Jews in Albania[Jewish refugees from Southern Europe in Albania under Muslim rule - anti-Jewish sultan Ali Pasha - WW I and Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany in 1939]
Jewish refugees coming to Albania from Southern Europe and from Austria and Germany - World War II with deportations - Jews without rabbis since 1945
from: Albania; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 2
<ALBANIA, Balkan state (bordering Yugoslavia and Greece) on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea; from 1478 to 1913 under the sovereignty of Turkey.
*Benjamin of Tudela heard of people living in the region, evidently Wallachains, toward the end of the 12th century:
"They are not strong in the faith of the Nazarenes and call each other by Jewish names, and some say that they are Jews."
Jewish settlements were founded at the beginning of the 16th century in the Albanian seaports by exiles from Spain, who were joined by refugees from other areas. There were sizable trading communities at Berat, Durazzo, Elbassan, and Valona: here there were Castilian, Catalonian, Sicilian, Portuguese, and Apulian synagogues. (col. 522)
In 1673 Shabbetai Ẓevi was exiled by the sultan to Albania, dying in Dulcigro. In 1685, during the Turkish-Venetian war, members of the Valona community fled to Berat. Those who remained were taken prisoner, including Nehemia *Hayon.
Between 1788 and 1822 Jews suffered from the extortions of Ali Pasha. The Jewish minorities were acused of collaborating to suppress the rebels during the Albanian revolt in 1911.
After World War I only a small number of Jews were living in Albania, in Koritsa (1927). Accorind to a 1930 census, there were 204 Jewish inhabitants in Albania. The Albanian community was granted official recognition on April 2, 1937. In 1939, some families from Austria and Germany took refuge in Tirana and Durazzo.
The Holocaust Period.
The Jews were unharmed by the German invasion which took place in the summer of 1943, ending in the summer of 1944.
: An agreement made between the Germans and Italians brought parts of Yugoslavia under Albanian control. Many Jews from Serbia and Croatia fled to this annexed territory. These refugees were well treated by the local population and by the Italian occupying forces. Some of them were placed in a transit camp in Kavaja, and from there sent to Italy. The Italians submitted, however, to a German demand to hand over the Jewish refugees in the Pristina prison in the Yugoslav annexed territory. These refugees were shipped to Belgrade and put to death. Following Italy's surrender, in September 1943, the Nazis [[and their collaborators]]took over control of the annexed Yugoslav territory.
In April 1944, 300 Jews were imprisoned in Pristina and others joined them later. A shipment of 400 Jews was sent to *Bergen Belsen, and only about 100 of them survived. [[Probably the victims suffered in the tunnel systems]].
In 1969 there were about 200 Jews in Tirana, mostly Sephardim. There were also some Jews in Scutari and Valona. They had no communal organization, no rabbis, and no Jewish educational facilities. There appears to have been no discrimination or persecution since the end of World War II.
-- G. Scholem, in: Zion, 17 (1952), 79 83
-- Scholem Shabbetai Ẓevi, 2 (1957), 787 90 (col. 523)
-- Bernstein, in: Jewish Daily Bulletin (April 17 18, 1943) (col. 523-524)
-- A. Milano: Storia degli Ebrei italiani nel Levante (1949), 63 66
-- J. Starr: Romania... (Eng., 1949), 65. 81 83> (col. 524)>
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Albania, Vol. 2, col. 522
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Albania, Vol. 2, col. 523-524
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Albania, Vol. 2, col. 523, map of Albania with the cities known to have had Jewish inhabitants: in the 15th century: Durazzo, Berat, and Valona; in modern times Scutari, Durazzo, Tirana, Elbasan, Koritsa, Valona, and Argyrokastron
Ḥ Ẓ ā ḥ ī ṣ ṭ ū ẓ