Today marks the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of Tirana.
On the morning of this day in 1944 following 19 days of fighting between German Nazi and Italian fascist forces and the National Liberation Front (communist forces) led by future dictator Enver Hoxha, the enemy withdrew. While the day is celebrated as liberation from fascists, it also marked the beginning of the communist regime that killed thousands and imprisoned thousands more.
President Ilir Meta commemorated the event by saying that the war for the capital paved the way for the liberation of the country and the preservation of its borders.
“The liberation of Tirana was an important contribution to strengthen the legitimacy and credibility of Albania, as a country dedicated to the Antifascist Alliance,” he said.
Last year, a number of stands were set up in the centre of Tirana to pay homage to Hoxha and other communists.
The communist regime that followed, led by Hoxha killed more than 6000 people, imprisoned 35,000 political prisoners, and put around 200,000 through labour camps. Many are still looking for the remains of their family members and there has never been a formal apology or convictions for the crimes of communism. Albania does not even have a memorial for those that lost their lives.