Concert Commemorates Albanian Artists Persecuted Under Communism

The 'Sounds of Memory' concert at the Orthodox cathedral in Tirana on Monday evening featured 14 songs and readings of poems by people who were imprisoned or killed for their resistance to Albania's Communist dictatorship.

Art and culture under Communism was strongly connected to political ideology and every work was closely examined by the authorities. The consequences of flouting the ideological rules were imprisonment, internment in labour camps, persecution and in some cases death.

At the event, artist Ema Andrea read the poem 'Saharaja' by Vilson Blloshmi, who was arrested in 1977 on charges of "sabotaging the economy, agitation and propaganda". His work was seized as a threat to the Albanian Communist regime.

On June 13, 1977, Librazhd District Court sentenced Blloshmi and another poet, Genc Leka, to death. They were shot dead on July 17, 1977.

Musicians were also persecuted under Communism, said, which organised the event alongside the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German foundation.

"Albania is proud of some of its operatic artists, whose fame is disproportionate to the size of their homeland, but there was a time, not so long ago, when Albania not only denied these artists the opportunities offered to them on the world stage, but locked them up in prisons and turned them into hard-working slaves," said, an organisation dedicated to preserving the memory of victims of Communism.

"For me, what is most important is that today's generation, our children, should know the truth and that history should not be repeated," said pianist Elida Dakolli, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were persecuted by the Communist regime.

Dakolli's grandfather is one of around 6,000 people who went missing...

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