Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the first Albanian engineer who graduated in Geology-Mining in Toulouse, France, who after rejecting several offers from two powerful British and French companies to work in their countries, returned to Albania in 1932 where King Zog appointed him Director of Geology-Mining, a position he held without interruption until 1947 when he was arrested by the State Security. His friendship with foreign diplomats during the Monarchy, who invited him to their homes to play poker, and later with his Polish colleague Zuber, led to him being accused of being a “bourgeois intellectual” and for “sabotage”. The testimony of his nephew, Gjergji Xega, who tells that in 1947 when his uncle, Andrea, was Director in the Ministry headed by Nako Spiro, he was arrested because he invited the American UNRA mission to his house for dinner.
At the beginning of 1947, when my uncle Andrea Xega was the Director of the Directorate of Mines at the Ministry of Economy headed by Nako Spiro, he invited the American UNRA mission to his house and offered them a farewell dinner. since in those days they would leave Albania. As the uncle was escorting his friends out of the yard, one of the Security guards entered the house and asked Andreas’s mother to reveal all the names of those who had attended the dinner. Although he received no response from Grandmother Alexandra, he left very quickly so as not to find Andrea there. The next evening the Minister canceled Andreas a service he had planned for Kuçova and while he was returning to his rented house, in the Kukave Mahalla on Dibra Street, some Security officers they went ahead and arrested him. ” The man who speaks and testifies for memorie.al. is Gjergji Xega former choreographer at the Opera and Ballet Theater, who tells the whole story of his uncle Andrea Xega, the first Albanian to graduate in Geology-Mining in Toulouse, France in 1932 and after working for 15 years as Director of Geology in the Ministry, in 1947 was arrested by the State Security on charges of being an agent of the Anglo-Americans. But who was Andrea Xega, from which family did he come and how did he get the scholarship to study in France? Who were his close friends, why was he arrested by the communist regime and what was he accused of? How did Xega serve his sentence and why did Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu release him prematurely? Regarding these unknowns of Andrea Xega and full of other facts from his life, it is about the story of his nephew, Gjergji Xega, who as an artist has long suffered the shadow of his uncle who was declared an enemy of the people.
Student in France
Andrea was born in 1907 in the city of Korça and was the second child of Jorgji Xega who worked as a shoemaker in one of the alleys of the famous characteristic shopping mall of Korça and their house was located in the River Bank Neighborhood. The family of Jorgji Xega, whose origin is from the village of Karpanjgjoz in the province of Opar, at that time lived in very difficult economic conditions and Andrea’s father who worked as a shoemaker, had taken as an apprentice his eldest son, Nikon, and the other son Andrea sent him to teach at the French Lyceum in the city of Korça. Regarding this, Gjergji Xega testifies: “After Uncle Andrea graduated from the French Lyceum with excellent results, he was able to win a scholarship from the government of that time to study Geology-Mining in Toulouse, France, where he was able to enroll. after winning the admission competition among hundreds of candidates getting the full points. During the four years that Andrea studied at that faculty, in addition to his lessons, he continued the sport by being active as a goalkeeper with the football team of that city, as he had a great passion for football and had played since he was a student at the French Lyceum. During the period that Andrea was studying Geology-Mining, he developed teaching practices in some of the most famous mines in the world, such as Alsac-Lorene, Ruhr, diamond mines in South Africa, etc. After graduating when Andrea graduated with honors, in addition to offers made by some of his professors to stay in France to work, four British students (two boys and two girls) he had classmates with, begged him to go with them to England where a luxurious life awaited him and he would work in the most famous Geology-Mining companies that the UK had. Andrea could not fulfill the wish of either the professors or his English friends in whose company he had spent four years that he would not forget. Likewise, during her college years Andrea became close friends with a girl who had a classmate who came from a well-known family of the French aristocracy and loved her dearly. She begged Andreas to get married together, but he refused because not only had he left mother Alexandra in Korça with his three sisters and two brothers, but also because he loved his profession and was a nationalist who came to Albania with nothing else., Gjergji Xega remembers about his uncle Andrean.
Director of Geology in the Ministry in the years 1932-1947
After graduating, Andrea Xega returned to Albania and the government of the Zog Monarchy appointed him to the post of Director of the Directorate in the Ministry of Economy of that time. Regarding this, Gjergji recalls: “After finishing his studies in France, being the first Albanian to graduate in that branch, Andrea came to Tirana and where he was appointed as Director of Geology in the Ministry. Based on this, he moved to a rented house in the Kukëve neighborhood on Rruga e Dibrës, where he stayed until the late 1930s, from where he then moved to Rruga “Fortuzi” to “Shtëpia e Kuqe”. Andrea deeply felt the responsibility he had taken on as Director and during that period he devoted himself with all the power of passion to that profession, going to every corner of Albania from South to North, wherever there were mines and where he thought he could have minerals. Andrea spent hours in the office working even after office hours, turning his house into a studio where he worked on projects and was visited by many of his colleagues such as Mark Boric (Loro Boric’s brother), with whose family were bound by a close friendship that would last long. Also, during those years Andrea had close friendships with Spiro Çipi, Eqerem Çabej, Masar Dervishi (graduated in Austria) Petro Marko, the Cirko and Lismaku families with whom he maintained friendship until the end of his life. Although during the years of the Zog Monarchy, Andrea did not interfere in politics at all, he was one of the most favorite intellectuals of the legates of western countries that were then accredited in Tirana, who often invited him to their homes, where, in addition to various conversations, they lost for hours in the game of poker which he had learned since the time of his studies in France when he frequented these premises “, Gjergji Xega remembers.
With the Polish Zuber in the Alps
As engineer Andrea Xega was a skilled specialist (fluent in French, English, Greek, Romanian and Russian who later taught him in prison) and very correct in his work, he remained in the position of Director of the Directorate of Geology and Mining in the Ministry of Economy for 15 years from 1932 when he graduated, until 1947 changing several governments and three regimes, the Monarchy, the fascist occupation and the communist regime. Regarding this, his nephew Gjergji testifies: “Although Andrea had no political convictions or preferences, he was a determined anti-communist and when asked where he was coming from, he replied that: Albania was everything to him. Although he did not like the communists who came to power, he was kept in the post of Director of Geology because he was very skilled and very correct in his work. Since the arrival of the famous Polish engineer Zuber in Albania, he asked to meet immediately with Andrea, whom he had heard about and had spoken to in his own country. With Zuber, Andrea formed a close friendship and accompanied by a team of geologists they made an expedition to the Albanian Alps. “In 1945, when Zuber was ready to return to his homeland Poland, he donated to Andreas all the library he had in Tirana”, Gjergji remembers.
Arrest by State Security in 1947
Although ing. Andrea Xega worked as Director of Geology until 1947, when he was included in the lists of political opponents since the coming of the Communists to power, who had described him as a “bourgeois intellectual”. Regarding this, Gjergji recalls: “The great rift between Andreas and the communist government occurred after the sentencing of Sulo Klosi, his engineer and close friend, who was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging on a rope in the Rubik mine where ai punonte. At Sulo’s trial, the name of Andreas was mentioned, who was aware of the alleged sabotage that had taken place in the mines, and from that day on, State Security surveillance began against him. From the beginning of 1947, when Andrea was still in the position of Director of Geology, he invited UNRA missionaries to his house for dinner, who in those days would leave Albania. After dinner was over and Andrea and the other family members were escorting friends to the end of the alley of the house, a Security officer who was constantly following him stepped through the wall in the backyard and told his mother Alexandra to ‘told the names of those who were at that dinner. Although he received no response from Sandra’s mother, he hurried away so as not to find Andrea there. The next night the Minister of Economy canceled Andreas a service he had planned for Kuçova and as he was returning home, three Security civilians stopped him and after informing him that “in the name of the people” he had been arrested, they handcuffed him “, Gjergji testifies about the arrest of his uncle.
He is initially sentenced to death, and suffers 17 years in prison
After his arrest, Andrea was sent to the “House of Leaves” for investigation, where he was held for two and a half years, tortured to plead guilty to “being an agent of the Anglo-Americans and sabotaging the mines.” Regarding this, Gjergji testifies: “Andrea did not accept any of the accusations made against her and was able to escape from the tortures alive only thanks to her high physical preparation. Although Andre pleaded not guilty, the court sentenced him to death, and after two years, the People’s Assembly spared him life and sentenced him to 101 years in prison. During that time, his mother and sisters were expelled from Tirana, and his brother Koço Xega, who worked as a technician in the oil well in Pekisht, was shot. Also, after his arrest, they confiscated all his property together with the library donated to him by the engineer Zuber, which hurt him even more than anything that the communists took from him. At the time of his death sentence, we were given the opportunity to make an appointment with him, and when we went to the Tirana prison, we saw a corpse crawling behind bars, limping, and his face covered in hair that they had not shaved it. In the condition he was in, we did not recognize him and only met him when the police told us. Andrea learned of the library seizure only when she was taken to translate one of the books he had in that library. His sentence was later reduced to 25 years and he was sent to Bulqiza prison where its director, Todo Manço, treated him very well and appointed him head of the Technical Branch. In 1961, when Andrea was serving his sentence in Bulqiza prison, Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu went there twice for inspection, who, after thanking him for pulling the mine out of the backlog, asked him what he wanted from him. Andrea told him to release him from prison and let him work in his profession. Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu granted Andreas the request and released him from prison prematurely, when he had served 17 years in prison. After being released from prison, Andrea married the daughter of Themistokli Lakos (in Korça) and worked for some time as a lecturer at the Polytechnic “7 Nëntori” and then at the Institute of Mining Design where he became the author of 27 projects implemented in our country. “, Gjergji Xega tells, about Uncle Andrean, the first Albanian who graduated in Geology-Mining in France, who died in 1989 after suffering for 17 years in the prisons of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, for the only” fault ” that he was a “bourgeois intellectual”. / Memorie.al