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From hell to hell

This project tells the story of Albanian survivors from the infamous Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. The project includes a study about the period of Nazism in Albania, which begins with the Italian occupation in April 1939. It continues with the arrival of the Germans after the capitulation of Italy and the operations and arrests made by Germans against Albanians in 1943-1944, including sending them to the concentration camp, until the liberation of the camps in May 1945 and the return of the survivors to their homeland. Of about 427 names that are on the memorial plaque dedicated to the Albanians in Mauthausen today, only 23 returned to Albania alive.
This project sheds light on 8 Albanian survivors and stories about other Albanians who lost their loved ones in Mauthausen. The stories are unique, as they have not yet been told before. Some who survived the Nazi hell returned to enjoy freedom in their homeland, but ended up suffering from Enver Hoxha’s dictatorship regime.

Our aims

Our aim is not only to collect and record their stories, but to create educational opportunities for young generations, to offer them tools to learn about this part of history, from Albanian eyewitnesses. The project will create a ‘living archive room’ in the National Historical Museum of Albania, to connect the institution with the city and with the community, especially with young generations who don’t know much about this period. A multimedia exhibition and a digital storytelling will narrate the story of these 8 Albanian survivors. The relatives of these people (from Tirana, Durres and Vlora) tell their stories as victims of National Socialism and then as survivors of communism. Through the national and international collaboration, we will enable an innovative multimedia project to educate generations, that what happened, should never be repeated again.

Activities:

  • Research about the stories of Albanian survivors, interviews, visiting the Mauthausen camp with the research team.
  • Recording of at least 8 stories of people who suffered in the Mauthausen camp.
  • Opening an exhibition with artifacts and objects. The first exhibition will be held at the National Historical Museum. Then it will be in Durres and Vlora.
  • A documentary about the Albanian survivors, the documentary will be broadcasted in national television.
  • A forum with academics and historians, introduce them to this project and discuss how we can create a curriculum for pupils and students.
  • Creating a portal hosting all the recorded materials and findings to provide an online resource for students.
  • Essay competitions for students and high schoolers on this topic.
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