By Filip Guraziu
The first part
– New Year’s apples –
– Memory room –
Memorie.al / I dedicate these memories to my beloved and dear family; To Just, Livia and Erina, with whom I experienced the worries and joys of life, during a very difficult period, when the communist regime encouraged hypocrisy, manipulation, used terror, pressure, etc. Despite the misfortunes we suffered such as: murders, imprisonments, displacements, seizures and political discrimination, today in the year 2021, I note with pleasure, why not with pride, that the young people of our families are not only progressing in their lives, but wherever they are, they are manifesting moral values for the family and humanity in our society. The anti-communist education, which they received in their DNA, together with the tamli of their mother’s breast, gives me peace and confidence that the new generation of my family, but also of all Albanian families, have told me: “No to communism in Albania”, AMEN!
FOR THE READER
When the sun sets in the west and evening twilight approaches, when we are tired after a day of intense work, we return home, and after we rest and calm down, we start by thinking about how the day went, what was done well and what was done badly and how we can to improve our work, how can we serve your family better, don’t forget and love others who surround us…. and then, without a conscience and with a calm heart, we lie down in bed, where we fall asleep, “without months, count to the ground”…!
Maybe, they told me, we can, that we are okay with ourselves…!
It’s not a little, to be okay with your conscience…but, it’s not everything…because the individual, who breathes in an environment of much-discussed values and anti-values, in eternal movement and in the clash for “life and death”, between them, who condition, and often change the path of society from the direction of the “polar star”, they must take on their shoulders the missionary task of correcting the direction and placing the front of the society in the path of God!
The purpose of this publication is not to demonstrate the personal or family suffering from the political persecution of the “class war”, because I am fully convinced that what is shown in these writings is only a drop of water in the ocean, compared to what the Albanians suffered from the Enverist dictatorship, but it should be considered as a modest attempt to witness the historical truth during the period of the communist dictatorship in Albania.
Only the truth helps to find the way to the “polar star”, which constitutes the moral mission of those individuals who, in addition to family, friendly circles and the like, want and strive for the preservation and protection of national values, as well as for increasing the well-being of the society in which they participate.
Today, in the twilight of my life, when there are not many “candies” left in the “basket of candies” that the great Brazilian, Mario De Andrade, gave me, proving the truth is the only purpose of life and it is , precisely, this thread of truth that connects and unites the volumes of memories that I am publishing in this book.
Maybe someone, or many someone’s, are not at all interested in the memories of my life, and honestly I understand them, because this is completely normal, but to them, with the help of these few lines, I find the opportunity to appeal to them to be a little more “like” “, in judgment, because the truth that is witnessed is not personal, only mine, but everyone’s and, above all, it is what the new generation should be familiar with. Nice reading!
The black night of February 22, 1951
In February 1951, at the age of seven, I attended the second primary class, at the “Ali Demi” school, Tirana, which was only 100 m. away from the house where I lived. It seems that the age factor did not allow me, or did not enable me to be aware of and experience the reality of that inaudible and unseen situation that Albanian society was going through, with the installation of the communist dictatorship.
There was no end to the violence: arrests in the family circle, shootings in the friendly circle, deportations of families, expropriations, evictions from homes, lack of free speech, etc., because my memories are mainly related to the environment of family love, joy and the enthusiasm created by getting to know my new schoolmates (among whom, I remember Hajredin Fratari), as well as with sports games, especially soccer with balls and gates limited by stones, without forgetting “hunting” with rubber bands… !
Unlike the great ones, my life flowed smoothly; I remember that father Pjerin (Pjeter), at that time at the age of 44, was extremely busy in his job, as head of finance in the ministry, because he returned very late from work, only on Sundays he was with his family, the morning of which he passed by participating (as a family), in the mass of the Franciscan Church and with short visits to the families of friends. When the Lana River had little water, we followed the shortest path to get to the Church, crossed over some large stones, and positioned ourselves on the bed of the water line.
The sounds of the pianoforte at home were every day, the music created a special feeling for me. I learned musical notes before writing at school because my aunt, the pianist Tonin Guraziu, used “cartoon figures” to help me understand the notes (a “circle”, he wanted to say “new” notes, etc.). I heard my aunt telling others that Filipi has a talent for the piano; my first (and last) success was a concert at Radio Tirana, at the age of 6.
Lightning in the starry night
In the depth of the night of February 22, the loud banging of the door of the house woke me up; I opened my eyes and was surprised…! Ours were on the move; after a while, father Pjerin approached the outer door and, with a strong voice, asked:
-Who are you and what do you want, at this late hour?
A voice was heard from outside:
– Open the door, we are the State Security, we have come to check!
– Is the representative of the Neighborhood Council with you, so-and-so…? Without his presence, I don’t open the door for you!
A voice from outside ordered his men: Urgent, bring here the representative of the Neighborhood Council…! There was silence…, father came quickly to the bedroom and moved the radio tuning, I understood the action… (The tuning should have been on Radio Tirana…!)
After a while, the presence of the representative of the Neighborhood Council was felt, and the father opened the door: Three people, dressed in military uniforms, entered. Njani, apparently the leader of the group, asked the father:
– Are you Pjerin Guraziu?
And without receiving an answer, in a high voice, he said:
-‘In the name of the people, you are arrested’; you will come with us, for an explanation at the Department of Internal Affairs, get ready!
Silence at home…! Nana helped dad with the selection of fabrics. Baba put on his thick, black, woolen hat, put on his republican hat (under the watchful eye of the guard) and went out into the corridor, where he was isolated in a corner.
Only I, as a child, was allowed to approach him. I can never forget that scene, which fatally turned out to be the last! Father asked for the medicines he was taking against the ulcer disease, and the question of the house’s nanny, Dila: “What did you do to us, did you take Pjeri, and did you take the family and the family?” he answered in a high voice, for our own sake:
– “Don’t worry, stay calm, I’m innocent, I haven’t done anything, everything has been clarified, and I soon returned home”!
The shadows of the night came, took father with them and disappeared into the darkness…!
The next day it was found out that, in Tirana, during the nights of February 20 to 22, over 170 people were arrested!
A day ago, news came that many of those who had been arrested had begun to be released, news that awakened hope in the family for the release of the father, who everyone had complete faith in that he was clean, because he knew: “only work and family, only family and work”.
Days passed and father did not return, but hope was strong, we had faith…!
During those days of anxiety and sadness, they took me to school every day, I could hardly continue the lesson, but my mind was elsewhere…!
On February 29, 1951, in the second lesson, my sister (Sisi) came to the classroom and took me home. I found many people, except members of my family and Zef Guraziu (father’s uncle), I remember; Cousin Emil Shiroka, father’s friend, ing. Filip Geci.
Everyone, dress for mourning! Silence and lamentation, lamentation and silence; silence and mourning, mourning and silence…!
At that moment I realized that, instead of my father’s arrival, a messenger had arrived with the inscription: “Pjerin Guraziu has been shot as an Enemy of the People and the Party”.
The communist lightning had covered Pjerin Guraziu’s family in mourning, and Pjerin’s 36-year-old widow, Inda’s mother, had crashed to the ground, without feeling!
After 40 years, on August 10, 1991, by order “from above”, the Plenum of the Supreme Court reviewed the legal procedure of the terrorist massacre of February 26, 1951, where father Pjerin and 21 other intellectuals were tortured and shot, and came out with the decision: The annulment of the decision No. 64, dated 27.02.1951 of the High Military Court of Tirana and the dismissal of the criminal case in charge of…, you argued that:
“The 22 victims of February 26, 1951, were innocent, they had nothing to do with the accusation that they were shot without trial, but only with the terrorist decision of the Enverist Political Bureau after the shooting of 22 intellectuals, in reality it was null, because in his decision, the signatures of the judging panel did not appear”.
In 1993, thanks to the dedication of Mr. Hysen Shehu, the “red pit” was discovered, where the 22 victims of February 26 had been thrown alive, then shot (this is proven by the fact that the remains were found in the “pit blood red”, were tied with wire and that bullet holes could be seen in the upper part of the skulls of the victims). In that pit, apart from the bones, I noticed and took in my hands the pieces of the black tabare of father Pjeri, the emotion called the memory and the memory brought me to the corridor of the house, the black woolen palace with the father on his leg, calm, which from afar, a message came to me: Never communism!
With the unanimous decision of the family members of the victims, all 22 martyred intellectuals were buried together in a monumental grave in Tirana.
Pjerin Guraziu, together with 21 “Martyrs of Innocence”, by the decision of the President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bamir Topi in 2011, was declared “Honour of the Nation”.
Biography – Peter Filip Guraziu
*Leu in the street of Gurazezve, “Gjuhadol”, Shkodër, date 30.10.1906, in the Gurazezve family, with civic, cultural and patriotic contribution.
*In 1912, at the age of 6, he moved with his family to Bari-Italy, where he was educated. He finished high school in Commerce, and in 1929, he received his doctorate in Economics at the University of Bari, Italy.
*During the university years, he burst out as a talent in athletics; he was declared the champion of the Italian Universiade several times, in the years 1924, 1925, etc. The result in the ‘long jump’, achieved in 1925, at the age of 18, of 6.15 m., constitutes the first documented record in the history of Albanian athletics. In 1930, the National Champion in athletics for the race is announced; 4×100 m relay, Tirana.
*He returned to Albania in 1929 and began working as a teacher at the Commercial High School in Vlona. Back is employed as a director at the Customs of Tirana. During the years of the Italian occupation, he withdrew into the private activity of the family, which was directed by his father. Married, in 1938, to Ermelinda Saraçin, God gave him two children; Elizabeth and Philip.
*In October 1944, he was invited to participate in the formation of the new democratic government in Berat, considered an intellectual who did not compromise with the occupiers.
*He was a member of the National Athletics Commission for the organization of the Balkaniad Games, which took place in Tirana in 1946.
*During the period from 1945 to 1951, he served in important positions at the central departments of the Albanian state (head of finance in the Ministries of Agriculture, Mines)
*On February 22, 1951, he was arrested after torture in the cell, on the night of February 26, 1951, together with 21 other intellectuals, they were tied with barbed wire and immersed in a pit full of mud, at the corner of the Erzen river, he was shot… ; this was the “victim” of servility, with which the communist-terrorists: Enver Hoxha, Mehmet Shehu & company, asked for forgiveness from “Father Stalin” for their inability to protect the Soviet Legation in Tirana…! Memorie.al
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