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Thread: History Of The Jewish Community Protected In Albania During The Nazi Occupation

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    History Of The Jewish Community Protected In Albania During The Nazi Occupation

    A SOMEWHAT UNKNOWN HISTORY...

    ALBANIA

    LITERATURE

    HISTORY AND CULTURE


    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is as the French correspondent of Neshat Tozaj, Albanian writer, journalist and film script writer, that I take the freedom of letting you know of the recent publication of his last book in France “Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant” Albanie 1943-1944″, the original title published in Albania is “Shalom”.

    This book intentionally written as a novel because of the friendship described tells us that the Jewish Albanian community and all the refugees who came from other countries found protection and salvation among the Albanian population under the nazi occupation. The Jews in fact were immediately protected and hidden.

    “They were not brothers and yet… Albania 1943-1944″, the English version recently translated by Marc Lowenthal, the son of Mr. Larry Lowenthal, Executive Director of Boston’s American Jewish Committee, should be soon, we hope, published in the United States.
    Mr. Van Christo, Executive Director, Frosina Information, Mr. Alan Adelson, Jewish Heritage Project, Mr. Jack Goldfarb, Mr. Donald Harrisson and Mr. Stephen Schwartz, amid other personalities, gave us their support for the future publication in the United States.

    If I am so determined to defend this book it is also because I belong to a family mostly composed of Catholics, Protestants and Jews among whom many teachers who all aim at bringing together and not divide. In this respect this book has a great pedagogical value.

    All the testimonies addressed by the French readers and several others coming from different countries encourage us to continue our information campaign around the world. The book is now referenced on various web sites, among them historical, literary and mediatic ones.

    Indeed our greatest wish would be to find somebody relaying our information, any Specialist of Literature and History ready to write some words about this page of History and eventually about the French publication of the book so that people could learn more about this almost unique historical example.

    Besides Neshat Tozaj’s publication a dossier about the Jewish rescue in Albania would deserve to be approached and published particularly in Europe and why not by prominent historians, associations of “anciens Résistants”, specialists and journalists… Dossier to which would certainly willingly collaborate, if of course invited to, Mr. Alfred Moisiu, the President of the Republic of Albania (whose grand-parents, I think, information to be verified, were Albanian Jews), Mr. Refik Veseli, President of the Albanian-IsraeI Friendship Society, Mr. Shaban Sinani, Director of the National Archives, Professor Petrit Zorba, different Diplomats, Ambassadors such as Mr. Ferit Hoxha in France, Mr. Luan Rama, writer and ex Ambassador, their homologues in different countries, the writer Mr. Ismaïl Kadaré, different specialits and historians, not to forget the remarkable Professor Kotani. The Professor Kotani, very young resistant at the time, who is trying with most difficulties to have a second edition of his book “The Hebrews in Albania during the centuries” published.

    I would like to precise certain points about the novel written by Neshat Tozaj. Of course the matter of the novel is based on authentic events but the writer chose to present them in this way to stress the brotherhood born between the two boys. Neshat Tozaj’s essential purpose is to make people know that the Jewish community has been protected in Albania during the nazi occupation and to tell why. Religion has nothing to do with this but the strong tradition of hospitality called “besa”. You are to know that in Albania nobody would define himself as Moslem, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant or even Jew, for those remaining in the country, but above all as Albanian. It is not rare in Albania to find in the same family members of different beliefs who all honour the different religious feast Days…

    The novel is the opportunity to approach the Albanian underground Resistance, the welcome attitude reserved not only to Albanian Jews but foreigners and the moral code typical of this country which permitted to save the community. The main interest of the book in our perturbed world is to show that a people in Europe has been capable to live in harmony totally outside of religious problems. This situation is to day discovered, Albania during nearly fifty years was cut from the rest of the world…

    Neshat Tozaj has often chosen the novel form of writing to present his country and his history to allow us to know more about Albania. Such was the case of the novel “The knives” (Thikat) which, when published in Albania and then in France in 1991, has been internationally welcomed by a great number of observers who spoke about the book. The U.S. State Department even wrote that “Thikat” was a starting point to democratic reform in Albania. The book was denouncing the exactions committed by the Sigurimi under Enver Hoxha.

    Of course our purpose is essentially before all making this part of History known just to honour a people that deserves our gratitude and also to honour the memory of all the Jews who found protection in Albania.

    As a personal research and purpose I am looking for testimonies of Jewish people or children of the Ladies and Gentlemen who found refuge in Albania during or before World War II. Such was the case for instance of the Professor Albert Einstein welcomed in Albania before going to the United States.

    Any contribution, documents and testimonies on the subject would be highly welcomed.

    To follow the end of my contribution, space being limited...

    Best regards from Paris.

    See you soon.

    Claire.

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    Jewish Community Protected In Albania Under The Nazi Occupation

    Hoping the subject will retain your attention, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, I took the liberty of writing here because few but various Historians or Specialists have treated this piece of history such as Professors Michele Sarfatti, Lino Sciarra, Giovanni Armillotta (Italy), Professor Bernd Fischer, Mr. Jack Goldfarb, Mr. Stephen Schwartz, Mr. Harvey Sarner, Ms. Cloyes-DioGuardi (US) and Ms. Antonia Young (U.K) who have been trying for many years to get these events more widely known and who are looking forward to a future publication in English of Mr. Tozaj’s work.

    ——

    ALBANIAN LITERATURE HISTORY AND CULTURE

    “Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant… Albanie 1943-1944″

    (They were not brothers and yet… Albania 1943-1944)

    By

    Neshat TOZAJ

    French Publishers: La Société des Ecrivains (S.d.E)

    PRESENTATION OF THE WORK


    A SOMEWHAT UNKNOWN HISTORY


    In his work “Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant… Albanie 1943-1944″ Neshat Tozaj describes the Jewish community that had been present in Albania for centuries as well as Jews from other countries welcomed during, hidden and protected during the second world war. “Shalom”, the original title of the work published in Albania has been modified for French readers since we wished to reach them in all their diversity.

    The author deals with this period with an approach different to that which one is used to reading, hearing or seeing in most documentaries. The Jewish community is not only depicted as a persecuted community but also as an Albanian community living among other Albanians, united in the same struggle against Nazism and Fascism. A struggle carried on to protect life, human dignity, the property of each person and the cultural heritage. The joint commitment to this fight and friendship taken to the ultimate sacrificed by non-Jewish Albanians to save their brothers and their guests set an example that is almost unique and especially unusual in History.
    This book, very largely inspired by actual facts, is an opportunity to pay homage to a little nation often forgotten, which was merely doing its duty in barbarous times.
    The publication of this book, apart from the moment of history that it reveals, seems to me to be essential and salutary for many people, starting with the youngest, of all origins, religions or other philosophical allegiances. In fact, in our age in which the problems of racism, anti-Semitism or excessive community loyalty are the order of the day, this work brings a very comforting ray of light. “Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant…” is also a message of hope and encouragement.

    The book of Neshat Tozaj, intentionally produced in the form of a novel, the man being mainly an author and journalist, is an opportunity to learn about the Albanian resistance and to recognize the particularly warm welcome extended by the Albanian people to the Jewish community in this dramatic period.

    I would add that, for a more profound insight into the period described in Neshat Tozaj’s novel, I had access to the remarkable work “The Hebrews in Albania during centuries” (sic) by Professor Apostol Kotani, a historian and a very young resistance fighter at the time. This work retraces the history of Albanian Jews settled in the country since antiquity and it allows us, above all, to discover that in Albania, the Jewish community was spared during the Second World War. During his long years of research, Mr Kotani has gathered the poignant testimony of many Jews of ancient stock or refugees, all of whom express their eternal gratitude to this “little” country that was able to honour its tradition of “Besa”, the sharing of bread, salt and the heart with anyone who is in distress, a foreigner, a guest of the like, on Albanian soil. Survivors, many of whom emigrated to Israel or the United States after the war, spontaneously collaborated on the work and they all assert in it that no Jews were deported in Albania during Nazi and Fascist occupation.
    Nor did Mr Ferit Hoxha, the Albanian Ambassador to France, fail to stress in his speech at the ceremony held on the occasion of the publication in France of Neshat Tozaj’s book that his country was the only state in Europe where the Jewish population had increased at the end of the Second World War.
    On the other hand, Mr. Ismaïl Kadaré and Mr. Avner Shalev, amid other personalities, often publicly declared that the number of the persons who found refuge in Albania compared with the initial Albanian Jewish population must be without any doubt multiplied by ten. Mr. Avner Shalev moreover wrote, that only to speak of the Yugoslavian Jews, around 2000 persons had been welcomed and hidden in Albania, not to speak of Greek and Austrian Jews.

    Such was the case for instance of the Professor Albert Einstein whose first wife was a Jewish Yugoslavian lady.

    Let me state that this information concerns Albania proper as the territory of Kosovo, annexed territory at the time, despite the exemplary attitude of its local population and local authorities, was witness to tragic deportations perpetrated by the Nazis.

    ——

    To follow an article written by Mr. Pierre Stambul, Vice président de l’Union Juive Française pour la Paix, UJFP.

    A FORGOTTEN HISTORY…


    ---

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    Jewish Community Protected In Albania Under The Nazi Occupation

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    By Monsieur Pierre Stambul, Vice président de l’Union Juive Française pour la Paix, UJFP.

    By means of a novel set in Albania during the thirties and then the war which deals with real events, Neshat Tozaj (*) reminds us of an episode of history largely unknown in France and to Jews all around the world.

    Even during the worst periods of Nazi barbarism and genocide, if there had been people steeped in the most abject racism and collaboration in mass crime, there were also those who were not in the least predisposed to the slightest form of “heroism” but who nevertheless resisted the inhumanity morally and with weapons in their hands.

    The attitude of the great majority of the Albanian people during the occupation reminds one a little of the French Protestants peasants of Chambon-sur-Lignon who saved hundreds of Jewish children by hiding them among their own children.

    The Albanian Jewish community has never been very large. Although an ancient Jewish presence in Albania seems certain, the Albanian Jews probably descend from the Jews taken in by the Ottoman Empire from the XV th century onwards and dispersed within the Empire. An educated urban population in a very rural Albania, they never suffered persecution. The book describes this meeting between two very different worlds, the little Jewish community and the village communities that were founded on the great traditions of hospitality and mutual aid.

    When war broke out, whilst the Communist Party was organising the whole nation’s resistance movement and the self-organisation of the villages, this resistance movement was at the same time organising the saving of the Jewish community. What is more, the Albanian villages welcomed and hid Jews fleeing from Eastern Europe. No deportation ever occurred in this country. The book tells of the real brotherhood that developed. It should also be known that the Albanians welcomed Italian soldiers (although they had invaded them) after the capitulation in 1943. [...]

    The Albania of these tragic years shows that anti-Semitism is not inevitable and that a genuine entente is possible between a nation and a minority that lives within it.

    Albania has often been given a very negative image: Stalinism dictatorship, economic ruin, the mafia. Neshat Tozaj gives us back a human, hospitable and generous people who are capable of solidarity. Village mutual aid structures allowed the emergence of a national resistance movement which controlled the mountains of the interior throughout the whole war.

    Thank you to the author for having reminded us of this edifying history.

    Pierre Stambul
    Vice président de l’Union Juive Française
    pour la Paix. UJFP

    (*) ” Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant…
    Albanie 1943-1944 ”
    Neshat Tozaj, Editions S.D.E ( Société des Ecrivains )

    ——

    Back Cover of the book:

    Le hasard veut que se rencontrent deux enfants albanais, l’un juif l’autre pas. Sazan et Solomon se lient d’amitié et découvrent les richesses de l’un et de l’autre. Puis vient la guerre et l’occupation nazie, la famille de Solomon est immédiatement cachée et protégée. C’est ainsi que par ce récit inspiré de faits authentiques l’on apprend qu’aucun Albanais juif ou réfugié ne fut déporté pendant la seconde guerre mondiale dans ce pays. Certains protecteurs particulièrement humains et courageux sont même allés jusqu’à sacrifier leur vie pour sauver ce qu’ils avaient accueillis. Pour eux c’était une question d’honneur.

    Ce livre passionnant et émouvant écrit dans un style limpide et poétique, malgré l’horreur des évènements, nous permet d’aborder une Albanie méconnue.

    Neshat Tozaj est né à Vlora en Albanie le 1er janvier 1943. Ecrivain, journaliste, juriste et directeur de la société Albautor (protection des droits d’auteur), Neshat Tozaj est au premier rang de ceux qui défendent les droits de l’homme et met son talent au service de son pays et de son devenir.

    ——

    -Few testimonies of ladies and gentlemen who found refuge in Albania under the nazi occupation:

    “Farewell, Albania, I thought. You have given me so much hospitality, refuge, friends, and adventure. Farewell, Albania. One day I will tell the world how brave, fearless, strong, and faithful your sons are; how death and the devil can’t frighten them. If necessary, I’ll tell how they protected a refugee and wouldn’t allow her to be harmed even if it meant losing their lives. The gates of your small country remained open, Albania. Your authorities closed their eyes, when necessary, to give poor, persecuted people another chance to survive the most horrible of all wars. Albania, we survived the siege because of your humanity. We thank you.”

    Irene Grunbaum.


    ——

    ...”There is a small country in the heartland of Europe called Albania where I was fortunately born, where hospitality to foreigners is part of their tradition. During the Second World War, not only did the Albanians save all the Jews who were living among them but they dared to share their homes, their food and their lives with them. Albania has its share of Oscar Shindlers, and, indeed, so many that we could never have thanked each glorious one of them.
    Let us be reminded that not one - not one - of the Jews living in Albania, or those who sought refuge there were turned over to the fascists - all found a safe haven at great danger to their protectors.”…


    Dr. Anna Kohen.

    _ _

    “All Israelis that came from Albania were saved thanks to the generous sentiments of the Albanian people that considered it as a moral duty to protect in their own houses every persecuted emigrant… The marvelous and noble attitude of the Albanian people needs to be known because they deserve the world’s and every cultured man’s thankfulness… Even the poor peasants, not only received Jews in their homes, but also shared with them their last piece of bread.’ Another Jew, Nisim Bahar that got saved from the hands of the Nazis that wanted to execute him in Fier, wrote to his sister in law, Zhulia Kantozi: ‘I am in Ohrid I have climbed a hill on the lakeside and I see Pogradec. How I missed that country! If I could have wings to fly, I would come to kiss that holy Albanian land that saved my life.”

    Samuel Mandili (1945)

    ——

    ...”Albania was one of the only European countries that did not turn over a single Jew to the Germans. There simply were no deportations from Albania.
    My parents and I, along with many other German and Austrian families, found refuge in Albania and were hidden by Albanians during the German occupation of that country. In 1941, when Germany occupied Yugoslavia, hundreds of Yugoslavian Jews were able to escape to the safety of Albania because the Albanian government opened the border at Kosovo and let as many Jews into the country as were able to escape from the pursuing German army. It is a documented fact that the German general in Belgrade knew the names of all those who had escaped across the border and demanded their return within 48 hours. The Albanian government, instead of turning over even a single Jew, dispersed them in villages and on farms, gave them Albanian names and documents and then reported back to the German general in Belgrade: “We know no Jews. We know only Albanians.”

    ...Albanians, whether Muslim or Christian, are the most hospitable, generous and kind human beings. It should be emphasized that this was not just an act of their customary, known hospitality, this was an act of personal courage. They simply placed their belief in the necessity to help those in need above their and their family’s safety.


    Johanna J. Neumann, Silver Spring, MD

    ——

    To follow...

    ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY PROTECTED IN ALBANIA DURING THE NAZI OCCUPATION

    _ _ _

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    History Of The Jewish Community Protected In Albania ...

    -Published in the European Jewish Press by Mr. Ashley Perry, Friday, April 14, 2006:

    Here is the recent declaration from His Excellency Mr. Mark Sofer, Israeli Ambassador and Ministry’s Deputy Director who led an Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation in Albania in March 2006.

    …During his visit, Sofer stressed the historical links and fondness of many Jews to Albania.

    “ALBANIA HAS NO HISTORY OF ANTI-SEMITISM”

    “Not only in Israel, but all over the world, Jews admire Albania. Not just for the period of World War II, when Albania saved the Jews, but also because the country is well-known for its respect towards us. I can say that Albania has never had anti-Semitism,” he said.
    Albania was one of the few countries in Eastern Europe that did not lose any of its Jewish population during World War II to the Nazis, while also offering shelter to other Jews who had escaped into Albania from Serbia, Austria, and Greece.

    ——

    -Abstract of an article published in the Canadian Jewish Press

    November 3, 2005

    THE LONE HAVEN IN A HOSTILE CONTINENT: THE ALBANIAN HONOUR CODE AND THE SALVATION OF THE JEWS IN WWII

    Albania, the only European country with a Muslim majority, managed to do what no other European nation was able or willing to do in the wake of German occupation during the second World War – saving the lives of every last Jewish citizen and refugee within its borders, who were in desperate need of protection from the infamous Nazi killing machine that swept through Europe in the 1940s…
    Invitee Arnold Friedman of Toronto’s Jewish Holocaust Centre moved the audience to rousing applause when he declared that among all the powerful and civilized Super-nations of Europe that had the opportunity to do something about the anti-Semitic direction the continent was taking, it was “little Albania that stood up to the tyrants and saved the Jews. I am so proud,” he continued,” to be among you [Albanians], who are the only Europeans with clean hands.”

    ——

    -Excerpt of a documentary by Mr. Norman Gershman available on the “Net”:

    RESCUE IN ALBANIA - HOW ALBANIA SAVED ITS JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST –

    PART 1
    Norm Gershman holds a presentation at the AACL HQ where he presents his new documentary on how the Albanian people protected the Jewish residents of Albania and Kosovo during the Holocaust, by sheltering them in their homes and refusing to turn them over to the NAZI’s. Not a single Jew was allowed to be captured by the NAZI occupiers of Albania during the Second World War. Based on the book “Rescue in Albania - How Albania Saved its Jews during WWII”.

    AACL/ABI
    9 min 36 sec - May 10, 2006
    http://www.aacl.com

    ——

    The Jewish photographer Norman Gershman who presented his documentary, his photos and the testimonies he collected, has been working with the Albanian American Civic League and Foundation. He photographed and interviewed all of the Albanians (or their descendants) who saved Jews during the Holocaust, Albanians in Albania and many Albanians in Kosova, Macedonia, and Montenegro who helped Jews get across the border into Albania. Mr. Gershman has just returned from a trip to Kosova and Montenegro. All of his work on this subject will be exhibited at Yad Vashem in 2007.

    ——

    - Abstract of the statement written by Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, Director of the Department for the Righteous, Yad Vashem Institute, about the role played by Albanians in saving Jews during the Holocaust:

    Dr. Paldiel wrote this statement on the occasion of the Albanian American Civic League and Foundation’s fifteenth anniversary celebration and “Salute to Albanian Tolerance, Resistance and Hope: Remembering Besa and the Holocaust” in New York City on May 15, 2005 - an event that was attended by leaders and members of the Albanian and Jewish communities in the United States in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

    Congressmen Tom Lantos, Henry Hyde, and Ben Gilman and Senator Charles Schumer were featured speakers, along with Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Kosova’s Roman Catholic Bishop Mark Sopi, Professor Apostol Kotani and Professor Petrit Zorba.

    Statement by Dr. Mordecai Paldiel:

    ...The story of the Albanian rescuers is unique in several ways. Firstly, in that the persons saved were mostly not Albanian citizens, but Jews who had fled to that country when it was ruled by the Italians, and now found themselves in danger of deportation to concentration camps when the Germans took over, in September 1943. Secondly, the rescuers who were overwhelmingly of the Islamic faith felt a religious obligation to assist and save those who had sought refuge in their country and were unjustly persecuted; in other words, it was a behavior motivated by the Islamic religion, as wisely interpreted by the rescuers. Thirdly, and this is something uniquely Albanian—an honor code known as Besa; that is, a mark of honor and distinction to be able to be the ones to help others in desperate need. The Albanian rescuers were the only ones among rescuers in other countries who not only went out of their way to save Jews, but vied and competed with each other on the privilege of being a rescuer. This is uniquely Albanian. And thanks to Besa, almost all of the close to 2,000 Jews in the country were saved and survived. Finally, the Albanian example is testimony to an Islamic type of behavior, different from what unfortunately makes the headlines these days. Not of vengeance, hatred and suicide, but of compassion, loving-kindness and help to persons of another faith and origin…

    Dr. Mordecai Paldiel
    Director, Department for the Righteous.
    -Yad Vashem-

    _ _ _

    Also available on the Web to come...
    _ _ _

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    -The statement pronounced by Mr. Alfred Moisiu, the President of the Republic of Albania, at oxford on November 9, 2005:

    The Lecture of President Moisiu at the Oxford Forum

    “THE INTER-RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE TRADITION OF THE ALBANIAN PEOPLE.”

    ——

    -An article written by Ms. Cloyes-DioGuardi, political analyst and Executive Director of the Albanian American Foundation:

    “JEWISH SURVIVAL IN ALBANIA AND THE ETHICS OF BESA”

    Congress Monthly, January/February, 2006 edition, pages 7-10. Copyright by the American Jewish Congress, New York, NY.

    Article available on Simbad Site: www. Simbadi.com
    Rubrique: Liens Préférés: “Jewish in Albania”

    ——

    - Video abstracts of:

    SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER’S ADDRESS AT THE ALBANIAN AMERICAN CIVIC LEAGUE’S HISTORIC DINNER.

    March 10, 2006

    ——

    - The resolution submitted by Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

    June 27, 2006

    IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

    RESOLUTION


    Commending the people of Albania on the 61st anniversary of the liberation of the Jews from the Nazi death camps, for protecting and saving the lives of all Jews who lived in Albania, or sought asylum there during the Holocaust.

    Whereas at the start of World War II, approximately 200 Jews lived in the Republic of Albania, and approximately 1800 Jews escaped to Albania from Western Europe and the former Yugoslavia;

    Whereas in 1934, United States Ambassador to Albania Herman Bernstein wrote that, `There is no trace of any discrimination against Jews in Albania, because Albania happens to be one of the rare lands in Europe today where religious prejudice and hate do not exist, even though Albanians themselves are divided into three faiths.’;

    Whereas based on their unique history of religious tolerance, Albanians sheltered and protected Jews, even at the risk of Albanian lives, beginning with the invasion and occupation of Albania by Mussolini’s Italian fascists in 1939;

    Whereas after Germany occupied Albania in 1943 and the Gestapo ordered Jewish refugees in the Albanian capital of Tirana to register, Albanian leaders refused to provide a list of Jews living in Albania, and Albanian clerks issued false identity papers to protect all Jews who travelled to and hid in Tirana;

    Whereas Albanians considered it a matter of national pride and tradition to help Jews during the Holocaust, and due to the actions of many individual Albanians, virtually the entire native and refugee Jewish community in Albania during World War II survived the Holocaust;

    Whereas Albania had more Jewish residents after World War II than before World War II; Whereas in June 1990, Jewish-American Congressman Tom Lantos and former Albanian-American Congressman Joe DioGuardi were the first United States officials to enter Albania in 50 years and received from the Communist Party leader and Albanian President Ramiz Alia a thick file from the Communist archives containing the records of the unpublicized heroicdeeds of hundreds of Albanians who rescued Jews during World War II;

    Whereas Joe DioGuardi, upon returning to the United States, sent the file for authentication to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Museum in Jerusalem, Israel;

    Whereas Yad Vashem has thus far designated 63 Albanians as `Righteous Persons’ and Albania as one of the `Righteous Among the Nations’;

    Whereas in February 1995, Congressmen Tom Lantos, Benjamin Gilman, and Jerrold Nadler and former Congressman Joe DioGuardi spoke at a ceremony at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, commemorating the addition of Albania to the museum’s `Righteous Among the Nations’ installation;

    Whereas based on the information authenticated by Yad Vashem, Jewish-American author and philanthropist Harvey Sarner published `Rescue in Albania’ in 1997, to call international attention to the unique role of the Albanian people in saving Jews from the Nazi Holocaust;

    Whereas in October 1997, the Albanian American Civic League and Foundation began the distribution of 10,000 copies of `Rescue in Albania’ with forewords by Congressmen Lantos and Gilman to bring to the attention of the Jewish people and their leaders in particular the plight of Albanians living under Slobodan Milosevic in order to forestall another genocide;

    Whereas on May 15, 2005, Jews and Albanians gathered in New York City in a `Salute to Albanian Tolerance, Resistance, and Hope: Remembering Besa and the Holocaust’ on the occasion for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps; and

    Whereas in a statement presented at the ceremony Dr. Mordechai Paldiel, Director of the Department for the Righteous at Yad Vashem, commemorated the heroism of Albanians as `the only ones among rescuers in other countries who not only went out of their way to save Jews, but vied and competed with each other for the privilege of being a rescuer, thanks to besa’, the code of honor that requires Albanians to save the life of anyone seeking refuge, even if it means sacrificing his own life: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate–

    (1) commends the people of Albania for protecting and saving the lives of all Jews, both native and refugee, living in Albania during the Holocaust;

    (2) commends Yad Vashem in Israel and encourages others to recognize Albanians who took action to protect Jews during the Holocaust for their great
    courage and heroism; and

    (3) takes this occasion to reaffirm its support for close ties between the United States and Albania.

    ——

    Please, excuse the length of my message but such a subject requires historical precisions.

    P.S. I remain at disposal to any one who would like many documents and testimonies about the Jewish rescue in Albania.

    Considération renouvelée.

    Kind regards from France.

    Claire.

    (Clairouche)

    P.S. It is possible for the readers of French language “lovers” to order “Ils n’étaient pas frères et pourtant… Albanie 1943-1944″ via Internet on Amazon or alapage or from France and maybe other countries from La Société des Ecrivains, (S.d.E), French Publishers.

    May I add that while reading “They were not brothers and yet… Albania 1943-1944” it is as if we were watching the story on the screen. Considering Neshat Tozaj is also a film script writer, I remain convinced that this book should deserve to become one day a film but this is another story…

    As the book is not already published in the United States I am authorized by the author Neshat Tozaj to send the English version of the book to any specialist of literature who would like to read it or any historian who would like to study this unknown part of History but of course not allowed to diffuse the work on the Web.

    A bientôt.

    -----

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