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Muslims Saving Jews During World War 2


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#1 jasminee

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 09:47 PM

Needs of a Stranger: Muslims Saving Jews During World War II

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BY SHANE DIXON KAVANAUGH
UPDATED JAN. 31

NORMAN H. GERSHMAN

Abaz Sinani holds a photo of his father. His parents sheltered a family of three during the war. “We did nothing special. We did what any Albanian would do.”

For Norman H. Gershman, it seemed like an unimaginable story. Which was why he had to see it for himself.

“Muslims that saved Jews during World War II?” Gershman said in a recent interview from his home in Basalt, Colo., just south of Aspen. “Whoever heard of that?”

Decades as a portrait photographer has taken him around the world to places as varied as Cuba, Morocco and the former Soviet Union.

But the 78-year-old Gershman said the most important work of his life would come from the photos and stories he collected for five years among the Muslims of Albania and Kosovo whose families harbored thousands of Jewish refugees during the Nazi occupation.

Beginning Jan. 4, Tribeca’s Soho Photo Gallery will exhibit many of these pictures. Titled “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During World War II,” the show reveals what had been a virtually unknown story of courage, compassion and faith, which Gershman believes needs to be told now, more than ever.

“The paranoia that’s sweeping the country regarding Muslims is absolutely nuts,” he said. “These photographs show quite a different story.”

That story begins with a single word: Besa. It is a code of honor that’s been practiced among Albanian Muslims for centuries. Rooted in teachings from the Koran, Besa compels Muslim families to place a stranger’s needs above all else.

Jews fleeing to Albania were welcomed into Muslim homes, not as refugees but as guests. Entire villages would protect them. Jews were given Muslim names, clothing, even passports.

“It’s absolutely inconceivable under Besa to turn away someone in need,” Gershman said.

It was a member of Israel’s Yad Vashem, a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, who told Gershman the stories of Albanian Muslims during World War II. Fascinated and surprised by what he heard, he traveled to the Balkans for the first time in 2002.

There, a group called the Albania-Israel Friendship Society in the country’s capital, Tirana, hosted Gershman and assisted him with his project. He said a man who worked for the society carried a small notebook in his pocket with the names and addresses of families who had helped protect Jews.

With an interpreter, a driver and assistant, Gershman crisscrossed the country looking for them. He found the families in cities, villages and at the end of gravel roads. In their hallways, gardens and living rooms, he began with a simple question: What is your story?

Sometimes it was the men and women who actually clothed and housed the Jewish refugees who spoke. Other times it was their sons and daughters.

Intimate tales filled the rooms that Gershman said often had little more than a few pieces of furniture. Afterwards, using a medium format camera and natural light, he would photograph the family.


NORMAN H. GERSHMAN
Enver Alia Pashkaj’s father helped a Jewish prisoner escape by plying his German captors with wine, then slipping the man a note of instructions hidden in a piece of melon.

“They’re not perfect pictures,” said Gershman, who returned to Albania several times between 2002 and 2006. “But what’s important is for these people to reflect themselves.”

And they do. Gershman’s photos are a study of history through the portraits of deeply personal subjects. The feelings of pride, hope, loss and love are all etched into the faces of these men and women. It is clear Gershman managed to form an intimate connection with each of them.

Since he began sharing his work publicly, Gershman’s Besa project has taken on a life of its own. There have been more than 75 exhibitions around the world, including at the United Nations. Following its showing at the Soho Photo Gallery the exhibition will travel to England’s House of Commons.

Gershman believes the show’s success rests in a depiction of Muslims that is at odds with popular perceptions.

“I came back with pictures and stories,” he said, “that are different from the ones you read in the papers every day.”

Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White St. Wed–Sun 1–6 pm. 212-226-8571, sohophoto.com. Norman Gershman will talk about his work on Jan.

http://www.tribecatr...-strangers.html

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This dirty capitalist world is a WARmongering zone. If U really want Peace, work 4 real Justice!

Listen: I'd prefer it if U didn't reduce me to a suffix of terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism ...I tell you I'm bored, By your laziness![RAF]

#2 jasminee

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 12:59 AM

Okay it is not the 1940s anti-Jewish fascist Europe, but it's a 21 century Muslim trying to help his Jewish brother in humanity in anti-Muslim New York, the modern cosmopolitan jewel of the Judeo-Christian civilization ..


:star:


In the meanwhile, the US flotilla to Gaza < The Audacity of Hope > is counting on the humanity of the great benevolent State of Israel to < oh sorry wrong discusion thread > ..... :(
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This dirty capitalist world is a WARmongering zone. If U really want Peace, work 4 real Justice!

Listen: I'd prefer it if U didn't reduce me to a suffix of terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism ...I tell you I'm bored, By your laziness![RAF]

#3 legalissues

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 03:09 PM

Okay it is not the 1940s anti-Jewish fascist Europe, but it's a 21 century Muslim trying to help his Jewish brother in humanity in anti-Muslim New York, the modern cosmopolitan jewel of the Judeo-Christian civilization .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZnWbltwojA<img src='http://muslimvillage...efault/star.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':star:' In the meanwhile, the US flotilla to Gaza &lt; The Audacity of Hope &gt; is counting on the humanity of the great benevolent State of Israel to  &lt; oh sorry wrong discusion thread &gt; ..... <img src='http://muslimvillage...default/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':(


Never quite understood the logic behind this. Muslims (those who hold to Bukhari anyway) maintain that "Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the tree and the stone, and the tree and the stone say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!' -- except for the Gharqad tree, which is a Jewish tree." Isn't it like taking a step backwards... keeping alive the "vilest of animals"?

Why not dance at two weddings if you can? *shrug*
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#4 jasminee

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 09:47 PM

^ The above decontexualised tirade and misinformed anti Islamic trolling don't deserve a deserving response. :wacko:

Stop trolling, making a fool of yourself otherwise your online life would be very short around here . <_<
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This dirty capitalist world is a WARmongering zone. If U really want Peace, work 4 real Justice!

Listen: I'd prefer it if U didn't reduce me to a suffix of terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism ...I tell you I'm bored, By your laziness![RAF]

#5 legalissues

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 10:38 PM

^ The above decontexualised tirade and misinformed anti Islamic trolling don't deserve a deserving response. :wacko:

Stop trolling, making a fool of yourself otherwise your online life would be very short around here . <_<


So quoting your texts is now a "tirade".

You have an absolutely revolting, wicked serpent tongue. You swoop down on anyone who disagrees with you and sink your teeth in (your intention is to humiliate). I've followed your rants for a time now.
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#6 Abdul Rahman

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 06:08 AM

So quoting your texts is now a "tirade".
...

That is a disingenuous statement, likewise questions about the hadith cited. Of course in and of itself they can express a valid concern. Taken within the context of what I have seen of your forum behaviour so far, she has a point.
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