Thank you for giving me a few minutes to speak on behalf of Agim and Rose Karagjozi. I would like to note that Agim Rexhaj could not be here due to a previous committment.
Midhat Frasheri, his father and uncles were the founders of modern day Albania. In the late 1800’s they sowed the seeds of the modern day Albanian cause which evolved into the period of the Great Albanian Awakening from 1900’s to 1940’s. This was the period that the nation and Albanian people embraced democracy and the idea of free thought and speech. That was inspired by the United States.
Midhat Frasheri was the founder and leader of Balli Kombetar which was the organization established to fight for the national cause and defend the Albanian people when ever they were in harms way.
Midhat Frasheri left Albania in November of 1944 from Ulqin with the leaders and fighters of Balli Kombetar, the National Front and Legalitet. They escaped in two boats that brought the group to Italy which included my father Agim, his father, and my mother and her family. Here the group settled in refugee camps from 1944 to 1949. During this time, Mithat had a profound influence on everyone in the camps. He was a father figure to my father and many of the young Albanian men, women and children. Agim would come to Midhat with different ideas and beliefs about how to return to Albania to over turn the communist regime. They also discussed how to improve the Albanian Nation and provide better opportunities for the people. Midhat mentored Agim and helped solidify his understanding and unshaken position that communism must fall for the Albanian people to thrive.Midhat explained to Agim the important role that VATRA had in the Albanian world. He had a long history and many correspondences with the VATRANS and counted on their support when he needed help. Agim embraced his philosphies and was given a great gift to have had such close relations with Midhat during his late teens until his early twenties. Agim held onto his ideals of nation first, be pure and clear to the cause and never waiver. Midhat Frasheri famously said, “Without Kosova there is no Albania and without Albania there is no Kosova.” Agim continued Midhat Frasheri’s philosphy in Vatra for the almost 60 years that he was a member and leader of the organization.
During Midhat Frasheri’s existence in the camps he spent much time with my mother’s family, the Peshkopias. My grandmother and aunt would often make him dinner and make his clothes. Rose and her siblings were very close to Mithat and would lovingly call him “xhaxha”.
Mithat left the camps in 1948 and moved to France where he met with my cousin Nexhat Peshkopia and other Albanians and worked at the Free Europe Committee. My mother’s family moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1949 and soon after Midhat was invited to speak in NYC at the Free Europe Committe gathering about the evils of communism. When he arrived in New York he visited my grandparents and their children October 2nd 1949 Also present at the Peshkopia’s home were Luan Dosti and Talat Karagjozi. It was a very warm, special and loving evening.Midhat was in a very happy spirited mood and was in good health.
I want to emphasize that Midhat was a very kind,generous and wonderful man. He also was an intellectual, published papers, books, and philosphized and formulated lasting ideals for the Albanian people.
Mithat left the Peshkpia home and was escorted to the train by Luan, Talat and Adevi Peshkopia, they kissed him goodbye. He was tragically found the next morning deceased in his hotel room October 3rd 1949.
In honor and love for Midhat Frasheri. we are happy Midhat’s remains are being brought back to Albania, his homeland, where he always wanted to be buried. I HOPE that Mithat’s spirit will bring further wisdom to the Albanian leadership, that the NATION is always first and self interest is second, this was the essance of whom Mithat Frasheri was. Mithat Frashëri served the Albanian people his entire life and he always preached to serve the Nation. .