Stories like Albani’s sound like a fascinating movie script and fly by the ears of intolerant young Americans who have never experienced want or exploitation but were pliable drones in the hands of their teachers and college professors who indoctrinated them into socialism, bogus “white privilege” and other non-existent advantages that inadequate students who cannot make the grade in college keep inventing in order to excuse their inadequacy and lack of achievement. Similar stories told by people who escaped communism are repeated around the country but only older Americans are listening.
Have the young and misinformed ever asked why countless people from around the world have died to escape communism and third world oppression but nobody has even attempted to flee from capitalism unless they were criminals and traitors wanted by the law.
It’s true, progressive Hollywood types threaten to leave this country and move elsewhere if rational and conservative politicians are elected, but liberals never move to a communist “paradise” of their invented dreams.
Nobody in Hollywood, academia, or the rich and spoiled billionaires who praise the medical care in socialist Europe actually go seek treatment there, they look for the best American doctors and hospitals, with the exception of perhaps plastic surgery when they seek anonymity and pampering while nobody recognizes or discovers them during recovery.
I met Albani, his wife, and his 97-year old mother-in-law on the Orthodox Palm Sunday this year in a mutual friend’s home in New Jersey. His remarkable and beautiful mother-in-law was gracious, poised, speaking perfect English in a sweet and youthful voice. She had taught herself English by going to the New York library every day for months on end in order to prepare herself for the citizenship exam.
In addition to having an American sponsor and the means for support, no welfare given, a resident alien had to learn English; nobody gave them translators, bureaucratic forms in their own language, and education in their native tongue. And nobody was publicly “offended” by the term “resident alien,” it was written at the top of every green card.
Not long ago, even in the 1980s, legal immigration meant something wonderful, a chance to succeed, to become part of the American fabric, and an opportunity to have a good and happy life. Immigrants came to America to become Americans, to assimilate into its society and make it better.
Now all the dregs of third world society flood our borders unimpeded, not to become Americans and make it better for all, but to receive welfare and to change it into a banana republic like the one they’ve escaped, with rampant poverty, disease, illiteracy, and violence.
Albani started talking about politics and he brought up Donald Trump’s name with admiration, to the exasperation of one gentleman, an avid supporter of the Marxists candidates. He had fled communism to move to America and made a successful life here for his family but was now willing to bring communist oppression on American shores.
Albani, an engineer by trade, had worked for Donald Trump in the Trump Tower and had a lot of respect for the billionaire’s business ethic and the empire he had built with less than one million dollars he had inherited from his dad. He reminisced about specific times and stories when Trump was not afraid to fire incompetent and dishonest contractors and employees.
But the conversation switched to the story of how Albani had escaped Romania in 1969, barely five years after the installation of the tyrant Ceausescu as the second totalitarian president of the newly emerged communist dictatorship of Romania.
He grew up in Constanta, one of the large port towns in Romania where everyone wanted to escape from and very few did because people squealed on each other to the dreaded Securitate. He was an engineer at IPROMET in Bucharest. His job allowed him to go to different locations in the field where he could issue work orders for parts from the metallurgical industry in order to fix broken industrial machinery.
He decided to design and build a submarine that would accommodate six people. To this day, Albani is a humanitarian who helps many legal immigrants assimilate into our society. Albani placed work orders in various locations of the country to manufacture the submarine in seven to eight different sections and bought an engine.
The plan was to escape from Constanta, load everything on a giant earth-moving truck used in mining, put the parts together in the 40-ton truck, back it off into the Black Sea, assemble the small submarine overnight, and then abandon the earth moving truck nearby. Once the truck was discovered, nobody could trace all the parts and why this piece of equipment was at this location, particularly since such vehicles would often carry large concrete blocks and huge rocks which were dumped into the sea in order to reduce water erosion of the shore.
Each part had several bolts, about eighty total; it was going to take at least a couple of assembly hours if everything went smoothly. “We did not want the makeshift submarine to go down too much, so we would not get detected by radar. Our final destination was on the shores of Turkey, about 200 miles away.”
Before the assembly was to be completed, Albani applied for passport and visas to go to various places but was turned down. At some point, he petitioned to go to a cousin’s wedding in the former Yugoslavia, Romania’s neighbor to the south-west, and, to his surprise, they approved the request, and gave him a passport. It was at this point that Albani abandoned the submarine assembly operation.
“I tried to go to Greece in my father’s car. Very few people owned a car but my father had a car. He was a doctor and made six times more money than the average person in ‘tips’ [bribes] that supplemented his meager salary set by the state.”
Once in Yugoslavia, his plan was to go to Greece and, along the way he picked up three hitchhikers, two Brits and a German. At that time, it was safe and customary to hitchhike across Europe without any worry and mostly free of charge. The Yugoslavs let them through even though Albani did not have a visa for Greece like the other three hitchhikers.
But, when he got to Greece, his luck ran out. The Greeks said, “The hitchhikers could pass but you, the Romanian without a visa, you go back.” “I can’t go back; I am asking for political asylum, they will arrest me if I go back. B.S., go back to Yugoslavia then.”
Once there, dejected but undeterred, Albani managed to get a visa from the Germans with the help of a friend’s invitation and a financial guarantee even though he only had $120 in his pocket, mostly for gas. He ate bread and drank milk most of the time because that is all he could afford.
Albani slept in his car wherever he happened to arrive at night and even got arrested in Skopje because he was not supposed to sleep in a car. His luck took a turn for the better when the Italian border police let him pass through without a visa and the French did too.
He stayed in Germany a while but he hated the place so he went back to France. He remembered, while in Stuttgart, by 8 p.m., the city was empty, everyone was home with the shades drawn, and it was like a ghost town. “Unbelievable, I was there three days.”
Once in Paris, the authorities gave him the right to work almost overnight. He requested political asylum and, in one morning he got a place to live and the right to work. In the next two days he had a job, a kind of quality assurance engineer.
Because he spoke French fluently, his new job paid him the same amount as the French engineer who had been working there a while. He could stay in France, but he wanted something better. Soon visas arrived from the Canadians, South Africans, the Swiss, Australia, and the last one was from the United States.
“I requested political asylum and they asked why, were you persecuted? I knew I would get the visa anyway, but I explained that I was forced to do voluntary work for the government which was not a stretch, it was actually true.” But that was far from the reason why Albani defected. The communists had totalitarian control over the entire country, confiscated everything, and were strangling freedom and the humanity from their captive Romanian citizens.
After one year in Paris, Albani returned to Romania to get his wife. The Romanians never questioned where he was even though he was a defector. The tight security police and population control was not in full force by 1970. He went back to steal his wife out of Romania. She came all the way to Paris from Bucharest, with no papers. She was hidden when they crossed borders, then she would come out and ride in the car normally. Exactly where she was hidden is quite an ingenious way that almost got her killed twice.
TO BE CONTINUED
Copyright: ILEANA JOHNSON 2016