Ethnic Albanian men in ragged clothing are photographed in a refugee camp in Kavajë after fleeing their homes in Epirus, Greece. Cham Albanians are a minority population of ethnic Albanians who lived in the northern coastal area of Greece. Following the Italian occupation of Albania, the Cham Albanians became a prominent propaganda tool for the Italians and irredentist elements among them became more vocal. As a result, on the eve of the Greco-Italian War in October 1940, Greek authorities deported the adult male Cham population to internment camps. After the Axis occupation of Greece, many of the Cham population collaborated with Italian and German forces. This fueled resentment among the local Greek population and following the liberation of Greece, between 18,000 and 35,000 Cham Albanians were forced to flee to Albania, creating a refugee crisis. Although the Chams are ethnically Albanian, many native Albanians were rather unsympathetic to the refugees flooding their country. After the war, only 117 Cham Albanians were left in Greece.
Kavajë, Tirana County, Albania. March 1945.