Gjergj Kokoshi


The price of opposing communism

“A man who has not made compromises and is competent and experienced in the field of education.”

He was born in Shkodra in 1904, then left his hometown to study philosophy in Italy and France. In Paris he received his PhD in Literature, and in 1930 returned to Albania and worked as a high school teacher in Shkodra and Tirana.

With the establishment of the Communist regime in Albania and his visibility at the Permet Congress, Kokoshi's reputation soars. The philosopher with a doctorate in literature is elected to serve on the General Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council, which was a governance structure at that time. Officially, however, Kokoshi is appointed to the Anti-Fascist and National Liberation Council on June 20, 1944. Enver Hoxha himself introduces Gjergj with great enthusiasm as a participant in the National Liberation Movement and calls him “a man who has not made compromises and is competent and experienced in the field of education.” Four months later at the Berat Council meeting, Kokoshi is appointed Minister of Education in the provisional government led by Hoxha.

On November 17, 1945 it appears under the name of “Democratic Union” ̶ a coalition of the various political wings that are opposed to the Communist regime. A group of “decent people with a correct political attitude.” The program he comes up with very much resembles that of the Democratic Front, which, as he points out, is precisely the problem with the current regime ̶ the fact that it does not follow its own party policies.Given the failure of the opposition's appeal to the British, the Democratic Union considers an uprising against the Communist regime with a protest demonstration scheduled prior to the November 28th elections in order to have it coincide with the Albanian Day of Independence holiday.Among the first to be arrested in January 1946 is Gjergi Kokoshi himself and Musine Kokalari.

Kokoshi is given the maximum prison sentence ̶ 30 years. Thirty years of compulsory work, loss of civic and political rights, and confiscation of property. After six months in Tirana, he is sent to the high security prison of Burrel. With all its members arrested, the Democratic Union does not participate in the October 2, 1945 elections. Kokoshi died in Burrel Prison in 1961, having completed a “mere” fifteen of his thirty year prison sentence. He was 57 years old. He had suffered from tuberculosis, which prison conditions had severely exacerbated. The last eighteen years of his life, from the time he entered the Second World War as a Communist partisan, were like a journey toward death. He'd never married, had no children and became embroiled in the politics of the country, which given the turbulent times, destined him for a tragic end. Gjergj Kokoshi is a perfect example of a principled man. He had the moral strength to surrender power voluntarily when he realized that it was destroying his country and the rights of its citizens.

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