75th anniversary of fYROMacedonian Jews’ Holocaust

75th anniversary of fYROMacedonian Jews’ Holocaust

The 75th anniversary from the Holocaust of the fYROMacedonian Jews in World War II was observed Monday in Skopje. Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Boyko Borissov, who is the first Bulgarian Prime Minister to participate in anniversary commemorations from the deportation of fYROMacedonian Jews, laid wreaths at the monument to the Jews.

“75 years ago, this area was used for committing great crime against our fellow citizens. Their greatest offense was their existence, culture, tradition, their community and for this they were punished with the heaviest punishment and prematurely separated from their loved ones, from their country, from their lives, Zaev said, emphasizing that “history is repeated only to those who remain blind to the past.”

He pointed out that the fYROMacedonian people are united in the condemnation and the memory of the deportation of their fellow citizens in Treblinka death camp. Today we repeat lessons from the past to strongly illuminate the road-map for the future, which we jointly chose. Hatred is not our choice, Zaev said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in his remarks at commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the deportation of fYROMacedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp said that the Nazis who were here did cruel things to living human beings. Certainly, we are very sorry, and we are here today, because every human being who was sent to be burnt in the death camps should not be forgotten.

He reminded that 20 years ago also crude and bloody events happened in the Balkans. He urged victims not to be forgotten, and politicians must not allow same mistakes to be made again.

“If, God forbid, we allow similar events to happen again, then we are stupid. We the current politicians have responsibility. We have not forgotten them and that’s why we came together with the Macedonian people to express sorrow for all victims not being able to be saved from the Nazi machine,” Borissov emphasized.

He pointed out that commemoration was held in Sofia in one of the largest synagogues in Europe with the representatives of the Jewish community and other guests whereat they expressed deep respect to Bulgarian people, church, intellectuals who succeeded to save 48,000 Jews in those perhaps toughest times and for that reason Bulgarian people deserve great respect.

Earlier, Zaev and Borissov took part in the ‘March of the Living’ which started in front of the Museum of the City of Skopje and ended at the tobacco warehouse which in 1943 was used as the location from which the 7,144 Jews were deported to Treblinka death camp in occupied Poland. Representatives from the Government, Parliament, the Jewish community in the Republic of fYROMacedonia, foreign guests and delegations also paid tribute and laid flowers in front of the monument of deported Jews.

Sunday’s commemorative program started in Bitola, Stip and Skopje.

On 11 March 1943 fYROMacedonian Jews were imprisoned in a provisional transit camp established in the government tobacco warehouses in Skopje. Over three days, 22, 25 and 29 March 1943, 7,144 Jews, i.e. 98 percent of the Jewish population in fYROMacedonia, were deported to the Treblinka death camp in occupied Poland.

The Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of fYROMacedonia opened in March 2011. Its construction was financed by the Holocaust Fund of Jews in fYROMacedonia. In 2008, a fYROMacedonian delegation put a plaque reading “Macedonia” in Treblinka death camp, in memory of the deported fYROMacedonian Jews…./IBNA

Photos: Boris Grdanoski