Topography of Terror
STUDY VISITS TO SITES OF MEMORY
Study Visit to Sites of Memory in the Western Balkans with the Winners of the 3rd Edition of "Ask Your Grandparents" Competition
From 6th to 10th May 2019, the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) organized a study visit to sites of memory in the Western Balkans. This 5-day visit to Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo was organized in collaboration with IDMC partners in Albania and the region such as: The Albanian Association of History Teachers, ALPHA Centre in Nikšić, Memory Lab, BRAVO Association in Sarajevo, ZFD Forum in Belgrade and Prishtina, Centre for Public History in Belgrade and Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo. The study visit involved the winners of "Ask Your Grandparents 3", representatives of 5 different high schools from all over Albania: "Dhaskal Todri" high school in Elbasan; "Drita e Dijes", Berat, "Mahmud & Ali Cungu", Labinot, "Jani Kukuzeli", Durres and "16 shtatori" high school in Shijak. They were accompanied by their teachers and IDMC staff.
Information about the activity:
Day 1 & 2, 6–7 may 2019
Study Visit to Sites of Memory in Nikšić and Presentation of "Ask Your Grandparents"
6–7 May 2019, Tirana–Nikšić – The study visit for winners of "Ask Your Grandparents" competition started with the visit to sites of memory in Nikšić, the second largest city of Montenegro. The group was welcomed by the director of ALPHA Centre, Aleksandar Dedović and his staff. In the evening, Dedović showed them the city, the history about the churches, the castle and the transformations in the urban area. Through this visit the young people learned that in general the experiences of transition in the last years in Montenegro did not change much from those experienced in Albania.
Next day, the tour in Nikšić, guided by Dedović, took the young people at the monument to the killed partisans under the Trebjesa hill and at the monument of national hero Ljubo Čupić and the king Nikola. Young people from Nikšić joined this visit also. They had the chance to exchange experiences with the young people from Albania and to learn more about the culture of each other. This visit served for both groups to get to know each other more, to break stereotypes and to become good friends.
Despite the visit to sites of memory in Nikšić, in collaboration with ALPHA Centre was presented "Ask Your Grandparents" competition and the work of IDMC by Matilda Karçanaj, IDMC Programme Coordinator. On the other hand, the winners of the competition had the opportunity to learn more about the work of ALPHA Centre by Aleksandar Dedović, ALPHA director and for the activities of Youth Voluntary Club by Marina Došen. In this meeting IDMC and ALPHA Centre highlighted the importance of regional youth cooperation for the common future of the Western Balkans.
Day 3, 8 may 2019
Study Visit to Sites of Memory in Sarajevo
8 May 2019, Sarajevo – After the tour in Nikšić, Montenegro, the visit continued on the third day to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The young group knew only a little about BiH, particularly about the war on 1992-1995, during the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
The day in Sarajevo started with a guided city tour by Rijad Špiljak, a licensed tour guide. He told to the group that the first signs of a city in Sarajevo were early, but that the main development began in the 15th century under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. To see these developments clearly, the group visited the old part of the city, the bazaar, the mosque of Gazi Husrev Bej, the characteristic Ottoman clock, etc. The winners of the competition were acquainted with the most proud side of Sarajevo, the cultural diversity that made this city known as the Jerusalem of Europe. Near the mosque of Gazi Husrev Bey, Sarajevo had a synagogue, an Orthodox church and a Catholic church, showing four religious communities that historically coexisted with one another. The guide continued on the side that showed Austrian architecture influence, dictated by the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From this part the guide talked about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip that spurred World War I, which later led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and creation of Yugoslavia.
For Yugoslavia and the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nicolas Moll, coordinator of Memory Lab told a lot to the group. This part of the guide was mainly focused on the "Siege of Sarajevo" pavilion in the history museum and the monuments around it. Nicolas Moll told the group about the difficulties that the citizens of Sarajevo encountered during the several-year siege in the war. The objects, furnishings and the way of life under siege that were exposed in the museum were the trauma of war that according to Moll still remains today in the collective memory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From the discussion with Moll, students learned that under siege Sarajevo citizens had no separation between one another or religious and ethnic differences. For young people from Albania, was impressive the fact that even though in the war, concerts were held in Sarajevo, to urge the international community to be solidarized and act more to stop the conflict.
Day 4, 9 may 2019
Study Visit to Sites of Memory in Belgrade
9 May 2019, Belgrade – 9th of May was the fourth day of the study visit with the winners of "Ask Your Grandparents" Competition in the Western Balkans. It also marked the Europe Day. IDMC had scheduled in program a study visit to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The day started with a city tour by Filip Vukadinović from TRN Translations. The guide with Filip was very special, as he spoke to the young people on the Albanian standard language and no one of the young people understood that he was a Serb. Thus in this trip the young people heard for the first time about the existence of the Albanology Faculty in Belgrade, where the Albanian language is taught. Vukadinović showed that apart from the historical moments that have divided Serbia and Albania, these countries have a lot in common such as the traumas of the past, the difficult transition and the intention to integrate into the European Union. The tour in the city started with a story bearing the name of Albania, with the Albanian palace, a building built near the main pedestrian of Belgrade around 1940. Vukadinović said the name was related to a cafe that had been there, one of the most frequented coffee shops. Then the tour continued to Knez Mihailova Street, Kalamegdan Park, the Castle, Belgrade's Military Museum, the Victory and À la France monuments.
After visiting Belgrade's main historical sites, the group had the chance to get acquainted with the history of persecution of Jews and the Roma community in Serbia during World War II by Milovan Pisarri, historian and head of the Center for Public History. Pisarri guided the group at Sajmište concentration camp where 6,400 Jews and 600 Roma were held by Nazi forces in poor conditions. Presenting pictures and other data, Pisarri showed that thousands of people were killed through gas trucks. The historian also indicated that later the Yugoslav communist rhetoric would claim a number of 40,000 Jews who suffered this persecution. He explained this as part of the propaganda. The tour in Belgrade was closed with the visit to Skadarlja, the second most visited street in Belgrade, after Knez Mihailova, bearing the name of the city of Shkodra.
Through tis welcoming visit to Belgrade the participants learned more than the narrative offered in the media or history textbooks, thus breaking their prejudices for the city of Belgrade. Just as from the visit to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia young people themselves experienced the safe possibilities of free movement in the beautiful region of the Western Balkans.
Day 5, 10 may 2019
Study Visits to Sites of Memory in Prishtina
10 May 2019, Prishtina – Të rinjtë fitues të konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit" kishin dëgjuar shumë për Kosovën, por shumë pak prej tyre e kishte vizituar atë. Prandaj vizita studimore e IDMC ishte mundësi e mirë për ta që jo vetëm ta vizitonin, por edhe të kuptonin më mirë historinë e Kosovës, luftën, tranzicionin e vështirë që ka ajo si dhe çështjet më të rëndësishme sociale.
Udhërrëfyesit në pikat historike të Prishtinës ishin Nehari Sharri dhe Korab Krasniqi nga Forumi i Shërbimit të Paqes Civile (ZFD) në Prishtinë. Vëmendja kryesore e vizitave në pikat e kujtesës ishte te përdorimi i hapsirave publike për përcjelljen e narrativave të caktuara si dhe ndryshimi i këtyre narrativave me kalimin e kohës. Vizita nisi fillimisht me Parkun e Varrezave të Dëshmorëve. Të rinjve iu tregua për vështirësitë që Kosova kishte kaluar nën Jugosllavi, përpjekjet për të fituar të drejtat dhe më pas për luftën. Nehari Sharri dhe Korab Krasniqi e përqendruan më pas vëmendjen te lënia pas dore e vendeve të kujtesës. Ata theksuan se në tërësi për monumentet nuk kujdeset njeri. Ato lihen të pambrojtura nga vandalizmat. Për këtë ata sollën rastin e mbishkrimeve dhe thyerjet në Parkun e Varrezave të Dëshmorëve, por edhe më tutje si për shembull monumentin e partizanëve Ramiz Sadiku e Boro Vukmirović, ku bustit të këtij të fundit ia kishin hequr kokën. Pas këtyre vendeve, të rinjtë vizituan monumentin e Ibrahim Rugovës, Zahir Pajazitit, por edhe Përmendoren e të rënëve të Luftës së Dytë Botërore, një monument ky i ndërtuar në vitet 60-të nga komunistët jugosllavë. Sot ky monument referohej si trekëndëshi, dhe kishte një narrativë të tjetërsuar. Skulptura me partizanë ishte pikturuar përsipër me ngjyrat e flamujve të shteteve që ndihmuan në pavarësinë e Kosovës. Gjithashtu ndalesa të tjera ishin monumenti "New Born" dhe "Heroinat".
Pas këtij turi nëpër qytet në zyrat e Nismës Rinore për të Drejtat e Njeriut në Prishtinë (YIHR), IDMC prezantoi aktivitetet e saj si dhe punimet fituese të konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit". Drejtoresha e IDMC, Jonila Godole, tregoi për interesimin e të rinjve për t'u njohur me të shkuarën dhe rëndësisë që ka ky proces në zhvillimin e shoqërisë. Nga YIHR folën drejtuesja Marigona Shabiu dhe aktivistja Trina Binaku. Duke mirëpritur dhe përgëzuar për punën e IDMC ato thanë se në përgjithësi fokusi i YIHR kishte qenë gjithashtu i njëjtë, për të mos harruar të shkuarën. Ato treguan për aktivitetet publike të mbajtura ndër vite në kujtesë të të zhdukurve të luftës së Kosovës, të cilët vazhdojnë të jenë mbi 1600. Pas këtij diskutimi u treguan punimet e konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit" dhe nxënësit fitues folën për to si dhe për idenë që kishin pasur për realizimin e tyre.
Me Prishtinën u mbyll kështu udhëtimi pesë ditor i vizitës studimore të organizuar nga IDMC në katër shtete të Ballkanit Perëndimor. Të rinjtë u shprehën se kjo vizitë i kishte tejkaluar pritshmëritë e tyre dhe mezi prisnin të riktheheshin ti vizitonin këto vende me familjarët dhe miqtë e tyre.
Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture
Contact: @Matilda Karçanaj, IDMC Program Coordinator
PartnerS & SUPPORTERS
Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS)
Albanian Association of History Teachers (ALBNA) • ALPHA Centre Nikšić • Memory Lab
BRAVO Association in Sarajevo • ZFD Forum in Belgrade and Prishtina
Centre for Public History in Belgrade • Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo
19‒20 September 2016, Gjirokaster, Lushnje – In the context of Topography of Terror, Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture organizes study trips in memory sites of the dictatorship in Albania in order to raise young people's awareness of its consequences. Following the trip in former political prison of Spaç earlier this year, IDMC organized on 19‒20 September a study visit in sites of memory in Tepelene, Gjirokaster and Lushnje, in collaboration with the Institute for Integration of Former Political Persecutees.
On first day, young people coming from different former politically persecuted families during the dictatorship period traveled from Tirana to Tepelene and Gjirokaster. At first, they were introduced with the former internment camp of Tepelene. In their opening speech, Dr. Jonila Godole, executive director of IDMC, and Mr. Bilal Kola, director of IIPP, urged young people to build awareness. Mr. Simon Mirakaj, a former political persecutee during the dictatorship, introduced them with details from life in the internment camp and highlighted how important dealing with the past was for the future. Mr. Daut Gumeni, also a former political persecutee and candidate for the Committee for Opening of Communist Files, urged young people not to be afraid of the past but to acknowledge it. "Who forgets the past is lost," said Mr. Gumeni.
Following Tepelene, the study trip continued to Gjirokaster. At "Musine Kokalari" museum, Ms. Arjeta Kokalari reflected on the importance of the figure of dissident Musine Kokalari. Next was the visit to the former prison inside the castle of Gjirokaster, where Mr. Gumeni shared personal stories from life there during the time of the dictatorship.
On second day, the group resumed their journey from the memory sites of Gjirokaster to Lushnje, to learn about life in the barracks of Saver, and visited the city's internment and deportations' memorial from 1954‒1991.
More about the guests:
Daut Gumeni, a former political persecutee during the Albanian dictatorship, today is an analyst and candidate for the Committee for Opening of Communist Files.
Simon Mirakaj was born in 1945. He passed 44 years of his life deported for political reasons, since he was 2 weeks old. Currently he is the head of the Association of Democrat Former Political Persecutees of Albania
18 February 2016, Rreshen – A democratic society cannot go forward if it does not know and face its past. In particular, the young people in a country such as Albania, which faced a very unique kind of communist regime, do not have in-depth knowledge in the so-called phenomenon of communism in their country. Hence, considering that Albania is in the wave of attempts to open the communist files, the Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture organized a study trip to the prison of Spaç in Rreshen, which was a political prison during the communist period. The Spaç prison is the place where many convicts of communism were subject to suffering, humiliation, torture, and violence.
The purpose of this study trip was to give students the basis for a better understanding of the communist regime in Albania and to assist them in learning about Spaç, the labor camps and the political prisons during communism, more than what is offered in the media and the history books. In addition, in order to better understand what time in this prison was like, the students were guided by historian Dr. Enriketa Papa and a former political detainee Mr. Agim Hakcani. The latter shared his personal experience, having served 14 years of his life in Spaç.
Students were involved in the narrative of Mr. Hakcani, expressing great interest in knowing not only the difficulties, the physical and spiritual suffering, but also the details of the daily life in prison, foods, hygiene etc. After visiting the remaining sections of the former prison of Spaç, the activity ended with an informal discussion where students were invited to reflect on the importance of historical commemorations in their process of education. The students demanded for an objective and undistorted look at the history of their country. In this regard, IDMC's initiative, to bring the youth closer to the past through study visits in sites of memory, will continue with other groups.
Sites of memory, such as internment camps, political prisons and labor camps should be brought more often to the attention of young people, for two essential reasons. First of all, to commemorate the victims of communism; and secondly, to become familiar and confront the past and the so-called Albanian communism phenomenon. Because the familiarity of Albania's young people with the past of their country helps them to meditate not only on the nature of the Albanian totalitarian regime and the legacies of the time, but it also raises their awareness about the threats of totalitarian tendencies in present times. By knowing these tendencies better, a democratic society is able to prevent history from repeating.
10 December 2016, Shkodra – On Saturday, IDMC organized its third study visit to memory places. This time the study visit was organized with students of "Cajupi" high school in Tirana. Students visited the Site of Witness and Memory in Shkodra. Their guide was led by Pjerin Mirdita, specialist at the museum. He explained in very careful way the history of museum and acknowledged them with all the rooms of the museum and the meaning of the writings. It is important to note that the high school students showed high interest throughout the museum, which was also seen in their questions for the guide. Their questions brought as product a very fruitful discussion with the guide, the teachers and IDMC staff.
After the visit the students of "Cajupi" high school joined a reflection lunch, where the discussion moderated by Dr. Godole, the executive director of IDMC pointed out the importance of this visit for them. They shared their impressions and how this visit helped them to have a better understanding of the dictatorship in Albania. As well students were asked about the ways they would prefer to be taught about this period. IDMC noted that for high school students is important to go and see the places of memory and to listen for the dictatorship when they are there. In addition, students pointed out the importance of documentaries when reflecting about the past. They brought the example of the IDMC documentary "Children of the dictatorship", which they had the opportunity to watch in the opening ceremony of MEMORY DAYS activity. They also talked about the discussion followed in their families after they had seen the documentary. They were proud of challenging the way they were taught about the dictatorship and being able to make their parents talk and sometimes confront their grandparents.
For IDMC this study visit was the last one for 2016, but it will continue those next year, as well. IDMC has reached its goal during these study trips because young people reflect on the dictatorship period and they accept that their knowledge is not enough. They rise awareness and gain a special interest in learning more about this period. Most of young people in all the study visits organized by IDMC have admitted that before the study trip this topic was not in their interest. The study trip in places of memory awakes the interest of young people to learn also independently about the dictatorship.
6‒7 May 2017, Spaç, Shkodra – In the course of Topography of Terror activities, Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture in cooperation with the Association of History Teachers of Albania and ChwB (Cultural Heritage Without Borders) organized a study trip to the former prison of Spaç and the sites of memory in Shkodra.
14 History teachers who took part in this study trip visited firstly the former prison of Spaç. Accompanied by Zivko Petrovic, a former prisoner there, this visit became more sensitive. As the true stories left in oblivion, the situation of this prison nowadays leaves to be desired. It seems like we want to erase from our memory a part of the history of our country.
In the focus-group that took place in the framework of this meeting with representatives of CHwB, teachers discussed about the possibility to make this place a museum where a part of a human suffering during the dictatorial system could be witnessed. Given the desire to testify the truths just as they were, the teachers gave their contribution and ideas about the right way to turn this building from a forgotten place left at the mercy of atmospheric conditions in a visit site where the truth to speak for itself.
The evidence of the persons who suffered during the regime from persecution and internment accompanied the thematic dinner with various actors working in the field of dealing with the past in Shkodra and journalists where it was discussed about the role of local media in the process of dealing with the past.
Day 2 continued with the visit in the Site of Witness and Memory where facts speak more than the words. Under the guidance of Pjerin Mirdita, teachers became acquainted with new details that further enrich their knowledge about the crimes of the dictatorship. One cannot describe the feelings when visiting this place. This situation leaves an emptiness feeling and at the same times an inner revolt and responsibility to do more.
We could not leave Shkodra without visiting Franciscan Church, the Cathedral, the Museum and Sigmatine Sisters Assembly, places which were left without their religious function during the communism in order to destroy or adopt new institutions, hence interrupting the people relation with their religion. We visited also the cemetery chapel (Kapela e Varrezave) and the plane tree of Zef Zorba (Çinarin i Zef Zorbës), a tree which has witnessed hundred executions done by the system.
Shocked and at the same time happy that they were part of this visit, the teachers discussed during lunch about their impressions. Everyone reflected and expressed willingness to cooperate more in order for the past not to be left in oblivion. Focusing on the importance of educating the younger generation, helping them to know the story as it has been, in order that such mistakes will not to be repeated in the future, IDMC will organize other study visits in order to fulfill its mission.
26 May 2017, Spaç – IDMC organized another study trip in the former prison of Spaç. IDMC started these study trips since in 2015. Students and lecturers of Literature Department of the University of Tirana were involved this time in the study trip. The participants were given the chance to talk to a contemporary witness of the dictatorship, Gjet(o) Vocaj, a former political prisoner in the former prison of Spaç, at the same time author of the book "Takim fatal me diktatorin".
In the first break before arriving in the former prison Matilda Karçanaj, IDMC Programme Assistant shortly introduced students to the importance of the study trips organized by IDMC. Ms Karçanaj told them: "It's been 27 years after the fall of the dictatorship in Albania and we have not heard to be talked enough about it, neither in school, and neither in family, even though it was one of the harshest dictatorial regimes in Southeast Europe. Therefore, through these study trips and meetings with contemporary witnesses IDMC aims to raise awareness on the crimes of the dictatorship and make you more aware about the importance of dealing with the past." Before heading to the former prison of Spaç, students were asked to fill in anonymously the expatiation form for the study trip.
Students started to reflect about this study trip since on the way to the former prison area. The road seemed endless. Upon arriving in the prison area, Gjet(o) Vocaj started to share his experience in the prison. Students were very eager to hear about his experience and did not stop questioning Mr. Vocaj about his experience in prison, who among other things shared the effect of Spaç revolt in 1973. He told to the students how people were executed for the revolt, others were tortured and their punishment doubled. Mr. Vocaj told them: "You might have heard about four persons executed, but not for the fifth one. He was special one to all the prisoners. There was a dog who took part in the revolt too, who was punished with hanging…"
After visiting all the sites of the former prison, the activity continued with the students' presentations of the writers persecuted, imprisoned or sentenced to death due to the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. Guided by Prof. Assoc. Dr. Lili Sula, their findings took them in the writings of Vilson Blloshmi and Genc Leka, Kasem Trebeshina, Musine Kokalari, Visar Zhiti, Arshi Pipa, Viçens Prenushi, Frederik Rreshpja etc.
The activity ended with a reflection lunch on the way back to Tirana. In an informal setting students expressed that hearing about the experience in prison from a former political prisoner made them more sensitive towards this topic and their interest on searching in this filed in independent way is higher. At the very end they expressed their gratitude for IDMC and filled in the evaluation form for the study trip.
More about the guest:
Gjet(o) Vocaj is a former political prisoner, sentenced to 8 years for propaganda. He began his sentence in Spaç and completed it in Ballsh. His family was interned for 5 years in Pistulli village, Shkodra. He was released from prison in 1982. Mr Vocaj is the author of the book "Takim fatal me diktatorin" (Fatal Encounter with the Dictator).
Winners of "Ask Your Grandparents 2" Competition Visit, for the First Time,
More than 10 Sites of Memory from Northern to Southern Albania
Day 1, 21 march 2018
"Drita e Dijes" High School Visits "House of Leaves" and "BunkArt2" in Tirana
The first day of the study trip began with a visit to the "House of Leaves" and "BunkArt2" Museums in Tirana. Young adults from "Drita e Dijes" high school in Berat visited these places for first time and expressed that this visit was important as both museums provided an important approach to viewing the past.
DaY 2, 22 march 2018
Visit at the Former Prison of Spaç and Sites of Memory in Shkodra
During the second day, students visited sites of memory in northern Albania: the former prison of Spaç and Shkodra. 25 winner of the second edition of "Ask Your Granparents 2," representing 6 different high schools from Tirana, Vora, Durres, Elbasan & Berat, had the chance to talk with Zenel Drangu, a contemporary witness and former prisoner from Spaç prison, when they visited Spaç. Drangu told the young people that their every move in the prison had been monitored so that the guards could justify their violence. The young people were further surprised to hear that 50-54 people had slept in one room at Spaç Prison.
After Spaç, the study visit took the winners of the competition to sites of memory in Shkodra, where Eltjana Shkreli told them more about the city's communist past.
DAY 3, 23 march 2018
Visit at Marubi Museum and Site of Witness and Memory in Shkodra
On the third day of the study visit, students visited the National Museum of Photography "Marubi". The young people had the chance to learn about some of Albania's most famous and earliest photographers.
After the Marubi Museum, the study visit continued to the Site of Witness and Memory. Pjerin Mirdita guided students through the museum, explaining to them that the building had been built in 1930 as a college for the Franciscan fathers. After the communist regime came to power in 1945, the building served as a branch of the Interior Ministry. This visit gave young people a better understanding of the true dimensions of the communist regime.
DaY 4, 24 march 2018
Visit to Musine Kokalari's House in Gjirokastra and to the Internment and Deportation Memorial in Lushnja
The fourth day students visited the city of Gjirokastra in southern Albania The high school winners of the second "Pyet Gjyshërit" competition had never visited Gjirokastra before and IDMC provided an educational tour for them. First, the tour began with a visit to the house of Musine Kokalari. Arjeta told the history of the first female Albanian author who had founded the Social-Democrat Party and had been faced with the most inhuman Communist persecution. "She didn't want the war, the war of the classes. For this, to promote an ideal of coexistence of all classes, together with another group of intellectuals, she formed the Social-Democrat Party," Arjeta said as she told us later about the internment and the life of Musine Kokalari in Rrëshen, where she lived alone, isolated and bound to report in the branch 3 times a week.
After the visit to the house of Musine Kokalari, students visited the Ethnographic Museum, another popular destination where you can see not only tradition but also how families of Gjirokastra lived. After the Ethnographic Museum, students visited the house of Ismail Kadare, which was reconstructed in 2016. After the visit to Kadare's house, students had the possibility to see Gjirokastra and to stop in Lushnje on the way back.
In Lushnje students on the study visit stopped at the National Memorial of Internment and Deportations 1954-1991, dedicated to former persecuted. The zone of Lushnje was one of the locations of internment camps from the period of 1954-1991, where around 32 thousand people suffered the region's persecution. With this visit the group of high school students were acquainted with how far Hoxha's terror had extended, without provincial distinctions, from Shkodra in the north to Gjirokastra in the south.
15:00 Arrival of "Drita e Dijes" highs school students from Berat to Tirana
15:30 – 15:45 Check in & accommodation at Oresti Hotel (Adr: Bardhok Biba Str, Tirana)
16:00 – 17:00 Visit at House of Leaves Tirana
17:00 – 18:00 Visit at BunkArt 2, Tirana
Wednesday, 21 March
08:30 Meeting point under IDMC office – Registration of the participants
(Address: Bardhok Biba Street)
09:00 Departure from Tirana to Spaç by Bus (Pollogu Agency)
10:45 – 11:15 Arrival at Restaurant Çupi (coffee break)
11:15 – 11:30 Travelling from Restaurant Çupi to Spac – former labour camp
11:30 – 13:00 Study trip in Spac - a former labour camp
13:00 Group photo & departure to Restaurant Çupi
13:30 – 14:30 Reflection lunch at Restaurant Çupi.
14:30 – 17:00 Departure and travel to Shkodra
17:00 – 17:45 Check in & accommodation at Arka Hostel Shkoder & Petite Hotel Elita
17:45 – 19:00 City guide tour – squares, objects, houses etc. (Guide: Eltjana Shkreli)
19:00 – 19:30 Going back to the hotel by foot, and getting ready for dinner
19:45 Meeting in front of the hostel to go to the restaurant
20:00 – 22:00 Thematic dinner and discussion about the activity at Elita Restaurant
Guests: Fatbardha Sarçi, Gjeto Vocaj, Filip Guraziu, Luigj Mila, Pjerin Mirdita
Moderator: Dr. Jonila Godole
22:00 Going back to the hostel and hotel
Thursday, 22 March
Until 08:45 Breakfast and check out – Meeting in front of the hotel
Study visit to Places of Memory in Shkodra
09:00 – 10:00 Marubi Museum (Adr. Kole Idromeno 32 Street, Shkodra)
10:00 – 10:15 Leaving Marubi Museum and going to Site of Witness and Memory
10:15 – 11:15 Visit on Site of Witness and Memory (Adr: Skanderbeg Blv.) Guide: Pjerin Mirdita
11:15 – 11:30 Transfer of the suitcases from hotel/hostel to the bus
11:30 Departure from Shkodra to Mrizi i Zanave
12:30 – 14:00 Thematic lunch at Mrizi i Zanave Agroturism
14:30 Departure from Mrizi i Zanave to Gjirokastra
2 short breaks on the road
20:30 Arrival to Gjirokastara
20:30 – 21:00 Check in and Accommodation at Çajupi hotel (Adr: "Çerçiz Topulli" Square, Gjirokastra)
21:00 – 22:00 Dinner at the restaurant of the Çajupi Hotel
Friday, 23 March
Until 08:45 Breakfast and check out
Don't forget to take packed sandwiches and water for lunch!!
09:00 Meeting in front of the hotel- Study trip starts 09:00 sharp!
09:30 – 10:30 Visit at Musine Kokalari House (Guide: Arjeta Kokalari)
10:45 – 11:45 Visit at Ethnographic Museum
12:00 – 13:00 Visit in lsmail Kadare house
13:00 – 13:30 Going back to the hotel and transferring suitcases in the bus
13:30 Departure from Gjirokastra to Tirana
15:00 Stop at roundabout that connects Lushnje with Fieri
(Leaving the group of "Drita e Dijes" high school from Berat)
16:00 – 16:30 Visit at Internment and deportations' memorial 1954‒1991 in Lushnje
16:50 Stop for the high school students of Elbasan
17:00 Stop in Durres for the group of high school students from Durres
18:00 Arrival in Tirana
Saturday, 24 March
Summary of the Study Visit to Sites of Memory in Berlin
On 18 to 21 April 2018, Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation organized a four-day study trip to sites of memory in Berlin for the 1st prize winners of "Ask Your Grandparents 2" competition.
"Ask Your Grandparents 2" – multimedia competition was collaboration between IDMC and the Albanian History Teachers Association, supported by the Ministry of Education, Sports & Youth, and Konrad Adenauer Foundation which awarded the winners in a special ceremony organized on 23 November 2017. Following the study visit to the sites of memory in Albania for the 2nd prize, 3rd prize, network and consolation prize, IDMC in collaboration with KAS offered as the 1st prize a study trip to sites of memory in Berlin. The winners of the first prize were a group of 5 high school students from "Sami Frasheri" high school in Tirana, Elios Shuli, Marta Gështenja, Gentian Kojeli, Eri Alla, Renis Lami with the creative video "I am…". They were accompanied by IDMC staff, Dr. Jonila Godole and Ms. Matilda Karçanaj; the director of KAS Albania, Mr. Walter Glos; their teacher Ms. Elmira Gjonaj; and the history expert Ms. Fatmiroshe Xhemalaj, at the same time the member of the jury of the competition.
Information about the activity:
First day of the study visit, 18 APRIL 2018
The winners of the competition arrive in Berlin and meet Mr. Feyerabend, referent of SEE in KAS academy.
After arriving in Berlin the first place winners of the "Ask Your Grandparents 2" competition accompanied by the IDMC staff and the director of KAS Albania, Mr. Walter Glos, were provided with a bus excursion in the city of Berlin. The guide offered them an introduction to the history of Berlin, introducing them to some of the most important historic sites in the city, such as the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Cathedral, the Bebelplatz book burning site, the Faculty of Law, the Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower, and the French Street and Berlin Victory Column, among others.
In the afternoon, the young adults had the chance to meet with Mr. Florian Constantin Feyerabend, referent for SEE in the KAS Academy in Berlin. The competition winners shared their filming experience with Mr. Feyerabend. Each youth spoke about their personal experience and role in the winning entry for the competition. And, Mr. Feyerabend introduced the young adults to the focus of Konrad Adenauer Foundation's work and why it was important, even for them at KAS, to deal with the past. This discussion also touched on the topic of Albania's EU integration, following the European Commission's recommendation to open accession talks with Albania.
SECOND day of the study visit, 19 APRIL 2018
The group visits the German Parliament and talks with the deputy of Bundestag, Mr. Thorsten Frei, followed by a visit to the Berlin Wall and the Stasi Museum.
On the second day, the young group from Tirana visited the German Parliament. During their visit to Bundestag, they had the chance to meet and talk with Mr. Thorsten Frei, deputy of Bundestag and reporter for Albania. Mr. Frei informed the young adults about Albania's situation in the process of EU integration and Germany's role in facilitating this process. Mr. Frei told them that "despite the help from Germany in the EU integration process, it is up to the willingness of Albania's political elites to fulfill all the conditions put forward by the EU in order to progress on this path." Mr. Frei also emphasized that Albanians should use all of their democratic means – voting and/or protest – to put pressure on their politicians to work harder. The competition winners also learned more about the agendas of German politicians and, above all, how important it was for deputies to meet regularly with their constituents in order to learn more about their constituents' problems. At the end of the meeting, all of the young adults were encouraged to apply for internships in the German Parliament. Following their visit to Reichstagskuppel, the students headed to the Berlin Wall memorial.
Guided along the Berlin Wall memorial, young people learned more about the history of the Germany's division from 13 August 1961 until the fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989. The memorial consists of the last piece of the Berlin Wall, the Chapel of Reconciliation, and the remains of a building which was divided with the balconies in one side of Berlin and the apartment on the other side. Later one, its windows had been closed in order to prevent people from escaping, thus serving as a part of the Berlin wall until the early eighties.
The second day ended with a visit to the Stasi Museum, where the students learned more about how the German State Security Service/Ministry for State Security functioned. The museum is located in the former Stasi building, which made it easier for the young people to grasp the political system of the German Democratic Republic of former East Germany. Visiting the rooms of the Stasi Museum, the young high school students drew comparisons with the Albanian State Security, known as Sigurimi.
THIRD day of the study visit, 20 APRIL 2018
The winners of "Ask Your Grandparents 2" visit the Holocaust Museum in Berlin.
On the third day, the visit took the winners of "Ask Your Grandparents 2" competition to the Holocaust memorial, known also as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. After Adolf Hitler, the former dictator of Germany, took power, Germany took anti-Semitism measures to exterminate the Jews from Germany. These measures also included the persecution and murder of other groups such as Roma and Polish people, homosexuals, disable people, and opponents.
The Holocaust memorial, presented to the public on May 2005, is located in the political part of Berlin, near Bradenburg Gate, in an area measuring 19,000 square meters. It consists of 2,711 concrete blocks, which together commemorate the approximately six million European Jews that were victims of the Holocaust. After being guided through the blocks, young people also visited the exhibition at the underground information center, where they learned more about the National Socialist terror policies from 1933–1945. They visited each of the room and learned the number and names of victims from different European countries as well as their family stories – through interviews with Holocaust survivors and sites of memories in Europe.
Fourth day of the study visit, 21 APRIL 2018
Visit at Berlin Hohenschönhausen Memorial and Topography of Terror Museum.
In the last day of their study visit the group visited firstly Berlin Hohenschönhausen Memorial and then Topography of Terror museum.
During the visit in the Berlin Hohenschönhausen Memorial young people learned about the former political prison of former East German Communist Ministry of State Security and the ways of tortures used. Being lead by a professional guide the young people learned that the location n had originally functioned as a special Soviet camp at the end of WWII in the Soviet occupied zone. In 1946 it became the central Soviet prison in Germany and functioned like that until 1951, when the Ministry for State Security took control of the prison. After Stasi took over, the prison was expanded and it was used until 1989 as a central detention center, where thousands of political prisoners were interrogated, including almost all of the most famous GDR dissidents. Five years after the fall of Berlin Wall in 1994, it became a memorial. Walking through the area of the former detention center the guide acknowledged the group with the interrogation methods used back at that time by GDR state security service and about the living conditions of the political prisoners.
The last memory site of the study trip that the group visited was the documentation center "Topography of Terror", built on the site of Schutzstaffel central Command, (major parliamentary organization under Adolf Hitler). The headquarters of Gestapo and the Reich Security Main Office (from 1939) were located there. The young group was guided through the permanent exhibition "Topography of Terror: Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office on Wilhelm- and Prinz-Albrecht street," which documents the history of persecution and terror from 1933, when Hitler took power, until 1945. The guide led them through the exhibition, giving the young people more information about the National Socialist takeover of power; the institutions of terror (SS and Police); the terror, persecution and extermination on the Reich territory; and the SS and Reich main security office in occupied countries.
Gjimnazistët nga 12 shkolla të ndryshme të vendit vizitojnë për herë të parë vendet e kujtesës nga veriu në jug të Shqipërisë
Dita e parë, 18 mars 2019
Të rinjtë nga shkolla "Drita e Dijes" në Berat dhe "Fuat Babani" në Bilisht vizitojnë BunkArt 2
Ditën e parë të vizitës studimore IDMC e nisi me një vizitë te BunkArt2, në Tiranë. Nxënësit nga gjimnazi i qytetit të Beratit dhe Bilishtit, finalistë të konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit 3" ishin të parët që e çelën këtë vizitë studimore në vendet e kujtesës. Vizita e tyre te BunkArt2 ishte rëndësishme për të kuptuar më mirë të shkuarën komuniste të vendit. IDMC organizon në mënyrë të vazhdueshme vizita studimore në vendet e kujtesës me qëllim ndërgjegjësimin e të rinjve për pasojat e krimeve të diktaturës në Shqipëri si dhe inkurajon shkollat ti bëjnë vizitat studimore në vendet e kujtesës pjesë të programit të tyre mësimor.
Dita e DYTë, 19 mars 2019
Finalistët e edicionit të tretë të konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit" vizitojnë për herë të parë
ish-burgun e Spaçit
Dita dytë e vizitës studimore pati si destinacion Spaçin, burg dhe kamp për punë të detyruar, i ndërtuar më 1968 nga Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme në kohën e diktaturës komuniste duke shfrytëzuar punën e të burgosurve. Krahas stafit të IDMC dhe mësuesve, finalistët e edicionit të tretë të konkursit "Pyet Gjyshërit" u shoqëruan nga Lekë Tasi, Gjeto Vocaj dhe Filip Guraziu, të cilët ndanë me të rinjtë përvojat e tyre të hidhura me përndjekjet e diktaturës. Të rinjtë, të cilët vinin nga 12 shkolla të ndryshme – nga Tirana, Durrësi, Mëzeza, Berati, Tropoja, Lezha, Bilishti, Labinoti dhe Elbasani – nuk kishin qenë më parë në ish-kampin burg të Spaçit dhe vizita e shoqëruar me rrëfimet e tre ish-të përndjekurve i ngjalli atyre goxha kureshtje për të njohur më shumë për historinë.
Drejtoresha e IDMC, Dr. Jonila Godole foli për vizitën dhe theksoi rëndësinë që kanë vendet e kujtesës, si burgu i Spaçit, për njohjen dhe kuptimin e së shkuarës. Godole tha se "vizitat e ngjashme me ato që organizon IDMC në vendet e kujtesës u mundësojnë të rinjve, por sidomos gjimnazistëve, që t'u japin emër dhe figurë informacioneve që ata kanë mësuar rreth komunizmit." Artisti Lekë Tasi, i cili nga diktatura u internua familjarisht për 15 vite në Grabjan të Lushnjës solli për të rinjtë dëshminë e tij gjatë vizitës. Tasi përtej urtësisë dhe moshës 90-vjeçare nuk i përmbajti dot emocionet. Ai tha se themelore për t'u ditur nga të rinjtë është se "diktatura me ato manifestimet e veta vrasëse ishte një aleancë midis një diktatori dhe elementëve më të lig të shoqërisë, ndryshe nuk mund të realizohej." Ai shtoi ndër të tjera se "këta elementë gjendeshin kudo në shoqëri dhe ishin tortura e vazhdueshme që u jepte kënaqësi sadistëve të shumtë të pushtetit." Por duke kaluar me buzëqeshje dëshminë e tij ai i rikujtoi të rinjtë se gjithmonë duhet të kishin parasysh të kuptonin dhe nxirrnin në pah të mirën si dhe të luftonin të keqen.
Filip Guraziu që vuajti një përndjekje të gjatë pas pushkatimit të të atit si pjesëtar i grupit të intelektualëve që u përfshinë në të ashtuquajturin incidenti i bombës në ambasadën sovjetike vuri në dukje se si i gjithë ai brez që vuajti dënimet nuk deshën kurrë të hakmerren pas ndryshimit të sistemit. Shqetësimi i tyre sipas Guraziut ishte se "nëse shoqëria nuk analizon të kaluarën nuk do jetë në gjendje që të ndërtojë një të ardhme të sigurt." Mësuesi Gjeto Vocaj nga diktatura u burgos për agjitacion dhe propaganda dhe ndau me te rinjtë historinë e "nxënësit gjeni" si dhe eksperiencën e dënimit në burgun e Spaçit. Vocaj theksoi se "diktatura duke e ndarë popullsinë në atë qe ajo e quante 'të tanët' dhe 'armiku' internoi dhe burgosi armikun që në atë kohë ishin gjithë njerëzit më të ditur, ata që kishin studiuar jashtë shtetit, apo që ishin arsimuar në mënyrë fetare dhe ishin intelektual." Vocaj shpjegoi se trajtimi çnjerëzor dhe ulja e dinjitetit që u behej të burgosurve politikë ishin element të përhershëm të trajtimit në këtë burg si dhe 2 nga arsyet themelore që nxitën revoltën e Spaçit, më 1973.
Të rinjtë kërkuan që burgu i Spaçit të kthehet në një vend muze, ndërsa të mos harrohet historia e asaj kohe brez pas brezi. Të rinjtë u shprehen se kishin dëgjuar vetëm nga familjarët e tyre për anën e errët të kësaj periudhe diktatoriale, ndërsa vunë theksin që histori të tilla duhet të përfshihen edhe në librat shkollorë pasi këto informacione mungojnë. "Një përvojë për të reflektuar mbi jetën se duhet t'i gëzohemi asaj ç'ka na bënë qenie me vlerë: Liria," shprehet një gjimnaziste. Kjo ishte vizita e gjashtë studimore që IDMC ka organizuar me të rinj në burgun e Spaçit.
Dita e TRETë, 20 mars 2019
Vizitë te "Vendi i Dëshmisë dhe Kujtesës" në Shkodër dhe te ish-burgu në Lezhë
Udhëhequr nga Pjerin Mirdita të rinjtë u njohën me historinë e këtij vendi kujtese i cili në kohët e sotme kishte marrë statusin e një muzeu duke pasqyruar sesa njerëz kishin vuajtur dhe ishin persekutuar nën regjimin komunist në qytetin e Shkodrës, përkatësisht 2890- të burgosur, 1924 persona të internuar, 601 të pushkatuar dhe rreth 136 persona të vdekur nën tortura. Në këtë muze të rinjtë u njohën më nga afër me historitë e të burgosurve në ato ambiente, sidomos me dënimet e klerikëve të njohur si Kardinali Ernest Troshani, i cili u dënua më vonë me rreth 25 vite burgim në burgje të ndryshme të Shqipërisë apo At Zef Pllumi qelia e paraburgimit e të cilit ndodhej ende në atë vend kujtese. Po ashtu qelia e Marie Tucit, e cila dhe ka vdekur në ato ambiente ishte shumë tronditëse kur të rinjtë vizituan vendet e paraburgimit dhe u njohën me historinë e saj.
Elena Zorba ishte e pranishme në vizitën studimore dhe shpjegoi historinë e babait të saj i cili ishte arrestuar dhe mbajtur në paraburgim në ato ambiente përpara se të dënohej me 5 vjet burg. Duke ndarë ndjesitë e veta me të rinjtë ajo theksoi se duhet studiuar e kaluara jonë për të kuptuar të tashmen në të cilën ndodhemi. Ajo tha se "sistemi i atëhershëm dënoi dijen dhe kulturën dhe këtu fillon historia e vërtetë e fatkeqësive që i kanë ndodhur këtij kombi." Objektet dhe sendet personale të ekspozuara në hapësirën e tretë të muzeut patën një ndikim të madh te të rinjtë që ata të kuptonin më mirë kushtet e jetesës në ato burgje.
Vizita në Lezhë te Agroturizmi "Mrizi i Zanave" shërbeu si një mënyrë shumë e mirë që të rinjtë në bashkëbisedim me sipërmarrësin e këtij biznesi të merrnin një këndvështrim tjetër të pasojave që diktatura ka pasur edhe në zona të thella të Shqipërisë sidomos në Fishtë të Lezhës. Një prej ambienteve kryesore të përpunimit të qumështit në këtë biznes agroturizmi kishte qenë më parë ambient burgimi për ata të cilët sistemi i dënonte.
Dita e KATëRT, 21 mars 2019
Ditën e fundit të vizitës, të rinjtë vizitojnë burgun në kalanë e Gjirokastrës
dhe ish-Kampin e Internimit në Tepelenë
Ditën e fundit të vizitës, të rinjtë e nisën me një vizitë në kalanë e Gjirokastrës. Vizita u ndal sidomos te burgu brenda kalasë për të vazhduar më tej te kampi i Internimit në Tepelenë. Nga viti 1945 deri në vitin 1955 ky burg ka shërbyer në kohën e komunizmit si burg politik. Por pas vitit 1955 duke qenë se sistemi komunist vendosi që burgjet t'i ndërtonin pranë minierave që të burgosurit edhe të shfrytëzoheshin për punë, ky burg vazhdoi të shërbente si burg i zakonshëm.
Matilda Karçanaj, koordinatore programi e IDMC u shpreh se "është e rëndësishme që të rinjtë të njihen me të shkuarën e vendit për të kuptuar më mirë zhvillimet e sotme politike, si dhe për të projektuar një të ardhme më të mirë." Karçanaj u ndal te diktatura në Shqipëri. Ajo tha "edhe pse është ndër diktaturat më të ashpra në Europën Juglindore, në tekstet e historisë kjo periudhë nuk është e trajtuar mjaftueshëm, prandaj dhe të rinjtë nuk kanë informacione të thella mbi diktaturën." Pavarësisht se ishte hera e parë që të rinjtë vizitonin këto vende kujtese, ata shprehën shumë interes për të mësuar më tepër për periudhën e diktaturës. Ata u shprehën se duke i parë nga afër këto vende kujtese historia bëhet më e prekshme dhe më e gjallë për ta.
Vizita studimore përfundon te ish Kampi i Internimit në Tepelenë.
Kampi i Tepelenës edhe pse funksionoi vetëm për 6 vite (1949–1954) si kamp internimi për familjarët e të dënuarve në kohën e diktaturës shenjon një pjesë të rëndësishme të historisë së vendit tonë si dhe paraqet dimensionet reale te persekutimit komunist në Shqipëri. Koordinatorja e Programit të IDMC, Matilda Karçanaj, u shpreh se "në Shqipëri nuk është punuar mjaftueshëm për ballafaqimin me të shkuarën prandaj vendet e kujtesës duhet të vijnë më shpesh në vëmendjen e të rinjve dhe shoqërisë më gjerë për të kontribuar mbi reflektimin për të shkuarën."
Në këtë vizitë të rinjtë u njohën me historinë e kampit dhe me kushtet çnjerëzore të jetës në kamp nga shkrimtari Marçel Hila, i cili vuri theksin tek të dënuarit dhe te vdekshmëria e lartë foshnjore në kamp duke e krahasuar kampin e internimit në Tepelenë me kampin e përqendrimit në Auschwitz. Tregimet mbi tortura familjare, mbi 5 000 gra, fëmijë dhe pleq të internuar; mbi 350 fëmijë të vdekur nga kushtet e këqija, nga sëmundjet apo nga torturat; viktima të pafajshme që sot shumica e tyre nuk i'u gjenden eshtrat se ku ndodhen bën që të rinjtë të kuptonin më mirë terrorin e atij sistemi. Historia e Drane Jakes, Doruntinës moderne – siç u quajt nga z. Hila, e cila e zhvarrosi djalin e saj të vdekur dhe për 7 javë e mbajti të ruajtur me raki deri sa t'ia çonte eshtrat në veri si ia pati premtuar bashkëshortit të vet po ashtu përcollën për të rinjtë mbijetesën dhe kurajën njerëzore. Detaje të tjera për kampin u plotësuan nga Aleksandër Toti, zëdhënësi i Bashkisë Tepelenë.
** IDMC falënderon Bashkinë Tepelenë për bashkëpunimin në realizimin e vizitës studimore te ish-Kampi i Internimit në Tepelenë.
Nikšić, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Prishtina
Tirana, Spac, Shkodra, Gjirokastra, Lushnje
Tiranë, Spaç, Shkodër, Lezhë, Gjirokastër, Tepelenë