From October 10-November 30, Seton Hill University's National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE), Reeves Library and the Harlan Gallery will co-sponsor a photography exhibit titled “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust.”

Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims and means “to keep the promise.” It demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others. In Albania and Kosovo, Muslims sheltered not only Jews from their cities and villages but also thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis from other parts of Europe. An American, Norman H. Gershman, collected these moving stories and photographs.

Gershman’s collection, “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust,” is displayed in the halls of Reeves Library. When viewing the exhibit, there is an amazing quote from Aferdita Gyergjani, a righteous Albanian, that captures the essences of this exhibit, “Jews are God’s people like us.”

The black and white photographs of these heroes hang side-by-side. Each photo’s unique story is displayed below the print.

One amazing story came from King Leka I, son of the first Muslim king and queen of a European nation, King Zog and Queen Geraldine. During the Holocaust, Leka recalls how brilliant and determined his parents were. “They rescued over 100 Jews and their families from the Germans,” stated Leka. “They even took Jews from concentration camps.” These powerful stories show the pride the Albanians have for their fellow human and their willingness to save others, no matter the race.

A junior education major, Bethany Campbell, stated, “I was just casually passing by when I noticed the Besa exhibit. After reading one story, I continued to read the rest. There is such a heart-warming feeling after reading the amazing stories about these people. This exhibit shows their courage.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Library hours for fall 2011 are Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 10:50 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. - 4:50 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 4:50 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 10:50 p.m. The library will be open from 8 a.m. – 4:50 p.m. on November 22-23 and closed November 24-27. Docent tours are available upon request by contacting Wilda Kaylor, associate director, National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, by phone at 724-830-1033 or by e-mail at