Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews WW II

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9780815609346: Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews WW II

Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. It dictates a moral behavior so absolute that nonadherence brings shame and dishonor on oneself and one's family. Simply stated, it demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their time of need. In Albania and Kosovo, Muslims sheltered, at grave risk to themselves and their families, not only the Jews of their cities and villages, but thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis from other European countries.

Over a five-year period, photographer Norman H. Gershman sought out, photographed, and collected these powerful and moving stories of heroism in Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II. The book reveals a hidden period in history, slowly emerging after the fall of an isolationist communist regime, and shows the compassionate side of ordinary people in saving Jews. They acted within their true Muslim faith.

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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.

Review:

....these photos and their stories ....offer hope for a future in which Muslims and Jews can overcome their conflicts.... -- Former president Jimmy Carter

Long-time fine art photographer Gershman spent five years collecting the stories of Albanian Muslims who harbored Jewish refugees during WWII as part of the Islamic tradition of Besa, or sanctuary, and his record provides a clear and powerful push back against a popular image more recently shaped by violent extremists. Each new page offers a portrait and a brief anecdote on the origins of the family, the people they helped, and the bonds that formed between the Albanian and Jewish families. Gershman's portraits are skillful and expressive, capturing warmth and pride but also the weight of the 60 years that have passed since the War. The subjects' resonant voices--"I did nothing special. All Hebrews are our brothers"--share tales of kindnesses and unexpected lives conceived in the midst of catastrophe and destruction. A haunting look at the power of love, compassion and generosity to unite faiths and deliver genuine salvation, this illustrated oral history will fascinate. 66 b&w photos. (Nov.) --Publishers Weekly

BESA: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman H. Gershman " Through BESA, Gershman steps outside the traditional role of photojournalist and becomes a historian. His skills as a humanistic photographer and documentarian are exemplified in the book as his lens captures the soulful intent of these Albanian families. We may be learning about these acts of heroism only now, but the work of Gershman and others will ensure that their story will be told for generations."- SirReadaLot.org --SirReadaLot.org

BESA: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II, by Norman H. Gershman. (Syracuse University Press, 125 pp. $39.95)

The tradition of besa--keeping one's word--is so deeply rooted among Albanians that when they committed themselves to saving the lives of Jews during World War II, they did so despite the danger they put themselves in. It is because of the courage and conscience of the mostly Muslim Albanians that the country's 2,000 Jews survived the Holocaust.

Norman H. Gershman's black-and-white photographs and captions bring to life the heroic tales of rescuers and the pride of their descendants. For example, in one photo, the family of Ali and Ragip Kraja stand next to a sign they erected that reads: "The Jewish Refugees of Solomon Adixhes and family drank from this nearby well while being sheltered by Ali and Ragip Kraja when being chased by the Nazis." In an interview, the Krajas add: "We sheltered the Adixhes family out of the goodness of our hearts. We are all brothers and proud of our heritage. If need be, we would do it again."

The nearly 60 images of the aging children of heroes are accompanied by testimonies and recollections; some display photos of fathers or husbands; others clutch the certificate of the Righteous Among the Nations, awarded to their family by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem. Yet others pose with grandchildren--a new generation to whom the idea of besa is being passed.

The images are part of a traveling exhibit of the same name under the auspices of Yad Vashem; upcoming is a documentary, God's House: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II, about Gershman's journey to Albania and Kosovo. --Hadassah magazine

BESA: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II, by Norman H. Gershman. (Syracuse University Press, 125 pp.)

The tradition of besa--keeping one's word--is so deeply rooted among Albanians that when they committed themselves to saving the lives of Jews during World War II, they did so despite the danger they put themselves in. It is because of the courage and conscience of the mostly Muslim Albanians that the country's 2,000 Jews survived the Holocaust.

Norman H. Gershman's black-and-white photographs and captions bring to life the heroic tales of rescuers and the pride of their descendants. For example, in one photo, the family of Ali and Ragip Kraja stand next to a sign they erected that reads: "The Jewish Refugees of Solomon Adixhes and family drank from this nearby well while being sheltered by Ali and Ragip Kraja when being chased by the Nazis." In an interview, the Krajas add: "We sheltered the Adixhes family out of the goodness of our hearts. We are all brothers and proud of our heritage. If need be, we would do it again."

The nearly 60 images of the aging children of heroes are accompanied by testimonies and recollections; some display photos of fathers or husbands; others clutch the certificate of the Righteous Among the Nations, awarded to their family by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem. Yet others pose with grandchildren--a new generation to whom the idea of besa is being passed.

The images are part of a traveling exhibit of the same name under the auspices of Yad Vashem; upcoming is a documentary, God's House: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II, about Gershman's journey to Albania and Kosovo. --Hadassah magazine

"Besa" -- the word for the Albanian code of honor that, with Koranic teachings, motivated the Albanians to endanger their lives for their neighbors and for strangers six decades ago -- is the first major book in English that presents the stories of Albania's heroic Muslims.... By telling their stories, he (the author) says, he is thanking them "on behalf of the Jewish community." --The Jewish Week

"Each individual story of rescue in Besa testified to the heroism of the Albanian Muslim people, from the family of the former King Zog, his son King Leka I and his Queen Geraldine, to the milk vendor, Marika, shown as holding a milk bottle for the well--hidden Jewish child. Yad Vashem recognized many Albanian Muslims as Righteous Gentiles and many grateful Israeli survivors have renewed their ties with their rescuers. BESA shows how both Muslims and Jews can overcome their conflicts and live together."- The Jerusalem Post --The Jerusalem Post

"Looking at these carefully rendered portraits... and the scrupulous attention to detail, the profundity of the photographer's experience is driven home repeatedly. Examining his work and reading the testimony of his subjects, whose stories were suppressed during the long postwar years...you can sense the profundity as if it were almost palpable." --The Jewish Exponent

"Besa will grace any coffee table as well as any library with an adult Holocaust (or Islamic) collection. Its coverage of a neglected subject--the role of non-Christian communities during that era--vitally presents a more nuanced view of the Muslim world." --Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"highly recommended" --MultiCultural Review

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Descrizione libro Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Hardcover. Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. It dictates a moral behavior so absolute that non adherence brings shame and di.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 160 pages. 1.234. Codice libro della libreria 9780815609346

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Descrizione libro Syracuse University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. It dictates a moral behavior so absolute that non adherence brings shame and dishonor on oneself and one s family. Simply stated, it demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their time of need. In Albania and Kosovo, Muslims sheltered, at grave risk to themselves and their families, not only the Jews of their cities and villages, but thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis from other European countries.Over a five-year period, photographer Norman H. Gershman sought out, photographed, and collected these powerful and moving stories of heroism in Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II . The book reveals a hidden period in history, slowly emerging after the fall of an isolationist communist regime, and shows the compassionate side of ordinary people in saving Jews. They acted within their true Muslim faith. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780815609346

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Descrizione libro Syracuse University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. It dictates a moral behavior so absolute that non adherence brings shame and dishonor on oneself and one s family. Simply stated, it demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their time of need. In Albania and Kosovo, Muslims sheltered, at grave risk to themselves and their families, not only the Jews of their cities and villages, but thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis from other European countries.Over a five-year period, photographer Norman H. Gershman sought out, photographed, and collected these powerful and moving stories of heroism in Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II . The book reveals a hidden period in history, slowly emerging after the fall of an isolationist communist regime, and shows the compassionate side of ordinary people in saving Jews. They acted within their true Muslim faith. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780815609346

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