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Besa: The Promise Film Festival Schedule

November 22, 2016 | By NEH Staff

During World War II, Albanian Muslims provided shelter for thousands of Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria. Invoking the ancient moral code of besa (a vow to care for anyone facing of danger), many people, including Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians in Albania sheltered, hid, and protected Jews from the occupying German troops. Besa: The Promise addresses the broad history of the rescues by following two characters affected by the experience: Rexhep Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian storekeeper, and Norman H. Gershman, a Jewish-American photographer. Toward the end of World War II, Hoxha's family had provided shelter to a Bulgarian Jewish family who left three Hebrew books behind when they fled to Palestine. The film focuses on Hoxha and Gershman's attempt to return these three books to their original Jewish owners, the Aladjem family, now living in Israel. The American, Norman Gershman, has taken photographic portraits of Albanian rescuers since 2002 while also documenting the oral reminiscence of these rescuers and the broader history of the time.

Director/Co-Producer: Rachel Goslins

Editor/Co-Producer: Christine Romero

2015-2017 Festival Schedule to date

Temple Israel

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Temple Israel

7 Pierce St, 

Greenfield, MA 01301


Congregation Ohev Shalom

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Congregation Ohev Shalom

613 Concourse Parkway South

Maitland, FL 32751


Temple Beth Elohim

Wednesday, February 1, 2016

Temple Beth Elohim

10 Bethel Road, 

Wellesley MA 02481


Oshman Family JCC

Sunday, February 5, 2016

Oshman Family JCC

Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life

3921 Fabian Way

Palo Alto, CA 94303


Woodlands Community Temple

March 19 & 20, 2016

More details TBA


Temple Sinai

Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Temple Sinai

50 Sewall Ave

Brookline, MA 02446

2015-2016 Festival Schedule to date

Bet Am Shalom Synagogue


Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Special Guest: Johanna Neumann (Holocaust survivor)

295 Soundview Ave

White Plains, NY 10606

Temple Hatikva

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 10 AM
Special Guests: Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Senator Jeffrey Klein
Bronx House
990 Pelham Parkway South
Bronx, NY 10461

DePaul University's Balkan American Club

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Astor Room

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Special Guest: Producer Jason Williams
The Astor Room
35-11 35th Ave
Queens, NY 11106

Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Yom Hashoah Commemoration
Taub Campus
411 East Clinton Ave
Tenafly, NJ 07670

 Lakeview High School

Monday, May 9, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Lakeview High School
15060 S. Helmer Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49015
Open to the public

 Jewish Heritage Museum

Monday, April 11, 2016

Harvard Hillel

Monday, April 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Special Guests: Jason Williams and Johanna Neumann

Science Center E

One Oxford Street

Cambridge, MA


Temple Beth Hatfilo

Sunday, May 1, 2016


New Brunswick Islamic Center

Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 8 PM

1330 Livingston Ave

North Brunswick, NJ 08902


University of Utretcht (Netherlands)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Austin Film Festival

Thursday, January 28, 2016

More information TBA

Menorah Film Club (Manchester, England)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More details TBA

Temple Israel

Saturday, February 7, 2016

More details TBA

Temple Beth Am

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Temple Beth Am

871 N Main St

Randolph, MA 02368

North Shore Jewish Center

Sunday, February 21, 2016

North Shore Jewish Center

385 Old Town Rd,

Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

More details TBA

Temple Beth Hatfiloh

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Temple Beth Hatfiloh

201 8th Ave SE

Olympia, WA 98501

Jewish Film Festival of Sarasota-Manatee

Monday, March 7; Wednesday, March 9; and Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

Klingenstein Jewish Center

580 McIntosh Road

Sarasota, FL 34232

University of Agder (Norway)
Friday, November 27, 2015
Gimlemoen 25, 4630 Kristiansand S, Norway

Jewish Arts & Film Festival

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 7:00 PM

1035 Newfield Avenue

Stamford, CT 06905-0326

Holocaust Memorial Center (Macedonia)

Friday, September 11, 2015

More details TBA

Or Shalom Film Society (Ontario, Canada)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Congregation Or Shalom

534 Huron Street

London Ontario CANADA N5Y 4J5

Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Center (Canada)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Menorah Film Club (Manchester, England)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Temple Israel

Saturday, February 7, 2016

Wimbledon Film Club

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

George Mason University

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2014 Festival Schedule to date

JW3 Jewish Community Centre London
Monday, November 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM
JW3 Howard Hall
341-351 Finchley Road,
London NW3 6ET
Special Guests: Remona Aly (The Guardian), Will Yong (Al Jazeera English) andSalman Siddiqui (MUJU)

Osher Marin Jewish Community Center
Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Presented alongside the exhibit of Norman Gershman's photography
Osher Marin Jewish Community Center
200 N San Pedro Rd
San Rafael, CA 94903

Center for Interfaith Cooperation
Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM
IUPUI Campus Center Theater
420 University Blvd

Reel Civil Rights Film Festival

September 21 - 25, 2014

More details TBA


Macalester College

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Macalaster College

1600 Grand Ave

St Paul, MN 55105


Albanian Film Festival

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:30 PM

SVA Theatre

333 West 23rd St,

New York, NY


Brisbane, Australia

October 11, 2014

More details TBA


Film Festival of Western Connecticut

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Utopia Film Festival

October 24 - 26, 2014

Greenbelt, MD

More details TBA

 George Mason University

November 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM

More details TBA

World Without Genocide
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7 PM
Reception starts at 5:30 PM
Part of the exhibit Besa: Albanian Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust
William Mitchell College of Law Gallery & Auditorium
875 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

Agudas Israel Synagogue
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Flat Rock Cinema
2700 Greenville Hwy
Flat Rock, NC 28731

Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County
Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 1 PM
Young Israel of East Brunswick
193 Dunhams Corner Road
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Jewish Federation of Reading
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Special Guest: Johanna Neumann, Holocaust survivor
Alvernia University
400 St Bernadine St
Reading, PA 19607

Center Street Cinema
April 25 & 26, 2014
Center Street Cinema
140 East Center Street
Clearfield, UT 84015

Nashville Film Festival

Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM &
Monday, April 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Betham Jewish Film Series
Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Congregation Beth Am, Beit Kehillah
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Angeles, CA 94022

New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
Sunday, April 6, 2014
760 Northfield Avenue
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

Detroit Holocaust Center
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7 PM
Holocaust Memorial Center
28123 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Geneva International Jewish Film Festival - Swiss Premiere
Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:45 PM
Maison Des Arts Du Grütli, Cinema 2
Rue du Général- Dufour 16
1204 Genève, Switzerland

Islamic Center of Boston
Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 7 PM
126 Boston Post Road
Wayland, MA 01778

Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 7 PM
Thursday, March 27 at 2 PM

Melbourne, Australia

Holocaust Film Series - Australian Premiere
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 7 PM
Sydney, Australia

Dallas Holocaust Museum
Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM and Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Dallas Holocaust Museum Theater
211 North Record Street
Dallas, TX 75202

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 1 PM
Mayerson JCC
8485 Ridge Road
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Greensboro Jewish Federation Film Festival
Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Jewish & Israeli Film Fest 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Kenwood Theater
7815 Kenwood Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

Metro Denver Baha'i Center
Saturday, February 8 at 7 PM
225 E. Bayaud Ave
Denver, CO 80209

Williamsburg Jewish Film Festival
Saturday and Sunday, January 25-26, 2014 at 6:45 pm and 8:30 pm
Kimball Theater
424 W Duke of Gloucester St
Williamsburg, VA 23185

Central Massachusetts Jewish Film Festival
Buy Tickets
Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Nortre Dame Academy, Worcester Cuvilly Auditorium
425 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609

Edinburgh Filmhouse Holocaust Memorial
More info
Monday, January 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm
Filmhouse Theater
88 Lothian Road

Bristol Multifaith Forum's Holocaust Memorial
More info
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Junction 3 Library
United Kingdom

2013 Festival Schedule to date

Bucharest Jewish Film Festival

October 20 - 24

National Museum of Romanian Peasant - Horia Bernea Hall

The French Institute - Elvira Popescu Cinema Studio

More info

The UK Jewish Film Festival - United Kingdom Premiere

Sunday, November 17 at 2:30 PM Special Guest: Jason Williams, film producer

Tricycle Cinema
269 Kilburn High Road
London NW6 7JR
020 7328 1000


Jewish Eye Film Festival

Tuesday, October 8 at 7 PM

International Convention Center, Hall B

Ashkelon Academic College: 08-6789246

Ashkelon, Israel

More information

The Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

Tuesday, October 29 at 3:30 PM

Special guests: Norman Gershman, photographer and Majlinda Myrto, Albanian-American Muslim whose family members are recognized as “Righteous Gentiles”

Sunday, November 3 at 7 PM

Special Guests: Johanna Neumann, Holocaust survivor rescued by Albanian Muslims, and Jason Williams, film producer

Regal Cinema A

1000 Corporate Ct

South Plainfield, NJ 07080


Jewish Cultural Society at Florida Atlantic University

Sunday, November 3 at 3 PM

Special Guest: Johanna Neumann, Holocaust survivor rescued by Albanian Muslims

Lifelong Learning Center

Florida Atlantic University

777 Glades Road

Boca Raton, FL 33431-0992

The Holocaust Center of Florida

Sunday, November 3 at 12 PM

Enzian Theater

1300 South Orlando Avenue

Maitland, FL 32751


Dallas Jewish Film Festival

Sunday, September 8th at 2 PM

Zale Auditorium, Jewish Community Center of Dallas
7900 Northaven Rd
Dallas, TX 75230

Youngstown Jewish Film Festival

Sunday, October 6 at 1:30 PM

The Beecher Center
524 Wick Avenue
Youngstown, Ohio 44502

More info

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation,
in conjunction with Wisdom House Denver

Sunday, June 9 at 4 PM
Malone Theater at the Cable Center
2000 Buchtel Boulevard
Denver CO 80210

Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Sunday, April 14 at 1:00 pm
Alfond Auditorium, G36
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival
Tuesday, April 16th at 7 PM
Elms College
291 Springfield St. Chicopee, MA 01013

The Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival
Tuesday, April 16 at 5 PM
The Berman Center for the Performing Arts
6600 W. Maple Rd. West Bloomfield, MI
Birmingham Museum of Art
in partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Film Screening
Thursday, April 18th at 7 PM
2000 8th Ave N 
Birmingham, AL 35203
Norman H. Gershman's photography will be on display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute March 2 - June 30, 2013.

Edmonton Jewish Film Festival
Sunday, April 26 at 9 PM
Zeidler Hall, Citadel Theatre
9828 101A Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 3C6
The South Brunswick Public Library
Film Screening & Photography Exhibit
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Exhibit opens at 11 AM, film begins at 11:30 AM
110 Kingston Lane,
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
RSVP by April 22nd to Chris Carbone, Library Director
732-329-400, ext. 7287

South East European Film Festival
Sunday, May 5 at 7 PM
Museum of Tolerance
Simon Wiesenthal Plaza
9786 West Pico Blvd (southeast corner of Pico Boulevard and Roxbury Drive)
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Website:  (2013 information is not up on their website yet)

Monday, May 6 at 2 PM
The Michigan Theater
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI


Ann Katz Film Festival
Thursday, May 9 at 7 PM
Arthur M. Glick JCC
6701 Hoover Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46260



Eye Contact Foundation received a production grant for a 90-minute documentary on the history, culture, and beliefs of Albanian Muslims who worked to rescue Jewish refugees during World War II.