Kole Kamsi


Devoted Teacher in the Shadow

Kol Kamsi was a descendant of one of the most prominent families in Albania's history, whose origins went back to the 12th century. There are approximately sixteen documents on parchment tracing the journey of the Kamsi family from one century to the next.

Kol Kamsi...
folklorist, teacher, school principal, school founder, author, translator, writer of textbooks as well as general prose and fables, publicist, editor and distinguished researcher of the Albanian language and traditions at the Institute of Albanian Studies. Though his name is not widely recognized, Kamsi has left behind a treasure trove of publications, translations, and a series of profiles that he wrote on the greatest historical and literary personalities of the country.

He was born in Shkodra on September 23, 1886, the son of a merchant and a teacher. After his initial schooling locally, he furthered his education in San Demetrio Corone, Italy. In 1907, at the age of twenty-one, he returned to Albania and was appointed teacher of the Albanian language in the district of Vlora. His teaching experience is daunting, considering the fact that he was faced with large numbers of illiterate students. But he does not give up. Instead, he sets about to remedy the problems of illiteracy by undertaking the initiative to establish 44 elementary schools in Vlora and Gjirokastra.

Yet despite his restraint and silence ̶ his low profile ̶ the teacher who established almost as many schools as the government, does not escape investigation, as confirmed in a study conducted by Enxhi Beka and Eriketa Pandelejmoni, on which this article is based. A local report from Shkodra dating back to 1950 reveals the reason for his interrogation.

Unlike many intellectuals who suffered imprisonment during these politically charged years, he manages to live together with his family relatively undisturbed. His wife, Gjyzepina Kamsi, is a housewife, one son Paolin Kamsi is a teacher in Rrëshen, his other son Karl Kamsi is a cadet in Tirana, and his daughter, Terezina, a student in Shkodra. After a thorough review “with magnifying glass “of his entire family, the final assessment concludes that Kamsi is an “honest person.”

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