completely reciprocal agreement, in sincerity. In order to protect common interests, I do not understand, said the Albanian King, that since 1920- until 1939, we had a very sincere friendship and fraternity. Every claim was forgotten, but the last war repeated them in a banal way. When the Italian demands began, these, as we have communicated to the Government Helen, were against the Balkans, i.e., against Greece and Yugoslavia. They did not wake up on April 7, 1939, when Fascist Italy attacked Albania. And, the protests and requests for help, you did not answer us, but did the opposite, recognizing the occupation of Albania.
“When Greece was attacked, on October 28, 1940, Albania, the Hellenic Government, directed both King Georg II and Prime Minister Mataksai for a military alliance to fight the common enemy. In Turkey, mobilization took place earlier and there were almost 6000 people, to leave for Greece. In Yugoslavia, we had 400 officers and some 1000 civilians, here too they were ordered to cross the Yugoslav border, and enter Greece, to fight side by side with the Greek brothers Likewise, in Albania, as it was proved that 600 officers, with 2400 soldiers, were ready to sabotage the Italian army, just as they were sabotaged.
In addition, the entire Albanian people were ordered to stand up against fascism and to join the Greek brother army. All this, the first day was fine, the next day they were changed. Now, my friends, you are welcome. You came here and you are my friends. How many days you will stay here, in Alexandria, but every conversation, until the Greek Government gives up these absurd claims, being confirmed by Great Britain and America, every conversation is useless. With the help of General Zerva and Spiro Milo, I explained this to my friend Marshal Papogo. Today’s Greek Prime Minister knows this well.”
“As we are seeing and observing, yes, this was before in Albania. It must be said that, if it had not been for the Greek insistence, against the recognition of the Albanian Government in exile, this catastrophe would never have happened in Greece. It would not there would be a communist in Albania, if it weren’t for the Soviet and Yugoslav influence in Albania. But it would be the influence of the Anglo-Americans and Albania, when it would be calm. Then, it occurred to them that communism in Greece would not to find that freedom and that support, on the contrary, there would be obstacles both in Greece and in Albania”. These were the words of King Zog, who told you the Greek delegation.
Since the situation between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is getting worse every day, the Arab States, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, have agreed to protect their brothers, even if by war. But this is a great mistake to make, said King Bird.
It was for this reason that King Zog, one night, invited King Farouk, King Abdulla, the President of Syria, Shyqri Kueatly, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hussein Efendine, Xemil Madam Bene, Emile Chamunin as friends for dinner at his house in Alexandria and gave you to understand, about the events that are taking place in Palestine, between the Arabs and the Israelites. “And indeed, – the King told you, among other things – the situation is serious. You must study well how you can find a favorable reconciliation. But this in wisdom and always, advising your brothers Arabs, to remain wise. Do not give them any reason for cruelty, because you can do nothing by force and there is no profit, only loss. Do not forget that the Anglo-Americans, since they installed the Jews in Palestine, those who saved them from Hitler’s sword, will not allow you to slaughter them today.
They have secured them either politically or financially and no one can touch them. You should know one more thing than this: Since today, in the American and English world, Israelis play an important role. That part of the finances is in their hands. For this, I, as a friend of yours, find it very harmful for you, such an act, against them. You won’t do anything and you will end up with a big loss, it’s a shame, I tell you this seriously, in case such an act is decided”.
Below, the King continued: “I, when I had the opportunity, said this same word to the Americans and the English, to do what is possible, to find a reconciliation museum. You have to give up the Arabs, like politically and economically. So, to come to an agreement with the Arabs, that in Palestine, if it was possible to divide it between the two peoples, Arab and Israeli, and the two small states, to be guaranteed by the Anglo-Americans, for every need , both economically and politically. This is the only way that can realize this critical situation”.
And the Arab chiefs, continues the adjutant, seem to have heard themselves so strong that they would throw Israel out, but that was an absurdity. King Zog then said to you: “Okay, I’m with you at heart too. But, this is a road that doesn’t work out, in any way. Even if Soviet Russia is with you, you can’t take Zhuifet out, because behind them, as I explained to you, are the United States of America, Great Britain and France.
This opinion of yours is completely wrong, that you will only kill those one million Arabs, that Israel will throw them out and nothing else. You will not do and you will lose all rights, because they will not let you do such an action, against them, because on the same day that you start an action, they will send you the UNE, to you banned. And, in case you will not accept the instructions of the UNE, they fall on you and destroy you. You are finding a way with wisdom, with the Americans and with the English, arrange it with gentleness and wisdom. Only from this, you can win.”
Despite these talks, which continued for more than 5 hours, no agreement was reached. It seems that you thought that the King speaks only for the wishes of the Americans and the English, and this was quite the opposite. The king was advising them, like a true Arab friend, “not to get into a ditch, from which they will never get out, but to find a way with diplomacy and wisdom to arrange Palestine in two states. It is the only solution which was. And, this work, they should have done in time, since they started to bring the Zhuifs, in wartime. Then, it would have been easier, for them to have divided these and installed them, in their part “.
King Zog used to say the same to the Americans as well as the British. Persistently, he told them that you are giving up on the Arabs in general, but find a way to fix this situation, which is getting worse every day. And, he told you: “Don’t fall at that time to take measures with weapons. Because then, it will be very difficult, because the Arabs are very angry and they have the right to all these injustices that are done to you, and others”.
On October 22, 1947, the British Cruiser Saumarez and Destroyer Volage sailed through the Corfu Channel and encountered sea mines, which almost completely destroyed her. Forty-four British sailors died in this ugly and tragic event, which was called the “Corfu Canal Incident”. A week later, Enver Hoxha sent a note to the United Nations Organization, announcing that the British warships had trespassed in Albanian maritime waters, in order to cause unrest in Albania. The incident that is being talked about is the most serious incident in the history between the two countries.
“We have a British friend coming, His Excellency, Name, former British Minister, who was a friend of King Zog and, of Queen Geraldine. Emer, around the Second World War, was a Minister and a close friend of King Zog. He spoke the Albanian language. Of course, – the adjutant remembers – the King and Queen received the friendliest reception; they were guests of King Zog”. Name, was Julien Name’s father. Meanwhile, for the interests of Mergata, the King looks and even suggests Emer, that the Arab countries should be careful with the Jewish settlers. Suddenly, Princess Ruhije, it’s heavy. “His Majesty, King Zog, is very upset by Princess Ruhije’s illness. She is obliged to go to Cairo for a more extensive consultation, at the French Hospital. But, the Princess is too serious and, the hopes of a recovery, they are completely dark,” recalls the adjutant.
It is difficult to recall the feelings of the Albanian King when he met the Italian Royal Family for the first time after the war. Because the latter also wore the “Crown of Skënderbeu” on their heads, which was donated by the Albanian Parliament. Institution that was installed after the departure of the Albanian Monarchs from the country. It is the Italian Monarch himself, who has made the first steps towards reconciliation, while King Zog has done the courtesy of the occasion. There was no way it could happen otherwise, with the international developments of that time. Both Kings in exile seem to have little chance of returning to their homeland. The only things that connect them in this present are common: Exile and the Future!
For the Italian King, it seems that the possibilities of return are less and that his age did not allow him to do so. Meanwhile, Ahmet Zogu is still not very young, but with more hopes to return to the country. There is a larger human capital that supports him and that he now spends his greatest energies so that they can be systematized. From this time, it is also the beginning of the thought of their organization. All of them seem united, except to some extent, the group that cooperated with the German occupier is an exception. Everyone acknowledges Bird’s support and guidance. The latter insists that the time has come in which Mergata should have a different destiny. It is better for them to be in Western countries, which have really pointed out who are the real communist regime in Albania.
This energy makes the Albanian King, for his part; know how to forgive the Italian King, in exile. With the death of Victor Emmanuel III, King Zog I’s attendance at the funeral shows that time heals all. Even the grudge between the two monarchs in exile.
Death of Victor Emmanuel III
The Italian king in exile, Victor Emmanuel III, who after April 12, 1939, also ‘carried’ the “Crown of Albania”, dies in Egypt. In recent times, he had reconciled with the Albanian King. And even, his son, Umberto, together with his wife, went to the audience with the First Bird, on the occasion of Princess Ruhije’s illness. It was unexpected, for the Savoy Family, when His Majesty and Queen Geraldine took part in the funeral ceremony.
“Everyone, especially the Italians, was so impressed by the majestic presence of King Zog, at the burial of a first friend and last enemy,” the adjutant recalled. Yes, King Bird’s impression seems to be traditional. According to Albanian customs, he forgives what he agreed to wear when he was alive, including the Albanian Royal Crown. At this time in Egypt, other people from the Albanian diaspora arrive. Mustafa Kruja, who was prime minister at the time of fascism, after a full 25 years, comes and meets the King. Along with him are Hiqmet Delvina and Mehdi Frashëri.
The king takes all measures for their stay, even helping them directly. However, the situation is serious in the region. The Albanian king sees that the future of his people can no longer be in the Arab countries, as he had hoped. The bad condition of 500 Albanian immigrants in Syria makes Zogu insist on speeding up the approach of Mergata to Western countries. At this time, as expected, a disaster occurs for the Royal Family. Ruhija, one of the Princesses, after six years of incurable illness, gives up in one of the most modern hospitals in Cairo.
Alexandria, December 28, 1947
His Majesty, Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy, died in Alexandria on December 28, 1947. The funeral ceremony took place on December 29, 1947, at 3 p.m. At the ceremony, His Majesty King Zog was also announced. He participated in the funeral ceremony and was accompanied by Her Majesty, Queen Geraldine, Colonel Hussein Selman, Prince Omer Farouk, Minister Kemal Mesarea and Minister of the Royal Court, Sotir Martini.
After the ceremony was over, His Majesty, King Umberto, Prince Ramonof, Queen Giovanna and General Gracioni and a large elite escorted King Zog out to the car. There, especially King Umberto and Queen Giovanna, he shook your hand, consoling them for this heavy loss.
Everyone, but especially the Italians, was so impressed by King Zog’s majestic presence at the funeral of his first friend and last enemy. Yes, King Zog’s impression was traditional, as befits Albanian customs. Everyone admired him and almost everyone accompanied him to the car, recalls the adjutant.
“His Majesty, the King, as soon as he arrived home, he found his sister Princess Ruhije, very sick. She had been suffering from this incurable disease for 6 years. So that His Majesty, King Farouk, with all his sisters, came. With them, there were more than 12 doctors and professors. They called them and gave him blood until morning. To some extent, the pain temporarily calmed down. King Farouk will never be forgotten, because for the whole night, he stayed with with King Zog”, continues the adjutant.
Since the Princess is very serious, remembers for this day Colonel Hysein Selmani – the consultation of the Professors, they advised the King, who already had little hope. They advised to send him to the French Hospital in Cairo. After all, there were some new, electric tools for this disease. There was room for improvement. On the other hand, to the King, the doctors told him openly: “The hope is 2-3 percent. This was just to remove the worry.”
“His Majesty, King Zog, with all Queen Geraldine and the Princesses, as well as the suite, decided and on the 2nd of Kallnor 1948, they left for Cairo. They were all together with the sick Princess, Ruhije. Immediately, the next day, we went with all the professors, at the French Hospital. The French specialists were also there, with the most modern machines. All the consultations began. Analyzes and other things were done. But the situation was still quite serious”.
The doctors were not satisfied at all, although they gave him several treatments, – continues the adjutant. The purpose was only to calm him down and nothing else. There, the doctors advised the King to hospitalize him, because he had all the necessary tools, but the hope of salvation was almost cut off. Thus, Their Majesties, the King and Queen, went to a house that they had rented. His sister, Princess Sanije, remained there.
“Every day, the condition is only getting weaker and weaker. King Zog is very upset, because she was one of the wisest sisters and had been suffering from this disease for 6 years”, recalls the adjutant. Memorie.al
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