Born in May 1924 in Elbasan, Hedije, commonly known as Didi, had an older sister, Semije Sejdini. They were the daughters of Qani Bicaku and granddaughters of Aqif Pasha Elbasani. Both sisters attended the Queen Mother Pedagogical Institute. Their father was imprisoned by the Young Turks for his work on national issues and the protection of the Albanian language, where he fell ill and died. Despite coming from a noble and patriotic family, Hedije and her sister led normal lives.
Education and Early Career
Didi was involved in sports and was especially fond of skating through the streets of Tirana. After completing her education in 1947, she was appointed a teacher in the village of Paftal in Berat. She not only taught academic subjects but also initiated courses against illiteracy and for tailoring. She was later fired due to her uncle’s imprisonment but found work at an Albanian Red Cross pharmacy, only to be fired again.
Massacre of 1951
In 1951, Didi lived with her mother, sister, and brother-in-law, Fejzo Sejdini, a prominent lawyer. On the night of 23 February, their home was invaded by three armed security soldiers. Didi was arrested and taken to Skënderbej Square, then to the New Prison. Inside the dark dungeon of the prison, she met Sabiha Kasimati, who was later executed. They were the only two female prisoners at the time.
Later Life and Death
After her release from prison, Hedije worked as a seamstress and later as a construction worker. She also completed her sixth-grade education. She married into the Maliqi family, known for their patriotism and fight for Albanian Independence. She had two children and lived in Tirana.
Didi passed away on 6 September 2023, at the age of 99.
Hedije Biçaku Maliqi was a remarkable woman who not only survived one of the darkest periods in Albanian history but also contributed to education and the fight against illiteracy. Her life story serves as an inspiration and testament to resilience and courage.