(Above) Anti-fascist demonstration in Tirana where Nexhmije saw Enver for the first time. They would later meet in a Partisan safehouse.
9. In Kucaka. Another Yugoslav emissary
In Kucaka, near Korca, I met-up again with Enver. It had been a long time we had seen each other and we spent some time talking. He told me about the problems that they had encountered in Vlora with the anti-party and factionist Sadik Premte, whom I had known very well in Tirana. I had met him at some of the bases where illegals were sheltered. He was a cynical man who would be a destructive influence on the work with the youth elements. I reported to Enver about the terror exercised in Tirana, the general situation and the many searches that had taken place, including his sister’s house and the room where we used to stay together.
After we spent some time together, Enver asked me:
“Can you find something to do? Or perhaps you could go outside and check around, as now we have a meeting with a comrade coming from Yugoslavia”.
I went out onto the porch where I found Fiqret Sanxhaktari who had traveled from Korca, where she had been transferred after the mistake in kidnapping the daughter of Man Kukaleshi. This was done in order to blackmail him for he was the most notorious spy in Tirana, serving the fascist invaders and their collaborators. Fiqret would sometimes deal with the typing of documents for the Central Party Committee. As we were sitting and talking, we saw a tall man coming down the stairs. He was dressed in a well-sewn military kaki suit. He was followed by a young lady, she was well built, good-looking and in the same type of kaki suit; partisan trousers and jacket. Under her arm she had a workbag. Both of them walked past without turning their heads as if we weren’t there. I asked Fiqret who they were. She told me: his name was Svetzer Vukmanovic, his nickname was Tempo, whereas the lady was his secretary, but they also say she was his wife. Her name was Milica.
When I saw Enver again, I told him about the two guests who didn’t even greet us.
He smiled and added:
“They are angry with me”.
Being somewhat surprised I asked him why they were angry. Enver explained to me who Tempo was and what he wanted to do in Albania, Greece and Bulgaria. Enver has called Tempo the wandering ambassador of Tito, who entered Albania through Montenegro, and sometimes through Macedonia. Tempo, it seemed, would put forward as his personal ideas the statements and orders received for the establishment of a General Big Inter-Balkan Headquarters in which Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece would be involved. Enver has described Vukamanovic Tempo exactly as he was – arrogant, stubborn, a wild anti-Albanian Serb chauvinist of the first class.
During the comings and goings of this “political Mafioso”, Enver had had hot debates with Tempo regarding his scornful and unfair criticism him in relation to the Party and our partisan Units. Tempo suggested that we set up proletarian partisan brigades, similar to those in Yugoslavia. According to him we had to establish the General Headquarters. Actually we had already decided about this at the First National Conference of the Party. Tempo wanted to do this because he needed to establish the General Balkans Headquarters, which would be led by Tito during the war. Whereas later….. ., Later there would be other plans, on “political integration”, party, government and the Balkan Federation, (“certainly with Tito leading”). The great Dimitrov was not satisfactory enough for the appetite of this megalomaniac, who wasn’t satisfied with the Federation of the Yugoslav Republics, which were artificially created by the superpowers, at the expense of other nations and nationalities.
The debate in Kucaka between Enver and Tempo reached a point of no return. On one of the trips Tempo undertook, he asked that Koci Xoxe go with him. Apparently they understood each other very well. On the way to Greece, Koci had reported everything in the world to Tempo and had spat out all the anger he kept inside against Enver Hoxha.
When these two were due back in Kucaka from Greece, it turned out that they hadn’t done much. In fact, Tempo immediately wanted to convene a meeting with those comrades present there. He didn’t mention why, but at that meeting I remember he brought up much criticism, especially against Enver. These facts are already known since Enver described them very well in his memoirs. It is also a well-known fact that when involved with such talks, the woman who had been introduced as Tempo’s secretary interfered.
Enver told her:
“You stay where you are, don’t behave like Geraldine. . (former Albanian Queen).”
This incident caused the secretary to burst into tears and made Tempo angry.
It is not true that Enver was “harsh with women”, as one foreign author has written; on the contrary. But, Enver was not the sort of person to tolerate scorn and unfair criticism, even from Tempo. Not even from people of higher rank, as time showed later.
From what I remember, Enver, after Kucaka, didn’t meet Vukmanovic Svetozar Tempo again during the war. After the war they met during the visit Enver paid to Belgrade in June 1946, as well as later in Moscow, when the Khruschovites fixed up some negotiations. They also met in July 1947, when Enver returned from his visit to the Soviet Union, where he had had his first meeting with Stalin and he found Tempo leading a delegation composed of military personnel.
10. The General Headquarters and Enver Hoxha approach Tirana
Below, Balli Kombetar is translated as “National Front”(not to be confused with the Anti-fascist National Liberation Front) and its members as “frontists”. The National Front, created in 1942 and led by Mithat Frash, was an Albanian reactionary organization which, during the final years of the war, opted to collaborate with the Italian and German forces in Albania, thus opposing the Anti-fascist National Liberation Front.
In Labinot, from the 4th until the 9th of September 1943, the Second National Liberation Conference was convened. The decisions that were made there, are quite famous in the history of the National Liberation War of our people. This conference approved the establishment of the General Headquarters of the National Liberation Army, the creation of large partisan units, an extension of the activities of the National Liberation Councils of the Front and, the upgrading of their role within the nuclei of the new popular government. The conference condemned the treachery of the representatives of the National Liberation Front in Mukje led by Ymer Dishnica and Mustafa Gjinishi. These two, instead of arranging for the involvement in the war of the National Front and Legaliti forces, became victims of their traps. They began to consider themselves not only as equal members concerning the future of the country (in spite of them not participating in the war), but they were also given the opportunity of taking the lead as saviours of the nation.
Abaz Kupi, who until that moment was riding two “horses”, left the front and tried to ingratiate himself with the invaders, to save his own life as he expected the British would bring back King Zog. Enver made another attempt to organize another ‘tete a tete’ with him, in Shen Gjergj, at the house of their common friend, Shtepanajt. Nothing was achieved, though. Bazi of Cane left the front, and joined the deserter nationalists from the Peza Conference. But now the Front attained a broader stage of development, not only in its base but also in the General Council. Its’ members were well-known personalities in our country; such as politicians, progressives , antifascist fighters, and high rank military, etc.
During the conference, important events took place. During a break, we heard on the radio Italy has capitulated. It is understandable what it meant for us. The second bit of news was: German forces having reached Greece had invaded through Korca and, anywhere else they were able to set foot they would instigate massacres. In Borova, a village in Kolonja, they had killed elderly people, women and children. They had also burnt down the whole village.
The capitulation of Italy meant the surrender of the Italian army in our country. This was one of Enver’s primary concerns. Disarming the Italian army meant that their arms were to be surrendered to the Albanian National Liberation Army. All frontists and non-frontists were eager to get their hands on the arms and arm depots of the Italian army. The other side of the coin was related to the protection of the defeated army, their self-protection, and turning them into an anti-fascist power, to serve our liberated country against fascism. How could it save itself from being massacred by the mad Hitlerites, who had now been left in a mess by their former ally?
The conference issued a call to the Italian armed forces, and Enver Hoxha himself signed the order concerning the protection of Italian army.
I can not leave without mentioning here that this attitude of Enver, especially for the Italian anti-fascists and communists and many other Italian progressive personalities, was remarkable for its long lived effects. Their gratitude was later to be expressed through their solidarity, petitions, publications, public manifestations. When I was arrested at the time when Berisha was infected with power fever, he kept me in an isolated prison cell for more than 5 years. He also persecuted my family harshly for a long period. This was due, only to the fact that I was the wife of Enver Hoxha. I am very thankful to those Italian friends who did what they did for me in those difficult days created by the anti-democratic regime of Berisha.
The news of Italy capitulating caused an indescribable happiness and enthusiasm for all delegates, partisans and peasants who were on duty. To those who took out and fired off their pistols, even knowing that they might draw the attention of the enemies who were located in the area.
While talking unemotionally to the comrades, Enver told them that Italy’s capitulation was truly a victory for our struggle, though it created new situations, which required caution and all of us to be well prepared, since the new enemy was even wilder. Consequently, our war against them had to be more intense. The Nazis, he said, in order to protect their positions in Greece and other countries in the Balkans from being threatened, will attack Albania too, so the path of the war for liberation is a long one. . . .
This was the major concern of Enver in those days. His concern was an even more comprehensive one, regarding the development of the situation at the war fronts in Europe. Furthermore, the opening of the second front by the Anglo-American allies was being held back. Enver thought the allies might land in Italy aiming at detaching this country as well as the Balkans from Germany and after that, it was likely that the Germans would be attacked from the direction of France as well as from other directions also. So they would be caught and wouldn’t have the chance to breathe. He thought that, with regard to the Balkans, the second front in this sector would be left with the National Liberation Forces of the respective Balkans countries. The increase and extension of the National Liberation Movement in Albania, Greece, and Yugoslavia and their successes, showed that the movements were capable of accomplishing this overload successfully.
The new perspectives and duties emerging for the future of Albania immediately after the conclusion of the Second National Liberation Conference took into account these developments.
The General Headquarters and Enver Hoxha as political commissar (and, at the time General Secretary of the Albanian Communist Party), moved towards Tirana. They stopped nearby Arbana, a village situated in a free area of Peza, where the command of the Peza partisan group was situated. It was lead by the well-known patriot and fighter Myslym Peza. This move of the headquarters to a few kilometers distant from the capital city, was related to the military and political situation that would need to be created in case of any possible landing of allies in the Balkans, especially in Albania.
As soon as he arrived in Arbana, Enver called for Gogo Nushi, who was once a member of the Central Communist Party Committee and political secretary of the party for the Tirana Region. After having been informed about the situation of our forces and the enemy forces in the capital city, Enver spoke of the possibility of the allies landing in the Balkans and Albania and asked to know how many armed fighters could be prepared in order to support a coordinated attack of partisan forces from the surrounding hills.
Soon after returning to Tirana, Gogo Nushi convened the Tirana Regional Committee in which I participated in my capacity as political secretary of the Communist Youth for Tirana. There, he presented the issues and requirements raised by comrade Enver when they had conversed. We debated for a long time, taking into account the delicacy and importance of the questions involved. I don’t remember exactly which official reply was delivered from this meeting apart from the problem regarding “guerrilla units not being sufficiently equipped and prepared to undertake such a significant action”, but the people and youth were prepared for this attack and would support the guerillas.
I was not at all optimistic about the success of this attack at that time, concerning the Liberation of Tirana and taking power. Therefore, I wrote a letter, a long one, I might say, to Enver about this. It is dated 22nd September 1943. Fortunately and surprisingly it is one of those letters saved from my correspondence with Enver during the National Liberation War. Nevertheless, I was only able to save some of Enver’s letters during the time when we were outlawed. These are approximately 13 and have a documentary value. They are so dear to me.
In the letter sent to Enver, amongst other things, I wrote:
“Guerrilla Units of the city are available but you should be aware that they are not trained and are in-experienced. And this first trial is a very dangerous one. Our units and the people certainly will help and support the entry of our army into the city, but I am not very confident about the military support they can provide. They could hinder the movements of the enemy, they can fight it, and can capture positions in the city, but without units they won’t be able to confront the enemy. First we should be reinforced with more automatic weapons, tanks, etc, since, it is unimaginable they can acquire adequate experience in two or three days. The enemy is a strong military power and the bastards (the Albanians) serving them, have shown them how to escape and hide, if they are chased or attacked in the city. But the enemy forces are equipped with motorcycles and sufficient numbers of tanks for them to occupy one of the main roads of the city, which is unreachable by any of our groups or units. I don’t know much about war strategy and I don’t know what your situation is, but Tirana cannot be taken unless the roads to Durres and Elbasan are destroyed. As for the burning of the city and the widespread terrorising of the people, I don’t see that the enemy would have enough forces and opportunities to be able to manage this. . . . Apart from the weapons that have been provided to our units, it is evident that a large part of the population has also been armed. This has become more obvious during the past two nights when there has been quite a lot of shooting. It seems that the people are testing their guns and revolvers. Tirana can be taken, but the question is, whether or not we can hold it. I am doubtful of this, and losing, control of the city will mean a great political and military loss…”
Then in the letter I wrote to him about our work with the National Liberation Councils, with the evacuated groups of people from Durres, and with the Youth etc. I also explained to him the ongoing activities of the National Front and those for the revitalization of certain elements from the ranks of the high level official intelligentsia.
Until this time they had been apart but they were now thinking that, on the ‘eve’ of the English American allies landing, it was the moment to found “social-democratic” parties etc, and to ask for their participation without even helping us in the armed struggle.
In the second part of my letter I wrote to Enver about some of my concerns related to our personal relations. With Enver away from Tirana, the two of us could only communicate through letters. But Enver had a tendency to send me very brief letters that were not at all satisfactory to me. Even when there was a chance to meet-up with each other (as was sometimes the case with particular meetings or conferences of a national character), my young heart would break as the meetings with Enver were rather limited and short. There was more time taken to say goodbye, than spend time together. When we would participate in very important meetings such as those of Peza, Labinot, Permet, Helmes etc, those were the best occasions for me. At least I could see him with my own eyes and would satisfy my longing. However, during those days the two of us were not able to be alone together very much to talk. This was due not only to the fact that he was very busy with work, but also because the war conditions and Party norms wouldn’t allow him (nor I, for that matter) to detach himself from his duties and spend some hours together as two youngsters in love would want.
So, in no way should we attract the attention of comrades or delegates, regarding the interest that Enver showed with regards to me or our relationship. Our relationship was known only to our two families and to the principal leaders of the Party.
Under these circumstances, in an unconscious way, I could feel the “difference” both in age and political maturity between Enver and myself. I mention age because, being that much younger than he, I required him to write letters to me more often; longer and more intimate ones. Due to my age, this was just a whim of mine, but in those difficult moments Enver didn’t have the chance and time to reply to these girlish wishes, as I would have liked. However, be it from love, or be it from being always distant from him, I wanted Enver to write more and more to me, so that through long and intimate letters I could feel him closer, talk to him, feel from far away through the lines of those letters, his heart beating . . .
For example; he had left a very short letter for me in Zaloshnja, near Skrapar, in May 1943 when he had left Tirana to go to Vlora. On that specific occasion, he had gone there in order to visit Kucaka near Korca. He knew I would be there to participate in the first Conference of the Albanian Communist Youth, but since I hadn’t arrived, he had only jotted down a few lines for me… . When I arrived, I was given this piece of paper and, to tell the truth, I was glowing with happiness. This happiness soon turned into anger because the letter was a very brief one. During the months of July and August, I spent some time in Skrapar where I received four other letters from Enver. These were sent to me from Labinot and Vithkuq, but they too were very short letters and even contained work directives and personal requests. In two letters he would justify himself saying he was very busy with work and would promise me that some other time he would find the time to write me longer letters.
So, sadness and boredom captured my soul, because I missed Enver and I missed his letters as well as his caresses, which were so indispensable for the heart of a young woman in love. Some time would pass before I got used to it. Certainly, despite, my soul going through pains and suffering, I found the strength, hope and faith to wait until the day, the so much expected day, of freedom, when we would be together forever. I tried to keep myself away from those gloomy moods and sadness and managed to adjust myself to new conditions, away from Enver. These months were very different from the first ones, when we had just met and fallen in love with each other in Tirana. During those days, I had many occasions and opportunities to meet Enver quite often and I would stay and talk with him for long periods, be it at his sister’s place or in any of those bases where we could find shelter, as I have previously described in these memoirs.
Our Communist Party was never against true love or against stable relationships and the establishment of healthy families. But during the Nation Liberation War, attention had to be paid to our youth. They had to be monitored, since there were already claims by our enemies in their propaganda, deceitful lies regarding the morality of the communists. On the other hand, our people were widely sensitive to the behavior of our youth within society. It was only due to the discipline exercised by the communist party in the partisan army, which encouraged even the most conservative from different regions, to send their daughters and sisters to war with complete trust in the healthy morality of the communists and the partisans. There were only two or three occasions when this discipline broke down, as in the case of comrade F.S. in Tirana and that of another comrade from Gjirokaster. The only penalty was that they were expelled from the Party. There was also another occasion where comrade Ramize Gjebrea in Vlora was tragically executed. Our partisan women became friends and sisters who would heal the wounds of partisans, would nurse the sick, knit pullovers, sew their socks etc. In such a fraternal and sociable atmosphere, round the fire for freedom, our healthy love nurtured and strengthened our love for freedom. It laid the foundations of many partisan families, created right after liberation.
I will stop at a painful occasion when our comrade, Ramize Gjebrea, was shot by the firing squad. She has been written and spoken about very frequently. Enver in a letter addressed to Nako Spiro regarding this matter among others, would say:
“In spite of that little devil not behaving well, the punishment was really harsh …. .”
This issue became notorious amongst the comrades of the Brigade, who were alarmed at the observations of the work of Ramize, and regarded in it as an offence and discredit to the army and Party. Thus, they made their hasty decision without first asking the Central Committee. According to Enver, this issue should have first been discussed with the Central Committee since he knew that Ramize used to be Nako Spiro’s fiancé, and he certainly had the right to have his say. Ramize’s attitude was harmful (but not to the extent that warranted such extreme measures) not because she loved, but because she didn’t show stability in the love and the relation she had with Nako, even though he was her free choice. With her new love she went beyond the norms of morality, which were expected during the war by the Party and by society.
“The issue of free love”, Enver wrote to Nako, “is a very delicate issue, and some comrades seem not to have understood this. Concerning the delicate issue of love, comrades of the Party and the Youth should pay strict attention, since this issue is cuts both ways. If the issue of free love is misunderstood by our comrades, then we pass easily into whore-mongering. On the other hand, it could also be transformed into a celibate lifestyle. This issue has to be clearly introduced to the Youth and the Party through conferences, because we are not a religious organization, and we should consider all our work with a progressive perspective”.
11. Frequent correspondence with Enver
The period from March until September, 1943 was overwhelmed by important political and military events within the country and also in the international arena. The first Conference of the Albanian Communist Party appointed Enver as Secretary General. This upgraded his responsibilities with regard to the strengthening and establishment of the role and activities of the Party at the level of contemporary demands, as well as for the guidance of the Front of the National Liberation Antifascist War. He had to travel to Vlora in very dangerous times, in order to destroy an anti-party fraction of led Sadik Premte. This time was a period characteristic of the establishment of large fighting groups, partisan brigades and the organization of the General Headquarters, which would guide and take the National Liberation Army towards general rebellion.
The opening of the second front by the allies was expected. Mussolini fell. At this time, organizations of those groups called nationalists, such as the National Front and others, called National Zogist Boards, etc, started to revitalize and make their moves in order to occupy a place under the rising sun of freedom. The Communist Party and the leadership of the National Liberation Front required “the fathers of the nation” to become involved in the war with concrete actions against the new invaders, the Nazi Germans. For this reason the Mukje Meeting was organized, but it was set on a wrong track because of political myopia and the tolerance shown by the communist party delegation and the National Liberation Front (headed by Ymer Dishnica and Mustafa Gjinishi).
These two legimtised political heads of organizations that had not only never fought against the invaders, but had even entered into collaboration with the invaders in both secret and open agreements with them. They wanted to show themselves as being the saviors of Albania without even firing a shot! They wanted to lead the government of a liberated Albania even though it was the blood and the war of the people’s best sons, who had taken the responsibility of freeing the country.
In these circumstances, Enver was fully mobilized. According to his letters addressed to members of the Central Committee in Tirana, Gjirokastra, Vlora, Elbasan etc, (the correspondence of this period of time has been published in the first two editions of his works, dealing with the National Liberation War ), he was very concerned about what was happening and what was to be done. Under such conditions, with an overload of work and numerous problems, Enver didn’t even have the time to eat or sleep properly, whereas I, in my romantic mood and nature, wanted him to write to me “long and special letters … .
In the letters addressed to Nako Spiro, Ymer Dishnica and Gogo Nushi in Tirana, Enver was dissatisfied with the quality of work of these comrades from the Regional Committee, the Youth and Party organizations. After the capitulation of Italy and during the euphoric atmosphere it created, certain things were tolerated, “which could cost the future and war of Albania much”, Enver stated in his letters. Young partisans and illegals would enter and exit Tirana and its outskirts, as if the city were liberated. The secret locations of the shelters for the illegals were compromised, as if (along with the capitulation of the Italians) the administration of collaborators, agents, spies and mercenaries had been disbanded. But this administration was still intact, somewhat disarranged, but awaiting its new masters, the German Nazis.
During this period, the Mukje Meeting was organized. Instead of enabling the involvement of those nationalist organizations that had remained outside the National Liberation Front in the armed war against Nazi fascists, it turned into a complete fiasco, quite contradictory to the objectives defined and formulated in the platform of the Central Committee of the Albanian Communist Party. Enver’s Papers and correspondence of those days, which were surprisingly published (as were the activities of the Central Committee and of Enver; such a thing was not done by any of the communist parties of Central-Eastern Europe), show how much caution and attention he paid to the elaboration of the Mukje Meeting’s Platform. Enver prepared the Communist Party delegation headed by Ymer Dishnica and Mustafa Gjinishi. However, when they fell head over heals into the “trap” set by the National Front who established a “Committee for National Salvation” under their leadership, and also released a pamphlet, Enver ‘hit the roof’ and shouted out “Treachery!”.
Enver was kind and considerate with comrades. This is also evident from his correspondence with them, through the friendly jokes he made with them. But when the Party line was violated and political mistakes were made, he didn’t care to know who made the mistakes but took the necessary actions.
The same happened with me, too. Being a member of the Central Committee of Youth, Political Secretary of Youth for Tirana and as such, a member of the Regional Party Committee, the criticism of Enver rolled like thunder over my head, even harder than in the conversations we had had in Labinot. The criticism continued when he came to Arbana and has been written down in the correspondence of that period. I can’t hide it, being an only daughter, brought up in a small family, a quiet one living in full harmony – I wasn’t used to being scolded. Also, I was never seriously criticized in my revolutionary life (not politically at least), apart from general remarks on every day work with our Youth, etc. But this time it seemed that I was overwhelmed by Enver’s criticisms. As I said, I wasn’t used to criticism, and my reaction to them was a great shock deep in my soul, since I took them very seriously. Being criticized made me feel that I had committed some really bad error. The criticisms addressed to me were related to the mistakes made at the Mukje Meeting and the Regional Committee of Tirana not having intervened in time in order to avoid those mistakes. They were also related to the euphoric attitude of the youth following Mussolini’s collapse and the capitulation of fascist Italy. In addition, it had to do with our sub-standard propaganda, especially against the National Front’s demagogy and with the other so-called nationalists who saw an opportunity to try to take power.
All of these criticisms were quite correct and acceptable, so I wrote a letter to Enver about them: “I am especially sorry that I can not give more to the Party”. What I couldn’t understand and what made me go through a very difficult spiritual period, was Enver criticizing me even for things I wasn’t responsible for, such as the issue of Mukje. It is true, I was an intellectual with responsibilities in Tirana, I was also member of the Party circuit for Tirana, but I had never been convened to any of the discussions to exchange ideas about this issue, between Ymer Dishica, Gogo Nushi and Nako Spiro, all three of them members of the Central Committee. Even at the Regional Committee, nothing was mentioned about this meeting, or about what was going to be discussed or developed there. Despite this, what upset me more were the instructions Enver gave to comrades in letters or meetings “an order for them to scold me anytime I would make a mistake.”
Why would Enver do this? Apparently he was worried that I might become selfish due to my youth and to the relationship we had. So, in two letters he had sent to comrades’ of the Central Committee of Party for Tirana, Ymer Dishnica and Gogo Nushi, Enver had used certain criticisms and severe expressions regarding me. This happened not a long after we had fallen in love, and I was somewhat upset. I felt offended since they seemed unfair to me. I still have a short letter, the size of a business card, with relation to this. Ymer Dishnica addresses it to Enver, saying: “What you are writing about the delegate is unfair, but apparently you want us to praise her… .”
Upset by these criticisms which I wasn’t able to swallow anymore, on September 2nd, 1943, I wrote him a long letter in which I said (among other things):
” . . The concern and the way in which you criticized me during our recent conversation in Arbana, has led me to believe that you are rather dissatisfied. Some unthinking words indicated that you are disappointed.
. . . I don’t understand why comrades are told to always scold me when I make mistakes! They should treat as they do with all the others. In my opinion, not for one moment, have I thought to be coddled just because I am your fiancé.
I have tried to take lightly and laugh at the other instances where you have harshly criticized me, but tonight, I didn’t really appreciate the instruction that you gave Gogo.
My Enver – towards the end of the letter – you should shake hands in all seriousness, and stop treating me harsher than the others, since you are closer to me than they are, apart from your Party relations …. .”
To this letter, dated September 22nd 1943, Enver answered from Arbana of Peza, on September 24th. He started his letter focusing on the second part of my letter. He wrote:
Your letter really hurt me, and you appear to be very upset with me and my attitude towards you. I understand your psychological situation very well and I know your sensitive nature. Certainly there are moments where I do overdo my criticism towards you, but this shouldn’t make you feel upset. Don’t take my criticism that deeply as to feel tortured by my words, ‘I thought you were more clever”. Don’t think I am disappointed with you etc.
I wouldn’t want my wife to get upset in such a way. I may have been over-critical but it should be taken as constructive rather than as something upsetting to you as you mentioned. It would be better if you were to assume less in the meaning of my words, some of which may have been somewhat inappropriate. They were not intended to upset you; on the contrary, I wouldn’t like you to continue your work in such a state. Your soul should be peaceful and joyful since I have the best of opinions about you. Of course, my criticisms will continue with regards to your work and your development, giving you a helping hand (as you say in your letter), but not scorning you. Don’t feel angry with me for often being severe with you, since, according to the saying: “the ones loving you, scold you”.
Since I do love you (I am saying I love you because you seem to not want to trust me) more than the comrades, I will scold you more”.
I close this chapter – Enver writes – saying once more that
“in the depths of your soul” there shouldn’t be any worries or desperation. My Nexhmije, I believe you do this favor to me”.
And, right there, my Enver without any ceremony, proceeds:
“Now I will start chasing you out”…. .
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry about this “thunder” in the blue sky. At the time, I cried, but later, anytime I happened to read this letter, with regards to the above unexpected “jump”, I would feel like laughing. I remember and miss a lot the jokes related to our correspondence.
He: “I have written to you more than one thousand letters….passionate ones, whereas you…”
I: “You lost all of my letters during the war, whereas I preserved yours, despite the Nazi Fascist terrors all over Tirana.”
I am going back to that part of his letter, in which he had decided to educate and temper his wife.
“The unit will attack the Germans where they least expect it and the guerrillas in the city will attack at the right moment They will therefore extensively support the operation from outside and you will be surprised…”.
…First thing, that they should know is hat they will be the guards of the city maintaining order, in order to stabilize the situation, to organize food supplies for the people and to manage communications, etc.
In your communications, you don’t have to go on using clichéd comments: “Try to explain concretely without using big words, e.g. Frontists say:
“Germans are leaving Russia of their own free will” “partisans are killing the Italians surrendering to them” etc., etc. don’t be too meticulous, just give them a thorough dressing down, since they don’t wear gloves when they fight us”.
Subsequently, Enver gave directions and instructions as to the function of the National Liberation Councils in the new situation and on the role of the youth. Naturally, he ends his letter with kisses and longing hugs.
This period of 3-4 months, this “duel” of letters seemed like summer rain, leaving no traces. To the contrary, it helped us to get to know each other better, our characteristics, nature, personalities etc.
After a few months had passed; during the harshest Nazi German reaction in Tirana, the circuit of the Party with Gogo Nushi and other comrades of the Central Committee received orders to take action in the outskirts of the city and the surrounding villages. I remained inside the city in order to keep up the connections with the Regional Committee as well as with comrade Gogo. He in turn would keep the connections with the regions and circuits of the Central Committee. However, this period didn’t last long as the other comrades of the circuit and propaganda material had returned to the town. A little later Nako Spiro made a proposal to the Central Committee of the Party the result of which was that I was assigned a new task. In one of Enver’s letters from this period he wrote, that I would be appointed to work in the function of Organizational Secretary of the Central Youth Committee. I remember him adding these words at the end:
“I firmly believe and am fully convinced that you will do a perfect job. You will also cover the sector on Women…”.
Our correspondence continued like this until December 1943. At this time it was interrupted because of the situation created by the operation of the invading Nazi forces and their mercenaries against our National Liberation Units and the liberated areas. A difficult situation was created for the General Headquarter of the Albanian National Liberation Army and even for the British Military Mission of Gen. Davies. It was a time when Tirana was undergoing one of the most difficult periods of the Nazi invasion. It culminated with the massacre in February 4th 1944, when, in the night, 84 people were taken from their houses, shot dead, and left on the roads. They were young, elderly, good nationalists, anti-fascists and communists.
The National Front also, benefited from this ferocious reaction. They attracted some elements from our Youth Organization who were frightened. At this moment the Germans offered to these young people scholarships to attend school in Germany. I had to visit some of these young people in their houses, in order to talk to them and try to convince them not to accept the Nazi’s offer. This would be tantamount to treachery towards the war that they had started.
The leading comrades of the Party didn’t interrupt their activities and contacts with the people for a moment. They continued putting themselves in danger, because the majority were guerillas and were wanted and followed by the enemy. Tirana also felt the huge weight of wild terror, but, with an insurmountable feeling of love for the country, the people successfully overcame this trial. Tirana houses remained safe bases and fond warm places for the Party comrades, for the guerillas and freedom fighters. These houses gave everything to fighting the war and eventual victory, continuing to help us hide and protect us during the times of the extreme controls exercised by the enemy and its spies. The people continued to attend our meetings even in those hazardous days of danger and terror and they never broke their connections with the people of the Party and the National Liberation Front.
In the meantime the General Headquarters of the Army was able to escape the siege of the enemy. They had managed to escape many difficulties, which I am not going to mention now as it is not appropriate. Much has been written about them. When part of the headquarters were able to reach some free areas of Korca, Enver wrote an urgent letter to Gogo Nushi, requesting information about the situation in Tirana and other regions of the country.
Gogo could have replied immediately with all the information requested by Enver and sent it through a messenger in the way which had been agreed in advance, but in this case, he showed his generosity in front of the comrades. I cannot forget the moment when this kind person, as we all knew him, with his big heart, said to the comrades:
“What if we send this information with the Delegate. This way we use one stone to kill two birds”,
he said smiling.
I hadn’t even thought of such a thing. I couldn’t hide my excitement and my heart was beating rapidly. A slight blush all over my face heated me. I betrayed myself in front of the comrades. They immediately understood Gogo’s aim and looking at me in an affectionate way, agreed. So I would have the good luck to take Enver the letter with the extensive information. I wasn’t guilty of being overwhelmed by strong emotions. It had been six months that Enver and I had been apart, and very often I was forced to keep within myself, deep in my soul, worries related to my beloved. Hundreds of questions would go round my brain: “How is he?”. “Where is he?”. “Is he alive?”. “How is he dealing with the frost and the situation in the snow covered mountains?”, There were all of these worries about Enver and his comrades in addition to others concerning the wild wolves, and the Nazis, which I had to overcome in an atmosphere of pressure and terror. This situation forced us to move around the city daily with revolvers in our bags. At night we would sleep lightly since we had to be on the lookout for the enemy and sometimes we slept fully clothed with revolvers and grenades under the pillows, prepared for any eventuality.
It was the beginning of March. Gogo and Nako prepared the letters and the information, whereas I could hardly wait to leave so as to complete this task and meet Enver. Together with the information about everything that had happened and our activities in Tirana, I would also be a pleasant surprise to Enver. I would stay with him for some time in Panariti in Korca.
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