Gjaze te Lushnjes

Today I made a pilgrimage of sorts to the place where my family was interned during the 1960’s-1970’s, Gjaze te Lushnjes, oustide the city of Lushjne. I went because I wanted to see….I wanted to visualize the place I had heard so much about.

This is the lot where the camp’s store used to be.

20150218_101446 This was the well for the whole camp, it’s still in use.

20150218_100828 An original house.

20150218_100624An original house.

20150218_100557This was the first house they lived in before moving across the street. The house has since been restored.

20150218_101737This was the second and last house they lived in. It has been rebuilt.

What I found was some remnant homes from the period, apartment buildings and some newer homes built on the land where the original abodes that housed my family stood.

The overall condition of the area, which was deemed “internim”, is not much better than what I imagined it was. The roads are the same, dirt with inbedded rocks. The structures that are still standing from that period are basically the same, chipped away, in ruin, probably no running water. I was moved by it though, imagining my aunts Marta and Bardha, cousins Kristina, Celestina and Gjon and my uncle Dede Markagjoni all living there for over 15 years. They had roll call three times a day at the corner store, the store is now gone and the lot sits empty (see photo). They were only allowed to leave the camp with a permission slip which was only given once or twice a month. They basically just worked for food. This was only one of a number of camps they lived in during the communist regime that engulfed this country from 1944-1991. Almost 50 years of living hell!

20150218_100600aThis is Merjeme, she still lives there and remembers everyone from my family that lived in the camp.

20150218_100447Another original home.

20150218_091627Bar Restorant ‘Pushimi i Shoferit’ is a living monument to the period.

It’s been on the corner of the entrance into the area for the last 50 years or more.


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