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Dealing with the Past, Acting for the Future

On 7 March 2019, PERFORM  and the Albanian Authority on Access to Information on the former State Security Service launched a new interactive communication platform and a book entitled “Life between Science and Politics in Communist Albania”. 

The Albanian parliament had passed a law in May 2015 on opening the Communist-era secret police files, allowing victims of the regime and their relatives to see their files, and to allow historians to undertake archival research. The Albanian Authority requested PERFORM to provide support for piloting archival research. A group of 9 scholars were selected who were prosecuted or closely monitored under the Communist regime. The research outputs were then developed into narratives that have now been published as a book. The book portrays the lives of 9 scholars under the dictatorship and includes historic pictures and illustrations. These stories are also available on the platform  

Public debates and interactions require narratives that are based on historical analysis and evidence. All too often, such public discourses are hijacked for particular political purposes by feeding them with highly biased information. The research conducted provided opportunities to Albanian scholars to highlight their role and contribution to the important societal process of dealing with the past.  

The Swiss Ambassador Mr Adrian Maître highlighted in his address the importance of Albania dealing with the memories of the period of dictatorship by fostering a remembrance culture. He said that it was important to combine dealing with the past with the creation of a democratic and peaceful future. The work by the Authority and the historians that was supported by the Swiss Government project PERFORM has made an important contribution to this dialogue process. 

“We hope that this will be that start of a process in which the Authority will systematically use the capacity and competency of Albanian researchers to undertake archival research on the files of selected individuals and professional groups (e.g. sports persons, artists, priests, etc.), develop narratives and share them with the public”, said PERFORM Manager, Dr Martin Dietz.