Saranda: Illo Martiko

When we knocked on Illo Martiko’s door, he asked who it was, and I said “Sigurimi (the Albanian secret police).” We all had a good laugh over that. Illo is distinguished by his special hospitality.

My father shared a warm friendship with his cousins Illo and Vaso Martiko. In 1944, after the partisans murdered their brother Duka, Dino found a concrete reason to begin hating communism. What is ironic about his death is that Duka himself was a partisan, one of the communists fighting for the liberation of Albania. He was murdered after being accused of stealing some cigarette papers. My father said that even if he were guilty, nobody should be killed for this.

Illo Martiko