Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Major General Panajot Plakut, originally from the village of Hoçisht in Devoll, Korça, who after graduating from the “Normal” school in Elbasan in 1936, returned to the city of Korça where he joined groups. communist and during the occupation of the country 1939-1944, he joined the Anti-Fascist Movement and for his activity was arrested and imprisoned by the Italian authorities in the city of Durres and after his release, he joined the partisan ranks, being appointed deputy commissioner of the First Assault Brigade commanded by Mehmet Shehu, since its formation in August 1943, in the village of Vidhkuq in Korça. How Panajot Plaku climbed the ladder of military career after the end of the War, starting from Commissar and Commander of the Division in the district of Korça, Commander Corps, Director of the Operational Directorate and Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Albanian Army in the Ministry of National Defense and Major-General, Deputy Minister of National Defense for the Border Directorate, to the post of Minister without Portfolio in the government headed by Mehmet Shehu? How could Panajot Plaku escape from Albania in June 1957 (when he was acting Minister without Portfolio and Chairman of the State Committee for Geology) secretly crossing the state border near Lake Pogradec and leaving for Yugoslavia, where he settled in Belgrade as a political asylum and sent a letter to the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, denouncing all the crimes of Enver Hoxha and his regime?! The mystery of the death of Panajot Plaku in 1966 in the hotel where he lived in Belgrade and what he wrote in his memoirs about Enver Hoxha and the senior leadership of the ALP, which he summarized to be published in a book entitled ” Violence over the Revolution in Albania “, and after his death it was also translated into Serbo-Croatian (by Predrag Vuivivi,, editor of the newspaper” Borba “and Vela Popovi,, editor of Belgrade Television), a book that had a great echo and was later published by the Publishing House “Rilindja” of Prishtina in the Albanian language in 1985.
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During the period that Panajot Plaku stayed in Yugoslavia, accommodated in a Hotel in the center of Belgrade as a political asylum seeker, he wrote the memoirs of his life and what he knew he had heard about Enver Hoxha and the senior leadership of the ALP, which in 1965, he summarized them in a book entitled “Violence over the revolution in Albania”. That book was also translated into Serbo-Croatian by Predrag Vuqivi, editor of the newspaper “Borba” and Vela Popovi,, editor of Belgrade Television, and was published in Albanian in 1985 by the Publishing House “Rilindja” in Prishtina. In addition to the testimonies of the family of Panajot Plakut (data exclusively for the author of this article), part of the memoirs that we are publishing below in this cycle of articles, are taken from that book that continues to remain unknown to the Albanian reader!
Letter from the Minister without Portfolio, Major General Panayot Plaku, sent from Belgrade in 1957 to the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev
From what was said, it is clear that I, my family and all my relatives, have been closely associated with the National Liberation Movement and, for this reason, my departure from Albania may seem incomprehensible! I have been forced to leave, to leave the homeland, the people, the Party, the family, for whom I have been ready in the past, and I am ready even now to sacrifice my life.
I was forced to leave because I was informed that the leadership of the Albanian Labor Party had decided to liquidate me, with the help of the State Security. I do not know exactly the reasons that forced the leadership to make such a decision, because no one told me about it, but I realized that such a decision was made based on a change of attitude towards me, which I noticed in the main leaders of our Party and on the basis of their words. But, I think there is a cause, which I will explain in the following.
A year ago, the State Security organs poisoned my brother, Kalo Plaku. This was decided by Enver Hoxha, Mehmet Shehu and, perhaps, someone else from the leadership. My brother was the director of the Agricultural Farm in Sukth. He has been a member of the Party since 1943, a good fighter and worker, and perhaps for this reason, I do not know exactly why he was poisoned! Maybe they poisoned him like a spy, based on false denunciations! I am fully convinced that my brother was poisoned by the state security organs. This cunning liquidation of an honest communist was so poorly organized that the crime was discovered by autopsy.
This was suspected not only by me, but also by my relative and many members of the State Agricultural Enterprise in Sukth. The doctors who did the autopsy on my brother’s corpse told me at first that: Kalo Plaku was poisoned. Later, after the representatives of the State Security got involved, the doctors said: the cause of death is unknown!
The sudden death of my brother and the words the doctors told me made me think that my brother would have been poisoned, but I could never have imagined that he had been poisoned by the State Security organs. However, since no investigative measures were taken to find out the cause of my brother’s death and because the State Security collaborators did not allow me to personally analyze this case, also due to a number of other circumstances, I was fully convinced that my brother had been poisoned by the Security organs and that this decision had been taken by the Party leadership.
Unfortunately for me, even the State Security was informed that I was informed of their nefarious crime. In order to maintain the authority of the leadership of the Party and the State Security, since I could also present this issue to the Central Committee of the ALP, Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu and others decided, on the proposal of the State Security, to the liquidate me, and then say to me, as well as to my brother, that: “They have died with honor in the line of duty.”
I do not know exactly when such a decision was made, but I think it happened in the first days of May 1957. About this decision, the Politburo was informed in the period between 7 and 10 May, but I am convinced that: The real cause has not been presented to the Politburo. Maybe it was said there: I am an “enemy of the Party and a spy”, but for this they did not exist, nor could any documents exist, and for this reason Enver Hoxha, no doubt, will have fabricated some false tale and will have persuaded the Politburo to verify the decision to liquidate me.
In addition, it is to be believed that in the Politburo, I will have been found guilty of anti-Soviet activities as well. In preparing such a characteristic for me, the head of TUES (KGB) in Tirana, Grigorjev, also played a very big role, for which reason I had the following explanations with him:
- Before I was appointed chairman of the State Committee for Geology (GGK), a register of Soviet experts for 1951 was made, which was verified by the Albanian government. I looked at that log and got the impression that there were a lot of unnecessary experts.
I asked the friends of the leader from GGK, why they made such a register! I was told that the register had been made by the advisor, along with comrades from TUES (KGB) and Soviet experts working on expeditions, and that they had ignored our remarks. Since the counselor was in Moscow at the time, I did not take any action on that occasion.
After a short time I was invited to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, where I was instructed to minimize the number of all external experts, as they are costing us dearly. After that, I invited fellow leaders from the GGK and the Soviet topography advisor, so together with them; we decided to delete those Soviet experts from the register, who could be replaced by Albanian experts.
I submitted to the Council of Ministers a reduced register of Soviet experts, and this register was verified. However, when I was in Czechoslovakia and in the German Democratic Republic, my proposal was changed because Grigorjev did not agree with the reduction we had made. The main technical director of Naft-gaz-bitum, Kosorotov, had insisted on the old register. When I returned from the German Democratic Republic, Grigorjev called me and asked me in a bitter voice, why did I not consult with him on the proposal to reduce the number of Soviet experts?!
I told Grigorjev that Comrade Lankin, a topography consultant, had been involved in resolving this issue and that I thought he would inform him about it.
- I led the consultation, dedicated to the analysis of the work in 1956, in the directorate of “Naft-gaz-bitum” in Vlora…!
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Josif Plaku, refused the post of Minister of Justice in Noli’s government!
Regarding what Panayot Plaku wrote in his letter to the main leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1957, mainly about the elimination of his brother, Kalo Plaku by the State Security, as well as the reasons that forced him to escape from Albania, after the senior leadership of the ALP, led by Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu, had decided to eliminate him, as confirmed by his family members (in their testimonies given exclusively to the author of this article), but before publishing them, we are giving some information about the origin of the Plaku family, as well as the elimination of Jorgo Plaku, Panajot’s brother, since 1944, when he was in the partisan ranks in the Korça region. Panajot Plaku was was born in 1919 in the village of Hoçisht in the district of Korça, where his family is from. His father, Joseph, after graduating from high school in Greece, immigrated to the United States where he graduated in Law. During his stay in the US, he had close friendships with Fan Noli, who in 1924, when he took over as Prime Minister, invited Josif Plaku to give him the portfolio of Minister of Justice, but he did not admitted to meddling in politics and worked as a teacher and lawyer. Josif Plaku passed away in 1949 and he left six children: Panajotin, Jorgon, Kalon, Koçon, Theodhorë and Merin. During the war years, the Plaku family became one of the strongest bases of the Anti-Fascist Movement in the entire region of Korça and Panajoti along with three other brothers, went to the mountains participating with weapons in hand in various partisan formations Joining the combat formations of the National Liberation Army commanded by Enver Hoxha and Spiro Moisiu, being titled officers and cadres before the end of the war.
The mystery of the murder of Jorgo Plaku in ’44!
The elder brother of the Plaku family, Jorgo, (who during the period of the Zog Monarchy had graduated from the American Technical School of Harry Fultz, in Tirana), during the period of the Anti-Fascist War when he was in the partisan ranks, served as a translator with English missions -Americans who at that time were attached to the General Staff of the National Liberation Army. In 1944, when George the Elder continued to serve on Anglo-American missions, he was assassinated in completely unknown circumstances, and after 1944, he was proclaimed “Martyr of the Fatherland.” But after the escape of Panajot Plaku in 1957, during a meeting of the Politburo when the issue of his escape was being discussed, Enver Hoxha himself admitted that he had personally ordered the execution of Jorgo Plaku in 1944, as he had there were suspicions that he was a traitor and an agent of the Anglo-Americans. But the bad luck of Jorgo Plaku, who was killed behind his back by his ideal friends, years later would be suffered by his three brothers: Kalo, Panajoti and Koço Plaku, although all three of them, thanks to the past of as partisans, they had been able to go to school abroad and work and live honestly, like many other idealistic communists of the time!
Elimination of Kalo Plaku by State Security!
Kalo Plaku who was the second of the Plaku brothers, had participated in the War as a partisan and after 1944, he served as an officer in the army with the rank of captain. He was later released and for several years worked as a director of several agricultural enterprises in several different districts of the country and in the mid-1950s, he was appointed Director of the Sukth Agricultural Enterprise, which was one of the most the greats of that time. Kalo Plaku served in that position until 1956, when he died in unknown and suspicious circumstances. The official announcement of Kalo Plakut’s death was given as if he had died from eating some arable plants when he went to check on the plots of Sukth Farm, where he was director. In this regard, the family members of Panajot Plaku in their exclusive testimonies for the author of this article, have expressed: “Panajot was very indignant at the death of his brother, Kalos, because before he died, he was regularly followed and monitored by the people of the State Security and that he had told his wife, Pandora, saying: ‘With these people of the Party I am fine, but those of the Security, follow me step by step’. One of the State Security men provoked Kalo by stealing his party document and he became a problem to be expelled from the party, but he managed to escape, as he was protected by the basic organization where he militated. Likewise one of the State Security men, drinking at Kalos’s house, told him that he had been introduced by his superiors to poison Kalon. This man then called Kalon to one of the fields of Sukth Farm and gave him a glass of buttermilk to drink, where after drinking it, Kalo died immediately. Many people attended Kalos’ funeral, and the State Security did its best to keep them from going to the cemetery, telling them to go to work. The senior party and state officials were attended by the Minister of National Defense, Lieutenant General Beqir Balluku, Major General Tahir Kadareja and others, who were close friends of Panajot. After some time, Enver Hoxha himself went to Panajot’s house in Tirana, to console him for Kalos’s death. During that visit, Enver told Panayot: “Kalo should have lived longer, but his heart did not leave him.” After these words, Panajot replied: “His heart was caused by external factors” and with so much conversation between them was closed… “! Added that at that time, the truth of Kalo Plaku’s death was known to all the people…! /Memorie.al
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