By Dashnor Kaloçi
Memorie.al / “Miladini, saying that the party’s forum is provisional, said that there will be a General Secretary and he will be Enveri, that he also has a brother-in-law (Bahriu) in whose house he is staying and that he is not there arrests a person”. The sensational testimony regarding the appointment of Enver Hoxha as head of the Albanian Communist Party on November 8, 1941, for the sole fact that he was under the protection of his brother-in-law, Bahri Omar, at that time a well-known exponent of nationalist organization “Balli Kombëtar”, comes from 92-year-old Nexhmi Ballka, former Deputy Minister of the Interior in 1945, who, thanks to the duties he covered, in February-March 1945, was summoned by the prosecutor Bedri Spahiu, to attend the sessions of the “Special Trial” where 17 former high-ranking officials were executed, whose remains were found a few days ago at Kodra e Prifti (interview, Mr. Ballka, given in 2004, shortly before changed lives)
Mr. Nexhmi, where did you serve in 1945, when the investigations for the “Special Trial” began?
When power was established in Tirana, I was assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, as the Director of Power Strengthening. There, I managed four other directorates, because there were no deputy ministers. There was only me with Colonel Haxhi Lleshin, who was the Minister of Internal Affairs, since the formation of the government in Berat, and I performed the function of Deputy Minister.
Who appointed you to that task?
Deputy Prime Minister Koçi Xoxe made the appointments; he called me to his office in the prime minister’s office and told me about the task.
When did the arrest of those who were called war criminals begin?
I don’t know that the arrests were made by the People’s Protection Division, but I was informed by Bedri Spahiu. He told me that they would arrest those who remained here, that is, who had not left in November ’44, and that he had been appointed Prosecutor General.
At that time, Bedriu asked me to take a couple of friends of the Justice and occupy a lodge, behind those of the Ministry of the Interior. He told me to be careful, when he argued with the defendants, to notice that I did not see any mistakes in him. I took Bilbil Klos and Shemsi Totozan, because they were very well prepared, having studied Law in France.
Did Bedri Spahiu intervene with Enveri for not executing Bahri Omar?
I don’t know this, but I can say that Bedriu didn’t get along with Enver at all; he didn’t even talk to him at all. Even in the founding meeting of the Party on November 8, 1941, only because Enveri was there, Bedriu did not participate.
During the war, did Enveri take refuge with the Omari family?
Not only was he sheltered, but Enver Hoxha was fed bread by Omar, because he had Enver’s sister. Bahriu also intervened when he was in Toulouse, France, to give the scholarship to Enver, since even though he was against Zog, there were well-known people here. Let me tell you a well-known episode, which Shemsi Totozani told me. See how it is. When the union of the communist groups took place, that is some time before November 1941 and the Party was to be formed, the main forum came up, i.e. those who would lead the Party, the question was asked: who will we appoint?
Koci Xoxe was in prison, Miladini, who was an envoy of the Comintern, i.e., was interned in Peqin, and that Peqinsi took them and Mustafa Gjinishi by car and brought them both here to Tirana, together with Mugosha. Now there was a problem of who should become the chairman of the forum. One said to put Qemal Staffa, Qemal said: “I don’t do it, because I have work with the youth”.
Someone said to put Vasil Shanto. “No, mother,” said that Shkodran. Until then, Meladini did not speak, then he said: “Either the forum or the Party, they will be provisional, since a party cannot be formed without a congress.” Miladini, saying that the party’s forum is provisional, said that there will be a General Secretary and he will be Enveri, that he also has a brother-in-law (Bahriu) in whose house he is staying and that no one arrests him there.
Did Miladini say this at the meeting?
Yes, Miladini said, “it’s good to be Enveri”. There was also Koço Tashko, who took Enver from the street. Miladini was very educated; he was a professor in Montenegro.
Just because he was Omar’s brother-in-law, didn’t the Italians arrest Enver Hoxha?!
The Italians arrested him, but the Prefect of Tirana, Qazim Mulleti, did not arrest him, because of Bahri, whom he had a close friend from the time of the anti-Zogist emigration, where for years they have been together abroad, such as in Italy, France , etc. Qazim was a man of great culture, having been educated in Turkey and graduated from one of the famous universities in Austria. He was also very influential in the highest circles of the government of that time. What is said about him in the comedy “The Prefect” is not true.
How long did Enveri stay with Omar?
Continuously, until he fled to Labinot. He also went to other places, but only for one day. Enver stayed there more and Bahriu, while talking with him, said: “Enver, we don’t agree, but you do what you want.”
How do you remember the Special Trial?
The Special Trial continued for several days. I know that there were people who testified in favor of the defendants, since at that time the witness for the defendants was allowed. But from the participants in the hall, emotional words were thrown that those who testified in favor of the defendants should be arrested.
How do you remember the decision?
I can say that, I felt a lot of regret.
Was it known in advance that they would be sentenced to death?
No, we didn’t know, we thought they wouldn’t kill them.
Do you think they were “traitors and enemies of the people” as they were accused in court?
Look, no traitor. They were with patriotic activities.
After the court decision, what was Bahri Omar’s reaction?
They were well prepared and after the court decision, when they were taking them to send them to prison, Col. Tromara, Bahri Omari and the others, grabbed each other’s arms and left the hall singing songs for the flag.
When did you learn to execute them?
We learned it immediately, Bedri Spahiu told me.
Did Bedriu have any regrets about the punishments?
I haven’t talked to him since I was quickly arrested.
What have you been convicted of?
The first time, I was accused of “high treason against the motherland and agitation and propaganda”, as I was in the Group of Deputies. While the second time, only for “agitation and propaganda”
Qazim Mulleti: “Bahri, remove Enver from the house”
During the period of the Zogu Monarchy, Bahri Omar and his family stayed for a long time in exile in Italy and France, with the status of a political asylum seeker. After the occupation of Albania by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, he returned to Tirana and in 1943, served as Foreign Minister in the Albanian government that was under occupation. Since he did not have a house in Tirana, he lived in “Pazari i Ri” in a rented house which he got from Qazim Mullet.
His brother-in-law, Enver Hoxha, also lived in Omar’s house for more than two years. When Bahriu was not in that house, some of the main exponents of the Communist Party, such as: Mustafa Gjinishi, Nako Spiro, etc., went to meet Enver. Regarding this, 92-year-old Nexhmi Ballka, former Deputy Minister of the Interior in 1945, testifies: “At that time here in Tirana, the prefect was Qazim Mulleti. He himself one day in Bahri’s house and in the corridor sees Enver enters the waiting room and at this time, Bahriu says: “Hey, what’s wrong”?!
And Qazim replies: “That brother-in-law of yours, malun, do you know what he is”?! “I – Qazimi said – just because he is your brother-in-law, I do not arrest him, because it is you. But that captain of mine who is out there, if he catches him, he has an order to arrest him, both from Jakomon and from the government, which will shoot him on the spot. Tell me to sit tight, because it’s completely open.” Bahriu said: “I told the donkey, but what can I do, it goes out in the corridor and in the windows”. “I shouldn’t do these things,” Qazim tells him, “because one day, he will put me in a position, that’s why I’m saying it.” That I don’t have a headache because of that, but he is your brother-in-law and it happened, don’t ask me for it”./Memorie.al