Besa: A Code of Honor – Muslim Albanians who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust is about the Righteous Among the Nations – non-Jews who risked their lives saving Jews during the Holocaust. It is comprised of portraits and text about Muslim families in Albania who saved Jews during the Holocaust, converging between two seemingly opposed worlds. Prior to World War II, some 200 Jews lived in Albania. In 1943, the Albanian population refused to comply with Nazis’ orders to turn over lists of Jews residing in Albania. The remarkable assistance afforded to the Jews was grounded in Besa, a code of honor. Besa means literally “to keep the promise.” One who acts according to Besa is someone who keeps his word, someone to whom one can trust one’s life and the lives of one’s family. Impressively, there were more Jews in Albania at the end of the war than beforehand. This very human story, told through these sensitive portraits combines to highlight a little-known, but a remarkable aspect of the Holocaust. This exhibit was displayed at the United Nations in 2008.

Our Education Department offers traveling exhibits that are recommended for commemoration programs, professional development workshops and classroom instruction. Each exhibit includes a presentation of an introduction to the specific theme of the exhibit, a narrative and explanation, and recommendations how to incorporate this resource into the classroom. Each exhibit is first showcased at the United Nations for annual Holocaust commemoration programs, remained in the US and is on loan through the American Society for Yad Vashem.

For more information contact Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD, Director of Education;

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