Shalom Life | April 19, 2015

Holocaust Memorial Centre Opened in Macedonia

Centre to honour the 7,148 Macedonian Jews who lost their lives during WWII.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: March 11th, 2011 in News » World

Holocaust Memorial Centre Opened in Macedonia

A memorial centre commemorating Macedonian Jews, who were victims of the Holocaust, was opened on Thursday in Skopje.

The $23 million centre, comprised of a museum, arts centre, and hotel, was built in honour of the 7, 148 Macedonian Jews who lost their lives in the Treblinka concentration camp in Poland during World War II.

"The tragedy of the Jews of Macedonia during the Holocaust is a particularly painful one, even when placed amidst the many other horrific accounts of deportation and murder. "Uprooted by Bulgarian gendarmes from their homes virtually overnight, their assets seized, they were handed over to the Nazis who took them overland and by ship to Treblinka and near certain and immediate death," said Rabbi Andrew Baker, of the American Jewish Committee, who played an integral role in planning the Centre.

Macedonian president George Ivanov attended the inauguration ceremony, in addition to the presidents of Albania and Montenegro, and Moshe Ya’alon, who serves as Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.

Three urns were carried by soldiers who marched through the streets of Skopje, containing the ashes of Macedonian Holocaust victims. The urns were later laid to rest in the Holocaust Memorial Centre.

With a population of slightly over 2 million people, only en estimated 200 Jews reside in Macedonia today.

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