Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, Reeves Memorial Library and Harlan Gallery will co-sponsor a photography exhibit titled “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust” now through November 30 in the University’s library. 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 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

The exhibit features photographs by the American photographer Norman Gershman and depicts Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. The motivation for the rescue was grounded in besa, a code of honor, literally meaning, “to keep a promise.” The exhibit is made possible by the Hebrew Union College (New York) Jewish Institute of Religion Museum.

“The story of Muslims saving Jews is a little known aspect of the Holocaust that has come to light in the past few years,” said Kaylor. “We hope that the campus community and others will view the portrait photographs and meaningful personal stories and realize the value of continuing historical research about the Holocaust.”

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today.” The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law and Hebrew University; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.