Sunday, February 20th, 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Acts of Loving Kindness during the Holocaust: Unknown Stories from Malta and Corsica

Gimilut Chasadim


The class examines factors that determined the Holocaust victims’ destiny in both locations: What was the history of the Jews in the area? What degree of control was exercised by the Nazis? And – very importantly – how and why did the locals behave toward the Jews? These issues are extensively discussed within the historic content of each area. The Maltese Jewish narrative manifests a spellbinding trajectory still under-the-radar for most historians: from Israelites sailing there with Phoenicians three thousand years ago, to the first Jewish traveler, the Biblical Paul, arriving in Malta in the first century CE, through the dark times of Jewish slavery during the Knights of St. John’s rule in the 16th century, to today’s blossoming Jewish community. Likewise, the Jewish story of Corsica is not well known, and many are surprised to hear that the island has any to reveal. However, in 1763, Corsica was the first modern country to proclaim social and political equality for the Jews: 27 years ahead of the US and 28 years ahead of France. The class concludes with the Lessons Learned from the “acts of loving kindness” and Jewish stories in Malta, Corsica, a suggested reading lists, and Q&A.

Irene Shaland


Irene Shaland, the author of “The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories” and “Shaland’s Jewish Travel Guide to Malta and Corsica,” is an internationally published art and travel writer, Jewish historian, and educator. Irene’s research, publications, and lectures are focused on the multiple issues illuminating diaspora identity, the rich tapestry of global Jewish experiences, culture, and heritage. Irene also writes and presents on the global response to the Holocaust. She is a regular presenter at such organizations as the Anti-Defamation League, Hidden Child Foundation, NAHOS, New York Center for Jewish History Research, New City New York Library, Museum of Jewish Heritage of New York, Holocaust Resource Center of New Jersey, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage of Cleveland, among others.