Bjeshka Guri (interviewer)
Behxhet Kadiri. (interviewee)
Acronyms: BG=Bjeshka Guri, BK= Behxhet Kadiri.
BK: I am Behxhet Kadiri.
When the police came to this hill here where they were sheltered, we fled to our aunt here in the village of Bellacak, the Kadiri family fled to this aunt here.
After two or three days from my aunt we were dispersed to the Kadiri family, a part went to the village of Potoqan to my sister, while I with my children and my wife went to the other sister in the village of Xërxë.
From the sister, I do not know how long we stayed there because we took refuge in the sister, the police came around 11 o’clock and drove away the whole village that day and ordered us to go to Albania. We all went in turns, some by car, some by tractor to the village of Dushanavë, in the village of Dushanavë we stayed one night and were sent back to the village of Xërxë, then after 2 or eventually 3 weeks for the second time they drove us away and we fled to Albania.
BG: What was the atmosphere like when you changed places from village to village?
BK: I personally felt very bad when I left my house, not only me but I believe that everyone felt very bad when they left their homes. But, we fled to Albania.
Me with my kids, I had a tractor and a very small trailer while my uncle and his son have continued by truck. Because I pulled the truck from my aunt and sent it to my sister in the village of Xërxë. They by truck, I only with my children by tractor and we went to Albania.
BG: How was the way to go to Albania?
BK: On the way to Albania there were people walking, but on both sides of the road there were police officers, from Prizren to the border on both sides of the road there were police officers.
When I crossed the border, they took all my documents, my personal documents, my wife’s, my ID cards were burned.
We crossed the border then by tractor we continued to Kukës, approximately it took us two (2) hours to go to Kukës from the border by tractor.
In Kukës there was the late uncle, who was waiting for us and we took refuge in a big mountain, I do not know what that mountain was called in Kukës, but at the end of that mountain we all refugees took refuge.
BG: How did you do there (in Kukës), how was the atmosphere?
BK: What can I say?! … We passed someone with bread and someone without bread, cold, it started to rain, I put a nylon on the trailer, and we slept in the trailer that night.
Then, after two days from Kukës, we went to Sukth, where I stayed with my children and my two uncles.
BG: Did you have information about other family members with whom you de[arted where they are, how did you communicate?
BK: For information, I knew that I left my father, brother and younger uncle to my sister in the village of Podoqan and during the period I stayed in Albania I had no information about the rest of the family who stayed in the village of Podoqan.
In Sukth we stayed for about 2 months in a house of a person named Mizair Lila, in his house he lived with his wife, while he gave our family his son’s house, uninhabited, for which we paid every months 500 marks.
BG: How was your routine during your stay in Albania?
BK: In Albania I was with my 2 children and my wife (4 persons), my uncle was with my wife, my daughter-in-law (my son’s wife), my son and my two daughters and the other late uncle was with his children and with his wife.
BG: What did you do during the day?
BK: During the day we all stayed in that house in a pile, only the late uncle went to get the food to bring home. The biggest movement was up to the town of Sukth and back to the apartment.
BG: How did you do with the assistance?
BK: With the assistance, we were all right, they brought us aids, clothes, sleeping clothes, the food was good, maybe it was not very good, but we did not take it badly.
BG: How did you find out that Kosovo was liberated?
BK: A friend from Krusha e Madhe, Ismet’s brother- Liman, Liman has been staying at the Post Office, I met him and I asked him: What’s up Uncle Liman, he replied that “I am listening to the transistor in my hand (Radio)” and said, “At most after another week and we will return home, to go to Kosovo.”
I said inshaAllah Uncle Liman, but where did you get this information?
He said “I heard on the radio that we will return home at the end of the week”.
And it happened as he said, at the end of the week we returned home.
BG: How was the return period?
BK: I am saying, when we left to return home, that I forgot to show that I left the tractor in Kukës on the road (in the middle of the road), one Nuhi Elezi told me “leave the tractor here, when you return you will take it”.
I said to him how in the middle of the road? he said: “leave it and do not bother”.
I left my tractor and we went by truck all the family to Sukth.
I can say with full conviction that I have never felt a better experience than when we started to return home, even now that we are free I have not felt a better experience.
I have always tried to return to Kosovo, I have never thought about how to live in Albania, I have always thought about how to return to the mountains to Kosovo.
I have always lived with the logic of how to return to Kosovo.
Because I realized, I predicted that I could not live in Albania.
An old man who was taking care of a cow told me “come you Kosovars to stay here”, because we were with them because we spent almost a month staying in that apartment, the old man started crying, and started saying “I am a Cham, when we were expelled from Chameria, as just like you we were told that we will return tomorrow – we will return tomorrow, but I am afraid that the same thing will happen to you Kosovars, and you will stay here forever.”
After this incident I was in a great panic, I told my family what the old man told me.
I always had in my head only the return to Kosovo, I necessarily said that we will return to Kosovo even if we have to walk through the mountains.
And on the way back to Kosovo, the tractor was sent by this Nuhi Elezi to an uncle of his and he told me to go and get it. I refuelled the tractor with diesel and went to Nuhi.
He told me “good luck on your way to Kosovo and if someone stops on the way for a tractor you can freely ride the tractor and come to me, do not deal with it.”
No-one stopped me on the road, except that my tractor gearbox broke down on an uphill slope in the mountains. My gearbox broke, I noticed that it broke but since I had experience because we always worked with cars, I put it in reverse (Speed to walk backwards), I walked a bit then I stopped, again I walked a bit then I stopped, with this method I continued until I arrived in the village of Xërxë, with broken tractor, then when we came to Kosovo we saw that the gearbox was destroyed, it was torn to pieces.
BG: How were the houses when you returned, how was the village?
BK: When we returned home, all these 4 houses were burned, everything was burned. The appliances were burned. All the animals were burned, the stables were burned.
After we returned, the whole family settled in the third house, the door covered by cloth, the window by cloth, we the whole family stayed there in some bad mattresses until assistance started coming sometime later.
BG: Do you have anything else to add?
BK: These that I told are what I know, maybe there is even more that I know but this was my story of how we fled as refugees and how we returned.
BG: Thank you!