Memorie.al publishes rare photos with newspapers of the time that have been extracted from Italian libraries and archives, which testify to two of the most serious and most talked about events in the history of the Albanian nation, such as the Italian fascist aggression of April 7, ’39 with the landing of Benito Mussolini’s military troops in Albanian ports and the delegation of Albanian politicians with the names of all representatives from the prefectures of the country, headed by Prime Minister Shefqet bej Vërlaci and Minister of Justice, Xhaferr Ypi, who sent to Rome the Crown of Skanderbeg’s gold and handed it over to the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III. As well as the echo of those two events that were widely covered by the Italian press, such as the newspapers “L’AVENIRE D’ITALIA”, “Il Popolo d’Italia”, “L’ILUSTRAZIONE ITALIANA”, “La DOMENICA DEL CORRIERE” etc., as well as the newspaper “JAVA” in Tirana.
81 years ago, on the morning of April 7, 1939, or as it is otherwise known in the historical memory of Albanians, “Black Friday”, Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy carried out military aggression by invading neighboring Albania. The same day, after an armed resistance made by a part of the military units of the Kingdom of Zog, as well as several hundred civilian volunteers who took up arms and went to fight on some of the scaffolding of our coast, as in: Durrës, Shengjin, Vlora, Saranda, etc., the Italian occupation forces landed in the main ports of our country. During that landing, according to some data that was never confirmed, it is said that the Italian occupation troops left about 53 soldiers killed and many others wounded, who were withdrawn in complete secrecy on the warships and their troops were returned again to the Italian ports.
Only a week later, on April 12, 1939, in agreement with the Italian occupation authorities, an Administrative Committee was formed in Tirana under the chairmanship of Mr. Xhaferr Ypi and with Mr. Mihal Sherko for Foreign Affairs, Zef Kadarja for Internal Affairs, Pertef Pogoni for Education, Kosta Marku for Finance, Izedin Beshiri for World Affairs and Llambi Aleksi for National Economy. In addition, the Italian colonel, Stamati, was assigned to organize law enforcement to maintain order. The Administrative Committee decided to form a Constitutional Assembly, in which the most prominent personalities of political, social, artistic, cultural life, etc., from all over Albania were elected. This assembly, on the morning of April 12, gathered in the hall of the Parliament and after appointing the Albanian government, headed by Prime Minister Shefqet bej Vërlaci, decided to elect a delegation, consisting of personalities from all regions of the country, which would send the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg to Rome, to the King of Italy and the Emperor of Ethiopia, Victor Emmanuel III, who, based on the decisions taken by the Constituent Assembly, was proclaimed King of Albania.
According to the decisions taken by the Constituent Assembly, this diaspora, composed of prominent personalities and patriots from all parts of Albania, left for Rome on April 14, where after being received by the highest Italian authorities, headed by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini himself (Duce), in the midst of numerous ceremonies, presented King Victor Emmanuel with the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg. These two events; So, the fascist aggression of April 7 and the handover of the Crown of Skanderbeg to Rome, which remain two of the most talked about events in the history of Albania, we are bringing them through some very rare photos taken from the Italian archives.
In this article we are publishing some rare photos that have been taken from Italian libraries and archives with images and images unknown from the Italian fascist aggression of April 7, 1939 in Albania, as well as the entry of occupation troops and high Italian authorities in some of The main cities of our country, where many festive ceremonies are fixed, as well as the photos of the Albanian delegation, which sent the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg to Rome, and handed it to King Victor Emmanuel III, as well as the relevant ceremonies in it. which he attended in Italy. These ceremonies were widely covered by the Italian press, e.g. the newspapers “L’AVENIRE D’ITALIA”, “Il Popolo d’Italia”, “L’ILUSTRAZIONE ITALIANA”, “La DOMENICA DEL CORRIERE”, etc., as well as the newspaper “JAVA” in Tirana.
The Albanian delegation that sent Skanderbeg’s Wreath to Rome
Prime Minister Shefqet Vërlaci and Minister of Justice, Xhaferr Ypi
- Berat Prefecture
Sami Vrioni, Qemal Vrioni, Ferit Vokopola, Pilo Papa.
- Elbasan Prefecture
Dervish Bicaku, Bexhet Hydi, Ibrahim Bicaku, Qemal Karaosmani, Vissarion Xhuvani.
- Korça Prefecture
Selim Mborja, Thodoraq Mano, Rafail Prodani, Xhevdet Starova.
- Prefecture of Vlora
Ali Asllani, Kristaq Strati.
- Gjirokastra Prefecture
Reis Selfo, Jan Dado, Niko Polo, Safet Libohova, Rexhep Plaku.
- Shkodra Prefecture
Ndoc Pistulli, Ymer Kopliku, Kol Bibë Mirakaj, Mark Kakarriqi, Zef Boriçi, Omer Rruzhdija.
- Prefecture of Kosovo:
Ismet Kryeziu, Avni Gjilani, Rrok Berisha.
- Durrës Prefecture
Dhimitër Popa, Kristaq Zaguridha, Shefqet Çelkupa, Shasivar Alltuni.
- Dibra Prefecture
Cen Elezi, Selim Kaloshi, Shaqir Dema, Faik Shehu.
- Prefecture of Tirana
Zef Kadarja, Ali Qoraliu, Ismet Petrela, Sirri Toptani.
In addition to the delegates listed above, in the list published by the newspaper “Drita” in April 1939, the following persons are also listed: Sulo Xhyberi, Petrit Gega, Burhan Beu, Hiqmet Hadëri, Kristofor Harito.
Drita newspaper, April 1939: Enthusiasm and great manifestations
How the sending of the Crown to Rome was celebrated in Albania
Regarding the atmosphere in the city of Tirana in the first days of the fascist occupation, the ceremonies and rallies held, as well as the event of sending the Crown of Skanderbeg to Rome, and her handing over to the King of Italy and the Emperor of Ethiopia, Victor Emmanuel III, there were numerous reports and chronicles in the Albanian press of the time. One of them, the newspaper “DRITA”, which dedicated entire pages to that event, among others under the title “Popular Manifestations”, wrote: The commission returns to the Municipality. Xhaferr bey transmits to the people the words of Count Ciano. People are electrified. The poison that had entered his heart yesterday, those who viciously fled after stealing the coffers, no longer had any effect.
Italy did not come to destroy Albania, but to create it with the sound foundations of Fascism. A hail of applause, a burst of applause. Ja Konti Ciano! The Brave and Immortal Commander of the Disperse, gets out of the car and greets the crowds alla fascist with gas. Hundreds of hands are raised in Roman salutations. In the great hall of the City Hall, the country’s nobility reserves to Count Ciano, the most beautiful reception. The satisfaction of a Roman victory is clearly sung on the Count’s face. Rome saved the Albanian people from the clutches of a black tyranny. This is the mission of the Duchess of Rome. To be the sleepless guardian of the working and poor peoples.
Count Ciano goes to the Italian legation. Now all of Tirana swims in Italian and Albanian colors. The people regained their faith. Waiting for the cries, it is happening before a beautiful happy day, Albanian day, purely Albanian. A magnificent and fair demonstration in the Italian Legation. -Long live the Duchess! -Long live Ciano! People of position and people of the people enter and greet the Count. The count accepts everyone, greets, thanks, enthusiasts. And the whole day goes by like this. Double joy: liberation from a tyrant, entry into a life of order, work, justice. Italian troops pass. The Albanian heart feels a sense of pride. The Albanian always valued Strength and Order and sees these embodied in the brave boys of his Big Sister, Fascist Italy.
During the days 14, 15 and 16 April, the manifestations of the people have been fiery. School and extracurricular youth in continuous demonstrations, expressed their greatest enthusiasm for the happy event of the acceptance of the Crown of Gjergj Kastriot by the Emperor-King, Soldier and Good, Victor Emanuel III. The meaningful speeches delivered by Shk. Anton Beça, as well as the Prefect Mr. Banush Hamdi Bego and Professor Resuli, aroused even the enthusiasm of the people, who clearly see that he has entered the path of great realism. Until the later hours of the night, the demonstrations of the people continued.
The speech of Count Ciano held in the Chamber of Fashions and Corporations, as well as the news coming from Rome about the receptions reserved for our delegation there and the very friendly and benevolent performances for Albania and the Albanian Nation, filled every Albanian heart with pride and with boldness that broke down into the most enthusiastic manifestations. The news that the Red and Black Flag waved all over Italy and alongside the Tricolor on the Capitol, did not leave any Albanian heart untouched. And when it was learned that Queen-Empress Helena spoke to the Albanians, in the sweet Albanian language, enthusiasm reached its peak “.
- View from the Palace “Venice” in Rome, where in the Mapoamondos hall, the Albanian Prime Minister, Shefqet Bey Vërlaci, on behalf of the Albanian delegation reading the greeting message of the Constituent Assembly and the Albanian people, to the Emperor King, Victor Emmanuel III. Just two steps away from Vërlac is the Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, and the King’s Viceroy in Albania, Francesco Jacomoni. Behind Vërlac, with crossed arms, appears the Minister of Justice, Xhaferr bej Ypi and two other members of the Albanian delegation.
- This photo also belongs to the “Venice” palace, in Rome, where the Albanian delegation led by Prime Minister Shefqet Bey Vërlaci, was received by the Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, who has just lined up from the balcony where he was warmly greeted by the workers of Cognes ”. Together with the Duce, in the reception in honor of the Albanian delegation, there are other hierarchies of the Italian government and the Fascist Party. In front of the delegations of both countries, there are also some young and old, dressed in Albanian national costumes.
- View from one of the occasional ceremonies that took place in honor of the Albanian delegation outside the “Venice” palace in Rome. In the center of the photo is the Albanian Prime Minister Shefqet Vërlaci, whom as a sign of respect and honor they have placed between two high fascist hierarchies; Count galezao Ciano and the minister and secretary of the Fascist party, Aliferi and Benni. On both sides (left and right), the Minister of Justice in the Vërlaci cabinet, Xhaferr Ypi, and several other members of the Albanian delegation appear, looking behind them in the characteristic clothing of the northern regions of Albania.
- This photo also belongs to the same April 14, 1939, when the Albanian delegation had gone to Rome to send to the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg. On the occasion of that event, the Albanian delegation, which was accompanied by a large number of high authorities of the Italian state and the Fascist Party, participated in a series of various ceremonies and visits. One of them is what we see in this photo, where the Albanian delegation led by Prime Minister Shefqet bej Vërlaci, is participating in the occasional ceremony held at the Altar of the Fatherland in Rome, where he laid a wreath near the monument to the Soldier unknown. In the center of the photo, next to Prime Minister Verlaci and Minister Xhaferr Ypi, who are honoring with their outstretched hand, according to the fascist honor, are some high hierarchs of the Fascist Party wearing grand uniforms. And next to them appear other members of the Albanian delegation, who a few minutes later entered the Palace of Venice, where in the salon of Mapamondo, they were received and greeted by Benito Mussolini himself, the Prime Minister of Italy and at the same time the leader of the Party. Fascists of Italy of that time.
- View from the entrance of the Albanian delegation in the palace “Venice” in Rome, where he was received by the Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini (Duce), and senior hierarchs of the Fascist Party and the Italian government, as; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Galezao Ciano, the Deputy King in Albania, Francesco Jacomoni, etc. As can be seen from the photo, near the main gate of the “Venice” palace, the last members of the Albanian delegation have entered, where a part of them are wearing national costumes.
- View from the hall of the Curinale Palace in Rome where the ceremony of donating the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg, King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia, Victor Emmanuel III took place. In the magnificent hall, in the midst of its splendor, are also present the bearers of the Anunciata Necklace, the Duce with members of his cabinet, as well as other high-ranking and lower-ranking officials of the state and the Italian Fascist Party. . In that hall, the Albanian Prime Minister read the text of the message to the King, Emmanuel III, which was translated into Italian by a member of the Albanian delegation. After that, King Victor Emmanuel accepted the Crown of Skanderbeg, responding with a few words of gratitude to the Albanian people. At that moment, Prime Minister Vërlaci approached them, kissing the King and Queen’s hand.
- This photo also shows King Victor Emanuel, who is reading the greeting message to the Albanian people after receiving the Golden Crown of Skanderbeg. Next to him is the Queen and beside them and in front, in addition to the bodyguard of the protocol ceremony, there are also members of the Albanian delegation and senior Italian personalities who were invited to attend the ceremony./Memorie.al