Prison Memories by Dom Nikoll Kimeza -1955

Nikoll Kimeza (1878-1960) was an Albanian Catholic priest.

He was originally from Spaç. After completing the Pontifical Seminary in Shkodra, he continued his theological studies in Italy, where he also earned his doctorate. After being ordained a priest and returning to Albania, he served as a priest in Kallmet, Rubik, Rrasfik, Vela, Calivare, etc. In addition to religion, Nikoll Kimeza also made major contributions in the field of literature and historical studies. His studies were published in “Hylli i Dritës” and “Leka” magazines and in other periodicals of the time.

In addition to his research work, he also engaged in patriotic activities of the time and his patriotic role would not go unpunished. In 1912, in the Shkodra war against the Montenegrins, he was captured by Esat Pasha and imprisoned.

In 1945, along with many other clergy, he was arrested and imprisoned in Shkoder, Albania by the communist regime. He spent 6 years in prison, submitted to numerous tortures and witnessed many horrors.

In 1951 he was released from prison and upon discovering that there was another warrant for his arrest he escaped to Jugoslavia, as proven by memo below which is a translation by the Italian Intelligence Service of communication between refugees in Jugoslavia and Italy.

“Rome, 5.1.1952…MARKA DODA on 19.7.51 from Jugoslavia writes to Kapidan Gjon Markagjoni:

“Kapidan, I will now communicate that from Albania passed through here Dom Nikoll Kimeza and Ndue Bib Per Ndoca with two sons. They crossed the border on 15.12.51 from Gjakova. They still don’t have a permanent address.; as soon as they will have one we will communicate it with you.”

Comments: “This is the first information passed on to the Prince on the crossing of Dom Nikoll Kimeza from Albania to Jugoslavia. Other information is coming, but without details, from all sections of Jugoslavia on the same subject. This shows the importance that our immigrants from there give to the facts.

Dom Nikoll Kimeza, in his seventies, is the first notable person in all of the north and in the city of Shkoder who adds to the amount of Albanian refugees in exile. As we have already referenced, he is a suitable man, when the opportunity arises, of assuming a direct function among the Albanian immigrants in Jugoslavia. The Kapidan anxiously awaits direct news from this catholic priest who is one of his dearest friends and one of his wisest counselors. 

In 1953 he would find exile in Rome where he joined other exiled intellectuals. He died in Rome in 1960.

The writing below is his personal memoir of the years he spent in prison in Shkoder, 1947-1953. It is a telling account of the facts as experienced and witnessed by him during the brutal takeover of communism. The original was written by him in Italian. The English version was translated by Bianca Gjomarkaj. The document is part of the personal library of Ndue Gjon Gjomarkaj.




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