Albania

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

In Albania, the Holocaust is recognised; however, there is no information whether the Roma are recognised or not as victims of the Genocide.

According to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, page 66), the Holocaust in Albania is referred to as the “systematic and regular genocide pursued by the German Nazis against various ethnic, religious and national groups prior to and during World War II, up until 1945”. The following groups are included in references to the Genocide: Jews, Roma and Sinti, communists, immigrants, gays and lesbians, alcoholics, religious fundamentalists and German dissidents.

Albania observes 27th January as its Holocaust memorial day. The day is called the “Day of Commemoration” or “Day of Memory”. It was established by Law Number 9280, adopted on 23rd September 2004 and proclaimed by the President of the Republic in decree number 4345, on 11th October 2004. Article 2.1 of the law sets 27th January as the commemorative date.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

On 27th January, governmental institutions, national as well as the local - partake in commemorative activities in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – particularly the Jewish victims – and those who sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom against Nazism. Government officials at all levels participate in the commemorative events, including the President, the Prime Minister and other Cabinet ministers, the Chairman of the Parliament, heads of municipalities and communes as well as other officials and government employees.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

According to the available information, there is no specialised institution, commission or research centre specifically dealing with the issue of the Genocide of the Roma. There is, however, a Roma Technical Secretariat which helps the ministries to deal with Roma and minority issues.

In March 2013, the municipality of Tirana has announced that the Holocaust Memorial will be built.

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

Albania has designated the 27th January as the Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Non-profit organisations (Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights, the History Teachers Association), scientific institutions (the Academy of Sciences, the Institute of History) cultural associations, theatres as well as electronic and print media outlets represent the wide range of organisations and institutions that are involved in various types of events around the 27th January, the Day of Commemoration. The types of activities organised include academic discussions, expositions of paintings and drawings, poems, essays, concerts, speeches, television shows and visits with families that protected Jews during World War II.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

According to the OSCE (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, page 66), “Teaching on the Holocaust occurs chronologically throughout the history curriculum, beginning with the history of the Jews since antiquity and leading on to World War II and the foundation of Israel. Holocaust education occurs approximately at the age of 13. History schoolbooks feature a chapter on Dictatorial Regimes: Germany During the Nazi Dictatorship.” It is not known if Roma are included in these materials, although the OSCE calls for inclusion of the Genocide of the Roma.

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

It is not known if the Genocide of the Roma is included in the school textbooks, although the OSCE calls for its inclusion.

History schoolbooks feature a chapter on Dictatorial Regimes: Germany During the Nazi Dictatorship.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

According to the OSCE (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, page 66), no specific teacher training or funding is allocated for Holocaust education in and of itself. History and geography teachers receive Holocaust education as part of a broader training course run by the Institute of Pedagogical Studies. Some teachers have voluntarily undertaken courses at the Institute, for instance “Facing History and Ourselves”. Teachers receive training on how to deal with discrimination, during which the Holocaust is also discussed.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

Albanian schools observe 10th December as a day devoted to “Good understanding and tolerant attitudes in schools”, following an order issued by the Minister of Education and Science in February 1998. Every 10th December, various activities focusing on Holocaust historical events are taking place in schools.

Schools and universities participate in events on 27th January through a number of activities aimed at remembrance of the Holocaust and its victims. Activities organised at schools include exhibitions of paintings and drawings, poems and essays. A common theme of all activities is “never again”. Schools focus on the importance of learning the lessons of the Holocaust and their relation to today’s crises in the world. Elementary, secondary and high school teachers seek to integrate multicultural, anti-bias and social justice themes into their lesson plans.

2.5 Remembrance day

The 27th January is the Holocaust Remembrance Day.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

Governmental structures dealing particularly with Roma issues:

According to the European Roma Information Office (ERIO), “The Group of Monitoring and Coordination of the Roma National Strategy, which is composed of three persons, and the Roma NGOs are lobbying to involve Roma representatives in this group. The National Strategy for the Improvement of Life Conditions of the Roma Minority has been adopted by the Albanian Government in September 2003. It provides a framework for the improvement of the living conditions of Roma in Albania.”

Related institutions:

Office for Minorities - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Agron Tare
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulevardi Gjergj Fishta, Tirana
Tel.: +355 4 233493, +355 4 364090 ext.136, +355 4 364090 ext.180
General e-mail: info@mfa.gov.al
 
Department for Minorities
Head of Department: Mrs.Violeta Qebini
Ministry of Local Government and Decentralization
Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit
Tirana
Tel.: +355 4 362238
Fax: +355 4 223 836
E-mail: mpvd@mpvd.gov.al
 
Department of Curricula’s Development
The Ministry of Education and Sport
Mr. Fatmir Bezati
Ministria e Arsimit dhe Shkences
Rr: "Rruga e Durrësit" Nr. 23
Tiranë
Tel.: +355 4 223059
Central telephones: +355 4 223150, 224718, 223489, 222260, 225457
E-mail: fbezati@mash.gov.al
 
State Committee for Minorities
Chairwoman: Ms. Kostandina Bezhani
Prime Minister Office
Bulevardi “Dëshmorët e Kombit”
Kutia Postare 7436 Posta Qëndrore
Tirana
Tel. / Fax: +355 4 256 843
E-mail: kbeziani@km.gov.al

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

Prof. Shaban Sinani, historian, Director of the Archives of the Republic of Albania

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

There are several Roma NGOs in Albania but they do not seem to focus on the Holocaust:

Rromani Baxt Albania - works to maintain the culture, art, traditions, and other spiritual values of the Roma community as well as seeks to integrate the Roma more cohesively within Albanian society;

Unioni i Rromëve të Shqipërisë "Amaro-Drom" / Union of the Albanian Roma “Amaro Drom”

The treatment of Roma in Kosovo is a major concern for most NGOs.

 

5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies

Roma Active Albania NGO is a member of TernYpe – International Roma Youth network and one of the co-organisers of the project “Young Europeans Commemorating the Roma Genocide” which took place for the first time in Krakow (at Auschwitz Memorial) in August 2013. The aim of this initiative, that gathers young Roma and non-Roma from 15 European countries, is to strengthen the engagement and awareness of Roma and non-Roma youth and youth organisations on the Roma Genocide; to advocate for the recognition of the Roma Genocide and promote the remembrance on European level as well as to build a Human Rights Platform of European youth organisations to challenge stereotypes and anti-Gypsyism.

Another project that involved young Roma and non-Roma participants from Albania called Pravde Jakhenca (With Open Eyes) took place from 24th July to 4th August 2013 in Krakow/Żywiec in Poland. 60 young Roma and non-Roma from Albania, Germany, Macedonia and Poland came together in Zywiec, Poland, to learn more about the Roma Genocide during World War II and to fight anti-Gypsysm and racism in the present.