Last Jewish history museum survives in Albania

The only Jewish history museum in Albania got new life in Berat thanks to a generous businessman.

The Solomon Museum was opened by a local professor, Simon Vrusho, in 2018 to tell the story of how Muslims and Christians in the country helped save hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.

The museum was funded by small donations left in a box by the door and Vrusho’s personal pension. When the professor died, no one was sure what would happen to the museum.

After an AFP report came out about the possible closing of the museum, French-Albanian businessman Gazmend Toska decided not only to finance the museum but also to move it to bigger property in the city.

“It was deeply moving to see the response to AFP’s coverage of this museum,” Toska told a crowd at the re-opening ceremony.

Vrusho was an Orthodox Christian who spent years collecting documents, photos and memories to bear witness to the Jewish community in Berat that arrived in the 16th century from Spain.

The museum brings to light stories of Muslims and Christians that helped save and hide Jews from Nazis. Thanks to these people, the Jewish population in Albania actually increased during the years of World War II.

The Solomon Museum is “a tree of memory watered with the love of all those who have contributed to its survival,” said Vrusho’s widow Angjlina, 65, the museum’s new director.

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

EJC President calls on the Portuguese Parliament not to harm the Sephardi citizenship law

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor has written to the President of the Portuguese Parliament calling on him to ensure that a law passed in 2013 which provides Sephardi Jews with the possibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship is not harmed by recent attempts to pass amendments which would damage the applicability, intention and spirit of the original law.

Antisemitic chants at anti-racist march in Paris shows how worthy cause is being hijacked to spread hate

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on anti-racist marchers and organisers to ensure that antisemitism is not being adopted by some within their ranks, after large groups of marchers at a rally in Paris's Place de la République shouted antisemitic slogans like “dirty Jew”.

Kantor Center Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019 – The Coronavirus Crisis is Reviving ‘Blood Libels’ Against Jews

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said that already in the first few months since the global breakout of the coronavirus, there has been a rise in antisemitic manifestations relating to the spread of the disease and the economic recession triggered by the pandemic at the release of the Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019. The total number of major violent incidents monitored in 2019 was 456, an 18% rise from 2018.

Message from Moshe Kantor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor announced a series of important measures to provide support and assistance to Jewish communities and other people in need to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis.