An article of the with the BBC published the November 1 2017 reports the discovery, a generation after the fall of the communist dictatorship, of thousands of tests on the execution of persons from the previous regime.
More than 30 years after the death of Enver hoxha, Albania is starting to come to terms with the terrible legacy left by the communist dictatorship.
"Please don't ask me how difficult it was. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was. We were digging only bones and skulls, trying to put things together, it was very painful ".
This is what the retired chemical engineer says Nikolin Kurti, 68 years, who accompanied Andrew Hosken e Albana Kasapi on the outskirts of the Albanian capital, Tirana, and then on Mount Dajti. It was here, now overgrown with bushes and brambles, that it had dug a mass grave in the 2010, uncovering the remains of 14 people.
"It all started when a policeman told me that my uncle was buried here", explains Kurti. Uncle, a Catholic priest by name Dom Shtjefen Kurti , was executed in the 1971 after being found guilty of secretly baptizing a child.
Enver Hoxha had criminalized all forms of religion and Father Kurti paid the highest price for disobeying a totalitarian state that has often been compared to today's North Korea.
Now Albania has embarked on the difficult path in its tragic past which should lead to the discovery of hundreds of mass graves.
The troubled past of Albania
- 1939 Italy invades Albania. King Zog flees
- 1944 After the end of the German occupation, Enver Hoxha becomes leader
- 1946 Non-communists are eliminated from government positions. The regime will outlaw religion, killing political opponents and creating work camps
- 1961-78 After the break with the USSR, Albania finds its new ally in China
- 1985 dies Enver Hoxha, replaced by Ramiz Alia
- 1989 Communist governments in Eastern Europe collapse. Ramiz Alia reports changes in the economic system
- 1991 First multi-party elections
The Enver Hoxha regime was among the most brutal and paranoid of the communist regimes. About 200.000 people have gone through the labor camps modeled on Gulag of Stalin. More than 6.000 people have disappeared. Now thousands of family and friends want to know their fate.
It is believed that almost all the missing persons were killed or died under torture in the fields. Many were political prisoners, suspected of opposition to the regime.
Recently, the socialist government in Albania has started negotiations on the possibility of identifying and possibly opening the mass graves.
A September of the 2017 the prime minister of Albania Edi Rama met Kathryne Bomberger, general manager of International Commission for Missing Persons. L 'ICMP has contributed to the discovery of mass graves in other countries in the Balkans, mainly involved in the wars of the former Yugoslavia in the 90 years. The organization also provides the DNA tests needed to identify the remains.
Matthew Holliday, head of the ICMP for the Western Balkans program, stressed how important it is for relatives to know both the fate and the position of missing persons.
"The issue of the disappeared is not about the dead, it is about the living. Families have the right to know, they must know the fate of their missing relatives, receive the remains, identify them and give them a dignified burial ". Matthew Holliday
Albania, memories rediscovered
Twenty-six years after the collapse of the Albanian regime, the Sigurimi archives are opened - The real story comes to the surface. Video of Matteo Tacconi.
Original title of the article published on with the BBC the authors 1 November 2017 Andrew Hosken e Albana Kasapi: "Albania: The country searching for hundreds of mass graves"