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Reviewed by Luwi Nyakansaila for Readers' Favorite
Flower of Vlora by Anna Kohen is the author's memoir and tribute to the Albanians that saved her Romaniote Jewish community, one of the oldest European Jewish groups. The author is determined to help the Albanians get recognition for their help during the Holocaust. She narrates how she grew up in Vlora, Albanian, during the communist regime and how her family strived through the hardships and managed to preserve the Jewish customs and Traditions. Her family fled to Greece, and she was left to complete her dental studies, but later she reunited with them in the United States. Anna Kohen never forgot where she came from and helped a number of Jewish-Albanians relocate to the United States. She continues to show her appreciation for the Albanians through her various work and has earned her self-proclaimed honorary Albanian Citizenship.
Flower of Vlora is an emotional tale of the author's life growing up in communist Albania with a dash of comedy. I loved reading Anna Kohen's story. She graciously honors the Muslim-Albanian community that helped save her family during the toughest period in Jewish history and shares the lessons she learned at every stage of her life. I applaud her decision to write her story, not only for her grandchildren but for the world. Anna Kohen's story is inspirational, and I believe it can help people learn more about the Holocaust and achieve their dreams. Finally, I enjoyed reading about her father's comedic antics and strategies. They brought a lighter note to all the heavy and tense topics covered in the book.