Macedonia’s tiny Jewish population proudly showed off its new permanent exhibition at the country’s Holocaust Memorial Center this week, on the 75th anniversary of their ancestors’ deportation.
American senators and ambassadors joined dignitaries from across Europe at the opening of the exhibition, which tells the tale of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities, 98 percent of whom were sent to Treblinka.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was among those attending the ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Macedonia, which include a ceremony at the Parliament.
“Telling the Macedonian story is an opportunity to reinforce to the world how quickly enormous populations can be wiped from the face of the earth, with their contributions gone forever,” said principal architect Dr. Michael Berenbaum, of Berenbaum Jacobs Associates.
Although the museum opened in 2011, it has been largely empty until now, and VIPs applauded how the museum – located in the capital, Skopje – tells the story of Macedonian Jewry beginning two millennia ago, including the growth of the community who came as a haven from the Spanish Inquisition.
The story of the deportation of the Jews from Macedonia is unique in that occupying power Bulgaria expelled Jews from their homes, ghettoised them in a tobacco factory in Skopje then deported them to Treblinka, only after hesitating to deport their own Jews from Bulgaria.
Experts say 98 percent of the Macedonian Jews were killed in Treblinka. Those who survived were either hidden by non-Jewish Macedonians, released from the factory because they were physicians and pharmacists or foreign nationals of Axis or neutral countries, or to become partisan fighters.
“Macedonia itself has emerged out of regional conflicts that had developed over many generations,” said Edward Jacobs, principal of BJA.
“The museum will provide Macedonians, Jew and Gentile alike, the opportunity to see themselves in a historical context with all the related moral decisions we are confronted with.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.