A statue honoring 23 Kosovo Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust was inaugurated on Wednesday in Pristina, AP reported.
The “Wall of Honor” monument was unveiled in a park in the Kosovar capital in the presence of some of the rescuers’ descendants, political leaders and the U.S. and German ambassadors.
Some 500 Jews lived in Kosovo, then part of the former Yugoslavia, at the time of the Nazi genocide. Many were arrested and deported to nearby prisons or German-managed camps, and almost half of them were killed.
Local Albanians helped many Jews to escape, usually taking them to neighboring Albania, according to AP.
The statue shows that “the remembrance of those who risked their lives to save their fellow human beings is a tradition that commemorates a rare, bright light in one of the darkest periods of human history,” said Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Wednesday.
Today, some 50 Jews live in the western Kosovar town of Prizren.
Kosovo, a landlocked country of 1.95 million north of Greece, declared independence on Feb. 17, 2008.
Kosovo is a former Serbian province and not recognized as a state by Belgrade and its major allies Russia and China. Kosovo and Serbia were locked in a bitter war between 1998 and 1999.
Kosovo is more than 90% ethnic Albanian, with a Sunni Muslim majority and Christian minority.
Israel established diplomatic relations with Pristina in 2020. With the initiation of relations, Kosovo became the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.