World Briefs: Albania to Build Museum to Citizens Who Saved Jews During Holocaust and more


Albania to Build Museum to Citizens Who Saved Jews During Holocaust
Albania’s prime minister announced plans to open a museum in Tirana dedicated to the stories of its citizens who saved Jews during the Holocaust, reported.

The Albanian Holocaust museum will occupy the House of Toptans in Tirana. (Aldo Bonata/Albania Ministry of Culture via

The museum also will honor Jewish history and culture, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on March 1 while on a state visit to Jerusalem.

The Besa Museum will be named after the strict neighborly honor code that Albanians say motivated them to protect their Jewish neighbors during World War II. Though Albania was occupied by both fascist Italy and later Nazi Germany, its Jewish population grew throughout the war, more than tripling as refugees flocked there from around Europe.

Albania’s embassy in Berlin issued false identity papers to Jews, and many locals hid them in their houses. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance authority, has recognized at least 75 individuals as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews.

“The rescue of the Jews during World War II is one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the Albanians. Christians and Muslims sacrificed everything to protect them,” said Elva Margariti, Albania’s minister of culture. “For Albanians, this is besa; it is a value that we will pass on to our children, telling them this extraordinary story.”

‘Boy Meets World’ Star Ben Savage Runs to Succeed Rep. Adam Schiff
Ben Savage, the Jewish actor best known for the 1990s coming-of-age series “Boy Meets World,” is running to replace Adam Schiff, the Jewish Democratic congressman from California who is running for Senate, reported.

Savage, 42, is among at least four Democrats running in the primary to replace Schiff in his Los Angeles-area congressional district. His Instagram post on March 6 announcing the campaign focused on good governance.

“I’m running for Congress because it’s time to restore faith in government by offering reasonable, innovative and compassionate solutions to our country’s most pressing issues,” Savage wrote in the post. “And it’s time for new and passionate leaders who can help move our country forward.”

Alongside his acting career, Savage has some political experience. He graduated with a degree in political science from Stanford University and interned for Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who was Jewish, in 2003, when Specter was a Republican.

Four Israelis Inherit Corneas of Brothers Killed in Terror Attack
The corneas of two Israeli brothers killed in Samaria on Feb. 26 were transplanted into the eyes of four Israelis at Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah on March 8, reported.

Esti and Shalom Yaniv, the brothers’ parents, said: “We were excited this morning to receive the news about Hallel and Yagel’s corneal transplants. We wish the donors to see the world with goodness and joy, as our sweet Hallel and Yagel saw it. The kind and beautiful eyes of Hallel and Yagel will continue to illuminate our world through [these] dear emissaries, and it fills us with satisfaction that even after their death they were able to do good to others.”

On Feb. 26, a terrorist opened fire on Hallel and Yagal Yaniv as they sat in traffic in the Arab village of Huwara in Samaria. They were evacuated to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

Educational Youth Trips to Poland to Resume After Three-year Hiatus
Israel and Poland have reached an agreement on the resumption of Israeli youth trips to Poland for Holocaust education, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced on March 7, reported.

However, a statement by the Polish Ministry for Foreign Affairs released the following day was more circumspect, stating that while no agreement had been reached yet, one could be signed “in the near future.”

“There are many ways to study the lessons of the Holocaust, but the best is with one’s own eyes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a written statement. “I welcome our success in the resumption of our pupils’ trips to Poland in order to study the horrors of the Holocaust from up close.”

Neither Netanyahu’s statement nor one by the Polish ministry addressed the issues that initially caused the breach between the governments, namely security for and the educational content of the visits, or explained how the matter was resolved.

Before the pandemic, some 40,000 Israeli students participated in the trips each year.

ADL Records All-time High in Propaganda Incidents by White Supremacists
A new report by the Anti-Defamation League recorded more than 6,750 incidents of white supremacists distributing propaganda in 2022 — up 38% from the year before and an all-time high, reported.

The acts included the dissemination of antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ materials, such as fliers placed in yards and driveways; banners hung from overpasses; stickers and posters on stores; and laser projections on buildings and stadiums.

The number of white supremacist events increased from 108 in 2021 to 170 in 2022, per the ADL, while the number of times that antisemitic materials were distributed increased from 352 to 852.

ADL recorded the highest levels of such materials in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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