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 was the well for the whole camp, it’s still in use.
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!
It’s been on the corner of the entrance into the area for the last 50 years or more.