Denial Of Memory: It’s Time For Albania To Confront Its Communist Past – OpEd


By Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi

Communist dictator Enver Hoxha subjected Albania to forty-five years of one of the most centralized and repressive totalitarian regimes that the world has ever known. At least 100,000 Albanians were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. Several thousand more were murdered from 1945 until Hoxha died and the regime of his successor, Ramiz Alia, collapsed in 1991.

As the Alia regime began to crumble in 1990, the Communist elite fought back. Food and energy supplies dwindled and thousands of Albanians scurried on boats to reach freedom in Italy. The flight was captured on television screens around the world. But when the first democratically elected government of Sali Berisha came to power in 1992, there was no reckoning with life in Albania under communism. The Berisha government was praised by the international community for a bloodless shift from Hoxha’s horrific regime to democracy. This praise was rightly deserved, but not the denial of memory that underlay it. Sali Berisha was Enver Hoxha’s personal physician. Although he did not personally participate in the surveillance, torture, arrest, imprisonment in unspeakable conditions, and murder of Albanians deemed “enemies of the people” by Hoxha and his henchmen, Berisha and his family lived a privileged life while so many of his fellow citizens were suffering and dying.


Like other Eastern European nations that emerged from fascism under Nazi domination during World War II only to be engulfed by Communism, Albania buried the story of the Holocaust (even though unlike any other nation, the role of Albanians during World War II consisted of saving every Jew who either lived in Albania or sought asylum therei). The suppression of the Holocaust was facilitated by the fact that the majority of European Jewry who survived were psychologically unable to convey the horrors that they had experienced, especially to a public that wanted to forget the war and move on. The same pattern would follow after the fall of communism. In Albania, the history of the Stalinist Communist regime under Enver Hoxha was suppressed, and the majority of survivors were afraid to speak about the atrocities inflicted on them by their own people. Two decades after the fall of communism, Albania has still failed to come to terms with its past.

Reconciling with their emergence from 400 years of Ottoman rule, followed by Nazi occupation during World War II, and then forty-five years of communism in the 20th century is the task of all countries and ethnic groups in the Balkans. In 2012, many countries in Eastern Europe have embarked on an accounting of the Communist era. As Lukasz Kaminski, the president of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, told The New York Times in February 2012,

“In order to defend ourselves in the future against other totalitarian regimes, we have to understand how they worked in the past, like a vaccine. Across Central and Eastern Europe a consensus of silence appears to have ended, one that never muted all criticism and discussion but did muffle voices crying out for a long-awaited reckoning.”ii

In spite of the ongoing internal debate, Albania unfortunately is not among the former Communist nations engaged in a long-awaited reckoning. There have been no public forms of closure—no trials, no imprisonment of the torturers, no truth commissions—only amnesty for the perpetrators. Opening up the Communist archives is essential to revealing to the world what happened under the Hoxha regime and to bringing long overdue closure for the victims—not to mention laying the groundwork for giving them national recognition and reparations for their suffering.

As the renowned literary figure Ismail Kadare has written in his introduction to Bedri Blloshmi’s 2010 account of the murder of his brother Vilson and Genc Leka by the Hoxha regime:

“Communism has fallen in Albania, but not its dust and stench. The snake eggs are still everywhere. They continue to spawn deception, psychological violence, and particularly hatred. They are spread out in the left and right parties, in the small and big ones. They remain vigilant to ensure the historic protection of the fallen dictatorship. They instigate a superficial critique, often at the level of poems and artists, to turn attention away from that which constituted the essence of the system: genuine crime.”iii

To expose the “genuine crime” requires a confrontation with Albania’s Communist past—a confrontation that entails first of all listening to the voices of Enver Hoxha’s victims. In what follows are the oral histories of three Albanian Americans (Pellumb Lamaj, Raymond Sejko, and Eqerem Mujo) who managed to survive years of incarceration in the infamous Spaç Prison.

Resistance to Persecution, Imprisonment, Torture, and Murder: The Story of Pellumb Lamaj

From 1945 to 1991, some 5,500 men and women were executed, and close to 100,000 sentenced to prison (forty prisons in number) and fifty forced labor and internment camps because they were considered “enemies of the people.” Poet and activist Pellumb Lamaj, who made his way to the United States two years after the fall of communism, would turn out to be one of them. He was twenty years old, when he was sent to the Spaç prison in 1979, where he would spend eleven years of his life.

Pellumb was born on a farm in Clirim, Albania, near the city of Fier, on January 4, 1959. Because there was a concentration of anti-Communist resistance in this region, many families were placed in internment camps. In 1967, when Pellumb was eight years old, his father, who was supporting a family of seven on meager wages, was charged and convicted by a “kangaroo court” for raising his own livestock and trading his cows for milk without permission from the local government.

Earlier, during World War II, members of the Lamaj family and his mother’s family, the Lepenicas, were killed while fighting against the Italian fascists and then the Nazis as members of the “National Front” (Balli Kombëtare). In both cases, they were betrayed by Communists. Xhelal Lepenica, Pellumb’s great uncle, was killed during the civil war that erupted in Albania at the conclusion of World War II. After his murder, Albanian Communist forces danced on his grave, burned and destroyed his property, and confiscated all of his material possessions. From then on, the brutal and torturous regime of Enver Hoxha inflicted pain and suffering on the Lamaj and Lepenica families for decades. This intensified after Qemal Lepenica, one of Pellumb’s uncles, fled from Albania in 1951 to Germany.

After his father’s conviction and incarceration in 1967, Pellumb, his mother, and siblings were forcibly transferred to a village named Skrofotine, near Vlora. As Pellumb has recounted:

“We were placed in the middle of nowhere—my mother with five children. As a boy of 8, subconsciously, I began to understand the meaning of the Communist terror. My father’s incarceration led to the most difficult period in our lives. During this time, my mother was my hero. She was the backbone of the family. At school, the other children would call us kulak, which meant ‘enemy of the people.’ When I went home, I would ask my mother, ‘How should I respond to these taunts?’ She said, ‘Tell them that you are proud to be a kulak based on your family’s background.”

When Pellumb Lamaj completed grammar school in 1974, he was the only student prevented from joining the Albanian youth organization because, according to his teacher Armando Kushta, he “had his eyes fixated on the West” and displayed signs of being “a capitalist.” According to Pellumb, “This was Kushta’s attempt to try to dissuade me from entering high school.” (Ironically, after communism began to fall in Albania in 1990, Kushta would be among the first individuals to leave the country and immigrate to the United States.)

Pellumb’s family considered his arrest only a matter of time, since he and his brother refused to collaborate with the secret police, known in Albania as the Sigurimi—a refusal that under Hoxha’s regime meant jail time at best, execution at worst. Looking back, Pellumb said that March 1, 1979, is “the day that I will never forget”:

“It is indelibly etched in my mind. That day, the Sigurimi arrested me and charged me as an “enemy of the state.” After several months of confinement, I was convicted on the basis of false testimony and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor at the infamous Spaç Prison. I was one of the youngest prisoners sent to Spaç. To this day, the scars of their torturous regime remain on my body and in my mind.”

Pellumb said that the Spaç Prison was something out of Dante’s Inferno. According to him,

“Spaç was a black hole at the bottom of a canyon, surrounded by dark and dreary hills. The only time a prisoner could catch a glimpse of the blue sky was at midday. At night, when the lights were turned on and aimed at the security fences to prevent any escape, the sky was streaked with the reflection of the barbed wire.

“Prisoners were divided into groups that worked nonstop in rotating shifts in the mines under the watchful eye of the guards who inflicted punishment—routinely, indiscriminately, and often brutally. Because we also received barely enough food to survive, many men perished. Every day, when we entered the mines, we felt as if we were marching towards a guillotine, not knowing if we would survive another day.

“The regime stole our youth and dashed all of our hopes and dreams. But I never forgot the words of older prisoners who said that, ‘If you make it out of here, please tell the civilized world that we were martyrs, that we sought freedom from those who took freedom away from us, that we opposed a criminal state ruled with an iron fist by a ruthless tyrant, Enver Hoxha.”

In May 1984, there was an uprising at the Qafe-Bari Prison. Three prisoners were executed and others were sentenced to twenty-five years, some of whom were then brought to Spaç, tortured, and thrown into solitary confinement. When they
were released into the camp days later, their bodies were scarred and their clothes caked with blood. Especially because some of the men had been Pellumb’s friends in the past, he started to help them with bits of food and clothing. Witnessing this, the collaborators and the jailers, called the “Red Guards,” immediately reported Pellumb to the chief of the secret police. Soon after, he was handcuffed and taken to the chief’s office.

“He started screaming that he would teach me a lesson I would never forget. He ordered the Red Guards to take me into a room near his office, where they tortured me for hours. They attacked me with sticks, their boots, and wooden bats until I lost consciousness. When I finally opened my eyes, a doctor in a white coat was peering over me, checking my pulse, and giving me an injection. He told the chief of police to stop the torture, because my pulse was too weak. I was lying on a cement floor in a pool of blood, unable to move. My left hand was broken and bleeding, and the big toe on my left foot had been crushed.

“The torture had begun in the morning, and I guessed that it was the middle of the night, when they tossed me into a cell. I would spend a month in solitary confinement before they sent me back to the camp. When I arrived in the camp, all the prisoners saw the scars on my hands and feet, and everyone realized that I had been tortured because I had helped my fellow inmates. I was proud that I had, and I told the chief that, ‘One day you will be brought to justice for your crimes.’ But, unfortunately, justice is sometimes only a dream. Many of the men who were responsible for decades of persecution, torture, and murder in Albania are living lives of privilege and wielding power in a corrupt government. There was no ‘Nuremburg trial’ for the Albanian Communists who tried to destroy their own people, and the West has chosen to ignore their crimes.”

In August 1990, Pellumb Lamaj was released from prison—in his words, “symbolically soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.” Two years later, he received an opportunity to come to the United States. About this, he reflected, “I was fortunate because there was no room for me in Albania. The same people that had persecuted me and others, including the chief of police, remained in power.”

Pellumb never forgot the fate of his family, his fellow prisoners at Spaç, and those who perished under the Hoxha regime: “For the past twenty years,” he said, “I have pursued justice through every media outlet that I have been able to reach to expose the poison and the torturous regime that engulfed Albania and extended its tentacles to all Albanian lands in Eastern Europe.”

Hoxha Purges His Rivals: The Destruction of the Sejko Family

Born in 1922 in Konispol, Teme Sejko joined the Communist Party during World War II while fighting with the partisans. After Albania was liberated from Nazi occupation in November 1944, Teme studied at the military academy in Moscow. He would return again from 1955 to 1957, as he rose to the rank of rear admiral and commanded the Albanian naval forces in Vlora. In short, he was part of the Communist regime during the first phase of Enver Hoxha’s rule.

In the late 1950s, Hoxha began to shift his alliances away from Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. When the rift between the Soviet Union and Maoist China took place in 1961, Hoxha sided with Mao, and he and his closest allies initiated purges to eliminate rivals. Teme Sejko was one of the people they targeted. So were his brothers, because they were perceived as having political views that threatened Hoxha. On the morning of July 28, 1960, Teme went to work as usual, only to find himself arrested and charged with “participating in a conspiracy involving Yugoslavia, Greece, and the United States.” His family never saw him again. For a year he was incarcerated, while the regime prepared a show trial against him and several other officials. On May 27, 1961, Teme was convicted of being “an enemy of the people” and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. But just three days later, his skull was broken and he was strangled to death with a cord.

When Teme was arrested, so was his brother, Taho, a journalist who had also fought with the partisans during World War II. In 1956, at a meeting of the Communist Party of Tirana, he had criticized the growing disparity between the living standards that the Communist elite enjoyed in Albania and the poverty-stricken majority. Taho Sejko immediately lost his job and was transferred to a clerical position in a factory in Shkodra. Although Taho was not executed along with Teme in May 1961, he was imprisoned and tortured in an attempt to force him to publicly embrace the Hoxha regime. Taho refused to capitulate, and in March 1962, he was secretly convicted and shot to death. His family, including his mother, were expelled from Tirana and relocated to Shkodra,
after being told that Taho had gone mad in prison and had been confined to a state mental hospital.

In 1963, three years after the Hoxha regime arrested Teme and Taho, their brother Sulo was jailed. He was tortured, and later his body was found at the bottom of a well. Their sister, Merushe Sejko-Plaku, was interned in a camp from 1963 to 1968; then she was banished from 1968 to 1974, only to be interned again for ten years—from 1974 to 1984.

Her husband, Rexho Plaku, was a wealthy man who had led the group of partisans in World War II that Teme, Taho, and Sulo had joined. But shortly after the war, he was jailed by the Hoxha regime, and he would spend thirty-two years in prison.

Teme’s son, Rajmond Sejko, ultimately the only one in the family to survive, described the deplorable conditions in which he and his mother, Shpresa, and brother, Sokol, were forced to live once his father was branded as an “enemy of the people.” He said that:

“The same military court martial that condemned my father, on the same day condemned my mother, my eleven-year-old brother, and me (I was thirteen) to a five-year period of internment, known as ‘internal exile.’ We were forced to relocate to a remote and very poor hamlet called Otllak outside of the town of Berat, which was home to only 100 people, including 20 internees. We lived in a small one-room hut, with a dirt floor, thatched walls, and a plastic roof. There was no heat or running water. We had to walk for one hour to get drinking water; we washed our bodies and our clothing with water drawn from irrigation canals; and, instead of a toilet, we had a roofless outhouse. We were confined to Otllak, and needed advance permission from local authorities to travel, even to see a doctor. At least twice a day we had to report to the village security officer.

“My mother and I worked long hours six days a week in the fields, starting at 5:00 a.m. in the summer and 7:00 a.m. in the winter. During the five years that we were interned, no relative or friend dared contact us, including my mother’s brother, Engjell, who lived only ten miles away. Much later, in 1975, Uncle Engjell’s Russian wife would be arrested and jailed for five years, simply because she was overheard telling ‘political jokes.’

“When our internment finally ended in June 1966, I was eighteen years old. My mother, brother, and I moved into the town of Berat, but we continued to be isolated and stigmatized. In 1967, I was conscripted into the army and assigned to a troop that consisted only of the sons of condemned parents. All of us received the worst assignments. For two years, I did hard labor on an army farm until my discharge in 1969.”

Rajmond thought that he and his family were finally free in 1970, especially because that year the Hoxha government permitted a tiny bit of liberalization, including the right to see Italian and Yugoslavian television. The latter showed how poor and undeveloped Albania was compared to the Albanians living just on the other side of its borders. When people began to call for change, the government retaliated. In December 1972, they cut off all access to television; they attacked a festival devoted to traditional Albanian music (calling it decadent); and they began a series of purges and arrests of “liberals,” which included all former political internees and prisoners. Rajmond’s brother, Sokol, was among them. After being fired from his job in a factory in Berat, he was arrested in 1973, tortured in prison by a “specialist in torture” named Ali Xhunga, put on trial in January 1974 on charges of “terrorism, sabotage, spreading anti-government propaganda, and participating in organized crime,” and then executed in March of that year after false witnesses lined up by the government testified against him. He was only twenty-four years old. “To this day,” Rajmond said, “it haunts me to think of the suffering my brother endured.”

With Sokol’s death, Rajmond said that their mother, Shpresa Sejko, was devastated.

Towards the end of 1974, she wrote a statement, accusing the government of killing her husband and her youngest son, and distributed it to her neighbors. On February 19, 1975, police arrived at the Sejko’s home to round up Shpresa and also Rajmond. Rajmond, who was at home alone, was immediately brought to the police station. His mother was in Fier visiting the widow of Tahir Demi, who had been killed along with Teme Sejko. After questioning, Rajmond was released to locate his mother. But by the time he reached Fier, Shpresa was headed back to Berat. And by the time he returned to Berat, he found her lifeless body on the ground under a sheet in front of their house. She had been shot by local officials who were declaring her death “a suicide.”

Rajmond was taken into custody, and a security official proceeded to interrogate him for an hour. Himci demanded that Rajmond admit to coercing his mother to commit suicide. When he refused, the official brought in others from the Ministry of the Interior, including one who in 1974 had pressured Rajmond and his mother to testify against Sokol. They interrogated Rajmond from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., focusing on the statement that his mother had written against the government.

When Rajmond was formally charged a few days later, he was accused of “action in opposition to the government” with a sentence of three to ten years in prison. With that, his first interrogator psychologically and physically tortured Rajmond for eleven consecutive days. After a show trial in May 1975, he was charged with having written and distributed the statement signed by his mother and was sentenced to eight years in prison. After subsisting on a diet of gruel and sleeping on cold concrete floors in jails in Berat and Tirana, shackled and beaten with fists and a wooden club, Rajmond was transferred to Spaç. By then, he had lost forty-four pounds.

“The Worst Prison in Albania”

Built in 1968, Spaç Prison was located in a desolate stretch of land in the northeast, Merdita region of Albania. Rajmond recalls it as “perhaps the worst prison in Albania,” because the majority of prisoners were worked to death there in copper and pyrite mines:

“In Spaç, I lived in a barracks about five meters by five meters, housing fifty-two men. The building consisted of twelve other rooms of this kind on three floors. We slept on platform bunks stacked three high and lined with thin straw mats, old sheets, and a few threadbare blankets. Because of the overcrowding, lack of ventilation, cigarette smoke, and the gas fumes from the mines that seeped into our clothes and skin, the air was fetid. I remember waking up on my top bunk, my throat clogged and unable to speak. Food consisted mostly of bread, beans, and sometimes milk. Those who worked in the mines got a bit more.”

Rajmond worked in the mines from 1975 to 1982. Two years before he arrived at Spaç, there had been a revolt. After it was put down, the four leaders of the uprising were executed and eighty-seven prisoners had their sentences extended for twenty years or more. In the aftermath, greater restrictions were imposed on every prisoner. For example, family visits were restricted to five minutes. During his time at Spaç, Rajmond’s maternal grandmother visited him once a year for six years, each time traveling hours to reach him. Eventually she was too old and infirm to return. Books and language-learning were banned. When Rajmond was caught trying to learn Italian, he was thrown into solitary confinement in freezing temperatures.


Rajmond Sejku was finally released from the Spaç Prison in October 1982, and he returned to Berat to live with his grandparents. He worked as a laborer under the supervision of a foreman who spied on him for the government. A year later, in October 1983, he was secretly condemned to another period of internment, but this time he was banished to the small village of Kutalli for five years, where he lived in primitive conditions. His grandmother joined him there, after his grandfather died in Berat. Rajmond was forced to work on a farm seven days a week and to report to the local officials for questioning two to three times a day. At one point, Vojo Nano, a member of the secret police, tried to recruit him as a spy. Enraged, Rajmond tried to grab Nano by the throat.

In 1985, Enver Hoxha died and his successor, Ramiz Alia, came to power. Three years later, when Rajmond’s banishment was supposed to have ended, it was instead extended for another five years. A year afterwards, in March 1989, the Alia regime tried to return Rajmond to prison once more, when he was denounced by Ali Gega, a Communist party official in Berat. Gega had falsely accused Rajmond of “speaking out against various Albanian government officials.” Hysni Kallmi, a resident of Kutalli, was selected to testify against him at a public hearing, but Rajmond stood up for himself and managed to overcome the effort to re-incarcerate him. Nine months later, as the Communist government was losing its grip on power, it issued a general amnesty for political internees and prisoners. On December 30, 1989, Rajmond was freed. Less then a year later, the regime of Ramiz Alia would fall.

Escape, Exile, and Life in the Camps: The Story of the Mujo Family

In April 1945, some of Hoxha’s military forces, pulled Bajame Mujo and her children, Eqerem, Fatmir, and Nevrus, from their home, set the house ablaze, and took them to Kruje, where they were herded into a camp with other families. The reason for their capture was that Sefer Mujo, husband and father, along with Sefer’s brother, Alo, had resisted the rise to power of Hoxha’s Communist regime at the end of World War II. Hoxha and his henchmen hunted down and executed anyone who fought against them. However, a few escaped, and Sefer and Alo were among them. Sefer and Alo made their way to Munich, Germany, where they joined a group of exiles who had formed a battalion and were being trained at a military base under the auspices of the U.S. Army to return to Albania to try to rescue their families and overthrow the Hoxha regime.

For two years, none of the Mujos’ friends or relatives knew what had happened to them. Then, in 1947, along with 1,000 other families, they were herded into a camp in Valias outside of Tirana. It consisted of a military barracks, left behind by the Italians forces when they handed over Albania to the German Nazis in 1943. Bunk beds, consisting of wooden blanks lined the walls; soldiers were placed at intervals throughout the camp; and it was here that Bajame Mujo and her sons would endure years of suffering. Later they were moved to a nearby brick factory, where, according to Eqerem, they became “slave laborers.”

Meanwhile, Sefer and Alo courageously made their way back into Albania. As Eqerem Mujo and his brothers would eventually come to learn, “My father and uncle would go back and forth from Germany to Albania, leading missions to overthrow Hoxha’s evil regime. They may have wanted revenge; they definitely wanted peace; but, above all, they wanted their lives and families back.”

Under constant physical and mental abuse, and in the daily struggle for food, Eqerem said:

“The thought of my father and uncle only fleetingly crossed our minds. But the knowledge that they were intent on rescuing us (which we learned when the news was leaked that their battalion had made their way into Albania and had already retrieved some families) helped to keep me, my mother, and brothers alive. It filled us with hope and joy, and for fleeting moments, we were free.”

In 1949, when Eqerem was seven years old, the Mujos were moved to another camp, this time in Tepelena, on Albania’s southern coast. According to him, “Conditions were so deplorable that many died and we children spent our days huddled together looking out of the windows as our mothers and fathers formed a line that looked like ants, while they transported the wood that was needed to heat the homes of the Albanian elites.”

The Mujos were next moved in 1954 to a farm in Lushnje that “had been turned into a concentration camp.” In the years ahead, they would be shifted to the many camps spread throughout Albania. Eqerem and his brothers were eventually allowed to attend high school. But not long after they graduated, someone accused Eqerem of being a spy.

In April 1976, at the age of thirty-four, he was arrested. After eight months of investigation by the authorities, he was tried and sentenced to seven years in prison in Spaç. A year later, his brother Fatmir was also accused of being a spy and was sentenced to six years in the Ballsh Prison in Fier.

When Eqerem and Fatmir were released at the end of 1983, they returned to a farm where their mother and Nevrus had lived a hardscrabble existence during their incarceration. Even so, because their father and uncle had escaped to Germany and were part of the resistance movement, the persecution of the Mujo family continued. Four months after Eqerem and Fatmir left prison, the family was detained and sent back to a camp in Lushnje. They would not taste freedom until the Communist regime fell in 1990.

As soon as the regime fell, Eqerem said, “My family planned our way not only out of the camp, but out of Albania. We crossed the border into Greece and, through many twists and turns, ultimately succeeded in flying to the United States. Landing in New York, we were met by an old man with a smile and tears in his eyes. It was our father, Sefer Mujo, whom we had not seen for forty-eight years. My uncle, Alo, stood by his side. The relief that my brothers experienced that day was overwhelming. Even so, our relief was tempered by the absence of our mother, who had tried to protect us on the long journey only to succumb to breakdown and death just months before.”


The precise number of those who were interned and executed under Enver Hoxha’s dictatorship may never be known. What is known is that the failure to confront the cruelty, the fanaticism, and the instruments of terror perpetuated during the Communist era has denied the survivors the healing and the justice that they deserve. It has also left deep scars on the psyche of the Albanian people and prevented Albania from joining a democratic Europe. The time has come for Albania to make sure that the denial of memory does not succeed, to grapple with the unfinished business of the past so that it does not continue to distort the present, and to begin to construct a new and viable future.

Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi is Balkan Affairs Adviser to the Albanian American Civic League.

This article could not have been written without Pellumb Lamaj’s partnership, together with the contributions of Rajmond Sejko, Eqerem Mujo, and Luan Mazreku. It was first pubished in Illyria on June 8, 2012 and in Prishtina Insight on July 20, 2012.

i. Cloyes DioGuardi, “Jewish Survival in Albania & the Ethics of ‘Besa’,” Congress Monthly, January-February 2006, pp. 7-10. See also Rescue in Albania by Harvey Sarner, 1997, originally published by Brunswick Press in Cathedral City, CA, distributed by the Albanian American Foundation, Ossining, NY.

ii. Kaminski, Lukasz, as quoted in “Europe Reckons with Its Legacy of Communism” by Nicholas Kulish, The New York Times, February 21, 2012, A section, pp. 1 and 3.

iii. Kadare, Ismail, introduction to Fabrikimi I Vdekjes: Dosjet e Sigurimit tëGenc Lekës e Vilson Blloshmit by Bedri Blloshmi, (Tirana, Albania: Botimet “Almera”), p. 6.

4 thoughts on “Denial Of Memory: It’s Time For Albania To Confront Its Communist Past – OpEd

  • August 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Yes that was the small prison in the Balkans. There was a lost generation. Only ateist country in the world.

  • August 20, 2012 at 1:35 am

    all them guards walk free from wht they did too those people they should all be arrested charged with murder today and the same goverment of albania are the same ones who where involved with this and the people of albania dont revolt shame on you sali bersia edi rama all of you where commies you should be killed wake up albania

  • August 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    As an American living in Albania right now, I have to say that the premise of this article is BS. In fact, just a few months ago Albania opened up an exhibit in the national museum detailing the crimes of the communist era. There were survivors of the camps and the opening was a big media event.

    While it is true that there are individuals who benefited from that era still in some form of power, that is not a person in this country who excuses the communist era.

  • August 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    As an Albanian lining in Albania for the last 5 years, i have to say that the premise is not BS, as as Mr. Schmoe suggests. True that there are some exhibitions that convey the “atrocities” of the communist era, but are there enough? Are they really “big media events”? How much does the younger generation know, about what has really happened in Albania. Who benefits from the ignorance of the past?

    I also think that Mr. Schmoe is quite wrong in saying that there are no people excusing the past, otherwise how would there still be individuals with a communist past still in power today. Still benefiting of that power that until “yesterday” crushed the people of Albania.

    Albania should have confronted it’s past long ago.
    Is it late?


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