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The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” honoured in Tirana ceremony

The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” (Tirana, Albania) was yesterday awarded the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize at a ceremony in Tirana with the participation of the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and the Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti. The Diploma was delivered by Jutta Gützkow, Head of the Council of Europe office in Tirana.

Addressing the participants via video message, Rik Daems, President of the Assembly described the House of Leaves as “a perfect choice” for the Council of Europe Museum Prize 2020. “The museum commemorates and honours the victims of the regime who experienced psychological and physical violence, who were murdered, imprisoned, tortured. It is evocative of the darkest days of the past which should not be forgotten,” he said.

The PACE Culture Committee representative for the Museum Prize, Roberto Rampi (Italy, SOC), stressed that the awarded museum “makes a powerful statement about culture and the nature of active citizenship in protecting democratic values, human rights and the rule of law”.

The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris on 6 December 2019.

The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” commemorates the psychological violence and total control of citizens during the communist regime in Albania (1944-1991), during which 18,000 people were prosecuted and charged and 5,000 executed. It is situated in the former State Security house in the centre of Tirana, which served as the Central Directorate of the Sigurimi, a technical branch of the Albanian State security agency. The particular feature of this small museum is that it has remained virtually intact, with original equipment and recordings which are now stored in archives.