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Llazar (Zai) Fundo (born March 20, 1899 in Korçë, Ottoman Empire died September, 1944 in Kukës, Albania) was an Albanian Trotskyist Communist, journalist and writer.

Biography

Fundo was born to a family of merchants in Voskopoja. In his youth he was sent to France, where he attended the Lycée in Salonica and studied law in Paris. He would later become mentor to other Albanian Communist students in Paris, including future Albanian leader Enver Hoxha, whom he taught law to.[1] Upon returning to Albania he was a member of Avni Rrustemi's Bashkimi organization which he later took over upon Rrustemi's death by assassination in April of 1924. Fundo developed connections with Albanian Orthodox Bishop Fan S. Noli and played an active role in forcing then-Prime Minister Ahmet Zogu's exile to Yugoslavia that same year. Upon the overthrow of Noli's government in November of 1924, Fundo emigrated to Vienna, Austria, becoming acquainted with the Balkan Communist Federation (CBF), and then emigrated to the Soviet Union where he became a member of the Comintern. In 1929 he took part in the 8th Congress of the CBF where he discussed the founding of a Communist Party in Albania, having helped establish the Albanian Communist Group in 1928 in Korçë.[2] From 1930-1931 he served as a journalist for the Vienna-based magazine The Balkan Federation.

In 1933 while in Germany he was a partial observer of the Reichstag fire events and traveled with Leipzig Trial participant Georgi Dimitrov (whom he befriended) back to Moscow. During the Spanish Civil War he organized Albanian volunteers for the International Brigades. During these years Fundo began criticizing the pro-Stalin wing of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as "Stalinist," gravitating more towards the views of Leon Trotsky. During the Great Purge he was expelled from the Comintern in 1938 as a "bourgeois deviationist" and a death sentence was announced against him. However, the intercession of Georgi Dimitrov, then leader of the Comintern, resulted in this sentence being dropped.[3]

Following the Italian invasion of Albania in 1939, Fundo returned to Albania and served as a secondary school teacher in his hometown of Korçë until his dismissal a year later, as he was a participant in the underground struggles against the Italians. He was subsequently arrested in 1941 and sent to the island of Ventotene. Fundo became acquainted with Altiero Spinelli and Sandro Pertini during this period, the latter urging Fundo to stay and fight with the Italian resistance. As the Fascist government began to fall in 1943 however, Fundo was able to return to Albania.

In September of 1944 he was captured in northern Yugoslavia under Cominform orders, then allegedly handed over by Tito to the guerrillas of the Communist Party of Albania under Enver Hoxha. He was accused of Trotskyism and collaboration with British Intelligence.[4] He was then either lashed or beaten to death.[5] According to Enver Hoxha in his memoirs, however, he was found by the Albanian National Liberation Army in the company of a "gang of bandits" led by anti-communist Muslim partisan leader Gani Kryeziu and a British officer, an account that has since been substantiated.[6] The Yugoslav partisans, who in 1942 had told their Albanian counterparts to "expose" Fundo, then allegedly came out in Fundo's defense and demanded that Hoxha's army hand Fundo over to them, but by then their letter had arrived too late as Fundo had already been executed.[7]

References

  1. ^ Hamm, Harry. Albania—China's Beachhead in Europe. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1963., p. 84, 93.
  2. ^ Alexander, Robert J. International Trotskyism, 1929-1985: A Documented Analysis of the Movement. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1991., p. 32.
  3. ^ Hamm, 84.
  4. ^ Premtaj, Sadik. "Stalinism and Communism in Albania." Revolutionary History #3 (1990).
  5. ^ The source for Fundo being lashed to death can be found in Borkenau, Franz. European Communism. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953., p. 408. Hamm states that he was beaten to death (Albania—China's Beachhead in Europe, p. 93). Another source for him being beaten to death can be found in Horos, George H. Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1987, p. 7. "In the summer of 1944, he was arrested by his comrades and beaten to death before the horrified eyes of the British military mission."
  6. ^ ‘Enverists’ and ‘Titoists’ - I "Llazër Fundo was murdered in Kosova while participating in an anti-Stalinist and anti-fascist movement led by a powerful family of Kosova Muslim notables, the Kryeziu brothers. Gani Kryeziu and his two brothers Hasan and Sahit, from Gjakova, were sons of a long-established Kosovar Albanian leader. During the second world war, the Kryezius favored the British, Americans, and other democratic and non-Communist powers in the Allied coalition."
  7. ^ Enver, Hoxha. The Titoites. Tirana: Naim Frashëri Publishing House, 1982., p. 30.

Links

‘Enverists’ and ‘Titoists’ - I has a section on Fundo.

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