'Against a Wall': Albania’s Women Political Prisoners’ Struggle to be Heard

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Shannon Woodcock


Between 1944 and 1985, Enver Hoxha ruled socialist Albania as an isolated and paranoid Stalinist state. The regime held power through total party control and continual purges at all levels of society, persecuting approximately twenty per cent of the population (which stood at 3.4 million in 1990) as ‘enemies of the people’. Women and men were punished with internal exile, forced labour or prison, yet even now, twenty years after the communist rulers instituted neoliberal reforms as re-branded ‘democrats’ (in 1990), the victims of communist persecution are socially and structurally marginalised. Through the testimony and experiences of one anonymous woman who survived the communist prison system, this article examines the political, social and psychological factors that silence the voices of Albanian women who were politically persecuted.

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Locating Memory (Peer Reviewed)