Vangjel Doni was born in 1928 in Milgu, a village in Gjirokastra. At the age of 16 he became a partisan with the Brigade of Ishm in Tirana. During an operation he was captured by the Germans, who sent him to Yugoslavia where he remained for almost 4-5 days. From there he was sent to the prison of Mauthausen. He spent almost 9 months there and experienced inhuman tortures, mainly starvation and possible work to death. Fate wanted him to stay alive anyway. Vangjel left behind notes of his dark stories before he passed away. He recorded that he had been helped by a Greek officer, who knew how it worked when the Germans said “Who will be washed, who will be visited, let them come out”, when in fact all of them were killed, burned and raped.
So, the Greek officer, whenever such calls were made, stopped my father from coming out. After the capitulation of Germany, Vangjeli returned to his homeland, initially to Tirana to some relatives, from where he went to his village where he had left his parents, sister and brother. Vangjeli was later employed as a policeman in the village, and eventually completed the officer’s school and became the first captain in Përmet. Taqo, Vangjel’s son tells us some moments of his father that had left him traumatized. His father, from the bitter experience he had gone through in Mauthausen, could not stand the potato dish, because as he states: “In the camp they suffered from extreme hunger and rummaged every night in the garbage cans, found the potato skins and ate them to keep the soul alive”. Taqo shows, that although the potato dish is well cooked and has no potato skin, already the smell terrified Vangjeli. Potatoes reminded me of Mauthausen. Vangjel Doni passed away on May 10th, 2005.