By Nazmi Berish (Dyzi)
Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of Nazmi Berisha, originally from the village of Llap in the Municipality of Podujeva in Kosovo, who was seduced by the propaganda of the communist regime and the programs provided by Radio Tirana for “socialist prosperity” and escaping the rankovich methods of the titist regime, in 1960, he decided to flee and came to albania, crossing the Buna River by swimming in the great cold of that wild winter. Rare testimonies of Nazmi Berisha, how he was received in his homeland, where the soldiers and border officers of the Shkodra district, after tying him with wire, sent him to the Internal Affairs Branch, where for 24 hours they did not even give him bread for eaten, and then sent to the town of Shijak where was the “Filtering Center” of Kosovar emigrants. The whole adventure of the 20-year-old boy from Kosovo that the State Security accused of: being a UDB agent, who had sent Cedo Topallovic, the UDB president for Kosovo, on a secret mission, to meet with the Rear Admiral of the Fleet, Teme Sejko and the inhuman tortures inflicted on him in the Internal Affairs Branches of Lushnja, Kruja, Tirana, etc., where he was kept in solitary confinement and asked to become a collaborator of the State Security, bringing out as witnesses, his compatriots from Kosovo, and his refusal, which made him spend a full 20 years in the prisons of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. The articles published by Memorie.al, have been selected from his book, ’20 years in Enver Hoxha’s prisons’ published by the Publishing House “UEGEN”, Berat, 1995.
Note to the editor and publisher
Evidence of civic courage, living testimony of a completely heartless human suffering, an archive that is valid for today and tomorrow.
Prison scenes run in front of you, honest and cannibalistic characters, ordinary people and you remain stunned by such a low action, so without dignity and profane of the communist administration.
20 years in Enver Hoxha’s communist prisons! The author never equates the dictator with Albania. The total disappointment of a guy who ran towards the star of his love, is not obscured. Everyone had almost the same fate. An unparalleled patience, an unwavering will of a diverse psychology full of dramatic colors, a monstrous fatigue.
Here is this book by Nazmi Berisha.
The characters are real.
Let each one prays to the God of truth.
Continues from the last number
My second trial, in Lushnje
One judge and two assistants decide 5 years. Dry questions. Have you tried to leave Albania? Yes. Why? Because I am a Yugoslav citizen. I asked and I was not answered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I want to repatriate and be close to my parents. I have no other motive. Then 5 years in prison. We screamed dry. The part was over, and the applause was expected and they were not absent. The jury, bowed like the actors and left. I was actually glad I was sentenced to 5 years. From 16.7.1975. until the end of August, I was kept in the dungeon. Then they took me to a room where there were 6 ordinary prisoners. I decided not to talk. I answered their questions only “Yugoslavia” and only that.
This was an internal decision and not that I came from the puppet theater. They remembered that I did not know Albanian. There are human lives, but the life of a prisoner changes. All six of them differed from each other. Opposite our room was an important prisoner. A former farm director sentenced to death. The black man, when he had married the girl, had taken the couple by bus. Meanwhile, during the investigation and trial, it turned out that he had been a member of Teme Sejko’s group. Witness Nasho Gërxho. D.m.th Nasho is still in prison. Isn’t this a puppet show? Except with alternating roles, as the puppets below talk and change people on stage. And also, a puppet show was the case of a communist electrician, who for his fault had killed a girl and he was sentenced to one year. The puppet theater continued its play.
In the new prison of Tirana, for the second time
Upon being transferred to the new Tirana Prison, I was placed in a room with politicians, as political prisoners were called. One of the absurd theater acts was being played with me. The main actor was Fatos Lubonja, the son of Todi Lubonja, who was also in the role. The big scene was the new prison known to the reader. The small stage was our room. Fatos made long monologues. Ambassador Frashëri, Haki Sllatina, and I were in episodic roles. I do not know if anyone watched our show. Her first act was the trial of Todi Lubonja and Fadil Paçrami. Prelude had been a drama by Fadil and the spectator Pranvera Hoxha, the daughter of the modern Albanian pharaoh, was completely dissatisfied! The decor of this absurd theater show was torn.
The subject of the piece was extremely expensive. Todi Lubonja worked at TVSH as a director. A friend of his named Mihallaq, had told from evil, that Todi kept hidden the prose written by his son Fatosi, in Milot, against the regime. Where was the written prose? To be found immediately? Todd’s two sons, in prison. Todin as well. Various and most severe tortures. Todd was also asked for a hidden manuscript. Certainly, Todd’s hallucinations in the investigator, listening to the tortures against his sons. The decision is given. Fatos Lubonja, 10 years. The greats even more so. Witch hunt and inquisition. But the part was certainly not over. Other extras were wanted. And they were.
From all this absurd theater I cannot forget Fatos Lubonja and his pure and pure thought. What role did Jani Gjini, a Korça teacher who had been a partisan, play? It was completely unrelated to the previous subject, but an integral part of the whole. The party had begun to eat itself and examine its wounds. But externally to preserve its freshness and beauty. The absurd theater actors also behaved around this idea. Therefore, Jani Gjini, who had worked as a teacher in Kosovo, was also in prison. Arrested in 1948 as an informbyroist and interned in Goli Otok. They put pressure on her to separate the Serbian woman. But she stays loyal. After prison, he comes from Kosovo to Albania, in Korça. In the 1970s, he was imprisoned like hundreds of other intellectuals as a result of visits made by Kosovar intellectuals to their homes.
The third act was short without complications. A Greek minority boy, having wanted to flee to Greece. 12 years in prison. And there in prison he draws a nude girl. Trial and sentence of another 10 years. What happened to Paçram and Lubonja was forgotten. And this guy made us pornographic acts! Revisionist bourgeois degeneration. Bashkim Fishta from Tirana, who came from Dibra e Madhe, was also convicted in the same act. Sentenced to 15 years. And two young boys from Korça, who tried to escape to Yugoslavia, with 12 and 15 years in prison!
The curtain falls
Another new show was starting. Four five months in the Sanatorium of Tirana. Then from Tirana Prison to Ballsh. I meditated on this giant show of absurd Enverian theater!
In Ballsh prison
I knew where Ballshi fell from the prisoners. But Ballshi had it in my mind that Koço Tashko was interned there. Now I would see for myself the oil plant, built by the Chinese. The natives were separated from the foreigners there. And the foreigners, except for some Yugoslav or Greek, were Kosovo Albanians. In that prison you can find the truth of the Kosovar tragedy. These lives, the Security in cooperation with UDB, had torn to pieces. What is the importance of kitchens, bread, cells, friends, personal worries? Nothing caught your eye because Ballsh’s prisoners, except the barbed wire, were surrounded by the spiritual terror of pangs of conscience. In that prison you could see the classic dishonesty of Enver Hoxha’s regime towards us. What the UDB left behind, it was compensated with the greatest diligence by the Security. Even if it happened that you had not fallen into the hands of UDB, you should have been 100 times worse, as long as you were not their tool. The tortures were near me with all the “magic” of violence. But you, dear reader, want to know something more?
Because I described the decor to you now I have the stage. 50 people in the room, once in 15 days we washed, the barber was the nephew of Hysni Kapos, convicted of agitation and propaganda. The nurse with the works of Enver Hoxha, who started reading at 8 o’clock. Then tea, a little sugar, soup, 700-grams of bread, appeal, sleep. You will know those who lived in Ballsh and I am sure you will give me the right. Stasi, a Greek communist from Greece, a polyglot, read to us the works of the dictator. And secretly, he kept notes of the prisoners. But at this point he was not to blame, as he had bent his back in front of the communist masters of Tirana. His life in detention. He was a teacher at a music school and in 1973, he was handcuffed. He was accused of being a Greek agent. He surrenders before torture. To escape the death penalty, you must cooperate with the Security. And Stasi, reading the works of the Albanian pharaoh, kept secret notes. One day he came and died. The doctor, Muhamet Kosovrasti, did not help him. The operative named Gjergj and the head of the command came to collect what was left of his shadow. Now the works of Pharaoh would be read to us by Beqir Ibra, an agronomist who obeyed our request. For me, Stasi noted that I was not careful when reading, for Thoma Nasin, who often went to the WC, for Hysen Bukoshi, who threatened Stasi, for Esat Myftari, who laughed sarcastically. I cannot mention them all. Beqir Ibra, agronomist from Peja, employed in Fushë Krujë and read our works. O God reading deeds was a real torture. But let us return to Beqiri. Fate met him with a woman. The more the man trusts the girl he thinks he loves. She is the ear of Sigurimir. Do you want to return to Yugoslavia? Let us lead. Arrested and as understood, sentenced to 5 years in prison. The double torture of innocence and the trusted man of command must have suffered twice.
Selami Tetova, already known, is with me again in Ballsh prison. Simply for agitation and propaganda and for attempting to escape. The dramatic event that had put him inside for the second time, is this when he was in Çermë, he had gone to Lushnje, there he asked for salt to buy. Asked at all the shops and found no salt. Albania that produced the salt itself was bad for salt. For five years, it was in my forehead. The fault of salt and nothing else. He wanted to return to Yugoslavia, but would he leave the salt?
Selim Xhaka, my first witness, still in prison? I was tearing up in amazement. Illiterate man. When he had 15 days left, they called him to release him (as they told him) and with the testimony of Adem Muja from Plava, Rexhep Gila from Tuzi, the Greek Stasi and Kadri Asllani from Ferizaj, sentenced him to another 10 years for agitation of propaganda.
Selami Daci from Dibra e Madhe, son of Ramiz Daci, came by parachute from the West where he had gone after the Second World War, captured and sentenced to death and for “humanism”, sitting at 25 years. Black Selim, even after prison, an internment: Savër of Lushnja.
Lubo Panov, Macedonian, from Ohrid, once young, but also crippled, and thus crosses the border into Albania. Ends in Seman. He tries to escape and is understood to have been sentenced to 25 years as a Yugoslav spy. It was head to head. Words were circulating about him, but among them shone a trap against the Security, i.e., the prison security. He intends to leave the Ministry of Interior without sleep. Then he was in Vlora. He writes a letter and when he goes out in the yard, he hits the guards, throws the letter on the ground and when he notices that the guard is looking at him, he takes the letter and quickly puts it in his pocket. They took Lubo and took him to the dungeon and took his letter stating that without delay, help would come from Yugoslavia to release the prisoners. Lubo’s questions. Klithmat. Spit of rage. Hypothesis. Beatings. Klithmat. Long live Tito. Insurance insomnia and up. Even in Burrel, Lubo Panovi had left him behind as a hostage. As a promise of missing meat, give him an egg. Lubo holds the egg under the armpit for 21 days, until the bird finally emerges from the egg. And tromax the whole prison. Then soup could be made with that bird. Eh, Lubo.
Jani Foqiano, Greek, from Athens, came to Albania illegally in the ’50s, sentenced to 20 years as a Greek spy. He married a minority, the first years, and had three children. Lucky on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Albanian League of Prizren, he was released (under pressure from the Greek government), exchanging with the remains of Hasan Prishtina.
Ramë Sejda from Peja, was another game of classic dishonesty that the State Security played against such Kosovars, whose story I will write tomorrow. Rama had uncles in Tropoja, after the death of his father and sister, Ajnishatja, fled to Albania sometime in the 50s. Later, Rama left with his mother and brother. He did not even want to return it, as he took the two cats, and when he approached the border, one of the cats ran away, but he did not want to leave him in Yugoslavia. So, he was captured by the Yugoslav military patrol and sentenced. After prison, he officially wants to come to Albania. Both states allow it.
When he enters, oh horror! Politically convicted uncles, sister from Llakatundi in Vlora to Çermë and later in prison, married to a Peja (Kadrush Kastrati), and even to a child. He takes his mother and brother to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, demanding his return to Yugoslavia. It is understood that what happened, he is arrested and sent to Berat, he is sentenced to seven years. The mother in the hospital, the brother is sentenced to several months, for leaving the place of internment without permission. But Rama is not given. She goes on a 40-day hunger strike, her sister with her husband and children, after the sentence she goes to Yugoslavia and from there to Belgium.
Under the care of her sister, they find a house and a katandi, thus returning to Peja. But for nothing, did Rama feel sorry, for one thing that; why did he still love his homeland?! Albania is not my fault; the fault was elsewhere. The honest man paid the classic dishonesty of Enver Hoxha towards Albania and Albanian territories, especially Kosovo! Memorie.al