Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Hetem Xherë from the village of Alarup in Pogradec, who during the war had been the exhibits of Balli Kombëtar and the commander of their forces in the area of Pogradec and after leaving Albania after the end of the war, in In the early 1960s, he was persecuted by the State Security and border guards, as he had information that he had entered and left Albania several times without being detected by anyone. The rare testimony of the former border officer, Qemal Xhevit Abazaj, originally from the village of Tërbaç in Vlora, who for years has served as a border post commander in Librazhd, Pogradec and Korça, regarding the large operations carried out several times by the forces of the border for the capture of Hetem Xherë, for which in the early ’80s, the Albanian Radio-Television realized the film with four series, “The Third”, where some of the most famous actors of Albanian cinematography and the main character, Qazim Beluli ”was played by the famous actor from Korça, Stavri Shkurti.
In the early 1980s, the Albanian Radio and Television made a four-series film entitled “The Third”, the events of which were spun and dedicated to the activity of the State Security organs in the fight against the gangs of saboteurs and agencies. foreigners seeking the overthrow of popular power in Albania ”
That TV movie starring some of the most famous actors of Albanian cinematography, at that time had an extraordinary success (mainly from the acting game) and the main character, “Qazim Beluli”, who was interpreted by the People’s Artist, Stavri Shkurti, thanks and the propaganda of that time, long remained in the memory of the viewers. The script of that film said that the authors were based on some real events that took place in the border villages of Pogradec. This was confirmed by Qemal Xhevit Abazaj, a former border officer in the ’60s and’ 70s, originally from the village of Tërbaç in Vlora, who personally took part in the operations to capture “Qazim Beluli”. “.
Mr. Abazaj, what is the truth of the movie “The Third”.
That film is based on some real events that took place in the early 1960s in the village of Alarup in Pogradec and the border point of Dry Mountain. The man to whom the film is dedicated was Hetem Xhera from the village of Alarup, a former commander of the Balli Kombëtar forces during the war, who had fled Albania since 1944 and his stories and deeds were told as legends.
Specifically, what was said about him?
It was said that he entered and left Albania whenever he wanted without being dictated by the border guards, even to the cities of Korça, Pogradec, Elbasan, as well as in Çerrava where he appeared most often. At the time these stories were being told about Hetem Xherë, I was a young officer and had just gone to the Dry Mountain border post. But I was given the opportunity to take part in the operations to capture him.
When did this happen and how do you remember it?
This happened in 1963. At that time, the State Security channels of the Pogradec Internal Affairs Branch, headed by Colonel Kadri Ismailati and Vice-Colonel Sinan Gjondedëna, gave us a statement stating that Hetem Xhera and the gang his, would move from Yugoslavia to Albania in a few days and x country. After this information, the Internal Affairs Branch of Pogradec in cooperation with the Border Directorate in Tirana organized the operation plan for its capture.
Who would take part in his capture?
That was entrusted to the Korça Border Brigade with Major-General Zija Kambon, who controlled the borderline from Stebleva in Peshkopi to Ersekë. As part of this operation, 5-6 soldiers from all the border units of the Republic came to the border post of Mali Thatë every day. In order not to be noticed, the cars brought by those soldiers stayed in the Alarup mine, and from there we escorted them to the border post. In just a few days, more than 200 troops gathered at the border post of Mali Thatë, patrolling the borderline and being divided into units of three soldiers and an officer.
What about you personally, were you part of that operation?
I took part in that operation only a few days after I fell ill from the cold and since I had a dry cough, I was not taken into service with any of the units.
How long did the operation to capture Hetem Xherë last and how long did he follow in his footsteps?
The patrol of these forces continued for almost a month in the rain, snow, and frost, without any interruption. After a month an order was given for the forces to withdraw and go to their wards where they had come from.
Why was that order given, what happened?
According to the data available to the Border Directorate, Hetem Xhera and his gang had entered and left the border area without being detected by our forces, even going to the village of Alarup. After that, the State Security started numerous arrests in the villages of Alarup and Bllaca, handcuffing some men from the Hetem tribe. Among others, Kajo Bazelli from Alarupi and the village baker, Xheviti (I don’t remember his last name), who was producing bread for the Alarup mine, were also arrested.
What were they accused of?
Furxhiu was accused of supplying Hetem Xherë’s gang with bread whenever he crossed the border and took refuge in that village. All the detainees were brought to justice and sentenced to life in prison on charges of collaborating with Hetem Xherë’s gang, which had become a security terror.
But after this event, did you have the opportunity to take part in any other operation to capture Hetem Xhera ?
After this event, I was transferred to the border post of the village of Gjanç in Erseka, and I was not given the opportunity to take part in the operations organized to capture Hetem Xherë and his gang. The Pogradec and Librazhd border divisions continued operations to capture him, engaging many forces, but never succeeding. The investigation with his men never fell into the traps of the Security and the border guards, although the Ministry of Interior in Tirana occasionally organized operations to capture him, engaging hundreds of forces.
How long has Hetem Xhera lived and where has he been?
Hetemi lived until recently in Yugoslavia, where he was known as a former, and as far as I know, he died after the 1990s.
Testimony of Hysni Kapos’ nephew: “In ’79 when I was in Librazhd, Feçor Shehu released me”
Former soldier Qemal Xhevit Abazaj from the village of Tërbaç in Vlora (grandson of Hysni Kapos) and living in Librazhd, after serving for 20 years in the border units of the districts of Korça, Pogradec, Kolonjë and Librazhd, in 1979 was thrown out by the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and sent to the Railway Construction Company. In this regard, he recalled: “When I was in Librazhd, I had a conflict with the then Minister of the Interior, whom I accused of having picked up a wild boar. Under the laws of the time, it was strictly forbidden to kill wild boars, as they were hunted only by the top leadership. If a pig was shot, a record was kept and he entered the ward, giving the soldiers instead of the meat they had in force. If you killed a wild boar, you were sentenced to prison, if you killed a border trespasser, you were decorated by the People’s Assembly. Such were the laws of that time. In ’79, at the border post in the village of Skënderbe in Rajcë, it was reported that a wild boar had been found in the clone’s obstacles. After that, the secretary of the Bureau of the Party of the Branch, Hekuran Rezhda, informed the Minister Feçor Shehu, who sent his car to Librazhd. Hekurani sent to Rajcë the driver Fadil Kënga who with the “Gas” of the Branch brought the pig to Librazhd, where the minister’s driver took him and took him to Tirana. The non-commissioned officer who killed the pig was given a stern warning, warning him of release from the army. The next day, a meeting of the Branch Party Activist was held, where the delegate was Minister Feçor Shehu himself and the first secretary, Sotir Koçollari. The heads of the Branch, Merdar Hasa, and Beqir Quku, also took part in it. I asked for the floor at the beginning, but it was not given to me, and as a sign of protest, I tore up the discussion papers, saying, ‘Who is afraid of my words’ ?! After that, I was given the floor and told that the non-commissioned officer who had killed the pig should be punished, and according to the law, the wild boar should enter the ward for the soldiers. Feçor Shehu was upset and did not like himself. During the break, Sotir Koçollari told me: ‘Why did you drop that bomb on the ass, confusing us’ ?! A month later, as a sign of revenge, Feçor Shehu ordered my release, excluding me from the party with absurd accusations of “non-implementation of orders, liberal, and drunkard”./Memorie.al