Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia #holocaust


Dear all,
You may know that Albania was the only country occupied by Germany during the war where after the war more Jewish inhabitants and refugees lived (about 2000) than before the war (about 200).

Together with a group of Albanian students and academics we try to document the fate of Jewish inhabitants and refugees in Albanian speaking countries during the Holocaust ( the western part of today’s North Macedonia is mainly Albanian speaking and was from 1941-44/45 part of “Greater Albania”). We are also searching for contemporary witnesses or their descendants. Our project aims primarily at conveying this part of history to young Albanians living in Germany and is financed by a German foundation.

Some parts of the history are rather well documented in Albanian and German archives or in testimonies documented by i.a. Yad Vashem or the USHHM ( like the deportations from Kosovo or the protection of Jews in Albania).

We found much less about the western part of North Macedonia (mainly as a transit route for refugees) and about refugees from Greece to Albania.

Maybe someone in this discussion group can help us to find interlocutors who have been dealing with the very particular history of Albania during the Holocaust or with contact to contemporary witnesses or their families (unfortunately the only Hebrew speaker from our small group got ill - thus we can only communicate in English, Albanian, German)

Thank you for your interest.
Bernd Borchardt

PS: I cc-ed one of my Albanian colleagues

Sent with my iPhone

David Mendoza

Most of the Jews of Northern Macedonia left before the War, and most of those who remained were murdered. In terms of genealogy, ask in The Sephardic Diaspora group on Facebook, of which I am an admin. Maybe also the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, in Jerusalem, and some of the aid organisations. If any of the Jewish families had foreign citizenship or protection (a hangover from the Ottoman period) you can check with the archives of those countries. I am especially thinking of Spain which was neutral, although not many Sephardim had Spanish nationality. Have you checked with eastern Sephardic synagogues, especially in Israel and Seattle? Might there be information in Italian and Bulgarian archives?

Best wishes,

David Mendoza
President, Sephardic Genealogical Society

R. Reuven K. Koffler

Dear Bernd, 

As far as I know, Albania was never conquered by Germany but by Italy. This is a key factor in understanding the reason why those Jews who managed to reach that country were saved. 
It  was the Italian rule which enabled their survival. A German conquest would have meant the liqudation of most of them.   

Reuven Koffler