Doron Bachar of Israel visited Albania in 1991, where he documented "The Last Jews in Albania" in a series of photographs.
Doron Bachar of Israel visited Albania in 1991, where he documented "The Last Jews in Albania" in a series of photographs published by the Israel Embassy in Tirana. The photos are evidence of the long-standing Albanian coexistence with the Jews, who found both hospitality and support in Albania, reflected in the excellent relations that exist today between the two countries.
From the Yad Vashem website:
Following the Wannsee Conference, which was convened in January 1942 to coordinate the "Final Solution", a protocol was produced with a table of the numbers of Jews that were to be murdered in each country. The number given for Albania – the small country in the Balkans, whose population is mostly Muslim – was 200. However in reality the number of Jews was higher – around 1,000 Jews had fled to Albania, hoping to be able to emigrate from there.
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. We know only of two cases where Jews were captured and deported. All the other Jews survived the war.
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.