Photography Exhibit Focuses On Muslims Who Saved Jews During World War II

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Renowned photographer Norman Gershman embarked on a project in 2003 to photograph Albanian Muslim families who had sheltered Jews during World War II. By 2004, after two photographic journeys to Albania and Kosovo, he had discovered roughly 150 Muslim families who had taken part in the rescue of Jews.

His photos will be on display at the South Brunswick Public Library, 110 Kingston Lane, Monmouth Junction, through May.

It is believed that the people of Greater Albania saved between two and three thousand Jews between 1943 and 1945. The Muslim religious belief of Besa, meaning “honor,” is the basis for their heroic behavior. This ancient code of honor requires an Albanian to endanger his own life if necessary to save the life of anyone seeking asylum.

This exhibit was shown at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Israel, and the United Nations in New York City as part of a world wide tour. A companion book was published by Syracuse University Press. The exhibit is the result of a five-year project involving the photographing and collecting of personal stories, not previously told.

The exhibit made possible by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum and The Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom. This Jewish/Muslim women’s group donated display panels for the exhibit as well as coordinated a private film screening with refreshments.

For more information about the exhibit, call Library Director Christopher Carbone at 1-732-329-4000, ext. 7287.

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