Press Release: US Congress Honors Albanians Who Offered Refuge to Holocaust Jews

May 10, 2005

Source: PR Newswire

On May 10, 2005 a PR Newswire press release reported, "On the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of the Nazi death camps, there is another story that is seldom told. That story concerns the Albanians of Southeast Europe, who risked their lives -- and succeeded -- to save thousands of Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust. The Albanian rescuers, overwhelmingly of the Islamic faith, acted out of the Albanian tradition known as Besa -- an ancient code of honor that obliges Albanians to save the life of anyone seeking refuge, even if it means risking one's own life. The Albanian example is one of compassion, kindness, and religious tolerance, not of hatred and terror. On Sunday, May 15, the Albanian American Civic League and Foundation will honor and remember the heroism of the Albanian people, as well as celebrate their ongoing religious tolerance and resistance to oppression. Congressman Tom Lantos, Ranking Member of the House International Relations Committee and a Holocaust survivor, will deliver the keynote address."