A conference about the rescue of Albanian Jewry during the Holocaust has opened.
The gathering, sponsored by the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University, the Department of History of the University of Tirana and the International Institute for Holocaust Research of Yad Vashem, is being held Tuesday and Wednesday in Albania’s capital, Tirana.
Jews in Albania were saved by the citizens of the mostly Muslim country, which sheltered them and gave them refuge.
“Albanian Jewry is the only Jewish community in Europe whose numbers even grew under German occupation,” according to Prof. Dan Michman of Bar-Ilan University. “Yad Vashem recognized 63 Albanians as Righteous Among the Nations, a record number bearing in mind the number of citizens of Albania and the number of Jews living in its territory.”
The complete story of the Jews of Albania has not yet been comprehensively studied due to the political and cultural closure of Albania before the fall of the Iron Curtain in that country in 1990.
“The Albanians are proud of the help which they offered the Jews during the period of the Holocaust and they feel great respect and admiration for Israel today, as well. The whole country is eagerly awaiting the event,” said Rafi Faust, the Honorary Consul of Albania in Israel.
Participating in the conference will be researchers of the Holocaust and historians from Israel and Albania, Italy, Germany, the United States, representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the World Jewish