Downtown bunker transformed into a museum

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 25, 2016 10:57

Downtown bunker transformed into a museum

Story Highlights

  • The bunker has twenty rooms which depict the history of police from 1912 until 1991. It also includes the inscriptions of 6,027 names of the people executed during the communist regime, 34,000 prisoners and the more than 50,000 sent to camps.

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TIRANA, Nov.20 – A former nuclear bunker for communist officials in downtown Tirana was given a new lease on life after it was turned into a museum to show visitors how thousands of people were persecuted during the rule of Communist leader Enver Hoxha.

The 1,000-square meter bunker, whose walls that are up to 2.4 meters thick, was built between 1981 and 1986 to shelter high-ranking communist officials from a nuclear attack.

More than 20 years later, the bunker walls display photographs of victims that suffered and were killed as a result of political persecution and equipment used by the secret services for surveillance.

At the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Rama said the museum is dedicated “to the thousands of victims of Communism, shot dead or killed in labor camps.”

“The government aims to pay back a debt to the memory of the former politically persecuted, forgotten in the last 25 years,” Rama added.

Carlo Bollino, who served as curator for the museum, added that visitors will be able “to learn about the ways that the former communist police persecuted their opponents.”

The bunker has twenty rooms which depict the history of police from 1912 until 1991. It also includes the inscriptions of 6,027 names of the people executed during the communist regime, 34,000 prisoners and the more than 50,000 sent to camps.

The government tried to open the bunker last year, but during an anti government rally organized by the opposition, protesters destroyed the part of a replica bunker built as the museum’s entrance. The Democratic Party accused Rama’s governing Socialist Party of trying to glorify communism.

The country’s former dictator Enver Hoxha had the imaginary fear of “imperialist United States and social-imperialist Soviet Union,” invading Albania. He ordered the construction of concrete bunkers of all sizes around Albania designed to withstand a nuclear attack. Although rumors say that there are about 700,000 bunkers nationwide, the government says that 175,000 were built.

During Hoxha’s rule, more than 100,000 Albanians were executed, jailed or sent to labor camps.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 25, 2016 10:57