Durrës and the inhuman slaughter
Sacrificed in the Nazi concentration-camps
It would have been very interesting if we knew how a bright-minded like Voltaire, who defined the history of his time as a view of misery and crimes, would describe the dark time of the Second World War, if he would experience it, when the greatest diabolic persons of the entire humanity, named with the detestable names like Hitler, Gables, Himler, Gering, Ajhman and demon, practiced the horrendous concentration-camps, where within areas surrounded by barbed wires, watchdogs and towers equipped with “Shars” machine-guns, would be significant the statement of Walter Scott in a famous roman, where he said: “Te survivors envied those to whom death spared the great misery that was to come”. I was browsing the book “Sacrificed and survived”, of the co-authors, Dr. Sali Hidri and the dynamic activist Tatjana Bali, dedicated to those who, as if they were followers of Likurg’s philosophy, thought that “I wouldn’t prefer life instead of freedom”, what caused them interment in those extermination camps, I reminded a story from the life of Saint Augustine, who, when asked “What was God doing before he created heaven and earth”, answered: “At that time he created hell to send there those who make such questions”. Yet, if the hell, God created, wasn’t seen by any living people, the ill-famed Nazi-Fascist hell of Bukenwald, Mathausen, Auschwitz, Zaksenhauzen, Dakao, to Pristine, was experienced by millions of men, women, elder and children, who turned into skeletons, just because they couldn’t agree with the barbaric invaders, Hunan of the modern times, or just because of the race they belonged to. Until May 9, 1945, all the fantasy of Dante described in a masterpiece so shivering only reading it, became a shameful and heartless reality. Copying his “Hell” until the uniform of the preamble, the wretched with dressing that remind zebras, discriminated, were equalized with guinea-pigs used for the cruelest experiments, tortured, shot, killed in the gas-rooms, burned in crematoriums, thrown in common burial ground with bulldozers, just as the horrors described by Ana Frank in her diary, Erich Maria Remark, in his roman, Peter Weiss, in “Investigation”, etc.
As convinced that none doubts of the crimes in concentration-camps, the authors of the book in voice have focused their attention on those sons and daughters of the city of Durrës, who were interned mainly after November 20, 1943. The reprisal in Durrës wasn’t just casual. The people of this city opposed the invaders with guns since April 7, 1939, becoming so very the first city in Europe openly set against the Fascists. After the invasion of the nation by the Italian-German regiments, the volcano of the rebellion and the peoples’ struggle exploded all over Albania, as well as in Durrës. A cold reasoning would agree that the traitor Osman Velja wasn’t wrong when he led those three selection phases of the “dangerous elements” to be interned, within the operation “Outing around the Harbour”, that involved measures preventing any possible landing of the allies in the Balkans. The authors of this book, without spreading much in political-military considerations, very concisely and clearly give a background of where everything occurred. About the composition of this book, they say: “The book is composed by the biography of each of the martyrs, mainly those Sacrificed in the Nazi concentration-camps, grouped in relation to the camps (Pristine, Zemun, Mathausen), so making the first part of the book. In the second part, entitled “The Survived”, have been enclosed those who escaped the Nazi hell of the camps and entered the life after Liberation, and who died through the years, as well as those few who are alive still today. The third part of the book is composed of Memories with the inhuman images of those camps… where the life of their friends was extinguished and those, as witnesses of that hell, brought back the sufferings they faced by the Nazi beast”.
Looking at the biography of each one of the interned, whom the Municipality of Durrës, honored two years ago with the title of “Gratitude by the City”, one can notice that all of them were very young, at the age of the beautiful dreams. Their destiny, however: Here the Nazis shot 104 youth on October 23, 1944, amongst whom Kristaq Boshnjaku. The lawyer Sulo Bogdo, in whose house was edited the “Bashkimi” newspaper, was shot on September 1944. And further more, Adli Alushi, Andon Naçi, Ahmet Ramzoti, Dhimitër Kulla, Dhimitër Mali, Ibrahim Xhatufa, Janaq Sotja, Jorgji Ziu, Milto Kulja, Minella Goga, Prokop Sorra, Ramazan Myrto, Riza Sukja, Teodor Bratja, and Vasil Misa were sent at the camp of Zemun, where they died one by one. Afterwards there are listed those who ended their lives in Mathausen: Abdulla Tabaku, Ali Biduli, Asti Gogoli, Besim Mliku, Dhimitër Konduri, Enver Velja, Ilia Dhimo, Hazis Shkupi, Hysen Shtufi, Kostandin Simaku, Kozma Nushi (Public Hero), Naun Thanasi, Sami Kariqi, Sofokli Dhimitriadhi, Sulejamn Dakoli, Sulejman Puskja, Taqo Dimo, Telat Noga, Teofik Skilja, Vasil Gjata, Vaskë Dushku, Xhemal Kasa. The way they died is almost unrevealed in the book, yet their death at around twenty years old each, almost at the same time and same place, is the evidence of what occurred. I mentioned all of these martyrs as homage to them, for folks were regardful to the statement of Homer, that: “Nothing could be more precious than giving the life for the nation”. Nevertheless, I cannot lay aside those who escaped death by chance and lived amongst us, like Vangjeli Gjoni, Fotini Dushku, Kozma Prifti, Ymer Jakovia, Ksanthipi Kalavaci, Stefan Konduri, Asti Gjika, Halit Struga, Polikseni Lula, Niko Nishku, Laz Çaushi, Leonidha Heba, Mihal Marto, Dr. Lluka Dhimitri, Dr. Mihal Konomi, and Liri Xhunga, who left back a book of memories for her friends in the concentration-camps, giving genuinely the spiritual state of the prisoners going toward sure death: “We walked and thought. We thought about the nation, the struggle of partisans, and the struggle of anti-Fascist people against Nazism. Our odiousness was increasing. We thought about our relatives, far away. We thought about the friends we left back in Thessalonica: about Fato, about Sofia, about Dhoksia, about those innocent Greek women and about that mother who was forcedly separated from her daughter. We thought about all that slaughter we’d seen by the way to Ravezbruk…”.
Prof. Koço Bihiku from the camp of Pristine and Mustafa Elezi and the sage and modest Enver Plepi from the camp of Mathausen, who are still alive, just as if they were to witness to the world that we Albanian justify the right to have the deserved place along with other civilized people, not only by our precious qualities, but also by unparalleled sacrifices and valuable contribution to the final victory crowned with the now symbolic lifting of the flag on Rajshtag, by the two Russian soldiers.
The ethic code detains me, but after reading this book, I can’t help but saying that: My grandfather died very young and my mother was brought up by her uncle, Beqir Sulo Agalliu, rewarded “For distinguished patriotic activity”, along with his brother Mehmet. Both those marvelous men were interned by the Germans in the concentration-camps where Beqir died likewise many others, and Mehmet returned back in Albania, for he jumped down from the train that was transporting them from a camp to another, yet he died while I was about seven years old, for he was with tuberculosis since he was in the camp. He never told about what he suffered in the camps of Germany, but after closing his eyes, in the first page of a notebook he had written a statement from “The crime of Sylvester Bonary” by Anatoly Franc, which says: “Pain is unavoidable for life is full of misery; I would teach the serenity that makes us rise above every misery giving beauty even to pain itself”.
I suppose this was the goal of the authors of the book dedicated to the interned in the Nazi concentration-camps, a goal worthily reached by the co-authors Dr. Sali Hidri and Tatjana Bali. Shpendi Topollaj