"Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust"

Photographer Norman Gershman sheds some light on an often overlooked bit of history

In "Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust," Norman Gershman's soulful black-and-white photography and first-hand oral history illuminate a part of the Holocaust that, until recently, went unexplored. The title comes from the response Gershman received when he asked Albanian Muslims why they risked their lives to save Jewish refugees. Besa, which translates as "to keep the promise," refers to the Albanian code of honor that compelled Gershman's subjects to refuse Nazi orders to turn over Jews.

"Entire communities would come together and rescue people," says Marci Dallas, the curator in charge of the exhibit for Holocaust Museum Houston. "And a lot of these stories are being told for the first time." This heroism, documented in Gershman's work and displayed at places like the U.N. headquarters and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, went unheralded thanks to Albania's cultural isolation during the Cold War. There's an opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 16. Regular viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org. Free.
Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: July 16. Continues through Feb. 7, 2009

 
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