in the garden

 

Apr 2010 Journal

previous article:Albania’s remarkable philo-Semitism
next article:Letter from Israel:

Albania: Durrazzo camp

My parents and I are indebted to Albania for granting us asylum. Our attempt to leave Vienna was almost too late. After frantic attempts to apply for visas, Albania was the only country prepared to grant a temporary transit visa, which gave my father sufficient time to obtain sponsorship from a north of England business contact for my parents to work as domestic helps in their large house in Leeds.

In Durazzo (now I believe called Durrës) we were housed and fed in a camp run by what must have been a charitable organisation. If any reader has any information about this latter, I would be very pleased to hear (via the Journal). Cooking and cleaning were done on a rota system and I recall making our own beds and furniture from materials supplied by the camp’s organisers.

As a six-year-old, my memory of that time is of an extended seaside holiday in a warm land, with many playmates of my own age. Only a few images remain in my mind: the distribution of second-hand clothing and visits to a harbour-side cafe where bearded men were playing chess at shady tables. Only later did I become aware of the trauma my parents were undergoing at that time.

I would be very pleased to exchange thoughts and memories with any reader who also experienced the Durrazzo camp. So far, I haven’t come across any.
 

Eric Stevens

previous article:Albania’s remarkable philo-Semitism
next article:Letter from Israel: