By Marije Gjoka (Mazreku)
Memorie.al / Marie Gjoka, from a young age faced political persecution, because, at the end of 1946, her brother, Dom Nikoll Mazreku, was arrested and he spent the entire period of the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha and his successor, Ramiz Ali. The other brother, Rrokun, was shot, in the first years of the Enverian communist regime coming to power, even though he was completely innocent! Maria spent a whole life behind prisons and camps, where she went to help her brother, Dom Nikolla, and her husband, who arrested her just a short time after her marriage.
Continues from last issue
-A SISTER WHO WROTE THE PAINFUL TRUTH…! –
(Excerpt from the book “CIRCLE OF BITTER MEMORIES” by Marije Gjoka)
In addition, the church and her house in Kryezi were surrounded by a beautiful meadow and a garden filled with various trees such as: apples, pears, chestnuts, etc. That pasture and the garden itself were a good economic help for our poverty, because I also kept a dairy cow there. In the same way, the trees helped us to keep the brothers in the prisons a little. What happened? The house where I lived after my mother’s death was turned into a village school, as it consisted of four rooms.
This was done by the Education Section, at the request of two teachers. At first, I was only allowed to use the kitchen, but after a while, with the insistence of the Education Section of two educational sisters, Drita and Aida Dani (single), they took me out of the house entirely. They wanted me not to be at their feet and they were free to become the owners of my house and economy. So they wanted to acquire everything that was vital to me and my babies
I was forced to vacate the house, but not around the house with trees, etc., which for me was so necessary…! For shelter, after the trouble, I went to a peasant’s house, which was about 300 meters away. I used to walk that way every day with my two children, one 4 years old and the other 4 months old…! The man worked at the Saw Mill, not far from me.
In the evening, he also drove more than an hour to go to his parents, because he had nowhere to come to me. And in that peasant’s house, I was very cramped and without conditions. I slept on the floor with the children…! Every morning with one child by the hand and the other in the cradle, I went to the church garden.
All services, all day long, I did outside…! I left the children under the shade of the trees. If it were possible for this true testimony to fall into the hands of two teachers from Shkodra, at least now that they are old, I don’t know if their conscience would kill them at all…! Alas my troubles do not end here…!
After ten months of marriage, as I wrote above, my husband was also arrested. It was August 10, 1947. We were married on October 10, 1946. When our first child was born (November 4, 1947), my husband was in prison. Because of endless boredom, I had no natural food. But it was quite difficult because we were in the winter season.
Even more of a wild winter in Puka…! Whoever describes it, it is impossible to do so…! Only he who has tried it knows. I came to live at my husband’s house. It was an old house, among high mountains, deep in the forest…!
The family consisted of 30 members. Everyone was fed with 2 liters of milk a day…! Of a cow. And the little that my child spent was a great loss for them, because there were many other children…! To feed the child, the conditions were not, oh God…! To heat the milk, I woke up at night, through a knee of snow I went to the vat, which was a little far from the sleeping place. In that hut, which supposedly served as a kitchen…?
I had to warm up the baby’s milk on that hot ash stick that was left. The place where I slept, from the pit where I heated that drop of poison, was almost 15 meters away…! In order to wash the child’s clothes, I had to go outside the house, walk a long way, to a small spring…! Especially in winter, because of the frost, the water barely flowed. So every day I was freezing cold in the wind and in the snow that often exceeded a meter.
The false accusation made to arrest my husband was made in order to make my black life worse, which even as it was, it resembled a dark, moonless night…! The man worked in logging, and he was accused of allegedly bringing down logs from the forest late, thus suspending work on the railroad. From that material, sleepers for the train track were made…!
On the day of his arrest, my husband went to work in the second shift. It was after lunch. I happened to be at the head of the village. The village road also fell from there…! Meanwhile, my arrested husband passes between two policemen…! In the middle was the spy M.L.,…! My blood boiled, even more so when that dirty man, separating from the policemen, said to my husband: “Baby, God bless you…”! Oh God! What irony…”! I didn’t leave anything unsaid, and he, embarrassed, growled at me:
– “With the honor of the Party, I will do the same to you as to your husband.”
He told me this in the presence of others who shot there. Oh God! Was there a bigger tongue for me! Now I had to take care of three people in prison, my two brothers and my husband. But still, the State Security was not satisfied with my sufferings, he again demanded from us. The spy M.L., as I pointed out above, who was the main one for the arrest of my husband, seems to want to keep his word and arrest me too…!
A few days later, a fierce fight took place there in the mountains between the Security forces and the anti-communist fighters who were moving illegally to those mountains. The ground was set ablaze, with numerous bursts from the heavy weapons. They were dead on both sides. Mark Bajraktari, the son of Ndue Bajraktari, was killed by those from the mountain. It is universally known that, even according to the canon, the dead are not violated. The communists did not apply this either…!
They killed him, half-naked, dragged him until they shot him on the main road. Then what happened to the corpse, no one learned. A captain, of the Pursuit Force, was apparently moved by this inhuman treatment, and, so indignant, said to his comrades:
– “Drag him as much as you want, but this one had great courage”! How the captor who said these words may have ended, we did not learn. But, but in that area, where he served, he was not seen again…! This is what the villagers who were at that event said. For inhumane treatment of the dead, I can tell you another case:
An old man from Kryeziu, Preng Llesh Pjetri, had family and political ties, understandably secret, with the people of the mountain. He told me with his own mouth that he was passing through Kryezi by chance. On the road that leads to Bardhet, he met the forces of the State Security, who had placed a dead, half-naked man in an animal’s coffin.
The old man had recognized the murdered man by a mark he had always had on his chest. The person killed was Ndoc Kolë Biba (Mirakaj). This is how the communists mocked the corpses…!
The spy in question (M.L.) about whom I wrote above, for a long time kept the watch of the murdered man, Mark, whom he had robbed to death…!
This spy wanted to use this opportunity against me as well. So he slandered that I had connections and knowledge about these fugitives. Immediately the devils of Security came and overturned my hut. Although they found nothing, they were not satisfied with that.
After a week, this shameless man handed me a notice, where it was noted that I was urgently wanted at the Pukë Department of Internal Affairs. My child was four months old. I left it to my sister-in-law. It took more than five hours to walk… mountain roads with snow and brown, which took your breath away.
Or didn’t I have a heart frozen by endless suffering. My brother-in-law accompanied me. We made that road piece by piece, both on foot and on the body of a car. After some struggles, we once arrived in Pukë, late in the evening, there from 21:00. The brother-in-law, to wait, went to the family of Mara of Frrok Caka, as his acquaintance, while I presented myself to the boss, Qemal Xhani. The questions began which lasted almost four hours, attacks from the wildest, endless accusations and intimidation…! Among other things, he told me:
– “You are married to a peasant just to get involved in politics. You had a relationship with fugitives and supported them. You are democrats, fascists, ballisticians, you have connections with the Pope of Rome, and you are sworn enemies of our government…”!
– Chief, – I told him, – you brought me here tonight only for the slander of M.L., who threatened me saying: I will do my best to imprison you too! You say I am married to an enemy. Take my husband to court so I can hear what he did. (The man was held for 18 months in the investigator’s cell and then released without a trial).
As for my dealing with politics, you know I don’t even know that word. That we kept the people of the mountain with bread, you not only have no proof, but you know that this is an absurd slander because I and the man’s people have been three days without food for ourselves.
We are the breadwinners of the village. You know, then, better who has kept the fugitives. (The family that was related to M. Bajraktar, as soon as he was killed, fled and crossed the border). Then I added: I didn’t even know M. Bajraktari existed. You are accusing me of Ballista, Christian Democrat, Fascist, etc., but you know that I am too young to belong to so many parties.’
The boss was speechless, and the conversation was continued by his secretary, Mihallaq Treska, who told me:
– “How much school did you do”?
– As much as I needed! – I returned it.
– “After learning to be a lawyer”.
– Don’t get tired, the boss left nothing to be desired. You want to take revenge on me now. Some time ago you came to Kryezi and wanted to ring the bells to gather the village for a conference, but I did not allow it because the bells are only rung for religious functions.
After three hours of questions, the boss told me:
– “Go, now, behave well, for the ideal to put the irons”!
I returned to him:
– I will behave like always, but it is not right for you to take revenge and defame innocent people. Tonight I will walk for four hours through mountains and snowy roads to go home, where I left my 4-month-old child.
Behind the curtain, where I was being questioned, there was also a prisoner in the cell, who, listening to everything, said days later to my husband, who was also in Puka prison:
– “How much pressure, accusations and questions have been put to your wife, but she was very brave and answered them so well with arguments that the accusations that the boss, Qemal Xhani, made against her were false”!
The prisoner in question was one of the first communists of Puka, whose name was Lekë Berisha from Berisha e Iballa. And this fatzi, as I wrote above, would soon die in the tortures of the red beasts…! Memorie.al
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