Two new museums dedicated to the history and culture of Albania’s Jewish community — one in the capital Tirana and the other in Vlorë — will open in 2024, it was announced this week, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“These museums will be a testament to the unique relationship between Albanians and Jews,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama stated. “During the Holocaust, when most of Europe was turning its back on Jews, Albania was a safe haven. Albanians risked their lives to protect their Jewish neighbors, and these museums will honor their courage and sacrifice.”
“These museums will be a valuable resource for students, scholars, and anyone interested in learning more about the history of the Jewish community in Albania,” Prime Minister Rama added. “They will also be a reminder of the importance of tolerance and respect for all people, regardless of their religion or ethnicity.”
The museums are being funded by the Albanian government and private donors.
The Tirana museum will be located in the old Jewish Community Center and the Vlorë museum in the city’s historic Old Town synagogue.
Albania hosted the virtual 2020 Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism, and a follow-up in-person summit is set to take place later this year in Tirana.
The Albanian Parliament’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism coincided with the 2020 event.
Prime Minister Rama also spoke at the Combat Antisemitism Movement’s Jerusalem Leadership Dinner last October.
In his address, he said, “It is vital for us to be aligned in the fight against antisemitism. To my mind, the biggest dangers we face are not from vandals in a Jewish cemetery, which exposes them as barbaric, but from those who look rational and rationalize antisemitism. The antisemitism that emerged from the British Labour Party a few years ago worried me more than when I hear about the vandalism of a synagogue.”