The Cane family's escape to freedom

Ideal Cane with cousins in Albania
Ideal Cane (middle) with cousins in Albania, 1956. Ideal’s father, Emin, escaped earlier and was reunited with his family in Australia in 1983.
Source: Ideal Cane

The Cane family – Ideal and Lume, their two children and Ideal’s brother Hiqmet – fled Albania on 25 June 1983. It was a daring escape that took many months of meticulous planning, preparation and rehearsal, in circumstances that could have cost them their lives. In utter secrecy, Ideal had constructed a special folding ladder, which the family used to scale the electrified border fence that separated Albania from the rest of the world.

Born in a country in which the brutal Stalinist regime had outlawed all opposition, Ideal – who was known for his views opposing the communist regime – was imprisoned in camps, which, he says, steeled him for the daring journey he was to undertake. His father, Emin, had fled Albania in 1956, and after spending seven years in a number of western European countries as a refugee he migrated to Australia in 1963.

After a year in a refugee camp in Greece, Ideal and the family arrived in Australia on 6 July 1984. Following 28 years of separation, the family was reunited with their father. Without the daily terror that had been so much a part of their lives in Albania, the Canes rebuilt their lives in Australia.

In 1992, Emin Cane passed away and was buried in his kurbet home in Australia, without ever seeing his country of birth again.

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The Cane family in Greece. The Cane family The Cane family in Australia