Last year, the Albanian government opened the archives of its old secret police, the Sigurimi. Anyone who has been spied during the communist period can gain access to their file, so they can identify those who have collaborated with the regime
Even the walls have ears, it was always repeated during the years of the regime. No one could be trusted, not even your dearest loved ones like a brother or - as in the case of the Albanian artist Maks Velo - of the stepmother.
"Maks Velo is a person of bourgeois beliefs. It is characterless and selfish " - we read in the report made by the woman.
NBC News it has been told in a long time interview with Velo, the terrible years of the communist regime. Last year, the Albanian artist opened his dossier, where 20 had received reports from 20 about different people, including - as his stepmother said - and his best friend, an artist he also discussed every day. art.
From the 1946 to the 1991, about 6.000 people were executed, according to the Albanian Association of Former Political Prisoners. Tens of thousands of people have been imprisoned or sent to labor camps for political charges.
Sigurimi's agents were sometimes called "living microphones" because they always listened. But that reputation was made possible by thousands of common Albanians who helped them, working as official collaborators and thousands who served as more informal informants, offering intimate secrets about those they knew.
Many people did it out of pride, in a patriotic sense, convinced that they were working for the good of a sick country; as Nesti Vako, former official of the regime's Sigurimi, who agreed to meet NBC News correspondent in a bar in Tirana:
"As chief operating technician, I produced any technology they needed. The Sigurimi had ears everywhere: in cafes, offices and in all foreign embassies. I am very proud of my work, I was very fortunate to be able to do it and I only applied the law. " - states Vako.
Thousands of files are available in the Tirana archive, but it is believed that most of them and especially the most important ones were burned by Sigurimi during the last years of the regime. Most of the officials - once communism fell - then slipped into anonymity, taking with them the most intimate secrets of the most difficult years in Albanian history.
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