Tirana, Albania, Sep 20, 2014 / 16:28 pm
A little girl's Christmas letter asking Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha to pray for peace, not knowing of his repressive and murderous atheistic rule, has been preserved in an Albanian museum exhibit dedicated to religious belief.
The letter was displayed at the Albanian National Museum in Tirana, for the special exhibition "Faith."
"We displayed that letter because we want to show that nobody was aware of what was going on in Albania during the years of Communism," said Mirton Resuli, who collaborated with the Albanian Ministry of Culture in organizing the exhibition.
The letter was written for Christmas 1965 by the then-nine-year-old girl named Pamela K. McNutt, from Columbia City, Indiana.
Pamela explained to Hoxha that she was "sending Christmas greetings to you and each leader to all countries in the world." She said she hoped that the dictator, "your people and all the peoples from all over the world would join me in a prayer for a world of peace and good will toward all."
Resuli said that he rescued the letter from a stack of letters addressed to Enver Hoxha. It bears an image of hands clasped in prayer.
Resuli said he was struck by the symbol on the letter.
"After reading it, it was clear to me that the letter had to be displayed in the exhibition," Resuli told CNA Sep. 21.
The exhibition "Faith" aims to show the roots of faith of the Albanian people--a faith that Albania's government tried to stamp out.
Albania had been living under state atheism since 1967, but priests and other religious leaders had been persecuted ever since Enver Hoxha took power in 1946.
"State atheism meant that any religious expression was forbidden, and considered a crime. People could not even go to cemeteries, since there were crosses there," Resuli explained.
The Enver Hoxha regime conducted a war against religions: almost 2,100 people, including Catholic priests and adherents of other religions, were brutally killed because of their religious beliefs
"It seems an absurdity, but it happened for real," Resuli said. "People were tortured and killed because of their religions feelings. But the world was in fact not aware of what was really going on in Albania."