Between 11 and 16 September 2017, members of “Stalin teams” from five European countries participated in the Summer School, organized in Tirana and Kucova, Albania.
During the five-day program, they were able to attend three workshops, a public debate, and a thematic tour in Tirana, in Kucova the “Stalin City” and Berat.
The program started with a lecture on life during communism from Mr. Daut Gumeni which was an ex-political prisoner who spent 23 years of his life imprisoned with the sentence “for agitation and propaganda against the system”. After the questions that were raised for Mr. Gumeni and the discussions from the participants the involved teams presented a synthesis of the activities carried out so far within the project and the significance of the project for their own organizations.
The thematic tour in Tirana included visits to the National Historical Museum of Tirana where it is presented in chronological time the Albanian History. After that was visited the National Gallery of Arts where the partners were introduced with the director of this institution and were able to see the real statue of Stalin given as e present To Albania from former Soviet Union in 1951.
A very special visit was that made at the museum “House of Leafs” which used to function as a bug house and was the Security Center (Political Police) used for investigations and spies. This documentary visit allowed participants to discover both similarities and differences between their own Stalin cities.
The second lecture was also held from Mr. Ilir Kalemaj, professor at University of New York Tirana who talked about the interesting subject “Stalinist Characteristics in Albania”.
At the public debate, held on 15.09.2017 in Kuçova, 45 persons participated in the Central Library of the city – 5 from Poland, 5 from Bulgaria, 2 from Hungary, 5 from Romania and 28 from Albania. After each of the partners held their second presentation about the effects of Stalinism in their cities they had the opportunity to listen to the personal experiences of Stalinist survivors, citizens of Stalin, and discussed the need to save historical memory and protect the heritage of the communist era. The meeting was welcomed also from the Mayer of Kuçova Mr. Selfo Kapllani who said that this project was an innovation for the small city of Kuçova. The discussions helped the participants better understand the recent history and how the totalitarian regime of Stalin has deprived citizens of their fundamental rights.
At the end of the meeting Mr. Bogdan Popovic from Rumania and Mrs. Blerina Braho the Albanian coordinator were interviewed from Top media, a national TV in Albania about the goal and objectives of the project. After this all the participants traveled to Berat where they were able to visit the ancient castle of Berat, which is under the protection of UNESCO and the Museum of Iconography which has some very old and rare icons in Albania.