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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 4, 2013

Transitional Justice and Civil Societies after Dictatorial Regimes

Andreas Hemming
Pages 44-64

Justice of Another Kind. Laying Claims to the Past in Post-Dictatorial Albania

More than twenty years after the collapse of the totalitarian regime in Albania, the archives of the state security apparatus (Sigurimi) have yet to be opened. The horror of the Hoxha regime remains under lock and key. Not one word is lost on the network of political prisons and the state security apparatus in the history schoolbooks; in today’s only history text about Albania written by a university scholar, that addresses some details of the socialist period, this part of the socialist past is also left out. The lack of initiative from the government or any other state organisation to address this situation has led to setting up a number of alternative civil society organisations that focus on this issue. One of these is a very important movement in northern Albania, having at its core a disparate but vibrant publishing industry that provides space for the local actors to publish their memories and experiences. Two genres of writing can be identified here: local histories and family histories. Common to both are motifs of local patriotism and personal sacrifice, but the local histories – mainly of specific villages and towns – tend to be apologetic of the regime while the family histories tend more often to be those of victims and opponents of the regime. Keywords: local history, family histories, local publishers, Albania.

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