Between 12 and 16 September 2017, the members of the “Stalin teams” from five European countries participated at the workshop organised at Tirana and Kucova, in Albania.
The agenda started with a lecture about life in communism held by Mr. Daut Gumeni, a former political prisoner, who spent 23 years of his life in jail with the sentence “for stirring things and making propaganda against the system”. After the questions asked to Mr. Gumeni and the talks among the participants, the participating teams presented a synthesis of the project activities and spoke about the significance of the project for their own organizations.
The thematic tour from Tirana included visits to the National History Museum in Tirana which makes a chronological presentation of Albania’s history. Then they visited the National Arts Gallery where the partners met the manager of the gallery and they could see the real statue of Stalin, given to Albania as a gift by the former Soviet Union in 1951.
One very special visit was to the House of Leafs museum which operates as a permanent exhibition about the Albanese political police in a building which was used in the past by the Albanese Security (the Political Police) for investigations and espionage. This documentary visit allowed the participants to discover both the similarities and the differences between their own Stalin cities with regard to the same system.
The second lecture was held by Mr. Ilir Kalemaj, professor at the University of New York Tirana who spoke about the “Stalinist Features in Albania”.
The public debate held on 15.09.2018 in Kuçova at the Town Central Library was attended by 45 people (5 from Poland, 5 from Bulgaria, 2 from Hungary, 5 from Romania and 28 from Albania). After the presentations about the effects of Stalinism in their own cities, the guests had the chance to listen to the personal experiences of those who survived the Stalinist times, citizens of Stalin Town – Kukova and to discuss about the need to save the historical memories and protect the heritage of the communist days. The meeting was also saluted by the town mayor, Mr. Selfo Kapllani, who said that this was a special, innovative project for the small town of Kuçova. The discussions helped the participants to better understand the recent history and the way in which Stalin’s totalitarian regime deprived citizens from their fundamental rights.
At the end of the meeting Mr. Bogdan Popovici from Romania and Mrs. Blerina Braho were interviewed by Top Media, the Albanese national TV station about the aim and objectives of the project.
The theme tour ended with a visit to the town of Berat where the guests could visit the ancient Berat castle, a protected UNESCO historical site and the Iconography Museum which hosts very old and rare icons.
30 specialists participated in the organization of visits and guided tours.
300 catalogs of the project with the presentation of the workshop organized in Albania were produced and distributed.