TIRANA, February 22
The culture of remembrance is the link between the past, present, and future. If this link is broken, there will be ground for the growth of authoritarian regimes. In countries like Albania where nobody bothered to honestly condemn communism as it deserves, the monstrous crimes of the regime risk vanishing into thin air, while many notorious personalities have been ‘recycled’ off their criminal past. However, movements that bring a different stance towards the communist era are making their efforts to build a remembrance culture.
An exhibition that gives a name and face to many of those who are responsible for inhumane punishments during the dictatorship’s years in Albania is now open at the premises of Vila 31, known as the former residence of dictator Enver Hoxha.
The multimedia exhibition ‘Faces of the Dictatorship’ is organized by the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) and the Institute for Research of Communist Crimes and Consequences (ISKK). It features more than 160 individuals, who are responsible for decisions that brought persecution, terror, death, torture, and suffering. People from all levels and institutions of terror such as members of the Politic Bureau, heads of the secret services, judges, investigators, officers of the Sigurimi, commissars, and commanders from internment and labor camps, and many more.
While many of their victims have passed away, left the country, or cannot stand to stare again at the faces of their prosecutors, the exhibition helps to educate the younger generations, who are served a curtailed version of history in schools.
Directors of the IDCM Jonila Godole said that the exhibition was opened in Hoxha’s vila because that’s the place where officials decided the fate of the Albanian people. Other personalities that were present at the opening ceremony highlighted the same message that often the past is forgotten deliberately, and the youth need to know about the past. To make this possible, places like prisons, internment, and labor camps should be preserved and turned into museums. Meanwhile, those responsible for punishments and crimes must face the consequences of their actions.
“Faces of the Dictatorship” comes as part of “Memory Days”. It will stay open to the public until February 23rd, from 9:00 until 19:00 hours. Admission is free for everyone.
Source/Photo Credit: IDMC