A fragment of the Berlin wall, a mushroom-shaped bunker and some of the concrete pillars of a notorious formed labour camp are all parts of an installation inaugurated in Tirana on Tuesday to commemorate the victims of the Communist regime. The memorial named PostBlloku, is placed at the entrance of the former off-limits neighbourhood where Albania’s Communist elite used to reside.
The memorial is the work of writer and former political dissident Fatos Lubonja and the painter Ardian Isufi.
The 2.6-ton graffiti-covered slab fragment of the wall was donated by the city of Berlin. The concrete pillars come from the mine at Spac, where many alleged opponents of the Communist regime, including Lubonja, were incarcerated and had to perform forced labour.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Lubonja dedicated the work to former prisoners who perished under Enver Hoxha’s totalitarian regime.
“I want to devote this work to those that did not make it beyond the era of the dictatorship to live today,” Lubonja said.
Hoxha ruled Albania for nearly half-a-century with an iron fist, building a personality cult often compared to today’s North Korea. Paranoid about the dangers of a foreign invasion, he had the country covered in mushroom-shaped bunkers.
Albania’s Association of Former Political Prisoners believes that about 5,577 men and 450 women were executed for political crimes during the Communist era from 1946 to 1991. Tens of thousands of others were imprisoned or sent to labour camps.
Speaking also at the ceremony, the speaker of Albania’s parliament, Jozefina Topalli, said the monument was linked to three important symbols: the wall that divided Europe, the bunker that epitomized the mentality of Albania’s Communist regime and the pillars of a mine where hundreds of people lost their lives.
“The third element is the most painful.. Spac was Albania’s Auschwitz,” she said. “I heard that name since I was a little girl as the place where my family and many other Albanians were tortured,” Topalli concluded.(Kortezi: Besar Likmeta,
Botoi Dielli, Mars 2013)