Posted by Amtul Q Farhat
……. New Film ‘Besa’ Reveals Hidden Past
A new documentary traces the forgotten history of Albanian Muslims saving Jews and brings their descendants together.
The still-emerging stories from shrinking circles of living Jews who survived persecution by Nazis are among the most interesting and provocative. These are not the stories retold by aging relatives at family gatherings but the tightly held secrets, unforgotten deeds and buried memories that can resonate for a lifetime. Those of us who are lucky enough to hear what really happened from survivors and rescuers are often left asking what would we have done in their shoes. Would we risk our lives for a stranger?
Besa: The Promise is a new documentary film centered around that very question and two families: a Bulgarian Jewish couple and their young son, and a Muslim Albanian baker who sheltered them for a year during World War II’s darkest period. Before they flee by ship for Spain, the Bulgarians leave a three-volume leatherbound Torah with the father of the film’s main character, Rexhep Hoxha. The Jews say they’ll be back for the books—a wedding present—but they never return, partly because Albania was cut off by decades of Communist rule. The books stay put as the years pass.