From: Alice Taylor
Excavations Start at Burrel Prison, Searching for Remains of Victims of Communism

One year after the order was given to set up a working group, excavations have started by Burrel prison. The search is hoping to uncover the remains of victims of the Communist regime as well as Italian citizen Giussepe Terrusi.

The man, a banker was imprisoned by the regime in the prison at Burrel for seven years and died there in 1952. His son, Aldo Renato Terrusi has insisted that he be able to find his remains and send them home to Italy. He has been fighting for over 26 years.

Terrusi was the Director of the Italian-Albanian bank in Vlora before he was captured and imprisoned. He first came to Albania in 1926 and was working at the bank of Gjirokastra before his role in Vlora. According to available evidence, he was completely unpoliticized but was arrested by the regime nonetheless.

According to media reports, the issue has had the attention of the Italian Embassy in Tirana and Prime Minister Edi Rama approved the excavations in October 2019. 

His son spoke scathingly of the Hoxha regime, noting that the dictator portrayed himself as a great man but in reality did nothing.

“An idol of himself with power gained without glory, Enver managed to exercise over the Albanian nation the fascinating role of the “Father of the Nation”, the father who in his empty pride, oppressed and killed for 50 years.”

After years of trying to find out what happened to his father, he managed to find original documents that provided information on his last whereabouts. He wrote that the Albanian authorities were unwilling to cooperate and gave many empty promises

“Despite my numerous requests and those of Italian institutions to the Albanian government for the exhumation and return of the remains of my father and other prisoners who died in Burrel prison, despite promises of intervention by the highest officials of the state and the Albanian Ministry of Justice, the remains of those men are still under the cold soil of that infamous country.”

He also spoke of his disbelief as to why the Albanian government did not want to help him. Terrusi said he felt the whole thing was nothing more  than a “theatrical performance” and claimed and the official had even tried to extort money from him to “facilitate procedures.”

Agron Tufa, the former director of the Institute for the Study of Crimes and Consequences of Communism who was forced to seek asylum abroad because of attacks and threats against him by prominent communists, commented on the case. He said the finding the remains of Terrusi, as well as all those who were killed by the regime is an obligation for the Albanian state.