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The commander led his comrades in the war towards victory, they led him towards ... the "guillotine"!
Written by Pandeli Bardhi 20 Shtator 2021
... They did not lead him to death, the opponents of the regime who fought them so resolutely and who sentenced him to 101 years in prison as a participant in the Fier uprising, to life imprisonment as mayor in Vraka of Shkodra, and in Muhur of Dibra , and in the dark cells in Tunjë of Gramsh, he was led by his comrades, with whom he fought and led them to victory over the invader. The "stamp" that is put on the trees to be cut in the future, was also given to the brave Commander, Shaban Zereci, of the first gang in the area of ??Korça, since the Congress of Përmet, to be "cut" as he other commanders of the first squads in Albania. "God in heaven can betray himself, but never Shaban Zereci", said an opera mother when she learned of the arrest of the brave Shaban Zereci. But it was not just this mother who expressed surprise, was the first squad in the Korça area and the third squad in Albania after that of Peza with Baba Myslym and that of Mestan Ujanik in Skrapar. It was the end of 1942 when he left the post of Mayor of Kucaka, kidnapped the naganta and went from village to village, to gather fighters as he "promised" to the commander-in-chief Filipp Toma ... "We do not need agitation and propaganda, we have the task clear, the inhabitants of his village Zerec addressed him, we are ready to fight ”! On November 17, 1942, with boys from Gora and Opari i Poshtëm, Shaban Zereci, formed his gang, which in its beginnings had more than 35 fighters from both provinces and boys from the city of Korça ... This “avalanche "Which began to" roll "rapidly in the villages of Lower Opar and those of Upper Gora, with the same speed also increased in number. Everywhere they opened the doors, everywhere it raised hopes ... The first "exam" was successfully given in the village of Strelcë, Municipality of Mocan where the carabinieri were dispersed and the collected food was distributed to the villagers. The news got given. The Korça Police Station announced the center in Tirana: "In the village of Streklcë, a rebel group of 200 people with Commander Shaban Zereci, has opened warehouses and distributed 150 kv of grain to the villagers"! The "avalanche" was getting bigger and bigger and the "exams" were passed successfully. The second "exam" was the liberation of Voskopoja from numerous gendarmerie posts and the attempt at Urra e Kovacit near the village where 150 gendarmerie forces from Korça handed over their weapons. The shots of this gang became even more powerful and their echo was heard as far as Gramsh, after they joined other squads of Teki Kolanec, Xume Protopapa, of Koci Brozdovec, when a part of them left for Snosëm of Gramsh prefecture, to come to the aid of the Mokra gang that had surrounded the fascist post-command. Numerous fascist forces come from Elbasan. Shaban Zereci's squad with that of Xume Protopapa ambushed Xhipe Shahin's inn. The tactics followed by Shaban Zereci, made the forces of the fascist battalion surrender. The village with ancient history, Voskopoja, was held by numerous gendarmerie posts. On January 14, 1943, in Zvarisht and Dolan of Gora, all the units of Gora Opar's gang gathered. Captains Shaban Zereci and Teki Kolaneci and Commissars Kristo Mushi and Kico Shamblli were put in charge of the gathered forces. Friday, January 16, 1943, in the early hours of the morning, the streets of Voskopoja were filled with partisans. without firing a single rifle according to the tactics followed by the Captains, who agreed with the Commander of the militia, Patriot Riza Kodheli ”! Gëzimi did not last long and immediately the news came: “From the bridge of Kovac, a camp with Italians is coming in the direction of Voskopoja, commanded by an Italian major and lieutenant of the militia Sali Piluri. Strategist Shaban Zereci immediately divided the forces into three parts on both sides and in the center where he stood alone. The battle was fierce. The action of Voskopoja was the third "exam" that ended successfully, an excellent demonstration of the combat strategy, the wisdom of the strategists Shaban Zerecin and Teki Kolaneci. The writer Fatmir Gjata, from Rrosoveri i Oparit, writes at length in his diary about Gora Oparit's squads in general and captains Shaban Zerteci, Teki Kolaneci etc. in particular etc! Among the numerous and successful "exams" by the squad was that of Leskovik at the foot of Mount Melesin, "the peak that the cannon and mortar beat" of the enemy, were numerous. The enemy lost many forces, the squads of Shaban Zerec and other surrounding squads were added. The company now numbered over 100 fighters ... "The number of fighters exceeds the borders of the company, we will call it a battalion ... What do you think we should call it?", The commander addressed. There were different opinions. Can I give you an opinion too? We have liberated most of the Gora Opar area. Isn't it better to call it "Liberation"? A "Bravo" was heard that echoed. Po Commander? "He is appointed from the beginning", the voice of the fighters roared. At the end of July 1943, the battalion sent fighters to join the First Assault Brigade. September 9, 1943, Skënder Caci falls heroically. The battalion is named after him. On May 22, 1944, together with many delegates from Korça, Commander Shaban Zereci also went to the Përmet Congress. Rises and discusses in Congress his experience as Captain and War Strategist. And among them he made some remarks about the mistakes during the war. "Shaban, addressed the chair of the session: These things were discussed in the party, not here in the Congress Hall"! This was the "Stamp" that was put on this "wood" to be cut! He was promoted to the rank of First Captain. In October 1944, the IV S. Brigade was formed in Lozhan, Gora. in the Assembly. The liberation of Albania is found in the city of Korça. In February 1945, he was transferred to the Ministry of Interior in Tirana, but the shadows of the security forces followed him, the shadow of those he had directed in the war and they were directing him towards the "guillotine"! In May 1947, as he was returning from his office, the people of the Ministry of Interior arrived and "in the name of the people" handcuffed him ... It was the time when the country was groaning from the wounds of war that had not healed. Less than two and a half years had passed since the day of the Liberation of the country, when Shaban Zereci had fought bravely as Commander of the Çeta, as Commander of the "Liberation" battalion, later of that "Skënder Caci" in the ranks of the Brigade of IV Attacking. He imagined them all in the cold cells where he was kept locked up, which by now, had been wiped out. Gone are the days of the brave, The time had come for the security "butchers" who knew only torture. And with the traitors Islam Radovicka and Mestan Ujanaku. The first former Commander of the 1st Operational Zone and the second Commander of the Second Squad in Albania. In front of his colleagues, the "defendant" stood firm and rejected with disgust any provocation. Then it was the family's turn. He was separated from his two minor sons and his pregnant wife, from a nine-year-old girl, and together with two "rags" they had at home, they threw them in the car and drove them to the village ... Hanging upside down, he had to accept what he did not have never done. His house in the village of Zerec, burned by the Germans, would reside in the two remaining ashefs underground in miserable conditions. No one wanted to believe that Shaban Zereci had been arrested. "Do not confuse him with any other Shaban", they asked and took the long way to see him up close. The surprise was that Shaban Zereci was not received in the village as a traitor, but as a victor, as when he met his partisans, victorious in every battle. The inhabitants from the four mothers of the Korça area, Gora Opar, Gramshi and Kolonja, were uprooted to meet the Commander, the brave warrior, the winner in the battles who knew and loved him so much. Ignoring the eyes of the security guards, they helped and created all the conditions for their Commander, their liberator. The investigative process was over when he went to court. Sometimes he said to himself jokingly: Do not forget Shaban Zereci that you are the "enemy of the people" and that alone is enough to go to the rope or in front of the bullet. You are used to punishments. Sometimes as a supporter of Fan Noli, sometimes as an opponent of the Monarchy, sometimes as a supporter of the National Liberation War, as a leader of the partisan forces. I will stay as a man because as a man I have always fought ”! "Defendant Shaban Zereci, accept the accusation", addresses the President of the trial panel, accusations fabricated in the security offices. Everything was fake when the trial panel took orders from above and immediately, the decision was given: "Sentenced to 15 years in prison"! His mind went to his wife and children. After two years of imprisonment, by a special decree, the "eagle" is released from prison, but with torn wings so that it does not fly. He was only 45 years old and had a ridiculous pension for the injury in Fier. Every day would be under insurance surveillance. His wife became seriously ill, but he could not be taken to the hospital. He is visited by the famous doctor Polena. "You brought it late, Shaban, the disease has progressed a lot, there is no salvation"! He did not take his wife's body to his village either, because there was no opportunity. He is buried in the village of Turan, near the city of Korça. The security forces did not defeat him, neither by torture nor by slander. They decided to take revenge with the old methods of revenge by ambushing them, but Zerec's "Caloja" was wiser than the security guards. He was invited to Tirana where no one found out the purpose. As soon as he drank the coffee, he felt the bitter taste. Fortunately, Dr. Shiroka, a long time close friend, happened to be in the bar. The doctor did his best to save him from poisoning. Again in Tirana. Who called him? The macabre murder at Farmacia 10 in Tirana, by his nephew introduced by the security, put an end to all conjectures! The killer was sentenced to death, but since he was from the same family he was pardoned. To kill during the day and cry at night ... This was the "reward" of this brave warrior like so many other brave men and yet, they remain brave and "mice" remain the wicked, who want to live only on dirt .. .