Chatin Sarachi (1902 - 1974)

Sarachi as a Politician

Chatin was born in a well-known family of trading traditions, in Shkoder, Albania. He was brought up with an occidental mentality in an environment of European cultural roots.

This influence, seems to have helped him in covering for a short period of time, a diplomatic position in the High Administration of King Zog the First. In fact, already at a very early age, Sarachi was known to be a very close friend of the King himself. In comunicating to Him, Chatin calls himself as:"(Your) ex best friend". It is this friendship that characterized the antagonistic, political arena of that time, to transform this Zog-Sarachi co-operation into an indissoluble and symbiotic relation and even to imply an unproved involvement of the name of Chatin Sarachi in Luigj Gurakuqi's murderer.1

The political career of Chatin Sarachi, is as interesting and as exotic as it can be. The occupation of Albania from the Italian army coincides with Chatin's position as First Secretary of the Albanian Embassy in London, where he went on living afterwards and where he became a well-known artist.

Another, quite exotic, element of Chatin's character, emerges from the memory book of Lord Drogheda, entitled "Double Profit" (London, Eidenfeld & Nicholson) when he writes: "Chatin was a fashionable artist, a versatile character, really smart, a close friend of the famous Paul Getty" (page 52).
When Lord Drogheda speaks about the first time he met Chatin, he writes: "When I looked at him I fell electroshock (page 53). The author even calls Chatin "The Munhausen Baron" due to Chatin's incomparable ability in telling stories.

On 20 November 2008 a pamphlet was issued by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate those British diplomats who, by their personal endeavours, helped to rescue victims of Nazi racial policy.
The pamphlet states that in January 1939, Winston Churchill, "then without political office but still a Member of Parliament" met Sarachi when in holiday in the South of France and "raised with him the possibility of allowing German and Austrian Jews to enter Albania". Six weeks later, Sarachi, having just returned to London from Albania, wrote to Churchill that he had been "authorized to negotiate in case the question still exists".
Sarachi's hopeful letter was written on March 13. Within six weeks, Mussolini had invaded and conquered Albania, ending its independence, and ending the possibility of any Albanian Government rescue scheme. 2

Sarachi, among his many writings, left a statement about the King Ahmet Zog the First. The typewriting entitled: "The story of a bad man" was left in the safe of a bank in London, from where it has been taken out and published in Albania in 2006, along with a letter sent by him to the former King.3

The Letter of Chatin Sarachi to the Former King of Albania Zog I

The story of a bad man

Cover of the book "Zogu i shqiptarëve" ("Zog of The Albanians") published in 2006 in Albania.

The book contains the typewriting Sarachi left in the safe of a bank in London
For years we have been secretly working against each other. We both could not allow ourselves the comfort of an open conflict, although now I am doing it.

In your letter dated the 20th of February you express your worries about the "idleness" of your friend Chatin. I am telling you that, for real, you do not have to worry neither for my idleness nor for my loss of time. You are right when you say that I should have done something more for Albania but I think that I am giving an extremely significant help to our country, by making you harmless and innocuous to it. Your dishonest past facilitates my work. I can not allow myself to take active part to the political life of this country, as long as guest here, but be sure that as long as I live, I will keep thinking and working, with all my efforts, for Albania to be an independent country. Since 1917 up to now, I have never asked you any favour, or money or post.

Before you snaked away from Albania, you borrowed me items whose value amounted at 270 Pounds. You agree with the fact that you own me 270 Pounds but, still, try to cancel your debt by using Albanian out of value banknotes.
The day when I visited you in Tour, France, at the end of the last October, you gave me ten thousands French francs and two thousands Albanian golden Francs (that later were proved to be valueless) but did not give to me two hundred of English pounds, as promised. When I said to you that, as far as I knew, the two thousands of Albanian golden francs, only nominatively corresponded to 200 English Pounds and that the above mentioned banknotes were not accepted by any deal trade out of Albania, you firstly told me that Mr. Nocka, secretary of the Embassy, had exchanged big amounts of that amount of banknotes at the black market of Paris and secondly told me that I should have considered the sum of money as a gift for my trip to Paris. Then you promised to pay to me "cash" five thousands Pounds till the coming April, seeing that the French Government has already paid you for your "List" of soldiers. You told me that you have had long talks and conversations with Daladier, that the French were not that obstinate as their colleagues in London, and that France was the only political choice for you seeing that England would have not allowed you to enter in politics as long as you would have lived there. You asked for my help and support in Europe and for the help and support of Faik Konica in the USA, where you ere planning to begin you campaign of fund raising from the Red Cross with the help of your half American wife. You showed me the receipt of "Lloyd Bank" to convince me that you had really forwarded 500 Pounds to Minister Konica and that I and him would have been paid, through you, by the French government.

The organisation of the Balcanian army of yours would have began, secretly, in Istanbul where fifty thousand Albanian soldiers would have been recruited and equipped. The government of Austria, interned you during the 1917, because you have presented a list of ten thousand soldiers while you had the possibility to pay less than a half of them. The same thing you did with Pashiq, during the 1924, when we were in Belgrade. Lastly the "famous " lists have been paid by the "Lion" as you use to call Mussolini. Now the times have changed and you mask fell away. If you still keep thinking that you tricks can still be used means that you ignore totally either French or English mentality. They know quite well that you name, the name of King Zog, is the most hated in the minds of all the Albanians. Even if the war stopped in Balkans, you presence on that soil, would make each Albanian act roughly against any slogan containing your name.

When we met, in Tour, you pointed out that you did not want to go back to Albania, but your son could go there as the Crown Prince.

You know as well as all the Albanians that your name is a course for our race and for our people and that you do not have a single follower among them, except of the well paid and gunned gangsters around you. Your only interest is to put together big amounts of money, no matter of what the results could be. If Albania wants to see an only ray of light, this will be possible only with the support of France and England. The Albanians themselves would give their complete support to those countries. Neither you nor your cursed name will be mentioned any more. You will not be allowed to do any harm to Albania, any longer.

The letter I received from you yesterday, dated the 29th of February, has the same style, deign of an illiterate and hypocrite highlander, as you and the family where you come from, are. Your callings about our old friendship show that your conscience and its nibbles are at work. During the 1924, you, Jak Koci and me, filled and signed a contract in which you promised to pay to Jak Koci 20% and to me the 10% of the whole profit you would have made. Independently from your legal business, you began your reign by killing patriots and by selling your own country.

Alessandro Lessona (Minister of Mussolini's government), a friend of mine at the time, paid to you more than 4 million English Pounds from 1925 to 1931. Even I had the right to act, I never asked for my part. That money, as anyone in Albania knows, have been washed by the blood of patriots as Bajram Curri, Hasan Prishtina, Ligj Gurakuqi, and thousand of them.

The money, you are living with today, are the product of the lowest betrayal and are washed by the tears and the sufferings of a whole nation, the nation you sold, you Albania Judas!
I know each dark corner of your soul, not a single event of your reign that I ignore.
From your cottage in the mountains, where you were born, you came to live in luxurious castles around Europe.
But the nibbling of your conscience that twice brought you so close to the grave, still lives with you in the luxurious rooms.

Your gunned gangsters can protect your body but, for sure, they can not protect you dark and poor soul. The friend and enemies you have ordered to kill still flatter around you night and day wherever you try to go. The shadows of more that 1 million chained Albanians run after you, calling your name. Thousand of Albanians dead, for the freedom of their country, can not live you alone.

As you best friend, I know quite well, how your stomach works and how your sleeping is, so, I wish you a very long long life. You can use your money but you will never enjoy them.
You used to tell me that you life is over, but the black nibbles are not. I am the only Albanian to know and to have the possibility to prove your past crimes.
They are now written and left in the safe of a Bank. The Albanians will read a sad story while the foreigners will read a nauseating one. I, Chatin Sarachi accuse you, Ahmet Zogu, of being a traitor of your country, of being a thief and a killer. For your personal enemies that live out of Albania you used to prepare shootings and lots of the designed victims you choose are dead now.
This kind of gangster acting was allowed as long as you lived above the low.
Now, that you are a private citizen, that lives in a country, where the stick and the guillotine are the punishment for the crime, I challenge you to use your old methods.
As much as I know, the criminals are always pearful. I am a simple refugee that makes the most of the hospitality of this noble people and respect their lows, so I challenge you to take any legal acting against me. Let me assure you that if I will be judged guilty, the English law would make Ahmet Zog very happy, seeing that this country uses the severest laws ever.

Reading your letters, where you still dare to speak about patriotism and still dare to mention to me the secret name of Albania (sic), I feel more disgusted that in the past.
Albania has seen lots of occupiers even more powerful that the last ones, but they have always gone away. The same will happen to the last ones but your name will not be remembered and mentioned. The aim of this letter is to ask you once again, for the last time, to stay back from Albania, otherwise, I will be obliged to tell something more to the French and to the English.

I will keep the devalued banknotes, together with your last letters, safe, as a witness of your lack of honesty. Even if I had economic problems, that money will always have the value of two hundred Pounds, and although I can have them back, through any French judge, I have decided to keep them as a last souvenir of yours.

Çatin Paskal Saraçi
London, W8
21 A. Stratford Rd.

  1. Panorama, November 14, 2006 Back
  2. Carvell, Dowden, Foley, Ogilvie-Forbes, Preston, Shepherd, Smallbones. Commemorating Diplomats, 2008, p. 36-37 Back
  3. Plasari, Aurel. Who was Chatin Sarachi - Shekulli - February 07, 2002 - N. 179 (1479) Back
  4. Sarachi, Chatin. The Letter of Chatin Sarachi to the Former King Zog the First - The Story of A Bad Man Back