[Historical Albanian Dioràma (17 °]] The forgotten shoah of the sons of Skanderbeg or the forgotten atrocities of the Nazi-Mao-Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha The "Pol Pot" of Albania
● ●● O land of Albania, which you were to that brave Iskander of the wise example, and of the young scola, and to the Hero of equal name, of whom the invincible proofs, you will often dismay your enemies! ●●● (From the "Pilgrimage of the young Aroldo" by Lord BYRON)
Thus sang the great English poet George Byron (1788-1824), after adventurous journeys in the East, visiting that indomitable and proud strip of Adriatic land that for some decades was the only effective bulwark against the obstinate and continuous breaking out of the barbarian invasions of the Empire of Ertoghrùl in Europe: Empire humiliated in Lepanto in the 1571 from the Christian nations until the peace of Carlovitz of the 1699, after the victory at Zenta by the prince Eugenio di Savoia (1663-1736), and until its total dismemberment of the 1878 operated by Inglesi, Russi and Austrians in the famous Berlin congress.
This brief historical-literary premise serves as a viaticum to spur us on to break a lance in favor of the unfortunate and tortured homeland of Giorgio Skanderbeg is……. of the Ancestors of us Arbëreshë. Already, Albania! There is no one today who does not consider the state of extreme dramatic socio-economic precariousness in which he still languishes! Who, moreover, are those responsible for the drama of an entire people, a people who are in a spasmodic search for a general national catharsis? They must be sought, of course, in that ruling class that ran power from November 1944 to March 1991.
But let's proceed step by step. There shqiperia (literally means "land of the eagles"), freed from the Turkish yoke in the 1912 after almost five centuries of subjection, it has known only a very short period of effective freedom. In April 1939, in fact, the Savoy-Fascist Italy occupies (without firing) the small Balkan state that had given itself a monarchical order (eleven years before) with Ahmet Muhtàr Bey Zogolli. Officially the Albanian Crown, passed from Zog I to Vittorio Emanuele III, shared the Italian destiny until September 1943, year in which there was the dramatic disengagement of Italy within the Axis forces. It is our intention, in order to be able to understand the current situation facing the Republic shqipëtare, starting from that terrible year! Basically we want to make a modest contribution to the dissemination, among the readers of "ALBANIA NEWS", of some historical-political aspects that have characterized the period of time that goes from 1943 to 1991.
Beginning (after the tragic 8 September 1943) the civil war in Southern Albania, where the two forces of the Anti-fascist Resistance vied - the Communist Party disguised in "National Liberation Movement" and "Balli Kombër"(The latter was the most important group of Albanian Democrats in arms) - the followers of Enver Hoxha (undisputed leader of the communist partisan camp), already slaves of the agents of Josip Broz (aka "Marshal Tito"), chose the weapon of terror for the seizure of power. The discovery, also in the 1943, of the Fossa di Shipëska (near Korçë) with hundreds of corpses, many of them flayed alive, with the feet mounted by horseshoes, with cut genitals, was their first gruesome "masterpiece" against adversaries indomitable! The first Albanian "Katin" was not the last.
Some time later, Mehmèt Shèhu (future Prime Minister of communist Albania, from the 1954 to the 1981), with the hostages of the "Balli Kombër" movement, had another pit dug in Lushnje, where hundreds more people were buried (poor peasants, for the most part)! And when the convents of the "Bektashi" (a sect of Muslims, whose world center is in Albania) sided with the nationalist forces, the Communists attacked them, destroyed them and smashed the resistant superior monks like Baba Zylfo Turani ( 1883-1943). But the most infamous terror the exercised after the seizure of power took place on November 29 1944. The thousands of scattered non-communist anti-fascists reached the other heroes of the fight against the new Bolshevik Regime of Hoxha. Prisons and concentration camps regurgitated convicts.
All the acclaimed works of the Regime were the result of the forced labor of these slaves - men and women - who for the most part perished hungry and exhausted.
A shqipëtàr professor who took refuge in the West, speaking of the wave of terror in Albania, described a communist court against the Archbishop of Durrës, Mons. Vinçènc Prëndùshi (1885-1949), poet and writer of fame: "The prosecutor reads the sentence. Accusation: enemy of the people, collaborator of the fascist occupier, reactionary Vatican agent. Condemnation: twenty years of forced labor. It was the mildest sentence in those circumstances of the 1947.
From the mouth of Mgr. Prëndùshi I learned that they tortured him (tied his hands and feet) hanging him horizontally on an axis and leaving him like this for days and days like sheep from the butcher! Sick of heart and asthmatic forced him, scoffing, to climb a steep hill carrying heavy construction beams on his shoulders. It was his Cross! He died after unheard of suffering in the 1949 looking for (similar to the great Wolfgang Goethe) ...... the light, because the eyes of man seek the dying sun ... ».
With regard to the religious situation in Albania it can be stated with complete tranquility that from the conquest of independence from the Sublime Porte (November 28 1912) to the rise to power of the communists (29 November 1944), Albanian Catholics and their Orthodox and Muslim compatriots enjoyed a relative religious peace in their status as believers; after all, no one was ever pursued because he was a Catholic and a believer in God; nor did anyone seriously think of eradicating Christianity and getting rid of the Church. But with the advent of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hòxha (1908-1985) e Mehmè Shèhu (1913-1981) the situation suddenly fell into the darkest abyss. Total, organized, unprejudiced and openly hostile persecution of Catholicism was carried out with implacable fury. And all this in a dead silence, without anyone being able to speak or protest: those who had the courage to open their mouths ended up in forced labor! The total elimination of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the radical suppression of religious and cultural institutions and the suffocation of Christian life were carried out with cold calculation and meticulous execution of the pre-established plans.
The 2 December 1945 the newspaper "Bashkìmi" gave the first signal of the storm reporting from the Soviet "Iszvestja" of the 30 November the threats of Ilija Ehrenburg (1891-1967) who had recently visited Albania: "The reactionaries have launched a campaign to boycott the elections, led by the great landowners, the Catholic clergy and many Jesuits". A few months later, again in the "Bashkìmi" of 25 in January 1946, one of the most prominent Albanian communist leaders in an interview granted to some journalists echoed the famous Soviet intellectual: "The highest personalities of the Catholic episcopate in Albania still have the "to dare to justify their collaboration with the enemy, saying that they would take part in the national reconstruction, if they were not bewildered by a series of ideologies that are in full contrast with their conscience and their moral principles". The end of the Catholic Church had been decreed and the persecution was unleashed with infernal fury through the typical "popular" processes. The watchword was to demolish the Church, the greatest obstacle to expansionism and the victory of communism. The first to fall were the secular priests; the Jesuits followed and soon after came the turn of the Franciscans. So that of the 120 native priests, well 70 were suppressed between unspeakable tortures and mortifications.
Shortly afterwards two prelates were also arrested: Mons. Frano Gjini (1886-1948), Mithrite abbot of Mirditi and Mgr. Gjergj Volàj, ordinary of Nënshati. Both, after being barbarously tortured, were shot together with eleven Catholic laymen.
The last prelate remained free, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Shkodër, Mgr. Gaspër Thaçi, died in the center due to the lack of medical care due to the segregation imposed on him by the communists and the pain of not being able to exercise the priestly ministry. Therefore, at the end of the 1948, the purpose of the Government of Enver Hoxha (the "Pol Pot" of Albania!) Could practically be reached to eliminate the Catholic hierarchy. The 1951 was even more stormy for the remaining small Catholic clergy: the establishment of the Albanian Church separated from Rome. Already since 26 November 1949 the Government had promulgated the infamous Decree-Law n. 743 on ecclesiastical communities, which created prison structures that they euphemistically called "re-education". Thus forced fields arose in the district of Shkodër, a Fishta (Zadrimë), in the Ishùlli i Lezhës, in Torovica (Mal i Jushit) and Haimël. Almost all of these fields saw the light during the 1974 and were populated by some young 4.600. According to a report by "Amnesty International" in Albania there were, until March 1991, as many as thirty-one "concentration camps": a record not passed by other Eastern European countries!
One last observation. What were the faults worthy of "isolation and re-education"? Here they are:
- organize a cultural event;
- to complain about the duration of the work and the scarcity of food;
- to criticize the men of the Regime or to speak of them in a less than serious tone (to tell jokes);
- listen to foreign radio stations;
- to imitate their peers in Western Europe in clothing!
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