Elbasan, Albania — For a year during World War II, a teenage Nijazi Bicaku helped his father protect 26 Jews from the Nazis.
He led the Jews to a clearing in the forest an hour away from the family home, made a simple hut for them, brought them food every day. And he told nobody what he was doing.
“No one else knew,” says Bicaku, now 77, a one-time shepherd. “It was our secret.”
Elbasan, Albania — Maybe I should have picked another city or a different group of students.
I was teaching English to a classroom of Kosovar refugees at a refugee camp in Albania a couple of weeks ago. Introductory stuff. “Hello.” “My name is …” “How are you?”
For one’s day unit — a pretentious description for a seat-of-the-pants curriculum — I had my score of students perform drills asking and answering “Where are you from?”
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
A longstanding power struggle between Iran’s top leaders crystallized this week over the legal system that will decide the fate of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel and America.
Offering the first specifics on the case against them, Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that the 13 were arrested “on charges of illegally gathering secret information, including military information, and handing it over to foreigners.”
Polish and American Jewish leaders say last week’s “Mr. Pope” incident between Poland’s chief rabbi and Pope John Paul II has damaged Jewish-Catholic relations in Poland, and could undermine negotiations involving the controversial Auschwitz cross.
And adding to the Auschwitz cross controversy is Riverdale Rabbi Avi Weiss, who on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington for violating his First Amendment rights by barring him from speaking at this week’s biannual board meeting.
Elbasan, Albania — Visar Hyseni shares space with three members of his immediate family, 22 distant relatives and displaced residents of Kosovo, as well as piles of pots, pans and blankets, in a room here the size of a modest college dorm.
Each morning he walks around the garden outside the former Albanian army officers club. In the afternoon, a little volley ball, at an impromptu net on the front lawn.
Jewish leaders for weeks have quietly urged European leaders, businessmen, humanitarian groups and United Nations diplomats to press Iran to release 13 Jews arrested 10 weeks ago. Perhaps in response, Iran publicly announced their arrests Monday and said they had been charged with spying for Israel and the United States.