By Dashnor Kaloçi
The sixth part
Memorie.al / Based on the special specificity that Albanian Radio and Television had, as one of the most important institutions of information and propaganda of the communist regime, until the end of the 80s, it was not only under the continuous supervision and subordination of the secretariat of the Central Committee of the PPSh, but also of the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and State Security, which as “ORV” (Object of Special Importance), kept it under the control of strict, not only in terms of the physical security of that institution, but up to the “cleanliness and moral and political figure” of its employees, whose biography was looked at in detail for several generations, passing them through the “sieves” year after year.
Not only that, but the State Security bodies, through the agency they had recruited within that institution, had and kept Radio-Television under constant and strict control, penetrating all its links, such as; the directorate, the relevant newsrooms, editing points, broadcast studios, sound recording studio, archives, film production groups, warehouses, backrooms, drivers and their vehicles, up to the physical control of employees and guests, the doors that entered and exited. All of these, among others, are made known by a series of archival documents, which are part of a file belonging to this very important institution, from its creation in 1961, until the collapse of the communist regime in 1991.
From this file extracted from the Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the fund of the former State Security, which is now part of the Authority for the Information of the Files of the former State Security), we have selected some documents belonging to the years 70-’80s, starting their publication with three documents from the period of 1978, 1980 and 1981, where the directors of the Directorate of Internal Affairs of Tirana, namely Nustret Dauti and Zef Loka, inform the Central Committee of the APS, on all the problems of this institution.
For more about this, we know the documents in question, where in addition to a large number of employees of that institution, who have been followed and monitored by the State Security over the years, there are also some very well-known names, who have been considered “icons” of Albanian Radio and Television, before and after the 90s, such as; Robert Shvarc, Gaspë Çurçia, Alfon Gurashi, Gjon Simoni, Qemal Xhomo, Viktori Xhaçka, Meropi Xhai, Shpresa Musliu, Gjergj Pekmezi, Alfred Papuchiu, Xhezair Abazi, Shpëtim Gina, Edmond Dilaveri, Merkur Bozgo, Agron Aranitasi, Jochen and Irene Blanke, Muhamet Oseku, Arben Xoxe, Janka Selimi, Timo Luto, Xhuni Tejlor, Arjan Bakiri, Gazmor Halilaj, Mond La ko, up to Vera Grabocka, etc. These documents are published for the first time in several numbers exclusively by Memorie.al
Continues from last issue
THE SECRET DOCUMENT DRAWED UP BY THE MINISTER OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS, ISAI HEKURAN, CONCERNING THE TWO WEST GERMANS, JOCHEN AND IRENE BLANKE, FRIENDS OF THE PARTY, WORKING AS TEACHERS AT “ENVER HOXHA” UNIVERSITY AND TRANSLATORS FOR RADIO-TIRANA, WHO “DEVELOPED HOSTILE ACTIVITIES AND ESPIONAGE AGAINST SKY SUPERIORITY”!
THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA SECRET
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS Copy No. 1
FIRST DIRECTORATE Tirana, on 8.6.1987
Subject: To friends of the Party, Jochen and Irene Blanke
We inform you that under the responsibility of the West German translators, Jochen and Irene Blanke, the first working at the “Enver Hoxha” State University of Tirana and the second working at Radio-Tirana, (on the show for the German language), have released material for hostile activities, in the form of espionage and propaganda agitation against the state.
Jochen Gunter Blanke, was born in 1917, was born in the city of Bremer and resides in Hamburg, FRG, of West German nationality, with a higher education, and by profession a teacher of the German language.
The one mentioned first came to our country in 1983, as a tourist, then until 1984, as a manager of the German tourist groups of the “Skanderbeg-Raisen” company. From 3.5.1985 onwards, he stayed in our country, as a teacher of the German language, at “Enver Hoxha” University in Tirana.
Irene Fricrick Blanke, born in 1947, born in Lubeck and living in Hamburg, FRG, with West German citizenship and nationality, with a higher education, working as a German language announcer at Radio-Tirana. She is the wife of Jochen Blanke, with whom she has three children.
The mentioned, in the years 1983-1984, came to our country as a tourist, while from 3.8.1985, she came together with her husband to Tirana and worked as an announcer at Radio-Tirana. We emphasize that both of these West Germans live in Villas of Friends and are treated by the Reception Directorate as friends of the Party.
During the stay in our country, the following materials came out:
Citizen A…A…, dated 1.3.1986, denounces: “A German couple comes to the Art Gallery, where I work, and almost every day. I am impressed by the fact that despite the fact that they have seen the exhibition many times, they still continue to attend it.
On Friday, 28.2.1986, at 5:30 p.m., when the German woman was on the second floor of the Gallery, a man of about 50 years of age, with a tall, plump body, with a rough face, entered quickly, together with a child, who must have been Albanian.
This one, when he met the German woman, talked for about 10 minutes in the German language, took a walk around the gallery and met the German woman again and left the gallery in a hurry. The German woman is Irene Blanche…!
The manager of the Villa of Friends, Fitnete Xh…, an employee of the Reception Department, on 4.10.1986, informs: “…around 25.9.1986, a child of about 7 years old, accompanied by his parent, went to the house of the German friend Jochen Blenke, the parent stayed at the entrance of the villa. When the guard of the villa asked the name of this parent, he did not show it, took the child and left in a hurry. At this time, Jocheni, who was watching from his villa, tells the guard that; why do you return my people…?!
On 5.10.1986, the employee of the Reception Directorate, Mustafa Gj…, informs: “From the end of August 1986, around 03.00 at night, he saw the West German friend, Jochen Blanke, go outside the territory of the villas and it is not known when he returned to his villa…”!
On 6.2.1987, the Director of Foreign Radio, Kiço P…, informs that: “The most difficult couple that creates problems for us, is the West German couple, Jochen and Irene Blanke….they are very curious, they often use cameras and video cameras, with which they film negative things they encounter during visits.
One night, Jochen meets a citizen, named B…K…, a former translator of the Czech language at Radio-Tirana, after they greeted each other, put his arm around him and walked into the darkness, in an alley near the Artistic Lyceum, I was struck by the fact that it was an extraordinary thing that Jochen came out of work at that late hour of the evening.
The couple above has requested that in the foreign news, we give criticism and details that are handled by the internal press, under the pretext that: “socialism is better known abroad”, they have requested to move unaccompanied, in public transport…”!
On October 13, 1986, the employee of the Reception Directorate informs that: “Today at 8:00 a.m., he found a block of Mao Zedong’s quotes thrown at the Villa of Friends, which he handed over.”
From the postal correspondence that Jochen and Irene Blank have with their connections in FRG, it appears that they write this hostilely and inform them in detail about the situation in our country, about the problems that are being addressed, as well as sending them various materials, with the aim of ignoring the construction of socialism in Albania. This is how they write specifically:
“…life here is difficult; food for the locals is rationed with a ticket. It is very interesting what happens here, often the electricity or water is cut off and we have to fill the dishes, to cook and wash, bad and expensive things are sold here, we have noticed that children generally have bad teeth, which comes from poor food…”!
“…staying in Albania is pleasant, but you have to maintain a principled and very positive attitude towards it. If you are shaky, or have weak nerves, you must stop the further posture…”!
“…a listener of the shows wrote that Radio-Tirana is lying when it says that everything is fine in Albania that everywhere is bad, except in Albania. We can’t understand why they don’t accept that there are no problems here, most of the jobs are handled with their own hands, if you look at the villages, there are houses so low, that you can’t imagine here, narrow streets, house waste, feces flow through open channels, running water, there is only in some centers”.
“…Academics here, although they have a great reputation, have no money. Regarding the relations between our two countries, it is not because of the millions that we have to pay, but the thing is not to bow down to an “insignificant people”, not to assert our evils and injustices, as we did with the Poles”.
“…Our mail goes unchecked, so bring books that you like, we have a large amount of films, over 100 of them, and here we have sent them with Pier Rifinger, who still has them to make from a copy”.
Based on the request made by this couple, the Federal Center for Political Education in Bonn, of the Federal Republic of Germany, is sending 3 packages of political literature, which talk about the federalism of Germany, about German democracy, about the Third Reich and Nazism, about the life and career of Hitler, etc.
While the connections of this couple in FRY, in their letters they write ironically about the path followed by our Party, for the construction of socialism, as well as calling it unfair, the struggle of our Party for the discovery, strike and elimination of the consequences of the activity of the police agent Mehmet Shehu and his gang”.
“Here in Germany, we consider communism as an invention, a fraud, we have the same judgment, both for communism and for imperialism. I know the situation in Albania well. I know well what dictatorship and oppression mean. I have learned that it is half Hitler”.
“Thank you very much for the documents of the 9th Congress that you sent me. I read the report on the 5-year plan. It remains to be hoped that their efforts to strengthen the economy will not be damaged by the “nefarious poly-agents” of Mehmet Shehu’s group. Is there currently information about the work done by this “traitorous” element? Have you talked to people outside the premises where you work, about him and his gang”?!
But from the postal check, it also appears that they have established relationships with some Albanian citizens, namely, with 3 girls in Durrës, who have hosted them in their villas, exchanged gifts, and used them for information. From the conversations with a friend on the radio and the 3 “beauties” in Durrës, I learn many other things”
Jochen is in the company of a student whom he knows from his father, with whom they met during the elections,” writes Irene Blanke to a friend of hers in FRG.
From the totality of the materials we have at their disposal, it results that; Jochen and Irene Blanke, conduct agitation and hostile propaganda against our country and must be agents in the service of West German intelligence.
Therefore, in order to detect, document, and prevent hostile activity, we propose that they be processed and controlled by the Security authorities.
MINISTER OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS
SECRET DOCUMENT DRAFTED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE DIRECTORATE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF TIRANA, AGRON TAFA, ADDRESSED TO THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE PARTY COMMITTEE OF TIRANA, PIRO KONI, REGARDING THE “HOSTILE ACTIVITY” OF THE WEST GERMAN COUPLE, JOCHEN AND IRENE BLANKE
THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA SECRET
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS Specimen No. 1
DIRECTORATE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS Tirana, on 30.1.1987
SECRETARY OF THE DISTRICT PARTY COMMITTEE
COMRADE PIRO KONDI
We inform you that in the direction of the West German translators, Jochen and Irene Blanken, the first working at the University of Tirana, “Enver Hoxha” and the second at Foreign Radio, (broadcasts in the German language), some materials have been released about hostile activity in the form of espionage, specifically:
Among other things, the citizen has denounced that: “…to the Art Gallery, where I work, a German couple comes almost every day, in the morning from 9:30 to 10:00, as well as in the afternoon at 17:30, and on Sundays, there are cases when they come both in the morning and in the afternoon.
I am impressed by the fact that even though they have seen and re-watched the exhibition many times, they still continue to attend it…!
On Friday, 28.2.1986, around 5:30 p.m., when the German woman was alone, on the second floor, a man of about 50 years old, tall, plump, with a rough face, quickly entered the Gallery, together with a child, who seemed to be Albanian.
The person in question, after going up to the second floor and talking to the woman in German for about 10 minutes, left for a moment, walking around the Gallery grounds, then met her again and finally left in a hurry.
I have never seen this person in the Fine Arts Gallery. The German woman I mentioned above never comes to the Gallery with her husband, but with another German and he and his son often visit the exhibition.
From the verification made by exposing some photographs for recognition, it turned out that the German woman in question in this note is Irena Blanken.
Similarly, in a conversation with the person in charge of the Villas of Friends, ….. An employee of the Reception Directorate, among other things, she said that: “Around 25.9.1986, a 7-year-old child went to the German friend, Johannes, accompanied by his parent, the parent stayed at the entrance of the villas.
The guard of the Reception Directorate asked the name of this parent, but he did not reveal it and took the child and left. Johannes was watching them from his villa and said to the guard: why are you returning my people, and for this problem, he had a meeting with the comrades of the apparatus of the Central Committee of the PPSh”.
From a conversation with the employee of the Reception Department, Comrade Mustafa Gj…, who works near Villas of Friends, he explains that: from the end of August 1986, around 03:00 at night, we saw our German friend, Johannes, go outside the territory of the villas and I don’t know when he came back…”!
Also from the postal control, from a letter from Mariana Trox, sent to the address of Irene Blanken, where, among other things, it is written: “…we here imagine communism as an invention, a fraud. I’m glad you’re living this reality.
I sincerely wish you to gain good experience….we have the same judgment, both for communism and imperialism. You can’t deny this (and you don’t have to blame me for that), because that would be small-mindedness on your part….your shows are only for overseas and not for domestic, right? Isn’t this propaganda?
I believe that you are satisfied that you are doing something for the people. In my social circle, there are sympathizers of Albania, but I am skeptical towards them. I know very well what dictatorship and oppression mean…how is it explained that Albanians kiss when they meet people of the same sex…?! Don’t…?!
In several letters that Irena Blanken has sent to her contacts in West Germany, she complains about the treatment they receive. So in these letters, she writes that: “Our proposals for improving the shows are not received with pleasure. Albanians are proud and sensitive. Why change something that has been going on for 30-40 years?
In Radio, I have some friends with whom we exchange coffee…..this society is something beautiful and from these conversations other things come out……often throughout the day they give shows that are boring and schematic…….! In the meantime, our contacts with the so-called “normal Albanians” are increasing, and this gives me and Johan joy.
We have to work hard to get to know Albania behind the ideological cloak, but it is very interesting what happens here. Often, electricity and water are cut off, and we need to fill our containers in advance to cook and go to the bathroom. And when Johan works, then the lights are cut off, the cursing starts……”!
From the postal check, it appears that they have established friendly relations with some Albanian citizens, such as, for example, with three girls from Durrës, whom they met on the beach, welcomed them to their home and exchanged gifts with each other.
From the totality of the material we have at their disposal, there are doubts about the existence of Jochen and Irena Blanken in hostile positions, so we ask that they be approved for processing for this activity. Memorie.al
DIRECTOR OF THE DIRECTORATE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS