Attitude of Collaborative Governments in Defense of the Jews during the War

Monika Stafa


The Albanian traditional historiography, to the extent it dealt with the question of rescuing the Jews in Albania, sustained an almost folk explication that everything happened owing to the Albanian traditional hospitality, faith and generosity. This view is also embedded in the studies of the foreigners. The Albanian virtue as a popular quality in front of a racial philosophical doctrine elaborated in an almost mathematical way, namely the Hitlerian doctrine of the “final solution”, does not suffice. During 1938 and 1939 the Italian diplomatic and consular service in Tirana, found it sufficient to just convey notifications to their center regarding the movement of the Jews in Albania without proposing any measures. Anagrama model 23, was a questionnaire of racist character applied in Italy for years. Despite being called “the filing-card of the foreigner”, actually it served to set the Jews separately, because all its columns were intended to conceal the fundamental question: “What is your race?” which contained two optional responses: “ariana” or “ebraica”. But in occupied Albania, certain laws tried to be adapted by the legislation of fascist Italy. Therefore, in conclusion we would say that it was fascist Italy which decided not to impose an anti-Semitic legislation on Albania, either the same with or similar to the one in force in Rome. Meanwhile, the Albanian government as a non independent subject on its part, could not react independently versus such an important question as “the preparation of Jews’ lists in Albania”. Certainly, assertion of the merits of collaborative governments in defense of the Jews does not justify other actions committed by them, but it merely enables a balanced historiographical analysis. This in no way overshadows the merits of the Albanian people, nor the values of their tradition, faith and hospitality, but it makes the war reality reliable. The people were willing to provide the Jews with shelter and food, false name and clothing. Meanwhile, the question of Jews’ lists depended on those who governed and it is for their merit that these lists were never handed over to Reich authorities.

Keywords: Albanian government, Jews, King Zog,  Xhafer Deva, Nazi authorities, Albanian people,  the Wansee Conference, etc.

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