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. John Geheran

    The Albanians deserve praise for their courage. But what they did is far out-weighed by Islamic leadership rush to Berlin to learn how Herr Hitler would make Europe "Judenrein" as well as to contribute an SS division composed of the sons of Allah. Nor do their brave actions negate the numerous prescriptive passages in the Qur'an and ahadith exhorting the slaughter of infidels, especially Jews. By Islamic standards, these Albanians were "bad Muslims".

    October 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • teepu

      John, you are lying deliberately. Quran doea not include Jews, Christians as infdels. It does not recommend killing of all infidels (those were the Meccan opponents of prophet Muhammad. Quran 9:5 should be read with 9:4 and 9:6. It applies to an all out war and to the combatants only. If muslims had understood Quran as your crooked mind does they would have wiped out all hindus in India and all Christians in Spain, Sicily etc where they ruled for hundreds of years. No Jewish civillian faced massacre under Muslim rule. They fled to Islamic lands after fall of Muslim Spain (Ottoman Turkish Empire. Get yourself educated some before spewing out trash.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:31 am |
    • Muneef

      Well said couldn't have said it better. God Bless you.

      October 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  2. MIA

    @Sum Dude

    With the recent anti Islam crap growing in this country, can U really blame @Muneef or any muslim living outside the US for mischaracterizing Americans as muslim fearing bigots, who hate anything that has to do with Islam? Americans constantly mischaracterize all Muslims as extremists who worship a destructive religion..or is that ok but as soon as muslims feel the need to defend themeselves and their reigion by calling out their attackers, it becomes 'offensive'? I undersand that most Americans are fair and openminded folks that dont judge a person's character by the religion they practice, but for the narrow minded idiots who have a mind full of hateful thoughts should not hide behind that curtain of "American's are generally fair people"

    October 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • capnjammer

      How's this: Mus-lims, Jews, and Chris-tians all are dangerous cu-lts, and all of them put together are tearing the world apart. If only more Americans would open their eyes, they would have equal disdain for all religions, not just Is-lam.

      Furthermore, Mus-lims, Jews, and Chris-tians are all part of three of the world's largest death-wor-shiping cul-ts. Just because not all Mus-lims espouse the militant activ-ism of their Mid-dle Eas-tern cousins, and just because Je-ws and Chris-tians "don't like to talk about" all of God's hat-emong-ering, wa-rmon-gering, commands to rap-e, can-nibalize children, give human beings as burnt offerings, etc., does not mean that their reli-gion is "hunkey dorey." I would rather more Musl-ims be like the Tal-iban, and more Chris-tians be like Wes-tboro... at least they stand for what they believe and in the books they purport to be holy rather than picking and choosing what they want to believe and hear from the pulpit like a bunch of sy-cophantic country-clubbers.

      October 22, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      You appear to be responding to someone else's post, so I won't bother pointing out your errors other than that one. kthxbai 😛

      October 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  3. JWH

    Always the glorification of Muslims and Sodomites. And both are as different as night and day.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Enoch

      Then, why are no Jews in 99% of the Muslim states? No more Jews in Medina, Baghdad or Libya.

      October 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  4. navid

    Wow, that's a 0.00004 percent. Way to go!!!

    October 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  5. paul

    Kinda ironic that its the jewish community making this public. I have a feeling that today's more radical muslims are somewhat less proud of this act of humanity.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Albanian American

    As an Albanian I can say that this was not done because of religion. Besa (the code honor) predates islamic religion, and the jews were saved because of the human values and respect that Albanians have for others and themselves. Albania and Kosovo (which in fact are Albanians) consists of people of all religions. Mother Teresa is Albanian and she would do the same. Other Albanians of non-islamic religion also saved and sheltered jews. It is unfair to credit Islam for saving the jews, and by the way I was raised as a muslim. It is Albanians that saved the jews and not a specific religion in Albania. I fully support this article and the exhibition since it credits human values and supports peaceful efforts.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • sikandr

      thank you for saving the Jews.

      October 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • gambino

      thank you again for saving Jews, may G-d bless you and your offspring...............for eternity.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:27 am |
    • SK

      No one is denying that other Albanians have saved Jews, but the focus of this article is on the Muslims specifically. The significance of this story comes from the fact that historically, Muslims and Jews have been perceived to be at odds with each other because of the Palestine-Israel conflict. So this story is meant to prove that Muslims and Jews are in fact part of the same family and should try to resolve their differences and coexist peacefully following in the footsteps of Albanians in WWII.

      October 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  7. LEFTY


    October 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  8. ddobro2

    Muneef doesn't understand that when you paste in Arabic diatribes into Google translate and set it to English you get back even more nonsensical English diatribes as a result.

    October 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Muneef


      Sorry if was not able to understand my comments. I am not using any translation facility either Google or any thing else,I write directly in English but my grammar is weak and some times my auto spelling corrector would change my words in to some thing else and when I am excited I hate to read and correct before posting. Any way will try to improve I hope or give it up all together if it is going to cause troubles for others to understand my points.. So sorry.

      October 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Wow. Everything you just said is something that is true for me as well. I think you are like a brother or cousin who just lives in a distant place and lives a different life – you are getting better at expressing yourself, too.
      I hope you are well and do not find it too difficult to keep posting here. I often enjoy your comments. 😀

      October 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Ben

      Lay off, troll. At least he had something better to say than just making fun of the way someone else writes. How many languages can you write in?

      November 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  9. coder2

    I've already given you more attention than you deserve so please do yourself, your family and the planet a favor
    and just D%I%E!

    October 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • Sweet Gender Switch Potato Fry From Transs[e]xual Transylvania

      Are you 12? You sound like a victim of bullying.

      October 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  10. coder2

    I've already given you more attention than you deserve so just do your species a favor and ALT-68 ALT-73 ALT 69 !

    October 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  11. coder2

    I've already given you more attention than you're worthy of...do your family and your species a favor and just ALT-68 ALT-73 ALT 69!

    October 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • Sweet Gender Switch Potato Fry From Transs[e]xual Transylvania

      Lol. Funny little nerd.

      October 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  12. Sum Dude

    This thread has officially gone "spang"....(sigh)

    October 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  13. DanteX

    Well there we have it – Muslim are not the evil people that the Conservative Fascist right-wing Nazi's around the world would have us believe they are.

    October 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  14. k

    Will there be an exhibit on Mohammad Amin al-Husayni who was the Arab Palestinian leader who had a plan with Hitler to kill all the Jews in the Mid East?

    October 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Syd

      He had no desire to kill Jews in the mid-east, only a desire to prevent them from taking the land of Palestinians to form a new country

      October 23, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
    • David

      If you are stupid enough to associate all Muslims to the acts of a few...... The I should be dumb enough to associate all whites the same way. Defend the goodness in Islam as you would defend those whites who claim they are not evil BIGOTS because the are related.

      October 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  15. Sum Dude

    Stereotypes are so easy to knock down as being untrue and / or unrealistic, it is amazing that any exist in the first place if one forgets the error-prone mutability of human behavior and thought.....

    Rescuing people is a great thing to do. Now if only they hadn't needed rescuing in the first place....!

    October 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • sam kohen

      Like the good Christian people in Holland who betrayed Anne Frank

      October 24, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  16. Richard

    peace lovers speak with hate?

    It would be considered very rude to marginalize say what Women did in WW2 in a story about them...ie... to mention that the Men did more. It would be the wrong time to mention it, even if true...as to say that the Womens' sacrifice was nothing.

    Or to just plain insult an accomplishment, a good deed. these people whoever they are were good people.

    October 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  17. oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

    THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD – Its starting to make more sense all the time.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • zack

      There is no god means there is no god to worship. dont think a old grandfather style god watching us from heavens . It says: No god but Allah. Allah is not a god. Unfourntanetly, people stopped thinking and trying to satisfy Goddish allah. Allah is not a god.

      October 24, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  18. peace lover

    Haha the Cons turned this story into anti-Muslim story. They will always do something like that.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  19. HotAirAce

    This atheist is officially not commenting on this "good news" story or the underlying beliefs of the individuals or groups involved, more or less as requested by some of the believers participating in this blog (in other threads), so that they may have a happy day, and that I may sit back, eat popcorn, drink rum and coke and laugh as the various loving religious factions tear into each other.

    October 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Bobbus

      I agree with you about religious arguing: I am so glad that we do not have to prove our imaginary friend is better than someone elses based on books meant to control the populace and written thousands of years ago.

      October 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      With ap-olo-gies for re-dun-dant posts, but in an att-empt to keep threads to-get-her and to t-est this lou-sy bl-og sof-tware...

      After a mere 4 hours or so, I believe that my prophecy, that the various religous folks would rip into each other, has been completely fulfilled. I believe that I have surpassed the prophesy standard set by the bible. Am I now allowed to write a book-of-silliness and begin a cult in my name? Anyone want to become my first disciple? All you have to do is pay 1 million dollars (US or Canadian) for that honour. :^)

      October 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And where are all the "leave a good news story alone christians"? Seems to me they ought to be jumping in to separate the combatants. Or are they silent because it's not their beliefs, history and motivations that are being trashed by the "antis" to this story?

      October 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      We get more of those when they follow a link and find themselves in this "Belief Blog" by, um, "accident". lol
      Falling into the troll trap, they are shocked by what they did not expect, being somewhat simple and naive in this regard.
      Isn't it amazing what some people believe? Delusions are like that, I guess.

      October 24, 2010 at 3:57 am |
  20. Muneef

    Ø    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his 
         level and beat you with experience.
    Ø    War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
    Ø    The early bird might get the worm, but the second 
         mouse gets the cheese.
    Ø    Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the 
         fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
    Ø    Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

    October 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • santiago

      thank you sooo Much for this Great Phrases!!!Im for sure going to use them at some point...

      October 22, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Al

      Thanks for some merciful relief, Muneef. I really cracked up at the second mouse getting the cheese. I am going save these. Don't mind Reality, he is blinded by hatred— not very "Christian" of him.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • Muneef

      Not really been or knew about OneLiner z before but got them group from an e.mail i received from a friend and thought to be nice to paste. and thanks for the link although only were nice and some of the rest were bad really.

      October 23, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • Muneef


      Thank you both for your kindness and support but as to Reality he is OK although he says he or she is not Christion or on any religion.

      Am a He and Not a She nor am i like a SeaHorse He&She on the same time as many appear to be at your end.

      October 23, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Jerry

      How come in every Temple I've been in this is the first time I've heard that Muslims helped the Jewish people. With what I know and what I've learned I don't believe this story.

      October 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Edwin


      One of the reasons you never heard of this before is that it involves Albania. Americans are generally unaware of this country, its history, and its population. It was communist until 1992, so the United States was not interested in any good deeds its people did.

      Another reason you never heard of this before is that it involved common people doing something secretive. They kept it hidden at the time, and it likely stayed that way. Since Albania did not have a mass exodus of Jews to Israel or the United States, the tales of heroics never got here.

      As evidenced by some on this board, it is far easier to simply demonize Islam than to study it in all its complex forms and philosophy. Like all religions, it promotes horror, mysticism, joy, hope, sacrifice, bravery, cruelty, and wonder. Do some research on this and other stories before you decide that every aspect of Islam is evil.

      October 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • tony

      Unfortunately this story while true is misleading and misused. Albanians saved Jews during the War, not just Albanian muslims. Some of those people probably were muslims and some others non-muslims. In Albania religion has never been an issue and it will never be.

      The organizers of such event are not respecting those who risked their lives to save innocent women and children. My family is one of them. My grandfather and his brother died in Matthousen because they protected innocent women and children. Even though they came from a "muslim" family, Islam was never practiced in their family and I am sure that they would be insulted to be identified as an Muslim Albanian and not simply by Albanian. May their soul rest in peace!

      The author of this article, CNN, and the organizers must be ashamed to use this story for religious headlines. Shame on them!

      October 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
    • Valentina

      This story is not unusual. In Morocco, Sultan Mohammed V (may his soul thrive in Heaven) the grandfather of the present King of Morocco, is credited by all moroccan jews (500,000 in 1941) for saving them from the nazis who had requested the deportations of jews to concentration camps. King Mohammed V told the Nazi french Marechal Petain (may he rot in hell, alongside all other jew-haters) that there are no jews or muslims in Morocco, there are just moroccans and that he, as the Sultan of all moroccans, could not tell who is jewish and who is muslim. The Sultan did this at great personal risk from the nazis and their french sympathizers. Sultan Mohammed V saved the day until the North Africa Landing in '43. It is very common in all the synagogues of Morocco as well as Moroccan synagogues all over the world to say a prayer for Mohammed V, his son King Hassan II (pbuh) , and the present King Mohammed VI.

      October 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • muchogroucho

      Public relations helps before they take over your society and cut your head off if you don't convert.

      October 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Adam

      Thank you CNN for posting one the countless positive things that good Muslims do.

      – Proud American Muslim

      October 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, Muneef obviously has found the top 100 funniest one-liners on the internet. This is great news since he obviously is trying to escape from the rigidity of the worst book ever written aka the koran.


      October 24, 2010 at 12:54 am |
    • Skanderbeg

      Besa means giving you word of honor that's Albanian value nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. Albania is not a Muslim country their are as many Christians as Muslims in Albania and many atheist and most of the Muslims are very secular because most were forced into Islam by the occupying ottoman Turks who invaded Albania back in the 13th century, one wonders what made the Muslims come to murder Europeans Albanian by the 1000's and kidnap their children and force them to convert to Islam as they were taken away to turkey, most of the Albanian Muslims today know their Christian roots and very few follow Islam most still have their Christian names and follow their European Albanian culture..

      October 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Betim Kelmendi

      Im a proud Albanian, and my Religion is the Islam, and i want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH, as an Albanian i feel a deep solidarity with the USA, Only bec. of the USA the Albania Country exist, and only bec. of the USA the Albanian in Kosovo survived the genocide only bec. the USA stoped the Serbian Terror while " europeans" watched for many years .

      God Bless the USA and we are Proud about our History and Culture. We saved Jews, bec. we and jews and all other People are HUMANS and we Albanians knows what meant "to be hunted".

      November 5, 2010 at 5:37 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.