Site of Witness and Memory

Short historical background

The “Site of Witness and Memory” is the first site of remembrance in Albania, which commemorates the victims of the communist regime in Shkodër.

The building was first erected in the XIX century as a private property, then the Franciscan Fathers, in 1930, bought the property and opened here a College for training parish priests. In 1946 the building was confiscated by communists and transformed into Dega e Brendshme (Local branches of Ministry of Interior) and preserved this role till the 90’s. It was an institution where suspected were interrogated during pre-trial detention under severe torture and abuse.Starting from September 2014, the “prohibited” area has been opened to the public. The parcours, which starts with some general information about communism persecution in Shkodër, permanent exhibition of objects and documents of the time, ends in the original pre-trial holdings cells where prisoners were kept and tortured until their initial trial appearance.

Our mission is to create a collective memory of recent past, to educate the new generation who should become aware of the past mistakes and never repeat them again.

 

Shkodër “the prison city”

The entrance hall is dedicated to facts about communism in Shkodër, staggering numbers about the city persecution and a general map of all prisons in the city. There we count 23 of them, mostly family houses and religious institutions converted into places for terror and tortures.An important sector is the audio-visual room where you can watch some video materials of the time and a small library with prison literature, provided by the Institute of Communism Crimes and Consequences in Albania.The passage to the cells area runs through a newly-built gallery conceived as the prisoners walk to suffering and pain with elements symbolizing tortures.

 

To the cells of terror

The exhibition room offers a collection of objects used and manufactured in prison, manuscripts, letter-writing between prisoners and their families. This small collection has been donated by former political prisoners and their families. Of great interest is the glass panel which shows some documents of the time stating the force and brutality of the regime towards Shkodra people.This leads to the pre-trial holding cells, with a small opening for natural light, commonly called holes/biruca (because of their small dimension and few light).Space is divided into two floors, but political prisoners were kept on the ground floor, where we can count 23 of them. This instrument of repression and denial culminates in the tortures room where both physical and moral tortures were inflicted.
This area has been kept original from 1946 and remains the most striking evidence of communism terror.


Exhibitions and events

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Educational programs

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Articles

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Murders on border in Albania during the 90's

Site of Witness and Memory

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The history of the Building of the Ministry of Interior Branch in Shkoder

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6 Shkurt 1967 – 6 Shkurt 2017 Shqipëria mes shpirtit dhe individit

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Sot mbushen 50 vite nga një ngjarje, e cila si një njollë e zezë do të shënonte historinë e vendit tonë. “Me krenari”, nga pushteti i asaj kohe Shqipëria do...


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