In the dramatic years of the Second World War and of the racial persecution against the Jewish populations, in Albania the Jews were saved thanks to the Besa: the code of honor of hospitality that defended them from the anti-Semitic fury. To tell this story, still little known, is the exhibition 'Besa: a code of honor' scheduled until December 27 at the Augustinian cloister of Bracciano.
The review, financed by the Department of Social Policies and Education and by the Department of Cultural Policies, was carried out with the collaboration of the Yad Vashem- Study Center on the Holocaust in Jerusalem and with the patronage and support of the Municipal Council for policies migratory. A journey of memory re-proposed through the evocative images of the American photographer Norman Gershman, who for five years traveled through Albania, recovering the testimonies of this extraordinary rescue that involved almost 2 thousand Jews and documenting it through the portraits of the saviors and their descendants . A report that honors those Muslim Albanians who saved the Jews during the Holocaust to the point of giving them Muslim clothes and names, in order to 'obey' the Besa: the ancient code of honor of the Albanian people, deeply rooted in culture and in the customs of this people.
The story appears even more surprising if we consider that in the first decades of the twentieth century in Albania, a predominantly Muslim country, there were barely 200 Jews who increased dramatically with the escapes linked to the aggravation of the Nazi-fascist persecutions. " 'an important educational and incentive opportunity for dialogue and tolerance towards different cultures and religions ", explains Elena Carone Fabiani, Councilor for Social Policies and Education in the town of Bracciano, who adds:" In a moment of recrudescence of xenophobic and intolerant episodes, the example of those who have placed the value and respect for human life above racial affiliations and religious faiths is undoubtedly a lesson to be thoroughly understood and followed. Therefore I invite all citizens and students of Bracciano - he concludes - to visit this wonderful exhibition that we have the pleasure of hosting in our town ”.
The exhibition can be visited on Tuesday and Friday (from 9 to 13) and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 to 18. Free admission. For more information, you can consult the Municipality's website at www.comune.bracciano.rm.it .
The Augustinian cloister is the place chosen not to forget. From November 10 to December 27, it will host a photographic exhibition on the Holocaust.