Archive of Memory is an ongoing oral history project focusing on testimonies by former politically persecuted individuals under Albania’s 50 year communist regime. I grew up in Albania in the 1980s during the tail-end of the dictatorship. As a kid I did not have a grasp on what was happening in the country, particularly because the state kept tight control on information. I would get snippets of news around the kitchen table, but could not fully comprehend what was happening. The larger history of arrests, imprisonment, and persecutions that took place under the regime only came to light after the transition to democracy in 1991, largely through the efforts of those who had been persecuted, in the form of testimonies and written memoirs. Now people could finally speak about what had happened to them.
As I began researching this project, reading some of these memoirs was instrumental in learning about the history and in informing my decisions about who to reach out to. Over the years, I developed a curiosity to find out more about what took place. This project represents a history lesson for me, and I am so thankful I was able to meet with and learn from the people featured in it.
My long-term goals for this project are to grow the archives and have it served as an educational tool for younger generations.