SHKODER – Talking with Gjovalin Zezaij was not easy, due to his hearing conditions which are largely a consequence of the torture he suffered. He also speaks Italian, he has recently lost his wife and is always happy to meet people to tell his story.
Born 1928 in Shkoder. At the age of 17, he co-founded an association called Bashkimi Shqiptar (Albanian Union), an anticommunist patriotic association, which aimed to oppose the regime in a peaceful and non-violent way.
He was first arrested on November 27, 1945 after the distribution of information leaflets against the regime. He was tortured with a hand-cranked telephone, putting the wires in his ears that were crossed by the current, the main cause of his deafness.
He will never confess anything. In 1946 it was the turn of the trial where Father Fausti, Father Dajani, then rector of the seminary of Shkoder, Friar Shllaku and Mark çuni, founding seminarian of the Albanian Union were present. They were largely shot.
In the trial he was sentenced to 101 years in prison, but a lawyer friend of his brother had the sentence reduced to 30 years. He was later transferred to various labor camps in inhumane conditions where he somehow managed to survive.
On November 27, 1951 he was released from prison after 6 years thanks to an amnesty, so he began to work as a laborer in an agricultural cooperative until his new arrest on May 25, 1959, where he was tortured again for two false testimonies.
After his second arrest he went back to various labor camps until his release on May 5, 1964. In 1968 he married clandestinely and worked as a blacksmith for a living until retirement. Today Gjovalin is 92 years old and lives in Shkoder.