Mal Berisha in Boston: “A Promise and a People: The Albanian Jews and the Holocaust”

malberishaFollowing the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a special event, co-sponsored by the Jewish Caucus, Israel Caucus, and European Club, featuring Mr. Mal Berisha, a distinguished Albanian ambassador of career, is going to bring the Albanian – Jewish History to the fore.

This event, open to the public, is entitled “A Promise and a People: The Albanian Jews and the Holocaust.” It will be held on February 1,  at 7 p.m. in the premises of Harvard Kennedy School (Starr Auditorium, Belfer Building, Second Floor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F Kennedy St. Cambridge, MA 02138.)

Albania, the only Muslim-majority country in Europe, emerged from the atrocities of the Holocaust with a tenfold increase in its pre-war Jewish population. Based on the highest moral values of “BESA”, the Code of Honor for Albanians, thousands of Jews were sheltered unconditionally by ordinary people, mostly in rural areas of the country.

Foto 1During this presentation, Mr. Mal Berisha, a writer and a seasoned diplomat (the last posting was an Ambassador of Albania to the United Kingdom), is expected to examine the political, cultural, and historical accounts through the eyes of a Jewish American Ambassador to Albania, the Monarch of Albania, and everyday Albanians who risked their lives to come to the help of fleeing Jews.

Ambassador Berisha will offer remarks, followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A with journalist and public radio host, Christopher Lydon (Radio Open Source, WBUR).

“If there is a single Gentile nation that has the right to commemorate, being proud of its history of the time of Holocaust, that is the Albanian Nation. To remember that Day, I have the honor and privilege to hold this presentation, Mr. Mal Berisha said earlier this week via a posting to his official Facebook.


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In 2014, Berisha presented his first English book in Manhattan at the YIVO Institute of Jewish Studies in New York City and the US Embassy in London: “Herman Bernstein, US Ambassador to Albania” where he detailed the close relations between Jews, Albanians and the United States Government.  The work of the U.S. Ambassador to Albania, Herman Bernstein (1930-1933), championed positive Albanian-Jewish relations.

This book raised a lot of interest but even more the fascinating spectrum he found to explore the relations between the Albanians and the Jews.

Ambasador Berisha, KCFO, has served as the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland from 2012 to 2015. Previously Berisha served as General Consul of Albania to Istanbul from 1993-1997. Berisha has graduated from the Academy of Arts of Albania. His life has been tightly linked with cultural anthropology in Albania. He is a history scholar and has published a number of books and articles about various subjects of history, culture and diplomacy.

About the Author
Rudina Hoxha is a professional journalist and freelance consultant based in Albania. With a background in journalism/public relations and entrepreneurship, Rudina is the Editor in chief of “FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA”, the only English-speaking magazine in Albania on business, tourism and art. This quarterly publication is a great medium for CEO-s CFO-s COO, Accounts Managers, Financial Manager, Managers, Owners, Entrepreneurs, Departmental Manager, foreign embassies in the country and various businesses. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language from University of Tirana, Faculty of Foreign Languages, and she was a H.J. Heinz Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. Since 2012, Rudina has been covering international press trips related to interesting issues for the Albanian media. She is a member of SEEMO, based in Vienna. She has been selected among the best 10 winners of 2013 Journalism Prize, WritingforCEE, awarded by the Austrian Press Agency.