Vlora: Sefer Dauti

Sefer Dauti is now the president of the association of ex-prisoners in the district of Vlora. Like my father, he was ejected from the party because he didn’t hate the enemy. He was condemned to ten years in prison, in one of the most terrible prisons in the world, the infamous Spaç, a working mine where few ever saw daylight.

He says, “What Dante Alighieri writes in The Inferno is only theory; our suffering was reality. We were allowed 20 leks (about 20¢) worth of food a day, 14 leks of which was bread; occasionally we were allowed some oil, sugar, rice or macaroni. After two or three months a prisoner was transformed into a living skeleton.”

He continues: “We worked in the mine, where in winter we were forced to go from an inside temperature of 40 degrees centigrade (104 degrees Fahrenheit) to an outside temperature of -12 centigrade (below freezing). Our clothing, which was drenched in sweat, soon was transformed into garments of ice. Because of the dangerous conditions in the mine, prisoners frequently were injured, breaking limbs; wounds were infected by naphtha. Pyrite was more dangerous to mine than copper. When a stratum was suddenly discovered, often the prisoners suffocated under its weight.

Sefer Dauti

“I knew Dino since his days at the bank. He always dressed well, and was a regular, honest, serious man, a man with great courage. His wife Sophia was an honorable and special woman.

“Because he and I both hated communism we listened clandestinely to foreign radio stations like the Voice of America, the BBC, Athens, Vienna, Rome, Paris...”