Commemorative event took place today in the Macedonian National Theater on the occasion of commemoration of the 76 years of deportation of 7,144 Macedonian Jews, including official opening of a museum exhibition in the Holocaust Memorial Center in Skopje.
The official event included addresses by Mr.Zoran Zaev, President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia; Mr.Zeev Elkin, Minister for Jerusalem and Minister for Protection of the Environment of Israel; Mr.Robert Singer, Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress; Mr.Rabi Andrew Baker, Director for International Relations in the American Jewish Committee, personal representative of the Chair person in OSCE in the Office for Combating Anti-Semitism, President of the International Advisory Board in the Holocaust Fund; Mrs. Berta Romano-Nikolic, President of the Jewish Community.
The President of the Government, Mr.Zoran Zaev, emphasized the following:
– I also feel anger for the anti-Semitism that has not been defeated in the world. We must defeat the hate. Let’s defeat the hate before it defeats the democracy – said Mr.Zaev who also emphasized the importance of the Jewish community in the country.
The President of the Jewish Community, Mrs.Berta Romano-Nikolic draw a parallel line in her speech between the Macedonians and Jews, saying they are small but persistent nations.
– The Macedonian and Jewish people are small in numbers but persistent, experiencing together the unprecedented size of their past, suffering together for thousands of years, but they never lost they national awareness and their spirit – said Mrs.Romano-Nikolic.
The Chief Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress, Mr.Rober Singer, emphasized that his visit to Macedonia follows from the visit to Bulgaria, and that he is happy for the fact that that country is finally starting to face with this tragic chapter in its history and to recognize its responsibility.
– The story of the destruction and revival of Macedonian Jewry especially uplifting, all the more so, because unlike the situation is so many other parts of Europe, anti-Semitism has made virtually no traction – emphasized Mr.Singer.
The Rabi Andrew Baker said that each of have the obligation to remember.
– Seventy-six years ago, Bulgarian gendarmes herded 7,144 Macedonian Jews to their deaths. No one stood up to defend them and to prevent their deportation. The brave voices in neighboring Bulgaria did not come soon enough and were not loud enough to help here – said Mr.Baker.
The Minister Zeev Elkin pointed out that we all have obligation to make sure that something like this never repeats again.
– This memory, and not coincidentally, also connects our two countries and our two peoples. Some of the few Macedonian Jews who managed to survive in this hell found their way to the Land of Israel after the war and were partners in the establishment of the Jewish state, – said in his speech Mr.Elkin.
The event included the official introduction of the exhibition, created by Mr.Michael Berenbaum. This permanent exhibition can be already seen in the Holocaust Memorial Center in Skopje.