[Part of the interview is cut off from the video: the interviewer asks the speaker about his youth.]
Hydajet Hyseni: I was born in ‘54. I went to school a year earlier, also thanks to the atmosphere that we had in our house. My mother spent all her time with her holy book in her hand, but she requested that we also kept our books in our hands. And we had learned the alphabet…I had learned the alphabet even before I was of school age, that’s why I went to school a year earlier. And I had the luck of having intellectual village teachers, who were known and are known in the entire area not just as role models of teachers and educators, such as the teacher Reshat, Reshat Emini, who was one of the most distinguished teachers of that region, but also other teachers, who were the elite of the village. I had the opportunity during my childhood to be exposed to the spirit, as well as the anguish, of the closing of schools, but I was very young. It was rumored that schools in the village could be closed. However, this didn’t happen, because the changes that were expected happened. The clique of Ranković fell, the Ranković group and others, and a period of some kind of relief came, a kind of liberation. Literature broke through then, and even national history was gradually beginning to be taught, and I was a lucky generation, to be growing up in these conditions, along with my peers.
Then I continued high school in Gjilan. Gjilan was seven, eight kilometers from the village, and we needed to travel together, as I said in the beginning, it was a good opportunity during the trips, we socialized during them, we embodied one another, we had unguarded conversations, we sang forbidden songs, we even traded books, legal books with positive patriotic content, but we also occasionally started being brought into contact with banned, illegal literature, which was seeping through. And that especially was devoured with, how to put it, extraordinary passion. Not only because it was forbidden, because it was the repressed dream of generations, of our parents, and later generations, and also generations that were to come.
At the highschool of the time in Gjilan, and in other schools, there was a tradition of activism. Gjilan was the heart of the patriotic resistance throughout this period – renowned figures of our patriotic movement originate from that area – and throughout all periods, I repeat, including the constellation of the Lëvizja Nacional-Demokratike Shqiptare. Later, organizing with distinguished figures, such as Halim Orana, Haki Efendia, Hamdi Berisha, and others. Then, in a later period, with patriotic figures, such as Metush Krasniqi, Sejdi Kryeziu, Mark Gashi, and others. With the generation of Kadri Halimi and Ramadan Halimi, and others, who were also sons of the Ramiz Cërrnica family, who was one of the most respected figures during the war, and immediately after the war. Because of the historical answer he gave at the Prizren Assembly, “Not with Serbia, but with Albania!” his whole family was persecuted, including him. They had spent decades in jail, whereas his son was sentenced to execution by shooting. And regardless, they had remained a hearth of inspiration and resistance in those regions.
I was lucky to be taught by one of his sons, and by many figures who were involved in the patriotic movement of the time, and either had indirect family connections, or direct ones, or they had connections with figures who were our teachers, and this created an atmosphere of furor. There were also activists who were a bit older than I, for example: Rexhep Mala, Isa Kastrati, Zija Shemsiu, and others, who were engaged in different forms, and who later became protagonists of the spring-like autumn, the spring-like November of ‘68. I was a student in the first year of high school that year, we had just started going. And I experienced the demonstration of ‘68 as a spiritual liberation, as special. But we were very young, and they stopped us, and we went out through windows, as we could, it was in fact a dispersal. We experienced a sort of, just a sort of scorching, a kind of, how to put it, among the youths who were dispersing, and so on.
But this was sufficient to become one with that spirit of rebellion, of rising, how to put it, it was a small rebellion of its kind, but that left deep impressions on the young generations, and created an uncontrolled desire to grow up as quickly as possible, to strengthen as quickly as possible, to be emboldened as quickly as possible, so that they could also become part of a movement like this. The literature we read and distributed hand to hand made this even more powerful. The songs we listened to on Radio Tirana, which we wrote down and also distributed hand to hand. Programs were broadcast by Radio Tirana later on, Radio Kuksi, which as soon as we had a bit of a technical basis – because back then there still weren’t enough recorders, and other things – we would also record, and we distributed them. That’s what many other teachers did in different schools, and this is how that patriotic spirit was reborn, which the Yugoslav authorities had tried to constrict throughout entire decades, had tried to repress, crush, bury deep under the earth.
I then had the luck to be in contact with Rexhep Mala, Ilmi Ramadani, and other friends, and in that way to also begin a kind of organization and regular and politically organized activism. With Rexhep Mala, Kadri Zeka, Ilmi Ramadani, we made the first circle, I ’m talking about us, I mean, we were organized. I was organized for the first time in this circle with Kadri Zeka, who was a classmate, a desk mate, a family friend, we were household friends, and with other friends. And this is the way one acted at the time, primarily in groups of three, because in case we were, how to put it, we knew each other, we were connected to each other, sometimes we ended up being four, and so on. Then this came and it was transformed into … after the circles were broadened, into other cells as well, because every cell was made of another cell, or every activist was one cell, two cells, and those expanded, and in this way our Movement expanded.
Here and there, we also met friends who came from other cells, which were formed earlier, or were in the midst of forming, and it was transformed in a movement of various names, but which we called mostly Lëvizja [The Movement], Lëvizja Çlirimtare e Kosovës [The Liberation Movement of Kosovo]. That’s why also the actions that were undertaken were mostly done under this name. That’s why the first tracts that we distributed in this capacity were titled, “Lëvizja Nacional-Çlirimtare e Kosovës” [The National Liberation Movement of Kosovo] and below, among other calls, there was also the call, “Long Live the National Liberation Movement of Kosovo!” With the National Liberation Movement of Kosovo, we meant not only the area we lived in, but we were also aware that there were other organized areas of Kosovo, with which we weren’t in contact, we didn’t know each other, but we knew that they were active, and we believed that going forward, one day we would meet, we would get acquainted, we would connect, we would unite, and then the Movement would be even more powerful, and more effective. In a way, that’s also what happened.
Later, during my studies… I was initially registered at the Technical Faculty, Construction, but since I had a desire to register in Journalism, but at the time there wasn’t a journalism school in Kosovo, they were only outside of Kosovo, and we didn’t have the means to go abroad. And the journalism school opened. I transferred to journalism and studied journalism and diplomacy. And as it was trendy at the time, also a second faculty, a foreign language, the French language. We learned French in elementary school as well, from our very good teachers, and this made it easier for me.
As students, we continued our patriotic activities, which were focused… how to put it, on reading different literature, discussing it, rising, the theoretical, professional, and activist debate, and so on, the organizational debate, the expanding of the circles, I mean, with other activists. Different acts, like the distribution of literature, or the various actions that were primarily of a propagandistic nature. Slogans were written, the slogans of the authorities were damaged, the photos of their respected figures were ripped, the photos of figures we admired and idealized were put up and distributed. And with the passage of time, we wrote different pieces of writings and articles. We published them in a pamphlet that we started publishing, Zëri i Kosovës [The Voice of Kosovo]. And with the passage of time and the distribution of tracts, which [were distributed] also in an earlier period, how to put it, the distribution of tracts, but in the ‘70’s, they began and turned into actions that included all of Kosovo, for example all of the student dorms.
Slogans were written in all the corridors, room to room, and none of the authors managed to be found out. I can say that this was the first time that such a phenomenon happened, which is due to the fact that our Movement had now transformed into an organization, and was strengthening organizationally. And this was due to the care of leaders with more experience than we had, who were also learning from the experiences of other organizations, had also prepared instructions and practices, which also demonstrated why UDBA was really powerful, present everywhere, with many collaborators, with its many branches and many microphones places in people’s mouths…how to put it, who spied and reported everything they heard, and with the powerful technological apparatus they had, and with the endless financial support they had from the state, they had created the impression that the patriotic Movement couldn’t withstand the pressures of UDBA, and if more than three or four people were to come together, they would immediately be found out, fall, be jailed, and everything would end.
In fact, our experience demonstrated that this happened, among other reasons, also because of the weaknesses we had in organizing. But when work was done carefully, with the necessary secrecy, with the necessary discipline, with what we called the proper conspiracy, meaning respecting the rules of secret operation, according to which sometimes even people who were brothers. A brother wouldn’t tell his brother what he was doing, what connection they had with others, they wouldn’t tell any members of the family. My family knew nothing about my connections, and that’s how it was with my friends as well. We met with our best friends only in secrecy, at night, in specific places, but during the day we would pretend that we didn’t know each other. And it continued in this way even after the successive arrests. Although one link was jailed, the others continued.
This was complemented also by the crisis that was deepening in Yugoslavia at that time, an all-encompassing economic crisis. A repressive politics followed at a slightly less intense pace after the fall of Ranković. But then, at various periods, even more, how to put it, that repressive anti-Albanian zeal would manifest itself again. But this was also complemented by the strong influence that the Republic of Albania had, its tools of information, Radio Tirana, its press, which nevertheless penetrated through different channels, and especially through our migrants.
Yugoslavia in those years had invested a lot in opening doors for many of our people, mainly those who were uneducated, without any intellectual formation and so on, who would do a professional course and then were sent to Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Passports were given to them easily, but they weren’t given that easily to, let’s say, intellectuals. And it was clear that the purpose was to empty Kosovo elegantly, and in this way to execute Čubrilović’s plan to change the ethnic structure of Kosovo and Albanian territories, and to Serbianize them.
And maybe this would have happened, if it wasn’t for the fact that then, as it happened in our history with the Albanian colonies, they played an extraordinary role in the rising of the Rilindja [Renaissance] in developing the spirit of the Rilindje Kombëtare [National Renaissance]. I repeat, [it was] this spirit, also thanks to the care of Tirana at the time, which in different ways supplied our members with literature, with press, with films, with documentary programs, photos and others. And gradually those clubs that Yugoslavia had set up everywhere, such as Yugoslav clubs for Yugoslavization, and their instrumentalization, in fact, began transforming into becoming patriotic clubs, which was practically the liberation of migration. It was easier there, because even though UDBa was present and threatened them, it was enough for them to take the passport and to cut, which meant the source of life, they cut the possibility to contact one’s family, they endangered families.
But regardless, those who lived in the West, at least, they had more space and could, how to put it, liberate themselves spiritually, by seeing their worker friends, who had the same grievances as them, but expressed them in a freer way, more open. And in this way, the diaspora played an extraordinary role in obstructing plans to Serbianize Kosovo and rid it of its Albanianness. This gave an extraordinary power to our patriotic movement. Our Movement created strong ties to the diaspora and different organizations were formed there, often without any connection between them, but they had a shared cause, and they often met in the midst of their efforts, in the midst of their work, in the midst of their resistance.
At that time, I also was an illegal activist, and I studied, and since we had material needs, I started working as a young journalist, at the only daily paper at the time, the Rilindja newspaper. And for me this was also an extraordinary opportunity to meet distinguished figures of our intelligentsia, of different schools, but that as a whole served as an equally important form of schooling for me, apart from student and university life. That’s what it was like for my peers as well.
But in the meantime, many imprisonments had happened, and something that didn’t happen before happened. Friends such as Rexhep Mala, Ilmi Ramadani, and others, were jailed, they were inhumanely tortured. They were jailed as a result of haphazard arrests that happened after some actions… The authorities at the time and the detection machinery of UDBA weren’t really concerned about who the real perpetrator was, but according to the style that was also practiced by generals in different colonialist countries, as they say, “If you can’t catch the fish, grab the water,” meaning the people, “and you’ll find the fish inside.”
At the time, UDBA organized mass arrests, haphazardly, of well-known patriotic figures, who had just gotten out of jail, or occasionally their loved ones, with the hope that they would discover the perpetrator through them, that they would talk and then they would be discovered. In fact, in the first case it happened that even after their arrests, others were punished, but the activities continued. Those of us who remained thanks to their endurance, would then organize other actions to show that they weren’t the perpetrators of those acts for which they had been incriminated, punished, so that they would eventually be freed. But the authorities at the time were repressive, they weren’t concerned at all, they continued to hunt down others and to jail them here and there, and they kept them in jail, even though it was proven that they weren’t guilty at all. That’s how Adem Demaçi and friends were arrested the last time, and so on
Jeta Rexha: What year was it exactly?
Hydajet Hyseni: ‘75. Those of us who had remained – and sometimes a few of us remained after many arrests… at that time there weren’t a lot of us who were activists, in our line, there were other active lines, but there also weren’t many overall – we considered to be more committed an even more important duty, even holier,, because now, apart from the cause of our predecessors and their amanet to us – we can take my case as an example, the generation of my uncle, who was in jail for the third time, now punished in Macedonia – I was also… or we had a debt towards our friends, who were there. So the cause of freedom was everything to us. We also had a motto then, “Everything for the cause, nothing above the cause, nothing apart from the cause!” It seems excessive now, but it really was like that! And, this would cost the families, it would cost the individual, his career, and so on.
You know, I’m at my student life, and at that time there were also grievances among the students about the state in which Kosovo found itself, its political situation, even after the improvement Kosovo experienced after the fall of Ranković and the constitutional changes of ‘74, when the expectation was that Kosovo would become equal and would be turned into a republic. And even if this were to happen, for Albanians this wasn’t considered the right solution. Kosovo and other Albanian territories were separated unfairly from the national trunk, from Albania, and their unification, respecting their will, was considered everywhere as the only right solution, a lasting one. This is exactly what was promised by the leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia before the Second World War, and after the Second World War.
And the fact that afterwards this was drowned in blood, by jailing the best sons of the movement at that time, of the antifascist arm and also that other one, which was sometimes more or less attached to fascism, or wasn’t attached to fascism but had a pro-Western, pro-English, pro-American orientation, to put it that way. Regardless, for the Yugoslav authorities at the time, those who wanted a just and enduring solution were all the same. That’s why Gjon Serreçi was executed at the same time as Marie Shllaku, and Xheladin Hana, who was the director, the first editor in chief of Rilindja. And Bedri Pejani, who was also a protagonist of the National Revolutionary movement of the 1930s, and of the National Committee for the Protection of Kosovo, and one of the protagonists of the third League of Prizren, was jailed, for example, Omer Qerkezi and Nexhat Agolli were liquidated, they were anti-fascist figures, but in the eyes of the occupiers, these youths were all the same.
For the occupiers of Kosovo, especially those Serb chauvinists, ideology was never the primary thing. Ideology was occasionally used for political scores, but the real criteria of evaluation was whether someone was really for the freedom of their country, their people, or not, whether he’s ready to be a servant or a collaborationist, or not. That’s what happened, including between the two world wars, when the then different kings of the Serbo-Croatian-Slovene Kingdom, also supported the opponents of Fan Noli, who was a bishop, Orthodox. And in the practice of Serbian chauvinist politics, in which the Orthodox church played an extraordinarily important role, it’s hard to understand this. They ravaged an Orthodox bishop with all their means, to ensure a leadership which seemed more oriental, which at first sight seemed very far away from Belgrade, but the reason was that Fan Noli, with the spirit he embodied, a pure patriotic love, and a progressive spirit, the connections he had with the progressive world at the time, everywhere, represented a real danger for the monstrous plans of Belgrade. That’s why they debilitated him in every way.
This logic was also followed after the Second World War, a new occupier with new attire, in fact continued the same policies towards Albanians. Sometimes it’s hard to understand this, especially for foreigners, maybe for the fact that in Tito’s new government almost all the staff changed, and many real intellectuals were executed, including Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, and others of previous regimes. But regardless, one of the ministries… the only one who kept his post was Vasa Čubrilović, the author of the project to deport and cleanse what they called ethnic Kosovo, meaning its de-Albanification and Serbianization. He was one of the participants in the attack on Prince Ferdinand, a representative of Crna Ruka, the Serbian Black Hand – meaning an extreme, radical, terrorist organization – who then comes and becomes a minister of, for the demographics of the new Yugoslavian authorities, which was installed with Tito at the top, and so on. And in this capacity, as a minister in the new government, he brings forth the second project for the expulsion of Albanians, with the same motives.
Those who had the illusion that Tito’s government, which pretended to be more liberal, more pro-Western, better, can find an argument here and there to illustrate this. Every period has its pluses and minuses. Circumstances also impose them. Sometimes circumstances also work with the other side. Albania was exercising pressure on the other side, and something needed to give. But no one should forget a fact that is often forgotten, that only during the end of the Second World War, and immediately afterwards, meaning those years ‘44-‘45, according to the evidence now published by our historians, the number of executed and massacred Albanians is approximately 70 thousand individuals. Imagine! In a population of almost half a million, a number that high, which can hardly be compared with any of the neighboring countries. And most of them were civilians, women, children, the elderly, totally innocent, or distinguished intellectuals, again, of all orientations, of a right wing pro-Western orientation and the other side, which they called at the time Cominformist, and others. It was enough to be a patriot, and for the authorities of the time you were an enemy.
This spirit is… it evolved in different periods, but in its essence it hasn’t changed. After the fall of Ranković, a more relaxed situation was created, a fall in repression, a carrying forward of some of the rights and freedoms and of Albanian leaders in Kosovo, and this created, it also created an appropriate atmosphere for cultural and educational development, which was made possible by the unsparing help of the Republic of Albania, which had many problems of its own at the time, also because of its international position and others, regardless, for Kosovo, as was said by her highest leader, “Nothing was spared and nothing should be spared!” That’s why, most of the staff that kept the university going here, especially in Mitrovica and other places, as was said later on by its Kosovar leaders, in fact came from Tirana, and worked for free on everything, and they offered scholarships, specializations, as many as Kosovo needed.
Also thanks to the engagement of our intelligentsia, a part of the Albanian bureaucracy was growing and institutionalizing, this really brought an impressive change until ‘74, which was expected to be a year of turning and of the full equalization of Kosovo with other republics, something which was an expression of the demand of the demonstrations of ‘68, the demand for self-determination, and the aim for equality, as its modus vivendi. It was something that was also demanded by the leadership of the time, by one part of the institutional leadership of Kosovo, especially respected intellectuals of Kosovo and others, this was a general demand. Here everyone was united, which was or wasn’t the best, becoming equal to other republics was a status, how to put it, a modus vivendi is a kind of solution, it is a kind of satisfaction, and could be a good basis for further development, and other things. Maybe it would be here, had it been allowed. But ‘74 and its constitution, as much as they… it was an important step forward, it really disappointed the expectations of the more patriotic part, the more dedicated part of the National Movement in Kosovo.
Kosovo remained in a hybrid state: it was an element of the Federation, but a constituent part of Serbia. There was an advancement, there was also a constitution which was demanded during the demonstration of ‘68, there were some rights, in some aspects almost equivalent to those of other republics, but in fact, in its main respects [Kosovo] was discriminated against. Kosovo remained politically discriminated, but especially economically. The level of Kosovo was not only many times lower than the average Yugoslav level, not to mention more developed republics, but after it experienced a relative improvement, a continued stagnation began.
The exploitation of Kosovo’s resources continued with unabated intensity. Kosovo was exploited as a source of raw material, but not also as a place where manufacturing would happen and where Kosovars would utilize the extraordinary resources of Kosovo. I believe it’s well known that Kosovo had particularly important mineral reserves, it produced more than 70 percent of all zinc production, 100 percent of chrome, magnesium, a high percentage of silver was produced in Kosovo, let’s not even mention coal and so on. Had they been exploited by Kosovars, Kosovo would have quickly caught up with the other republics, and maybe would have become like the Ruhr and Saar of Germany.
But this wasn’t allowed. As a result, the people of Kosovo in a way were forced to abandon the country, and to leave to work. Education was attempted but with many privations, and many were discriminated compared to their peers. The level of unemployment in Kosovo was much higher, its level of income much lower. Kosovo had the highest density in terms of population, the least fertile land per family, per head of population. So, apart from political dissatisfaction, there was also social dissatisfaction, which continued to grow, and deepen.
During the ‘70s, this [was the case] even more, because of the economic crisis that enveloped Yugoslavia, after the debts Yugoslavia took on, credit in the tens of billions from abroad, a part of which were also used by that red bourgeoisie of Kosovo as it was called, like all of the elite of that time in Yugoslavia. There was proportionally less in Kosovo than in other parts of Yugoslavia, but here it was created, like elsewhere, an illusion for at time that, “No, we’re fine!” Of course, when a family takes on debt, there’s wellbeing for a time, a calm. But when it comes time to pay off debts, interest, and also add corruption to this, many abuses and so on, that, for that period of time… were unusual. Compared to other countries, maybe even compared to today, there could be less [abuses]! But this caused a general dissatisfaction, which then led to the Movement of those years, the ‘70’s and ‘81.
Jeta Rexha: And now to ask you Mr. Hydajet, where were you during the ‘70’s?
Hydajet Hyseni: And here precisely, at that time, as I said, I was a student, I worked at Rilindja and was an activist for the Ilegale Movement. But, in ‘78, in April of ‘78, I was following a meeting of the Chamber of Cooperatives of Kosovo, I was accredited in the then Kosovo Unions – the organization of the Kosovo Unions was much more influential then, more powerful and so on – and similar organizations. And I realized that one of the investigators of that time, an inspector with the State Security, was watching me. I was informed a few weeks earlier that I was in fact under the surveillance of Security bodies. And, that’s why I took measures to change my apartment and live in Pristina, even though my family was in my place of birth, and I was cautious about everything because I expected them to arrest me.
Later on, I had heard that apart from other suspicions, they had also intercepted a letter that was sent to me from jail, by my friends at the time, Xhafer Shatri, Rexhep Mala, and it had gotten into their hands. It happened that Rexhep Mala was caught with some letter right then and there, in his hand, and he would swallow it. But it also happened that a letter we sent in the ways available to us at that time, sometimes through prisoners who left the jail and who were considered trustworthy, would be caught on someone, or maybe even here and there it fell into unsafe hands. But they then came to the conclusion that a piece of writing, as they told me during the investigation, some work that was prepared for publication in ‘74, I mean, three, four, years earlier, in the “Zëri i Kosovës” [The Voice of Kosovo] newspaper, which was caught on our jailed friends at the time, Xhafer Shatri, Kadri Osmani, Binak Ulaj, Jashar Aliaj, and others, and which they had not discovered that it had my handwriting, in fact a graphologist found that it was my text.
That’s why, in that meeting I said I was at, I concluded that I was being followed by… I was being watched step by step. I pretended like I wasn’t looking, and to establish what the case was, if it had changed or if this was routine surveillance, as they did with certain durations, I went out during the break in the meeting and went to the city market, which wasn’t far from there. As they were thinking that I would buy something, I pretended that I was buying something, and I looked to see if this person was following me, or not. But they didn’t wait, and it happened at the entry to the market. A large number of investigators surrounded me, and in a spectacular way they paralyzed me, they grabbed me by the arms, saying to me, “Don’t move, because it’s impossible for you to do anything! You’re in the hands of [State] Security and every movement is futile! It will only go badly!”
Of course I didn’t even have a chance of moving. I pretended that I didn’t know what was going on. They took me out of there, they put me into a car and they sent me… I thought they were taking me to the city jail. They passed Pristina, they passed Lipjan. I thought they were taking me to the jail in Lipjan… they continued and they sent me to a kind of building they had, I didn’t know earlier, in Blinaja, Lipovica as they used to call it. I mean it was a kind of reserve that was maintained as a national park, where the state security had their own building, especially for these cases. We knew that they had also used methods like this to kidnap and treat people whom they considered suspicious, or those opposed to the regime.
There I found out that something [information] had leaked. They also took out my notebook with the work that I had written, a long work, “Kosovo under the Titoist regime.” I can show it to you later. It was a long piece of writing about the state of Kosovo at that time, the political, economic situation, and others, as much as a youth of my age could write, I was a little older than 20. And, it was insistently requested of me to admit that it was mine. They showed me the findings of the graphologist, the expert, that the writing was the same. And to compare, they took a form I had filled out to get an ID card.
A form had to be filled, and then the letters one by one. It’s true that even to a casual glance it was the same. It was proof that we weren’t as cautious as we should have been then, to change eventually even our writing. We had a typewriter at the time, and we used it, but at that time even a typewriter was a big deal. And there were periods of time when to get a typewriter… However, a record was kept of who had typewriters. In today’s circumstances it’s difficult to accept, to understand this.
They kept me all day, all night, and around the morning, since they didn’t know where my apartment was, they demanded to know where my apartment was. It seems they wanted to go and search for it. I had changed my apartment, I had always moved cautiously, I mean, not directly from work to the apartment, and it seemed that they didn’t know. That’s why around the morning, they said, “Fine, you can go, but you can’t escape us. You won’t run away anymore! You either have to come yourself, or you’re in our hands! And you can only make your situation worse.” The threats were that I would be severely punished, they would destroy everything, you would destroy your family. I was married, I had children. I was the only son in the family, in a way the keeper of the family. And they used all this to exercise pressure.
Regardless, they released me and I went home. I pretended like I was sleeping, but a police officer always accompanied me and when I said, “Now I’m going alone,” he wouldn’t separate from me, he wouldn’t let go of me, “No, I’ll escort you because the weather is bad, before the morning. We don’t want anything to happen to you.” But in fact when he got close to testing me, I knew the way that went directly to the house, but I went on a faster way, which was a narrow alley, dark, without lights. And he retreated a bit, because it seems that he wasn’t sure what was happening, why I was getting in there, and when I said, “You can turn back here, because it’s here, now the house is close and there’s no other road, just this one.” Regardless, he said, “I’m sorry, but it’s my duty to learn where your house is, where you are.” And he openly told me that in fact, he hadn’t come to accompany me, but to find out where I lived. And then it was so, when we went to the apartment I thought it was over, and he turned, and said, “I’m sleepless, I’ve been left with no sleep,” etc.. I pretended to turn off the light and sleep in the apartment. In fact, I stayed awake again and looked out the window. They were circling the apartment the entire time, and I understood that I was practically in jail. But now I was in jail in my apartment, waiting for when they would take me and continue.
Then I took advantage of the opportunity and I went out as if I was buying bread, when it started dawning, and I then met a car with police who were staying and waiting. Not police, they were plainclothes, plainclothes police. And when I passed by, they moved, they got up, they mobilized, they turned on the car. I pretended that I didn’t see them, didn’t hear them, I went down another road, another car started, it was approaching. And I understood that they were on the move. But since I knew that neighborhood well, I had walked everywhere, I had an advantage. Road after alleyway, I threw myself into a yard, another yard, and came out to an abandoned house, which I entered and locked myself in. They drove their cars with… how to put it, an unusual dynamic for that time and so on, but regardless, they didn’t find me. And then I waited all day, and late into the evening, and with extraordinary care I left [to go] where we had our connections then with the friends of the organization. And from that point on I went underground. This happened on 15 April ‘78, and I remained underground until December of ‘81. That was an unusually long time to remain underground, but because of the organization we had, the care of our friends and others, this was possible.