London mosque to honor Muslims who rescued Jews in the Holocaust
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London mosque to honor Muslims who rescued Jews in the Holocaust

Exhibit at Golders Green Mosque to highlight Muslim Albanians who sheltered Jews during fascist rule in WWII

Illustrative: An armed escort of the British military mission in Albania in an undated photo. Most of them have been fighting since the Italians landed in 1939. (AP Photo)
Illustrative: An armed escort of the British military mission in Albania in an undated photo. Most of them have been fighting since the Italians landed in 1939. (AP Photo)

JTA — A mosque that opened recently amid protests in a heavily Jewish part of London announced plans to host an exhibition celebrating Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Golders Green Mosque is set to feature the exhibition prepared by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel at the beginning of the new year, The Jewish News of London reported Thursday.

The exhibition is about Muslim Albanians who hid and protected Jews during the Holocaust, when Albania was under fascist control.

Rabbi Natan Levy, head of operations for the interfaith group Faith Forums for London, is helping the mosque organize the event.

“The exhibition is a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community’s darkest hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand idly by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate their Jewish neighbors,” Levy told The Jewish News.

Rexhep Hoxha, left, and Fatos Qoqja in a bar in Tirania, Albania, November 8, 2017. Qoqja is pictured with a medal that his father received for saving Jews during the Holocaust. (Cnaan Liphshiz/via JTA)

Some Jewish opponents to the mosque’s opening in 2017 cited traffic concerns, while others said they feared it would introduce security problems, drawing accusations of xenophobia by other Jews.

Albanians rescued about 2,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

In parallel, Albanians also served in the 1st Albanian Waffen SS Division, manned by hundreds of ethnic Albanians — many of them from Bosnia and also Kosovo, which during the German and Italian occupations had been lumped together with Albania.

They are known to have rounded up Jews who belonged to the group of at least 249 Kosovar Jews who ended up at a concentration camp in Germany.

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