|First Lady of Socialist Albania|
8 February 1921
Bitola, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
|Died||26 February 2020 (aged 99)|
(m. 1945; died 1985)
|Alma mater||Queen Mother Pedagogical Institute|
University of Tirana
Nexhmije Hoxha (Albanian pronunciation: [nɛdʒˈmijɛ ˈhɔdʒa]; née Xhuglini; 8 February 1921 – 26 February 2020) was an Albanian communist politician, for many years she was the spouse of Enver Hoxha, the first leader of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania and the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania. Very close to her husband, she attempted to remain politically influential after his death in 1985. She was one of the few spouses of a ruling communist party leader with a high political profile of her own.
Nexhmije Hoxha was born Nexhmije Xhuglini in Bitola, in present-day North Macedonia. Later moving with her parents to the Albanian capital, Tirana, she studied at the Queen Mother Pedagogical Institute. In November 1941, while still training to be a schoolteacher, she joined the newly founded Albanian Communist Party and a year later was elected to the General Council of the Albanian National Liberation Movement.
During the Second World War she fought against the forces of Fascist Italy and German Wehrmacht troops, as part of the First Division of the National Liberation Army, a resistance group which was dominated by communists and supported by Special Operations Executive forces which were sent to Albania by the British. In 1943 she was elected to the Secretariat of the Albanian Women's League, and served as its chairwoman from 1946 to 1952, replacing Ollga Plumbi.
The then Nexhmije Xhuglini met Enver Hoxha at a meeting of the Albanian Party of Labour. Hoxha proposed to her in 1942 at a house which was being rented to him by the generous party supporter Syrja Selfo, who would be sentenced to death and executed in 1946.[better source needed] Then for the next several months, the Hoxhas stayed on and off in the house of Enver's brother-in-law Bahri Omari, who was destined to be executed by a firing squad in 1945 for collaboration with Nazi occupation forces. They married in 1945. Enver Hoxha steadily rose to a prominent position after the end of the war and the establishment of a communist government.
In 1966, as Albania increasingly isolated itself, she became director of the Institute of Marxist–Leninist Studies, a body which was responsible for ensuring ideological purity and spreading propaganda. Her relationship with the Sigurimi secret police is widely discussed.[better source needed] Nexhmije later claimed in her 1998 memoir, My Life with Enver, that her husband expressed some regrets over the number of executions which the Sigurimi carried out.
After her husband died in 1985, Nexhmije was elected chairwoman of the Democratic Front, an umbrella association, and she defended her husband's heritage during the period of reforms (1990–1991). She was forced to resign as chairwoman of the Democratic Front in December 1990, and she was replaced by Prime Minister Adil Çarçani.
She was expelled from ALP on 13 June 1991 and the party organ Zeri i Popullit criticised her for her allegedly pompous way of life. She was arrested on 10 December 1991 and at the end of January 1993 she was sentenced to nine years in prison for embezzlement of 750,000 leks. The sentence was increased to eleven years by the appeal court. Hoxha was released from prison in January 1997.
Hoxha died on 26 February 2020 aged 99 at her home in Tirana from natural causes. At the time of her death she was the oldest living member of the communist leadership of Albania.
For many years she lived with her husband in the section of Tirana which was known as the Bllok, reserved for the country's ruling elite. Being at the apex of the party elite, they had access to foreign goods which were not available to ordinary Albanians and they reportedly owned 25 fridges and televisions. However, Nexhmije maintained that she personally did not live extravagantly, emphasizing the prosaic nature of her marriage ceremony in 1945, which did not include a dress, a reception or a honeymoon.