Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II Hardcover – Nov 1 2008
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"At a time when conflict between Muslims and Jews attracts the attention of the media, it is heartening to be reminded that mutual aid and friendship also have characterized the relationship. The story told through the photographs of Norman H. Gershman is especially inspiring because the Muslims who saved the Jews in World War II did so at enormous risk to their own lives.... I hope that these photos and their stories become widely known. They offer hope for a future in which Muslims and Jews can overcome their conflicts and focus on their common humanity." - Former president Jimmy Carter
About the Author
Norman H. Gershman is a fine art photographer whose work is represented in museums throughout the world. His photographs have been featured in exhibits by Yad Vashem in Israel and the United Nations in New York. The stories in Besa will be the subject of a full-length documentary, God's House.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I live in Australia, and one day I was listening in the Albanian News ,here in Sydney and I was interested to hear that My Albanian Muslim and Christians Brothers did help the Jews (Jevrej) as we call them, which I'm weary proud of them .The book was very eye opening for me because Living in Communists country like in Montenegro (X -Yugoslavia ) we didn't know because that's wasn't allow to to shove in the that time that Albanians where that Generous because us Albanian in X-Yugoslavia where Branded as Separatists and trouble makers.
Interestingly enough The BESA tradition is still being practiced today.
I liked the Book and I hope every Albanian and Jewish (Israelis) read this book. Also hope it helps all the family's that migrated to Israel after the war as well as the Palestinians in the same way they did receive Help.
A little note about the shipping: I received my fist book little bit messed up during shipping that's why I ordered the second one. I dint want to get bothered with RMA and I am glad I have two copies.
From this book it appears that for the Albanians and the Muslim Kosovars, sheltering Jews was a matter of course, just something that you were expected to do. Even the then-King of Albania did his part, providing Albanian passports to 400 Viennese Jews so they could get out of the country. When he found out that the Jewish family he had formerly employed as his personal jewelers were destitute and didn't have the funds to emigrate to England like they had planned, he gave back all the jewelry they had made for him.
The author went to Albania and Kosovo and interviewed the people who had personally saved Jews, or, more often, their children or grandchildren, since many of the original heroes have passed on by now. Excellent photographs of each interviewee were included. Unfortunately, the stories were kind of lacking. They were all very short -- each less than a page, most no more than three to five paragraphs long -- and as a result not terribly detailed. When you're working off 60-year-old memories, or someone trying to recall what their long-dead mother or father told them long ago, of course it's going to very hazy. Many times they couldn't even remember the names of the Jewish people they'd helped. I think it might have been better to just have the transcripts of the interviews or something. I desperately wanted to know more, and the book left me feeling unsatisfied -- like getting up from the dinner table still hungry.
I must find more to read about Righteous Muslims.