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Albania Holocaust memorial honors locals who protected Jews

Photo: Israeli Ambassador in Albania, Noah Gal Gendler speaks during the inauguration of a memorial in Tirana (Xhulio Hajdari /Tirana City Hall via AP) (Associated Press).

Albania unveiled a Holocaust memorial in the capital to honor the victims and the Albanians who protected Jews from the Nazis. The Albanian Jewish Community survived the Holocaust and now is affiliated with the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

The marble memorial was put at an entrance to Tirana’s Artificial Lake Park, close to Mother Teresa Square. The inscription is written in three languages — English, Hebrew, and Albanian — and it said that “Albanians, Christians, and Muslims endangered their lives to protect and save the Jews.”

Albania is one of the few European countries in which the number of Jews increased after the end of World War II. In 1930, there were registered 204 Jews, mostly in Tirana and Vlora. In 1939, Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria, moved to Albania, later Jews who had fled from Croatia and Serbia also took refuge in Albania.

Albanians protected their few hundred Jewish friends and helped other Jews who fled from other countries by either smuggling them abroad or hiding them at home.