"These testimonies will teach future generations the importance of preserving core human values, freedom and democracy." Rose Dosti, AHRP Founder
Until every story is told.
A H R P
The Albanian Human Rights Project (AHRP) has been a U.S.-based, nonprofit dedicated to collecting, filming and preserving the testimonies of Albanians who were politically imprisoned or interned during Albania’s communist regime (1945-1991) as historical documents for scholarly study, education, and inspiration.
THE WENDE MUSEUM OF THE COLD WAR:
NEW CUSTODIANS OF THE
AHRP COLLECTION OF TESTIMONIES
WE’VE DONE IT! The Albanian Human Rights Project (AHRP) accomplished its goal of filming testimonies of 100 survivors of political persecution in Albania from 1945-1991. With such an accomplishment, the future of these testimonies will have to be addressed. After several years as partners, the collection of the filmed testimonies was gifted to the Wende Museum of the Cold War in Los Angeles for preservation, scholarly study, education, and inspiration for generations to come.
The mission of the Wende Museum is to preserve Cold-War-era art, culture, and history from Eastern European countries under the 1955 Warsaw Pact (including Albania), and inspire a broad understanding of the period, and explore its enduring legacy.
The Wende Museum’s work falls into four main categories:
To collect and preserve artwork, artifacts, archives, films, and personal histories from Cold War–era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union relating to the period 1945–1991;
To challenge and engage the public through experimental exhibitions and interdisciplinary programming inspired by the collection;
To illuminate the past and inform the present through creative collaborations with contemporary artists and designers;
To promote rigorous scholarship, educate students, and stimulate general interest through lectures, symposia, and publications.
The Museum is located at 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Visit its Website https://www.wendemuseum.org for hours and listings of cultural and educational programs.
Scholars, educators and students of the Cold War may have access to the Albanian collection by calling 310-216-1600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Help support the continued translations into English of Albanian oral testimonies by donating to the Wende Museum at:
Once you have submitted your contribution amount, please indicate under “Additional formation” that your donation is intended to support the cost of translating Albanian testimonies.
AHRP COLLECTION OF TESTIMONIES:
HURRAY! A DREAM COME TRUE
Former directors of the Albanian Human Rights Project (AHRP)-[2008-2018] are thrilled to announce that Dr. Justin Elliott, a postdoctoral historical research scholar, will study AHRP’s 10-year collection of 100-filmed testimonies of Albanian Cold War political prisoners. The collection is being curated and preserved at the Wende Museum of the Cold War in Los Angeles.
Dr. Justin Elliott, a postdoctoral fellow at USC History Department attached to the Shoah Foundation, is undertaking research on the AHRP testimonies in a number of directions, including use of the WWII testimonies that the Shoah Foundation has in its Visual History Archive. He is also interested in learning more about the AHRP collection, processes and goals. Due to the pandemic, the start of Dr. Elliott’s fellowship was delayed, but was finally in residence at the Shoah Foundation by October 2021.
We learned, upon meeting with Dr. Elliott, a native of Britain, that he has long been interested in Albania, and, as a teenager, taught himself the Albanian language. He was closely involved in efforts to assist the parallel teaching system in Kosovo during the 1990s, and was a founding member of the charity Kosovo Aid. During the 1999 war he was a member of the British delegation to the UNHCR Humanitarian Evacuation Program in Macedonia. He has been involved with the Albanian community in London for over thirty years.
In August 2022, Dr. Elliott traveled to Albania to learn more about AHRP’s work, both in terms of the suffering of the politically persecuted in Albania, as well as what else was done in Albania to advance the cause of the politically persecuted, before, during and since the time when the AHRP was active.
We look forward to further updates as his research project progresses and thank
Dr. Elliott for his scholarly interest in Albania. We are honored to contribute our collection as part of his research.
Former President of AHRP
AHRP could not have accomplished its goal alone. There are many institutions, partners, AHRP Board members, volunteers, donors and friends to thank for their support, financial help and loyalty.
We thank the many survivors for the enthusiasm and freedom they felt to tell their stories and show the world that the human spirit triumphs in adversity. By allowing us to film and share stories that will live forever, they teach us the lesson of vigilance, so these events may never again be repeated.
Attorney Martin J. Trupiano has been AHRP’s hero since its inception in 2008 when he selflessly volunteered to incorporate AHRP as a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status. He saw AHRP through the many phases of its active life until its dissolution in 2018, after completing its goal of filming and recording 100 testimonies of Albanian political prisoners under the Communist regime during the Cold War. We thank Mr. Trupiano with all our hearts.
We acknowledge the extraordinary Wende Museum leadership and staff, including Founder and Executive Director, Justinian Jampol, ex-Deputy Director Donna Stein, current Chief Curator Joes Segal, Consulting Archivist Kate Dollenmayer, Director of Strategy and Operations Jessica Hoffman, and Manager of Information and Registrar Christine Rank, who have worked diligently to preserve, promote and honor the material.
We thank our faithful U.S. partners: The Shoah Foundation, the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of Tolerance, and the University of So. California Digital Repository for their loyal support of our project since AHRP's inception in 2008. In particular, we thank Dr. Stephen Smith and Karen Jungblut of the Shoah Foundation, as well as Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles for their support and encouragement throughout the 10 years of collaboration.
We owe a debt of gratitude also to our institutional partners in Albania-- the National Archive of Albania, the Ministry of History’s Albanian Studies institute and the Lincoln Center Tirana, which have housed the collection of testimonies for study. They will continue to maintain the collection under Wende Museum supervision.
We thank our tireless film crew-- Tomor Dosti, Fiqiri Sejdiaj and numerous cameramen. They gave their precious time and energy over the last decade to the difficult task of interviewing and filming the survivors’ testimonies in cities, towns, and villages throughout Albania.
Great thanks go to the many donors who have provided the financial means over a decade for AHRP to conduct 100 interviews and film testimonies wherever survivors lived in regions throughout Albania. Without their support, experiences now recorded, would be lost to the annals of world history.
Thanks go to our loyal Board of Directors, past and present, who worked tirelessly to maintain high standards and integrity in all our film and organizational activities. Thank you Armen Alajian, Donika Bardha, Guljed "Ed" Birce, Rose Dosti, Paulina Kalaj, Katherine Richards, Mary Thomas, Alexander Vukel, Arta Zeciri, as well as past officers Meredith Ainley, Lillian Appleby, Victor Dosti, Gezim Drenova, Cristina Broker, Elle Sorota, and our first chairman Bob Sheh.
Each of you contributed your precious time, financial support and energies selflessly in the name of human rights and freedom. We sadly note the recent death of Harold Thomas, who together with his wife, board member Mary Thomas, worked tirelessly to advance AHRP goals. They generously held numerous fundraising events on behalf of AHRP in Boston.
We are also grateful to our esteemed Honorary Board Members for lending their names, support and loyalty to AHRP: Vehbi Bajrami, former publisher of ILLIRIA, Evelyn de Wolfe, author, Bruria Finkle, international artist, the late Agim Karagjozi, former president of VATRA, Dr. Anna Kohen, president of AAWO, Joan F. Kontos, former director of the HARRY T. FULTZ FOUNDATION, the late Mary and Malcolm Romano, The Honorable William E. Ryerson, Albania’s first post-Communist era American Ambassador (1992), the late Joanne Sackheim, and Morton Zarcoff, Professor Emeritus, USC School of Cinema.
We remember with great fondness and deep gratitude the deceased Honorary Board members, Agim Karajozi, Malcolm and Mary Romano, and Joanne Sackheim.
We thank past and present volunteers who worked diligently --Rosa Shiroma, Ervin Blloshmi, Karen Stapley and Catherine Romero. We thank each for their hard work and generosity.
We are grateful for the accounting work of Rebekah Touma and Rosa Shiroma, as well for Albanian-to-English translator, Ornela Gjata and Irma Dhimogjika in the U.S., Shpetim Madani, Edwin Schwartz, Mirela Prifti, Doina Huso, and Tomor Dosti in Albania, and Gazmend Berlajoli and Jonada Jashari in Kosovo.
Last, but not least, we are grateful to Website visitors to both AHRP and the Wende Museum: for their interest and comments.
The AHRP Website will remain open for the near future at albanianhumanrightsproject.org, where you may view two 12- and 14-minute documentary films, Prison Nation: Albania 1943-1990 and Lost Voices Making History.
As you can see, many minds, hearts and hands were hard at work to ensure the lost voices of Albania’s Cold War era are heard throughout the world
With deep gratitude,
Rose Dosti, President, AHRP
Due to privacy reasons at this time, the photographs on this page are stock photography and not individual survivors.