The Albanian Code

A documentary about the little known saga of saving Jewish refugees in Albania during WW2. The film will focus on the incredible stories of bravery and humanity extended by the Albanians (mostly Muslims) to the homeless persecuted Jews who escaped to Albania.  It is a unique chapter in the history of the Holocaust.


In Albania not only the individual people stretched a helping hand but also the local Albanian government set an example for the public by not collaborating with the Nazis. As Albania was sealed to the world since the end of WW2, by the communist dictator Enver Hoxa, only in the last generation the stories started to pop up. Most of the rescuers are not alive but their children still remember, most of them in their late 80’s.Therefore this is the last moment to have both saviors and saved people , those who still remember, documented for posterity and for the legacy of the just among the nations.

Enni who is now 80 years old and was saved in Albania with her family is going back with her 2 daughters to look for the people who saved them. She will not find the saviours themselves, but she will meet their children.

Director’s Statement

My background as historian and filmmaker dictates my artistic approach. It combines moving human scenes with dramatic historical moments, thus creating the layout for human touch and philosophical thinking about history.

The film narrative expands from Ennie’s journey to meet and thank her rescuers, to a much broader picture of both those who were in power and the ordinary people who stretched a hand to help the refugees. Thus we not only get Ennie’s personal moving story, but also an overall picture of the implementation of the Albanian Code. Prof. Shaban Sinani, a notorious Albanian historian who specializes in our topic, provides the historical context.

The aesthetic dimension of the film is very important to me. Therefore, I have tried to use a variety of means: high quality photography in 4k format, 2 cameras for interviews, a multicopter drone for aerial shots, and an osmo mobile for travelling shots.

The film includes a few dramatized scenes, reconstructing scenes from the past. Archival footage as well as photographs from family albums will be integrated into the film. We also got permission to use a segment of the Albanian feature film General Bunker, directed by Kujtim Cashku. The name of the film will be written on the geographical map of Albania with the neighboring countries around it and the places where Jewish refugees where hiding.

In my view, music is an integral part of the film. Therefore, I asked the famous Israeli composer, Muni Amarillio, who was saved in Albania during the war, to compose the major themes for the film. As Enni was a little girl when she was saved, we also intend to use authentic Albanian children’s melodies.


Yael Katzir

Yael Katzir