Museum of Witness and Memory, Shkoder.

I first went into this museum last year but as daily events began to unfold in my life regarding property issues I neglected my blog and forgot all about posting about this important site, I’m sorry!

This museum is called the Site of Witness and Memory and is the only museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the communist regime from the city of Shkodra. Please visit the site on the link above for more in-depth information.

My main reason for having visited the museum was because my uncle, Ded Markagjoni, was held prisoner there. I wanted to walk in ‘his’ shoes, although metaphorically because I can never even pretend to understand how he felt while imprisoned there. The site of the museum is where the original jail was therefore it is the original site of imprisonment and torture for many Albanians during a horrific period in her history. The museum is about a 1 minute walk from our family home, just down the corner and to the right, hence I can only imagine how he must have felt being held so close to home. As I walked through the site I felt an eerie feeling of doom, I could picture him being held in one of the bare cells, being tortured by one or more of the mechanisms used, being questioned, going through the cold weather in the dank cell. The reason for his imprisonment and ultimate internment, as the rest of my family? Bearing the surname Markagjoni, that’s all, that was enough.

Walking through I saw two notices signed by Enver Hoxha. The first one dated August 11, 1945, which was for the change in verdict from death to imprisonment for my uncle Ded and the other dated November 28, 1945 for the ‘death warrant’ of my grandfather Gjon Marku. Ironically November 28th is Albania’s Independence Day as well as the day my grandfather and father escaped Albania. To go into the history of my family please visit my website Gjon Markagjoni, it is far too long and important and should be understood in full.

If ever in this city you must make a point of visiting this insightful museum to give you an idea of the horrific conditions and historical events which took place in a country that for most of the 20th century was forgotten and secluded from the outside world.

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