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The OSS in Albania

In some earlier postings I mentioned the British Military Cemetery in the park and some of the military operations British forces were involved in during the German occupation of Albania. Now an American journalist, Peter Lucas, has published a book on the role of the American forces in the same period.

I have not yet read the book but judging from the description - reproduced below - its sounds like an interesting read.

World War II found the country of Albania fighting a war within a war. In addition to the threat all of Europe faced from the Germans, Albania was engaged in a civil war between the Nazi-sponsored Ballists and the Communist Partisans led by Enver Hoxha. While America was reluctant to get involved in the civil conflict, the United States was naturally inclined to lend support to whoever fought the Nazis—even if that meant an alliance with the Communists. On a cold November night in 1943, Dale McAdoo (code named Tank) secretly landed on the Albanian coast with a team of OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agents, including Ismail Carapizzi, an Albanian guide and interpreter who would later be murdered. McAdoo’s team, the first of many to follow, set up a base of operations in a deep water level cave on the rocky Albanian coast that served the OSS as it carried out its mission of gathering intelligence to support the Allied war effort and harass the Germans. McAdoo was joined by Captain Tom Stefan (code name Art), an Albanian-speaking OSS officer from Boston, whose assignment was to join Hoxha at his remote mountain headquarters and bond with the reclusive Communist leader to benefit the OSS.

This volume describes how the OSS aided the Communist-led Partisans in an attempt to weaken the Nazi cause in Albania and neighboring Italy. The book presents an in-depth look at the small core of hardened men who comprised these highly specialized teams, including each member’s background and his special fitness for his wartime role behind enemy lines. The American and British presence in Albania during World War II and the later deterioration of Hoxha’s relations with Captain Tom Stefan and the OSS mission are discussed in detail. Firsthand interviews with still-living participants and extensive onsite research make this book a unique resource for a little-known dramatic piece of World War II history.


Dear OMIT,
I'am glad I'm back reading your blog.
I’m sure it might be interesting to read this book. It helps building a different perspective in this matter. Throughout history the reality in Albania gets automatically very complex. I hope I don’t exaggerate if I consider WWII, and Socialist Regime as the less complicated of periods.
I believe, as learned in schools, the Albanian government during the Socialist era, agrees with all these claims based on the fact that there were a joint mission of the Communists with the International anti – Nazi front. As the Ballists were lined up with the Nazi Germans, they were treated the same as the enemies. After the war the choice was pretty clear, the Soviets line, clearly a Socialist system.
What you mentioned about fallen soldiers, it reminded me a picture of a memorial in remembrance of the German fallen soldiers, you had posted in February. It makes me realize; if we live in a civilized society where the German soldiers should have their memorial, then Enver Hoxha’s remains should have never been displaced.
Anonymous said…
As Fr. Zef Pllumi records in his memoirs, the catholic clergy in Albania was in agreement on this point: that communism in Albania was a 'gift' from the Anglo-Americans.
Anonymous said…
Hello Our Man,

I posted about the gravesites on a visit to Tirana a while back:

and then

I'd be interested to read your posts. Can't find them, though. Could you mail me the links? I'm "vormuir" in the domain men call yahoo.


Doug M.
nick said…
wow. this could be a fascinating read. I always wondered what went on in albania through those years. And although I read the book by a british agent who was helping the legaliteti forces in the north, i haven't read anything about how they (british or american) helped hoxha.
Sokol said…
Absolutely. By the way, Lucas has been a presence in Boston's press -- I think he wrote for Boston Herald -- for almost half a century, and he has Albanian roots. Although, I should say, he kind of liked and maybe still likes the leftists in Albania. Nonetheless, given Peter Lucas knowledge, research and years of experience in journalism, it would be a very interesting read.

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Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

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There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds o…