L’ALBANIE LIBRE

In March 1947, BKI created the gazette L’Albanie Libre as a means of disbursing information about the current events in Albania under the regime. One of the main contributors to the gazette was Prof. Ernest Koliqi. This vital organ of the BKI was a lifeline to the refugees in exile in as they would heavily rely on up-to-date information about the events occurring in Albania. The magazine stopped its publication in 1959.

 

RECOUNTS FRESH PERSECUTIONS OF ALBANIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – Rome, ‘L’Albanie Libre’1 October, 1951. 1

The Albanian Catholic Church, one of the smallest Catholic communities subjected to Communist attacks, has been perhaps the heaviest sufferer. The following data is offered as proof of this assertion.

Of the 120 priests and monks composing the Albanian Catholic clergy, 40 have been hanged or tortured to death and about 30 are in prison or sentenced to hard labor. The rest live miserably, expelled from their monasteries or parish houses, deprived of bread ration coupons, continually humiliated and insulted. The 70 year old archbishop, poet and man of letters, Msgr. Vincenzo Prennushi, died as the result of forced labor in the Maliq swamps. Two bishops, Msgr. Frano Gjini and Msgr. Gjergj Volaj, were shot after a summary trial. The Provincial of the Albanian Franciscans, Father Anton Harapi, author of valuable philosophical works and an eloquent orator, and Dom Andrea Zadeja, writer of dramatic poems, were also shot. Two of the most cultured and distinguished men of letters, Lazar Shantoja and Father Bernardin Palaj, were tortured to death.

Other religious sects such as the Bektashi (Mohammedan reformists) have also suffered but to a lesser degree than the Catholics. The reason is that the USSR and its Satellites cannot tolerate citizens who recognize the moral authority of persons or organizations outside these Communist-dominated areas. All the sees are now vacant, except that of Pulati, where the aged and failing Monsignor Shllaku is braving a new wave of persecution and terror, with the aid of the few surviving priests in the areas.

1 CIA Report RDP80-00809A000700050569-4

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