The tiny Albanian state in the south of the Balkan Peninsula has repeatedly fallen under attacks by larger countries. Occupied by Italy before the beginning of World War II and later by Germany, Albania emerged from the war under a communist regime that promptly launched a wave of terror. Opposition members and their alleged supporters were imprisoned or shot. Many local intellectuals shared the same fate.
The government took control of the economy and revoked civil liberties. The Church fell under hard pressure, with its members ruthlessly persecuted. In 1967, the Communist Party banned all religious activity in the country, rendering all religion lawless. Communist tyranny left Albania among the world’s poorest countries, which was yet militarized to the extreme. The exact number of the victims of communism is unknown.
By now, the names of 5,577 people murdered by communists have been established. At least 48,217 people, including 10,192 women and children, were imprisoned in concentration camps. Although Albania managed to leave communism behind after the regime collapsed in 1989, its legacy is still present.