Here is a report from Reuters on a recent interview with Nexhmije Hoxha. This is from a part of history that I as a foreigner will never really understand, nor know the characters involved. ( other than by name and old film). I will say this, however, that any time I have watched the old documentaries from TV during communism and praising PPSH, I have been struck by Nexhmije Hoxha.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman?
Then maybe behind every evil dictator there is an evil woman!
I just get the feeling that she had a "hands on" role in much of her husbands plans and activities.
However, what do I know - I wasn't here during those days and it's just an impression that I get!
Here is the article...
"The widow of Albania’s longtime Stalinist leader said some things had improved since the collapse of Communism, but defended Enver Hoxha’s tough legacy as she prepared to honour the centenary of his birth.
“Some people want me to repent for things that happened in those times,” Nexhmije Hoxha, 86, said in a rare two-and-a-half-hour interview with Reuters on Thursday night.
“People should know from the start that I cannot criticise Enver Hoxha, I must protect his reputation.”
“Unfortunately, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Enver is taking place in an atmosphere of contradictions,” she said.
“Various associations that want to celebrate the date are afraid to do so in this almost fascist atmosphere.”
Enver Hoxha was born on October 16, 1908, and after leading the World War Two resistance, ruled Albania for 40 years as one the world’s most reclusive and oppressive states. He abolished religion, closed the borders and built thousands of pillbox bunkers against foreign invasion. Private cars were banned.
Today most Albanians condemn his rule as a dark period.
Although still largely rural, the country has seen fast economic growth and a building boom in recent years as it tries to catch up with wealthier European nations.
Hoxha acknowledged that some of the changes had been positive. “People are freer, I can talk any time, but I avoid it because I do not want to,” she told Reuters. “Some things are good, it’s development, progress.”
Nexhmije met her future husband in 1941, when both were in the Communist underground — and when dating between comrades was frowned upon. “Expressions of love were forbidden in line with the expression of party rules,” she recalled with a smile.
“It had its own romanticism.”
“We had some age difference between us and he came as a delegate of the Central Committee. The idea of being with him never crossed my mind,” she continued. “It was he who started courting me. He was very, very loving, very sweet.”
One night he ferried her alone on a bicycle’s handlebars to a Communist Party safe house. “That’s how we came to love each other,” she said. They were married in 1945.
The dictator’s widow, who is in good health, says he improved Albania’s postwar standard of living, its health system and education amid desperate poverty. “When the standard of living was compared to the West, it can be considered modest, but there was an egalitarian spirit.”
As for the pervasive secret police and repression, Nexhmije, who became an important party official herself, admits excesses.
“Unpleasant and unwelcome things did happen, but that did not come from above, let alone from Enver,” she said.
“People complain now that some jail sentences were harsh, but that was the law of the state at the time,” she added.
Referring to the closed borders, Nexhmije said: “If we look at it now, I guess it should not have been so restrictive, but those were the times.”
After Albanian Communism collapsed in 1990, Nexhmije was sent to prison for five years, accused of abusing state finances. She said she had spent $360 on new glasses after many mourners accidentally broke glasses when drinking rakia alcohol and coffee following Hoxha’s 1985 death.
“The object of my trial was political because I was the widow of Enver Hoxha,” she complained. “When I came out of jail I didn’t even recognise the streets.”
—Reuters - Adam Tanner"