Stories of Holocaust Survivors from Albania and Southeastern Europe

The Hidai “Eddie” Bregu Lectures in Albanian Studies in cooperation with the Albanian-American Associations in Chicagoland is honored to welcome Anna Kohen to present her new book “Flower of Vlora: Growing up Jewish in Communist Albania."
Join us for this special event when Dr. Anna Kohen, a Romaniote Jew with roots in Ioannina (Greece), will tell the fascinating story of how her family was saved from the Nazis by Muslim Albanians during the darkest hours of European history in WWII. Her new book has been widely acclaimed in Israel, Greece, Albania, Kosova, and the United States.
Covering the years 1938 through the present, Flower of Vlora is a funny and tense account of Anna Kohen’s Romaniote-Jewish family in Albania and how they were saved from the Nazis. Arriving in picturesque Vlora, Albania, her family joined a small, Greek-speaking Romaniote-Jewish community of merchants just before WWII. They sold fabrics and had dye works. During WWII, they sheltered with Muslim families as they hid from the Nazis, taking on Muslim names and pretending to be Muslim. Her family who remained in Greece were all murdered in death camps. Flower of Vlora then focuses on the Romaniote traditions of Dr. Kohen’s family, which they had to celebrate in secret because of the Albanian dictatorship’s repression of religion. Rendered stateless since they did not have any documents and would not join the Communist Party, the family had a bold scheme to leave Albania for the West, right under the eyes of the secret police.

The story of the Holocaust in the Balkans, particularly in Albania, is still very little known even to scholars. This is an excellent opportunity to listen to powerful personal stories of Holocaust survivors in Albania – a multireligious country where there were more Jews after WWII than before. From 1937-1944, thousands of European Jewish refugees from Western and Eastern Europe traveled to Albania, the poorest country in Europe, seeking shelter and protection against the Nazi persecution and the extermination camps.  All of them were saved thanks to the protection provided by the local authorities and the population, Muslims, and Christians alike.  

Autographed copies of Anna Kohen’s book will be available for free thanks to the generosity of the Albanian American Associations in Chicagoland. 

The event will take place on Saturday, March 18th, from 4-7 PM in SAC 154

Refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP to 

Saturday, March 18 at 4:00pm to 7:00pm

DePaul University Linconl Campus, SAC154 2320 N Kenmore Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

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