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October 22nd, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Exhibit: Albanian Muslims saved Jews from Nazis

From CNN affilate KSDK:

With rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, an untold story is raising greater awareness about the Muslim faith and the teachings of the Quran. That awareness comes from an unlikely source: a small Jewish congregation in Creve Coeur.

Temple Emanuel is premiering a groundbreaking exhibit of photos that reveals Albanian Muslims who saved 2,000 Jews during World War II.

It's a story you've likely never heard. It is a story told through the faces of Albanian Muslims who risked their own lives to live by a code of faith and honor called Besa.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Interfaith issues • Islam • Judaism

soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Agg

    It wasn't only muslim Albanians, but EVERY Albanian that did it!
    It is part of being Albanian.
    It's part of being reasonable and life-loving.

    Non-Albanian Muslims would NOT have done it.
    Non-Muslim Albanians DID it!

    So, let's just say Albanians.

    October 25, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  2. MALO1

    i'm proud 2 be Albanian Muslim..........

    October 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  3. capnjammer

    I'm sorry, but why does this message board keep posting things in the wrong place? My above two messages have been for Raymond and his "great well-respected scientists and leaders are converting to Is-lam" bollocks.

    October 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Well, look, this message got put in the middle instead of at the end. CNN, get a new programmer...

      October 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @capnjammer
      I think they keep the real programmers at arm's length and busy working on the other blogs for some reason.
      This multi-faceted problem has remained unchanged for as long as I have been coming here.
      We only get one "response" level, where at least one other blog gets two, the word filter is a worn-out joke, and this multi-level posting order happens according to some arcane method I have not figured out yet.
      The "This Just In" blog has actual PAGES for the comments section, a much stronger filter, etc.
      A few of the other blogs automatically put every post into "moderation" regardless of what you say, whereas "moderation" blockages HERE essentially mean that it will never post.
      Is this a budgeting problem within CNN? Office politics? Whatever it is, old-timers like me prefer to direct responses using the "@" symbol just in case the thread goes apeshlt like this one has.
      But it's not much of a solution, just a way of trying to cope and preserve the discussions.
      Enjoy what you can. They could decide to delete the whole blog at any time. I do not trust them nor do I put much stock in this blog. It is in a back-corner of the CNN website – never makes the "top ten" regardless of activity – and is just a bunch of trolls screeching about one thing or another anyway.
      There. I've bltched enough. A long bltch of a post. "too long, didn't read" should be tatooed on my ass. 😀

      October 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  4. Benny Russell

    Amazing story.

    Remember, yes some Arabs allied with the Nazis, but only for the same reason WE allied with the Russians: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In this case, that enemy was Britain.

    In addition, there were only about 3000 Muslims in Nazi Germany, and they feared they would be the next to go to the camps. If the Nazis continued winning, that very well might have happened.

    October 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  5. Cassarit

    This BTW: is the reason for the Jewish provoked media campaign that set NATO on the Serbs in the 90s. It was also intended to show western Christians defending Muslims from other Christians, considered beneficial the interests of Israel.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  6. Newyorker

    I am not sure which shocks me more. The utter ignorance in this country about real people who do nice things, and who happen to be Muslims, or the utter shamelessness with which CNN is hocking this fluff piece.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  7. Kevin

    The link below gives a more accurate description of what motivated the Albanian Muslims to protect their Jewish countrymen.

    http://www.thejewishchronicle.net/view/full_story/1796256/article–Besa-Albanian-Muslims-took-vow-to-save-Jews–photographer-says?

    October 24, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  8. Spin Dr.

    Maybe this story will help convince modern day Muslims that the holocaust actually did happen?

    October 24, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Newyorker

      If Israel did not exist, I'm sure that Muslims would not doubt the existence of the Holocaust.

      October 24, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  9. Marc Seltzer

    When Jews were being ram rodded in Europe, they had no where to go to but Muslim lands – where they have lived and prospered for centuries. It's only the last 6-70 years that the tide has turned the other way.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  10. Marc Seltzer

    The very creation of Israel started within the Ottoman empire. Guess where the first leaders got their education? It may be holy land, but definitely not a holy government.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • Epidamnus

      And you know the funny thing with that? Kemal Atta Turk the creator of modern Turkey, who secularized the Turkish state, and modernized the thinking of that entire country was of Albanian blood – also a friend of the Jews.

      November 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  11. sam kohen

    Actually more Jews were saved by Egypt and Turkey, two Muslim countries, taken in as refugees then any other country combined, including the US (see a movie called Voyage of the Dammed).

    It is unfortunate that so little is known about this.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  12. dani23

    This is nothing new to me. The reality is that over the last 2000 to 1400 years for every 1 Jew killed by Muslims there have been 300 maybe up to 1000 Jews killed by Christians. The most accomplished murderers of the Jewish people in history were all Christians, from the inquisitions, the persecutions, to the cross fire in the wars between Catholics and protestants in central Europe, to the forced conversions and migrations from France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and Italy, to the Christian slaughter and mutilation of Jews and the burning of their synagogues and property on their way to the Crusades, to the purges across Eastern Europe, to the Cossack terror campaigns in Russia, to the Holocaust. In contrast, throughout various regions of the Muslim world, Jews and Muslims used to have quite good relations until the early 20th century. Many Jews also used to occupy various important administrative positions within the Muslim world and were allowed to live and practice their religion freely. Nothing new here.

    October 24, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  13. JD

    Yes, and we know that the Arab Muslims and Asian Muslims of the world ignore these "white" infidel Muslims. The Arab and Asian Muslims didn't give a damn about the Muslims of Bosnia.

    October 24, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  14. Alba

    I am Albanian and Muslim by faith, and i liked this story a lot, but what everybody should really know is that Jews weren't saved in Albania just from Muslims. As mentioned in a comment above by another Albanian, The Code of Honor obliged every Albanian to secure "the guests in his house" as long as they stay there even with their life. As much as absurd may look parts of this code nowadays it also states what humanity should look like. And for those who don't know much about Albanians there is a saying "We are not separated by churches and mosques because the faith of Albanians is Albania" (Ne nuk na ndajn kisha e xhamija se feja e shqiptarit eshte shqiptaria). Humanity comes above all religions.

    October 24, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  15. Jim

    Congrats CNN, you managed to cover two of your favorite stories in one article!

    October 24, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  16. Anna

    Another brainwash. Where is the article about atheists saving Jews?

    October 24, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  17. Timothy James

    Wow, CNN is so cool. They actually found a story with the words "Jews", "Muslims" and "Nazis" in the same headline.

    October 24, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  18. Dave Barak

    This is sad. So many unenlightened, hateful people here. The Muslims I know or have known would never hurt anyone. My guess id that people get the impression that Muslims are bad is because it's the loudest ones that get our attention. And it's not just Muslims that get a bad rap for that reason.- Christians have Fred Phelps and Jews have Meir Kahane – just two examples.

    But I'm a realist – I know that for the most part, I'm trying to shake some sense into a bunch of brick walls on this forum.

    October 24, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  19. Andrea Perez

    One of the saddest outcomes of the foundation of Israel is the relationship between Jews and Muslims. For over a 1000 years, Jews were able to find sanctuary in "Muslim" countries. The Golden Age of Judaism, happened in Muslim held Spain before the Spanish Inquisition. As with everywhere else Jews have gone, there were periods of persecution, but in most Muslim nations, we were considered a respected resident alien. The last 60 years has caused us to forget this relationship. Maybe we should read a little history before we classify an entire people as "evil". It is not our job in life to hate anyone. It's really disheartening to read some of the comments profested by my fellow "Jews". Where were you during the High Holidays: the world is founded on three principles: forgiveness, prayer and charity..and these are universal: why are you surprised that there are people in the world who believe this also?

    October 24, 2010 at 7:34 am |
  20. Ohhiya

    There were accounts of Nazi soldiers helping jews escape and feeding them, does that diminish what was happening?

    October 24, 2010 at 6:54 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.