New Library exhibit shares story of hope in divided times

During a time when many are divided by their differences, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Holocaust & Humanity Center, and Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati seek to unite and transform conversation through a new exhibit: Besa: A Code of Honor, Muslim Albanians Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust. This little-known story of hope will be on display Sept. 5–Nov. 13 at the Main Library.

"Besa" is an Albanian term which highlights the belief that when we work together, we can make an impact on our community. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Mordecai Paldiel and features photographs taken by the American photographer Norman Gershman. Together Paldiel and Gershman showcase personal rescue stories of Muslim-Albanian families who saved Jews during the Holocaust. The families featured in the exhibit were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. 

There is a special workshop featuring Paldiel for educators 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. During the workshop, educators can learn how one small Muslim- Albanian community went out of their way to save Jewish lives during World War II, view the exhibit before its open to the public and earn two contract hour credits (three if also attending a public program).

Following the workshop, during an opening reception, Dr. Paldiel is speaking about the significance of documenting the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust and the importance of honoring these rescuers as role models for outstanding human behavior. The opening reception is 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The workshop is free and open to all educators, however registration is required. Register online, call 513-487-3055 or e-mail Jodi Elowitz at    

Registration is not required for the exhibit or opening reception.

For details, visit or call 513-369-6900.