During the years of occupation, 10 times as many Jews streamed into Albania to escape persecution from Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Italy. Gershman says it was the only country in Europe where the Jewish population grew by the end of the war.I'm sure the right-wing argument would focus on the fact that Muslims weren't the only ones who helped the Jews or that they weren't helping them because they wanted to, they were helping them because that is just what you do in Albania...
Most of the hidden Jews either fled to Israel or back to their native countries after the war. Albania's postwar communist regime made it impossible for the Jews who had been hidden to stay in touch with the Albanian Muslims who had provided shelter.
In 2003, New Jersey native Gershman heard hints of the story and began doing research, eventually traveling to Albania to begin interviewing those Muslims who took part and who were still alive. Gershman said it wasn't just Muslim families who shielded Jews from the Nazis, but also Orthodox and Catholic families.
All of them were motivated by an Albanian code of honor called "besa," a concept that can be translated into "keeping the promise," Gershman says. The Albanian villagers were motivated to risk their lives by the simple concept of helping one's neighbor.
"We chose to focus on the Muslims because, who ever heard of Muslims saving Jews?" Gershman said in a telephone interview from Israel, where he is at work on his next project.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Muslims Saved Holocaust Jews
Somewhere Jim Hoft's head is exploding, Debbie Schlussel is in hysteria, and the entire editorial staff at Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace are hurrying to craft a spin: