Beqir Qoqja

FYI: In Albanian, Q is pronounced like the CH in “churn,” and J is pronounced like a Y.


Beqir Qoqja

Beqir Qoqja (born 1914), Copyright, Use consistent with fair use doctrine

Going into the planning for my theme last year, I knew it would be easiest to look among Albanian Righteous Among the Nations for Q and X names. Sure, if I’d looked hard enough, I might’ve found someone with a forename like Quentin or a surname like Quadrozzi, but from what little I know about Albanian names and language, I knew Q and X names would be really easy to find.

Beqir Qoqja owned a tailor shop in Tirana. Through a friend, he met Avram Eliasaf Gani, who’d moved from Vlorë in the wake of the Italian occupation. Beqir and Avram became very good friends, in keeping with Albania’s long tradition of almost zero anti-Semitism.

In September 1943, after the Italian-controlled areas fell under German occupation, Avram and his brother rented a place on Tirana’s outskirts, where they believed they’d be safe. However, on his way home one day, Avram was informed his brother and two other Jews had been arrested. Avram went to Beqir’s shop immediately and begged for help.

Tirana’s Sheshi Skënderbej (Skënderbej Square), Et’hem Bey Mosque to the right of the horse, Copyright AltynAsyr

Beqir thought nothing of taking Avram into his home, where he lived with a wife and five children. After a danger-fraught month, Beqir gave Avram traditional local farmer’s clothes and took him to the nearby village of Mukja. Here, one of Beqir’s friends sheltered Avram, and Beqir sent food and other supplies every week.

Five months later, after the Germans left, Avram returned to Beqir’s home, and then went back to Vlorë. They remained friends, and in 1991, Avram and his family made aliyah (moved to Israel).

On 6 July 1992, Beqir was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations.


12 comments on “Beqir Qoqja

  1. It’s so nice to see a friendship survive such hardship.
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)


  2. tara tyler says:

    i can’t believe this is my first time over here! the month has flown!

    i’m so impressed with your intricate theme and all the research you must’ve done. how wonderful of you to honor these heroes, these brave souls who stood up for what is right, risking reputation, their own rights, and some even their lives.

    And i’ve learned some great names too. excellent job! (i wouldn’t expect any less) thanks for the important lessons


  3. Long time before he was able to return to Israel.
    You did good finding a Q name.


  4. Nick Wilford says:

    What a lovely story. It’s these personal stories of friendship in the face of danger that restore the faith in humanity.


  5. Tarkabarka says:

    A really good friends saves your life without thinking twice 🙂 Heartwarming story.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
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  6. the little princess says:

    What we wouldn’t do to have such a friend! and that name is so exotic….so I would pronounce that as “choya”?


  7. jmh says:

    What a beautiful story. We hear so much about the evil that occurred during the Holocaust that we tend to forget about all the heroes.


  8. I love reading about these acts of kindness in the face of danger. This was an ugly time in history, but there were people who stepped up to do the right thing.


  9. A good, honest man, helping a friend – I am glad they stayed friends too 🙂
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
    Wittegen Press


  10. Those kinds of stories are what give me hope for this world. Beautiful.
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  11. beqir qoqja says:

    I am proud for him 🙂


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