How an Albanian Muslim Rescued Two Jewish Families from Hitler

Dec. 19 2019

During the Axis powers’ occupation of Albania, Xhemal Veseli was one of many Muslims who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust. In 2004, Yad Vashem formally recognized him as one of the “Righteous among the Nations.” Ilanit Chernick tells the story of how he took in seven Jews:

The Mandil family escaped the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, fleeing to . . . Albania, which at the time was occupied by Italy. “My brother was a photographer in Tirana when he met a group of Jews who arrived from [the nearby city of] Kavajë,” [Veseli recounted]. “It was a coincidence that one of them from the group was a photographer, too; he was going to look for a job at a photographer’s shop in Tirana.”

It happened that the shop where Moshe Mandil was looking for a job was owned by a man named Neshad Prizerini, who had once been Mandil’s own apprentice. Prizerini offered Mandil a job and invited him, his wife, and two children to stay with his family.

At the time, his apprentice happened to be Veseli’s seventeen-year-old brother, who was sent there from [their native town of] Kruja to learn the trade. But when the Nazis invaded Tirana, “my brother phoned me to come and take them to Kruja,” Veseli recalled, “I went, and I took them in my cattle cart to Kruja—we sheltered them for five months.” . . .

Veseli later brought three members of the Ben-Yosef family from Tirana [as well], hiding both families in his barn. They remained with the Veseli family until liberation in November 1944.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Albania, Holocaust, Photography, Righteous Among the Nations, Yugoslavia


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy