Interviewer: Marcel Hila
Memorie.al / Missing: Riza Dani. Suffering: His family, of whom his brother, Dan Hasani and his two sons, Xhevati and Xhelali, suffered long prison sentences and internments. Together with his brother, Dan Hasani, they are the initiators of raising the flag in Shkodra, in 1913, together with their compatriots and family friends, Luigj Gurakuqi, Gjergj Fishta, Dom Ndre Mjeda, Maliq Bushati, etc. In 1921, Rizai was elected a member of the first Albanian parliament; was re-elected in 1924 and Noli’s government appointed him prefect in Durrës. When Zog came to power, as an opponent of his platform, Rizai left for Italy and then to Austria. With patriots and nationalists fought for the liberation of the country and after World War II, on December 2, 1945, he was re-elected deputy. On December 31, 1947, Riza Dani was sentenced to be shot for conspiracy against the state. The body has not been found yet, but according to his relatives, it may have been buried at the place known as Bami’s Tomb. But there are opportunities in Linza as well. The whole family was persecuted, their belongings confiscated and the ordeal of exile passed.
Testimony Kujtim Dani, grandson of Riza Dani
The son of Shkodra, deputy of the three legislatures, buried and without a grave.
Forgetfulness is the second murder of this people!
Continued from the previous issue
Mr. Kujtim, did you find out where Riza Dan was buried after the shooting?
A recent testimony about Riza Dani is from Aunt Feti, Xhevat Selfos’s wife, Adnan Selfos’s mother, who passed away recently. She brought him food, because he lived in Tirana and the day he was shot, they told him about a place near the Tomb of Bami, but when we went in ’92, that area had become a completely inhabited area, with houses and we did not know how and where to find it.
Rizai and others became eight people who were shot, thrown into a pit and covered. They were shot early in the morning. Someone even had his leg and arm out. The next night, Aunt Feti went there, dug up and found his clothes, which she had brought herself. In the cuff of the pajamas he felt something strong and pulled out eight tied cigarette papers, written.
It read: “The matter is very serious; closed trial, without lawyer and without public. The prosecutor accuses me of being the organizer of the deputy organization. I attended her meetings; I did meetings with the fugitives. Defamation! They are shameful lies…! I am morally strong and I have denied everything in court, what decision this gives me, I do not know… ”!
The other letter: “Now that I am writing to you, I am suffering a lot, three days without bread and without water, twenty days of cement laying and covering. “Feti, tell Dr. Omar.”
There was hope that this was the president of the Democratic Front…!
Another letter: “Hopefully in God I will die as a man. Thanks to Feti for taking care of the dishes she brought me. The seal, the trust of the grandchildren “.
I want to say two things: A man who finds out that he will be shot today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, has so much moral courage and peace of mind that he declares in writing “thank you granddaughter for the dishes he brought me” and the second: trust the seal of the grandchildren ”. My dad is honored…! Excuse me…!
Please do not apologize to me! You have every right to feel affected.
We kept Uncle Riza’s will. Mrs. Makbule lived with her mother even when her father came out, after ten years in prison, and from seven internment camps, and finally, from the Rinas Aviation Field camp. Mrs. Macbule lived with us, until the day she died. My father kept us with that three hundred ALL salary, as a manual worker, because the mother never worked, she also supported Mrs. Makbule. We slept in one room: mother, two children and Mrs. MacBule. The father came later.
Rizai in the letter demanded to be buried next to Agime, the girl. Until recently, his letters were in the Museum of Tirana. After the 2000s, we do not know where they might be. His last words were: “In the hope of God, I am dying as a man, in the shadow of you!” This is a Shkodra expression used more by Muslims. The words “Peace be upon you!” are addressed to the other who is not considered a human being, born of the mother, with the blessing of the great God, but is considered a shadow, nothingness. He did not use insults against those who had tortured him, but responded with the culture of the people “let your shadow…”!
I am interrupting you a little, because we have a similar case regarding the burial place. The daughter of Syrja Selfos claims that in 1993, they went to Linza in Tirana and were interested in the grave. A resident of the area there had told him that; they had removed Syrja Selfos’s body from there and taken it elsewhere, at the behest of family members. It is very likely that the pit where these eight were thrown will not be at Bami’s Tomb, but in Linza.
The end of Riza Dani was the key to revenge against the Dani family, as patriotic, patriotic and charitable as Shkodra. After arresting Riza, the next day they arrested all the men of the house: Dan Hasani, Xhevat Danin, Xhelal Danin, 16 years old, and Dan’s two grown sons, Hasan Dani and Qemal Dani, who were studying abroad when War II broke out. World, in ’43 fled to Canada and America.
Dan Hasani was sentenced to 5 years. My father, Xhevat Dani, because he had translated into German, was considered to have served the Germans and was sentenced to 10 years. He went to 7 internment camps: Maliq, Beden of Kavaja and others and ended up in Rinas, with Sami Repishti and Et’hem Bakalli with friends, who had mercy, except for Samiu, who is alive and left. As he got out of prison, his father agreed to work as a laborer. Xhelal, although small, was also arrested and sentenced to 3 years.
All the property was seized: Four houses, an ice factory, a mill, a house in the village of Barbullush with all the mills, with 10 hectares of land. Mother was the only woman who served us for everything: wash the clothes, take the bread, serve the cups, make the bread for tomorrow, and get the clothes…!
My mother, have mercy, all mothers are good, but I loved her very much and to be honest, I do not remember once saying to her “I do not do this”. She has been the only one, woman and man in the house who has coped with all things.
I want to mention a human act of Qemal Llazani, a former prosecutor, who according to many others was very savage, but my mother was the daughter of Llazani. Kemal passed in front of the big door of the house and said to my mother: “After two days they come to seize your house. Good day”! I knew him for honor and once, in times of democracy, I stopped him on the street and said thank you! The mother, thankfully for this word, got a large part of her jewels, rings, clothes that her father had bought for her in Italy, that the mother got married in ’39, 17 years old, and left the house behind the alley, in the alley where grandfather, father, was, and he took things there in a stroller.
He sold the things he took out to Rakic’s shop – the user of the persecuted families. A ring that cost 200 thousand, he bought for 20 thousand, and then sold it to the Yugoslavs. My mother did not work and with that money she kept us for 9 and a half years, until my father left … In honest families in Shkodra, persecuted by the communist regime, no woman separated the man who was imprisoned.
When the property was seized, the mother was told to choose a house. The mother consulted a lawyer, our cousin, and he advised her: “You are left alone and have to think about how to earn a living and have children. I suggest you keep the house in Barbullush, you have 10 hectares of land, you have a mill, and you can work and eat. ” And the mother kept his word.
After 6 years we were taken out of Barbullushi, because the house was needed for an office.
I did not know how my father hugged me until I was 9 and half years old, when my father came from prison. I was lucky that at the age of 9 years and 8 months, I benefited from my father’s grasp, but there were my peers, older or younger, who did not enjoy this luck, because their fathers died in prisons and in the investigator.
The persecution of the Dani family took place in two stages: in the fathers and mothers stage and the second generation, it was us. My father, with a degree in Banking Economics from the University of Vienna, with all grades 5, has worked as a mortar worker for 14 years.
Once, when he went to get his salary, the accountant asked him if he wanted a camp sheet for the children in Shiroka and the father immediately said “yes”, paid the money and I went to the camp. I was ten and a half years old. The camp was 20 days: July 10-30. On the 27th, I had my birthday. When the day comes, I tell the leader, there was a physical education teacher: “I have a birthday tomorrow; can you give me permission to go back to dinner”? The leader said permission was needed from the director. I go to the director. “What’s your name?” “Remember Dani”. “Whose son are you, Xhevat Dani, that reactionary, the prisoner? And you came to the camp”?! I remained. It was a moment that…!
We were scared, but until then, 10 years old, I had not shot it like that, face to face! “Listen, you are the son of a criminal, the son of a merchant. You are already taking your belongings and you are expelled from the camp! ” I stayed for about 5 minutes without coming out, because I was confused. The leader came in, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “Let’s go out, because the director has a job”. Only then did I come out as if I had been mentioned. As I now hear the words: “Do not worry, there are three days left! For three days, great work”! I took my suitcase and from there, to the house in Kiras, where we were taken, I cried.
When I was studying for a Forest Engineer in the fourth year, we return from Tirana and find the door of the dormitory in Kamza closed. There were five of us. Knock on the door, no one was opening it. A friend of ours comes down and opens it for us. The director of the dormitory was an officer of the Ministry of Interior, who was released, who reached the retirement age for 6 months, so they had left the director there. He found out who I was and wrote a letter to the party organization of the faculty, that: student Kujtim Dani broke the door of the dormitory, as I, as the director, had closed it. This is a persecuted family, grandson of Dan Hasani, son of Xhevat Dan. This one has his father shot, his uncle shot…! In what he wrote, there were 50% truths and 50% lies. I was lucky that, as a student, I became active in the volleyball team “Dajti” and we had a coach, a wonderful man, Thoma Kukja.
Believe me, to be honest, he was a communist, but if all communists were like Thoma Kukja, like Skënder Temali, like Bardhyl Zeka, like Andro Jovani, like Pashko Marku, from Bratosh, like the honorable Nazmi Dibra, chairman cooperative and director of waters, Albania would be Switzerland. The meeting took place and finally, Dhimitër Jançe, forest engineer, who had studied in the Soviet Union, party secretary of the Faculty of Forestry, Panajot Koçi, forest exploitation engineer, deputy party secretary, fought for Kujtim Dan, as if he were their son. Thoma Kukja has fought with everything. I was lucky; God loved me very much in many things in life. The first secretary of the Tirana district, Ndue Marashi from Dukagjini, do you know what he told me?
Is this the secretary who said he killed himself… ?!
Yes. Because he did not agree with many congressional directives and saw that they were singing behind his back…! He told me: “Do not worry, you will not be excluded! Do you know that your grandfather, Dan Hasani, bought all the weapons of the people of Dukagjini? We went to war with them, my fathers and grandfathers, with Dan Hasan in the war of Koplik! ”
Was it about the war against the Serbs in 1920?
Yes, he was a man to know. I had Andro Jovani as a manager when I worked in charge of the forestry sector and as an engineer in Koplik. As an athlete, I had to work 5 hours. But I needed 1 and a half hours by bus going and 1 hour and a half returning, so 3-4 hours remained work, but the area Razëm, Bogë and in Fushë-zezë and everywhere, I passed on foot, which includes the eye of Shkodra.
We go to the office for a project, the investment manager also comes. He charged us with the tasks we were to perform and when we were leaving, he told the person in charge to leave, but he stopped me. “Engineer, come back in a minute!” Engineer Dani, – he says, – you are a good family. He is a communist and a Branch spy. Be careful when you talk to him! ”
Who did me that honor? Andro Jovani, therefore, a communist. But he was a man! I was a witness when a woman came with her husband and a sick child in her arms, they asked for help to drive to Shkodra. He got out of his car, gave it to them, then took a “Zis” of the company and left for a meeting in Shkodra.
But who does this? Xhemal Selimi was also present, as well as other cooperative presidents. It was Pashko Marku. Communists, but with human principles. Today I drank coffee with Bedri Çoku, who spent 23 years in prison – the hero of the Spaç revolt, when they removed the communist flag with a star.
Burrell Prison….! I was told that when someone died, a certain Sami Dangëllia would go with Osman Kazazi, when they were young, they would take the dead, put them in a bag and, accompanied by two policemen, one in front and one in the back, they would go and throw them in the pit. . Later he changed the procedure and went to get the manure cart. After gathering Burrell dung, he would come at six o’clock in the evening and pick up the dead, accompanied by an ordinary prisoner, and lead them to the pit. These are the horrors of communism…!
I remember my father telling me, thank you, for the Beden canal, Peqin-Kavaja, it was 8 m. up and 5 m. half down and the pages with the scarves. The work was very hard, but the biggest horror was when they announced: “Water is coming in 5 minutes” and all the prisoners had to climb the escarpment to get out. Some were tired and slipped, someone reached for the shovel stick to pull it up, but the water came and took them. Maybe ten, twenty, or thirty were taken by the water and died and disappeared. Nothing is known about them. No one was accountable!
I have not heard this anywhere!
And the most horrible thing, Xhevati said, when there was someone who scraped the ground a bit like scarves to put his foot, the soldier who stood on his head, a criminal in blood, blood and character, kicked him and threw him down. “Try to climb again”! At that time the water came and … left. These crimes are not yet known. To push the other, since you are up, to intentionally push him to die, this is unimaginable.
These you are telling are really awful. Do you have anything else to say about Mr. Riza Dani?
Riza Dani has had two personal passions: painting and carpentry. In Graz, where he lived for 15 years, he made 4 paintings: Two small, one medium and one larger. This greatest has been inherited by the father. The other two were inherited by Asia, the wife of Hasim Ulqinaku and further inherited by her daughter, Mira Ulqinaku Dervishi, the wife of Elnar Dervishi.
However, when he came in ’39, he gave all the carpentry tools he had, as a grandson, to Esheref Dani, the former football player. There is a lot to tell about those years, too.
Thank you for all the memories you shared with us and I wish your health and good days! Memorie.al