From Agim Musta
Part twenty six
Memorie.al / On the fourth anniversary of the passing away of the well-known historian, researcher, writer and publicist Agim Musta, (July 24, 2019), former political prisoner, his daughters Elizabeta and Suela, gave him the right to exclusivity for the publication, by the online media Memorie.al, of one of the author’s most prominent publications, such as the ‘Black Book of Albanian Communism’. This work contains numerous data, evidence, facts, statistics and arguments unknown to the general public, on communist crimes and terror in Albania, especially against intellectuals, in the period 1945-1991. The publication for the first time of parts of this book is also the realization of one of the bequests of the historian Agim Musta, who, from the beginning of 1991 until he passed away, for nearly three decades was engaged with all his powers, working to raise collective memory, through book publications and publications in the daily press. All that voluminous work of Mr. Agim Musta, concretized in several books, is a contribution of great value to the disclosure of the crimes of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha and his successor, Ramiz Alia. A good part of the publications of Mr. Agim Musta, is also translated into English. Thanking the two daughters of the late Musta, who chose Memorie.al, to commemorate their father, from today we are starting the publication, part by part, of the “Black Book of Albanian Communism”.
Continues from last issue
-Portraits of fellow sufferers-
Writers and artists during the communist dictatorship
The elite of a nation are writers and artists of all fields. Before the establishment of the communist dictatorship, even Albania was not exempted from this rule, therefore the iron fist of the party-state hit writers and artists mercilessly in the first years of its existence. Albanian writers before the war were intellectuals of the elite, most of them had completed their higher studies in the best universities of Europe and the United States of America. These writers and artists were the first to be executed in the Communist guillotine:
- Nebil Chika. Publicist and journalist. Executed without trial by communist gangs in November 1944.
- Father Anton Harapi. Poet, orator, publicist and state leader. Executed in 1946.
- Dom Lazar Shantoja. One of the most prominent prose writers of our country. Author of several works in prose and poetry. He was arrested in 1945 and after being cruelly tortured (his legs were cut off with a saw), he was executed in 1946.
- Father Ali Tomori. Poet, prose writer, researcher and translator. After being cruelly tortured, he was executed in 1948.
- Vincenc Prendushi. Prominent poet and author of several works. Excellent translator. He dies in prison from torture.
- Bernardin Palaj. Author of several literary works. Poet and translator. He dies in prison.
- Et’hem Haxhi Ademi. The first Albanian playwright. Author of several tragedies. He studied in Vienna and is one of the excellent translators of the German language. Dies in prison, after serving 22 years of sentence.
- Gjergi Bubani. Poet, publicist and translator. One of the first directors of Radio-Tirana. He dies in prison from torture.
- Qani Panariti. Talented translator. He was shot in 1947.
- Dimitar Fallo. Publicist and translator. He was assassinated by communist gangs in 1944.
- Father John Shllaku. Literary critic and publicist. He was shot in 1946.
- Dom Ndre Zadeja. Poet and playwright. He was shot in 1947.
- Terence Toci. Publicist and senior state official. He was shot in 1945.
- Father Nikol Gazulli. Linguist and translator. He dies in prison.
- Father Alexander Sirdani. He dies in prison from torture.
- Achilles Tasi. Director of the National Library. He dies in the Burrel prison.
- Mirash Ivanaj. Linguist and publicist. Former Minister of Education. Died in prison in 1953.
- Qemal Dracini. Literary critic. He dies in prison.
- Ndoc Nika. Writer and translator: Dies in prison.
- Nexhat Hakiu. Poet and researcher. Prisoner.
- Mit’hat Aranitasi. Publicist and translator. Prisoner.
- Myqerem Translator. He dies in prison.
- Sejfulla Maleshova. Poet and translator. Former member of the Political Bureau and Minister of Education in the early years of the communist dictatorial state. In 1948, he was exiled to Fier and died in exile in miserable conditions.
- Petro Marko. Novelist and publicist. Dissident writer. He was arrested in 1947 and served 2 years in prison.
- Kasem Trebeshina. Poet, dramatist and prose writer. Former early communist and member of the Security forces. In the early 1950s, disappointed by the communist government, he asked for the removal of Albanian citizenship and his departure from Albania. For this, he was imprisoned twice and served 10 years of imprisonment.
- Lazar Radi. Publicist and translator. He suffered 10 years in prison and 30 years of exile.
- Pashko Gjeçi. Translator of Dante and Homer. He served 5 years in prison.
- Arshi Pipa. Poet and literary critic. Author of several works. He was arrested in 1946 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After being released from prison, he escapes to the United States of America where he dies.
- Mark Dema. He suffered 15 years in prison.
- Mustafa Grebleshi. Prose writer and humorist. He suffered 5 years of imprisonment.
- Mitrush Kuteli. The most prominent Albanian prose writer and storyteller. He suffered 2 years of imprisonment.
- Vezhi Buharaja. Talented translator of Persian poets. Orientalist. He was arrested in 1947 and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
- Baltazar Benusi. Author of several research works. Lawyer. He is sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- Kudret Kokoshi. Prominent poet and translator. He suffered 24 years of imprisonment.
- Riza Dervish. Exiled for 10 years for political reasons. Author of the book: “My life with the Bektashian clerics and the communist persecution”
- Musine Kokalari. Prose writer and researcher of Albanian letters. He was sentenced in 1946 to 20 years in prison. He died in 1983 in exile, in Rrëshen.
The Albanian communist state, for propaganda purposes, had to approach a bunch of people who had some talent in literature, music and visual arts, to use them as the dictator’s polishers. Immoral, conformist people enamored of some momentary privileges that the dictatorship offered, approached like flies in a jar of honey and set to work to present Albania in art and literature as the “happiest” country in the world. It got to the point where the dictator Hoxha identified with Albania and vice versa. The cult of Enver Hoxha from the despicable floor-lickers rose to its zenith. More than 2,000 books were written for him, more than 5,000 poems and poems were published, more than 700 busts and monuments were erected, slogans were written on the sides of mountains of biblical proportions, more than 2,000 songs were dedicated to him and more than 3 million photos were taken, in addition to hundreds of portraits in giant-sized paintings. And what was not written and said about the man who led Albania to the abyss?!
The disgusting servility had reached the point where the expression of the sadistic Prime Minister, Mehmet Shehu, was written on the facades of state institutions; “Where Enver Hoxha puts his foot, we must put our head”!
In what part of the world in modern times, such an expression was said about the dictator? The role of writers and artists was not only to raise the cult of the dictator, but with their works they had to build the “new man” cloned and like a mannequin, a blind tool in the hands of the party-state. It was not for nothing that Stalin used to say: “Writers are the engineers of souls.” The communist dictatorships assigned this task to writers and artists, and some of them who were sent abroad were also used for the dirty work of the Albanian Security. Anyone who deviated even a little from the path set by the terrible party was severely punished. This is how the following writers and artists were persecuted:
- Anton Frashëri. Publicist and translator. Secretary of “Vatra” in the United States of America. He was imprisoned and died in prison.
- Gulien Deda. Publicist and translator. Prisoner.
- Beqir Haçi. Poet and translator. Prisoner.
- Ramadan Sokoli. Musicologist, serving 5 years in prison.
- Louis Filaj. Musicologist. Prisoner.
- Zef Gruda. Prisoner.
- Zef Leka.
- Dhora Leka. Prisoner. He suffered 35 years of imprisonment and exile.
- Dom Frano Ilia.
- Salman Riza. Linguist and author of several scientific studies. He suffered over 10 years of imprisonment and exile in Yugoslavia and Albania.
- Pano Taçi.
- Jorgo Bllaci. Poet and translator. Prisoner.
- Fadil Kokomani. Cruelly tortured to the point of insanity. After serving 10 years in prison. Executed in Spač.
- Vangjel Lezho. Publicist and translator. He is executed in Spaç, after serving 10 years of imprisonment.
- Zhaneta Ogranaja. Poet. He is sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is cruelly tortured and remains mentally ill for life.
- Mehmet Mufti. Writer in exile.
- Gramoz Omari. Talented doctor and musician. Executed on New Year’s Eve 1968.
- Viktor Stratoberdha. Stage manager. Prisoner.
- Bilal Xhaferri. A talented poet and storyteller. He was interned in Rrushkull in 1960. He escaped to the United States of America, where he published the magazine “Krahu i Shqiponja”. Poisoned by the Albanian communist Sigurimi.
- Bedri Myftari. He suffered 6 years of imprisonment.
- Halil Laze. He suffered 8 years of imprisonment.
- Frederik Rreshpja. Talented poet. He suffered over 10 years of imprisonment.
- Lluk Kacaj. Well-known bass singer. He suffered 4 years of imprisonment.
- Milto Vako. He is serving 15 years in prison.
- Kiço Veneticu. He dies in prison.
- Vangjush Tushi. Painter. He dies in prison.
- Edison Gjergo. He suffered 10 years in prison.
- Ali Oseku. He suffered 5 years of imprisonment.
- Stavr Rafael. Singer and scenographer. He suffered 20 years in prison.
- Minush Jero. He suffered 4 years of imprisonment.
- Mihallaq Luarasi. He suffered 10 years in prison
- Sheriff Merdani. Singer. He suffered 12 years of imprisonment.
- Ahmet Golemi. Boxing master. Narrator. He suffered 10 years in prison.
- Fatos Lubonja. Journalist. He suffered 17 years of imprisonment.
- Bashkim Shehu. He suffered 9 years of imprisonment.
- Mehdi Prodani. He suffered 7 years of imprisonment.
- Xhemal Broja. Playwright and director. He suffered imprisonment and exile.
- Astrit Delvina. Storyteller, novelist and poet. Imprisoned twice. He suffered 17 years of imprisonment
- Sami Repishti. After serving 10 years in prison, she escaped to the United States of America, where she wrote several books, including “In the shadow of Rozafa”.
A special place in the equal communist persecution in Albania is the execution of 4 innocent young poets, which has not happened in any country of the communist bloc of Eastern Europe. They were:
- Trifon Xhagjika. Born in Peshtan of Tepelena in 1936, by profession artillery officer. Poet. Arrested in 1963 and executed that same year, for hostile attitudes towards the communist leadership.
- Vilson Bloshmi. He was born in 1948 in Bërzeshte village of Librazhdi. Poet and translator. Teacher by profession. At the age of 28, he was sentenced to death and executed. His fault: He sang to the sadness that had plagued Albania.
- Genc Leka. He was born in Bërzeshte, Librazhdi in 1941. He is a teacher by profession. Anti-communist poet. Arrested and shot in 1977, together with Vilson Blloshmi.
- Havzi Nelaj. He was born in Kollovoz village of Kukës.
Poet and open opponent of the war against religious beliefs. In 1966 he escapes to Yugoslavia, he is returning from the Yugoslav UDB. After serving 15 years of imprisonment in Spaç, he was released and exiled for life in Ares i Kukës village. Arrested in 1988, for leaving the place of exile and sentenced to death on the rope, to terrorize the Kuksian community. Only fools kill poets. The Albanian communist leadership was not only criminal, but also delusional.
After the collapse of the communist dictatorship, thousands of political prisoners were released from prisons, who had experienced the communist hell for tens of years. Many of them who had some talent and were given the conditions and opportunities, published books with motifs from half a century of communist persecution.
- Dawn Hamit. Sentenced to 15 years in prison. He has published a book of memories from the mining prison of Spač.
- Agim Musta. Teacher by profession. Sentenced to 13 years in prison. Author of 10 books with motifs from communist terror and the map “Prisons of the state-prison”.
- Ahmet Bushati. Construction technician. Sentenced to 10 years in prison. He published the book “In the footsteps of a diary”
- Friend Kacarruho. He served 7 years in prison. Since 1990 he lives in Italy. Author of several books with motifs from communist terror.
- Bedri Alimehmeti. Sports journalist. He published the book “Bloody Tirana”, about the extrajudicial executions that took place in Tirana during the period 1-17 November 1944.
- Beqir Ajazi. He served 15 years in prison. Publicist and author of several books with motifs from the communist dictatorship.
- Caf Jonuzi. From the Great Highlands. Twice imprisoned. He served 30 years in prison. He published memoirs about the mountaineers who suffered in the prisons of communism.
- Çomo light. He suffered two decades of exile. He dies of cancer at the age of 23. Her book “Diary”, is a gem in its genre.
- Donate Fallo. Imprisoned and exiled. His book “Gone but not forgotten” reflects the shocking events under the communist terror.
- Enver Lepenica. Senior economist by profession. Publicist and author of several works on communist terror. Co-author of “Anthology of wounds under communist terror” volume one and two.
- Fatbardha Saraçi (Mulleti). Exiled for many years. Teacher by profession. Author of the book “Pain”, which reflects the persecution of women in the region of Shkodra and Tirana by the communist dictatorship.
- Fatos Lubonja. He served 17 years in prison. Journalist by profession. Author of several books with motifs from the communist dictatorship. The most mentioned is the book “Rebirth”.
- Fritz Radovan. Persecuted. Author of the monographic book “Patër Meshkalla”. Lives in Australia since 1997.
- Gani Ratkoceri. He served 7 years of imprisonment. Literature teacher by profession. He has published several books with historical motifs and memories from communist prisons.
- Gaqo Peci. He served 5 years of imprisonment. Teacher by profession. He published a book with memories from the communist persecution.
- John Mark Ndoj. He served 17 years in prison. He has published several books with memories of the communist terror. The most mentioned is: “Stop it for a long time” published before his death in 2007.
- Enrik Gjoka. He suffered 6 years in communist prisons. He has published several books with motifs from Albania and France, where he has lived for many years.
- Kolec Gjergji. Political prisoner for more than 10 years. Author of several books with motifs from the communist dictatorship.
- Linen Lubonja. Journalist by profession. Exiled for 15 years. Author of a book with memories from communist persecution.
- Loni Mishtari. Teacher by profession. Former political prisoner for 14 years. The author of the novel “The Age of Devils”.
- George Komnino. Poet and folklore collector. Sentenced to death in 1957. After parole, he remains mentally ill for life.
- Kapllan Resuli. Novelist, essayist and poet. Suffered 15 years of imprisonment in the notorious Burrell prison.
- Kin Dushi. Writer and publicist. He suffered 10 years in prison.
- Mark Ndoja. He suffered 5 years of imprisonment.
- Dhora Leka. He suffered 25 years of imprisonment and exile.
- Bajram Hyseni. Poet and publicist. He suffered 20 years in prison.
- Luan Mufti. Teacher by profession. He has published several books and many articles with the motive of the communist dictatorship. Exiled for many years.
- Maks Velo. He served 7 years of imprisonment. Architect by profession. Author of several books with regimes from communist prisons.
- Maria Dvorani (Medicine). He served 4 years in prison. Author of several books about the suffering of Albanian women in communist prisons.
- Marie Mazrreku. He suffered many years of exile. Author of a book about communist persecution.
- Makensen Bungo. He suffered 4 years in the prisons of communism. The author of the book “Këneta”, dedicated to the infamous Maliq camp.
- Ndue Gjon Markaj. Imprisoned and exiled for many years. Author of a memoir about communist persecution.
- Nuredin Borici. Political prisoner, teacher by profession. The author of several books with motifs from the prisons of the dictatorship. He suffered over 10 years of imprisonment and exile.
- Pal Doçi. Career officer by profession. He suffered 5 years in the prisons of communism. Author of several books with historical motifs.
- Petr Velo. Political prisoner for 36 years. Author of several books with memories from the civil war in Albania and the communist persecution.
- Pyro Red. He suffered several years in the prisons of communism. Author of several books of poetry.
- Peter Arbnori. Literature teacher by profession. He served 29 years in prison. Author of several works with motifs from communist persecution.
- Preng Gruda. Political prisoner. Author of several books with memories from the prisons of the dictatorship.
- Rozeta Pepellashi.. Exiled for many years. Author of two books with memories from communist persecution.
- Selfies Broja (Ciu). Exiled for several years for political reasons. Publicist and prose writer since before the Second World War. Author of a book with memories from communist persecution.
- Spartak Ngjela. Lawyer by profession. He served 17 years in prison. Author of many articles and publisher of several books.
- Tanush Kaso. Sentenced to 13 years in prison. Author of several books in prose and poetry under the motive of communist persecution.
- Tomor Aliko. He suffered 15 years for political motives. Author of several books with memories from the prisons of the communist dictatorship and the study book “Genocide on the intellectual elite of the Albanian nation under the communist terror”
- Uran Butka. Exiled for several years. Teacher by profession. Author of several works on historical and political events in Albania. During the period 1939-1945.
- Uranus Kalakula. Literature teacher by profession. Poet, he suffered 21 years of imprisonment and several years of exile. The author of several books of memoirs and literary criticism.
- Viktor Martini. Political prisoner. Author of the book “Testify”. He currently lives in the United States of America.
- Visar Zhiti. Literature teacher by profession. He served 7 years of imprisonment. Poet and prose writer. Co-author in “Anthology of Wounds under Communist Terror” volume one and two. Author of several books in prose and poetry.
- Xhemal Shkëmbi. Bektashi cleric. He suffered 8 years in communist prisons. Author of two books in prose and poetry.
- Zhydi Morava. Poet and prose writer. Sentenced to 10 years of political imprisonment. Author of many works. Among them, we are mentioning the “Shroud of the Moon”, dedicated to two Librazhdi poets shot by the dictatorship.
- Zef Plumbi. Catholic clergyman. He served 25 years in prison. Author of the book “Break down just to show me”.
- Dimitar Pango. He suffered 18 years in the prisons of the communist dictatorship. Author of 3 books with stories with motifs from the communist dictatorship and life in emigration. He currently lives with his family in Belgium.
- Tanush Mulleti. Exiled for political reasons. Co-author of “Anthology of wounds under communist terror”, first volume.
- Naim Pashai. Former political prisoner. Author of the book “Bread, goods and tears”.
- Astri Xhaferi. Former political prisoner. Author of the book “Bouquet of Tears”.
- Ylber Merdani. Former political prisoner. Poet and prose writer. He has published several books of poems and studies about the communist persecution in Korça district.
- Gezim Çela. Imprisoned 3 times for political reasons. He suffered over 20 years of imprisonment. Author of the book “A mother’s cry”
- Enver Hasa. Academic officer by profession. He served 18 years in prison. Author of the book “Do not eat from this cherry”, dedicated to the Burrel prison.
- Reshat Kripa. Former political prisoner. Author of the book “A story about my friend”.
- Dod Bajraktari. Former political prisoner. Author of the novel “Hate and Punishment”.
- Pirro Piqoni. He suffered 20 years of imprisonment for political motives. Author of a book with memories from the prisons of the dictatorship.
- George Titani. Poet and publicist. Officer by profession. He is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Petraq Xhacka. Sentenced to 25 years. He has published books with memoirs about prisons. Note: In addition to the above-mentioned authors, there are other persecuted authors who have not been mentioned in this book due to lack of knowledge about their written works.
The “saboteurs” of oil, Albanian Nafta, has been one of the black holes of the socialist economy, which has swallowed millions of dollars, unjustified. The “Anglo-Persian Company”, the first oil prospecting company in Albania, in the years 1920-1924, concluded that the Albanian territory had small oil reserves, which were not worth investing in. Therefore “Anglo-Persian Company” sold its oil shares in Albania to the Italian company AGIP. The Italians, taking advantage of the geographical proximity to the Albanian oil sources, made small profits by exploiting the oil wells in Kuçovo and Patos. The Polish geologist, of European fame, Stanislav Zuber, who came to Albania in 1936 employed by the AGIP Company, has special merit for this. Zuberi, in love with Albania, settled in Kuçovo together with his Italian geologist wife, Matilda, who was unfortunately killed in Kuçovo during an Anglo-American aerial bombardment at the end of 1943.
In 1946, Zuberi was arrested as an oil “saboteur” and as an “agent” of the Western Powers. He was investigated to show the sources of oil, gold, and uranium in the Western Balkans, which the Yugoslav government was particularly interested in, since Zuberi had done studies in the 30s in the Balkan territory.
After the departure of the Soviet oil engineers, at the beginning of the 1969s, Albanian technicians and specialists in this field were charged with a heavy burden to maintain the efficiency of the oil wells and to find new sources. They worked day and night under extremely difficult conditions, with very low wages, under a constant pressure of intimidation. In 1974, thanks to the selfless work of oil specialists, its production reached the highest quota that had been produced in Albania after 1945. For this achievement, dinners and lunches were served and decorated with the highest medals of the Republic many engineers and oil technicians of that time. Not even three months had passed since the praises and decorations that were given in the solemn evenings when the innocent culprits were handcuffed and killed in the dark cells of the prisons of the dictatorship.
Engineers were arrested: Koço Plaku, Milto Gjikopulli, Mynyr Arapi, Beqir Alia, Protoko Murati, Dhimiter Stefa, Teki Biçaku, Niko Koçobashi, Enriko Veizi, Petraq Xhaçka, Petrit Sadushi, Kadri Rama, Thanas Nasho, etc. The director of the Oil Institute, Lipe Nashi, a smart former worker originally from Përmet, who the “Party” elevated to the position of General Director of Oil and after a few years made him the “scapegoat”, was also arrested sentenced to 25 years in communist prisons. Those arrested were subjected to intensive interrogation, where all kinds of torture were used, to get the statement that they had sabotaged the oil production according to the instructions of the Soviet and Anglo-American agencies. The investigations were directed by the investigators Rustem Ajazi, Pajtim Lame, etc., executioners ready to take the soul of anyone ordered by the party-state. Engineers: Xhavit Sallaku, Koço Plaku and Milto Gjikopulli were sentenced to death and executed, while the others were sentenced to heavy sentences ranging from 10-15 years of imprisonment.
Alongside the visible side of these fictional processes, without any real facts, behind the facade, were the invisible and unreflected sides of the falsified processes of executioner investigators. The professor of geology, the talented engineer, Tom Kriston, was called in the late hours of the night, in the cells of the prisons of Tirana, to testify against his colleagues and to accuse them of being “saboteurs” and “agents”. Tom was shown people being tortured with red-hot irons, or hanging upside down from gallows, pressuring him that he would suffer the same if he did not agree to testify to what the cruel investigators wanted. Here’s what my friend Prof. told me. Dr. Muharrem Seseri, a friend of Tomi Kristos: “During the investigation of the oil engineers, where most of them were known and had colleagues, Tomi became alienated from his appearance and speech. I tried to get him to say something, for the cause afflicted him, but it was impossible. After a few weeks, the brilliant and honest Tom decided to end his life rather than bear false witness to his oil colleagues. He drank the poison and closed his eyes forever, fleeing this world, as a martyr of honesty. No one was charged with the death of Prof. Dr. Tomi Kristos”. Memorie.al
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