Constantino “Dino” Martiko, who was born at Shen Vasil in 1914, demonstrated the heroic traditions of his birthplace throughout his life. His familial heritage was one of bravery as well. An old villager still recalls the bravery of Dino’s grandfather in the heat of battle. When the Balkan War broke out, Dino’s father was a student in Athens. He joined the Greek Army in the war against the Turks. For his cleverness and courage he was promoted to captain.

When Dino finished his studies at the commercial school in Vlora, he was appointed to the municipality of Delvina, whose chief was a family friend, Asim Kalasa. An educated man, Kalasa advised Dino in loco parentis of the dangers of communism. At that time, in the early 1940s, Albania was intoxicated by the siren call of the Red Manifesto, which lyrically invited all towards a golden land of freedom and equality. Few realized that the devils of class warfare lurked amid those golden promises.

At the height of his later suffering, Dino would recall his youthful impressionability, lamenting:

We joined the Communist movement not to make a career, but because we thought that one day we might correct the injustice that had been done to the weak.

Dino vigorously opposed the Fascist invasion in 1939. Twice he was imprisoned. He continued his struggle underground as chief of the National Liberation Front for the upper coastal area. He was wanted by the Italian forces at any cost.