Jewish community of Albania, 1991. Photographs by Doron Bachar.
“In April 1939 Albania was occupied by Italy. Although the Jews were forbidden to leave the country and some of the refugees were put in a camp in Kavaje, the Italians refused to comply with Germany’s demand to hand the Jews over. In September 1943, when the regime in Italy changed, Albania came under German control. In the beginning of 1944 the Germans ordered the Jews to register, but Albanians, including government officials, helped the Jews to flee from Tirana. They found refuge with Albanian families and with partisans. The assistance afforded to the Jews may have been grounded in an Albanian code of honor - “Besa” - literally, “to keep the promise”. Once a family was hosted by Albanians, they could trust them with their lives.” (x)