Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia

We had the privilege to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center in Skopje, Macedonia. It is a memorial to the 7,148 Jews from North Macedonia and the history of the Jewish people in the Balkans.  The Memorial Center is located in the Jewish Quarter of Skopje, which was the center of Jewish life in this city until the deportation of the Jewish population.

All of the Jewish people of the capital city of Skopje were rounded up and taken in train cars to Treblinka concentration [death] camp on March 23-25, 1943. We visited the museum on March 24, 2023, exactly 80 years after the events occurred. It was very sobering and each one in our group was silent as we each contemplated the events we were just learning about.

One of the train cars used to transport the Jewish people to their deaths.

Among the 7,215 people who were detained in warehouses before being transported to the Treblinka extermination camp were:

  • 539 children less than 3 years old,
  • 602 children age 3 to 10 years
  • 1172 children age 10 to 16 years
  • 865 people over 60 years old
  • 250 seriously ill persons (who were tied to their beds)
  • 4 pregnant women who gave birth while in the detention camp.
  • 4 people who had died upon arrival in the camp.

At the entrance to the museum, there are photos of some of the victims. One then enters a room where there are names engraved on stone rollers. There are 3 of these rolls, like the one pictured above.

You then proceed upstairs to learn about the history of the Jewish people. There is much information about the Jews of the Balkans, the Golden Age of Judaism in Spain, as well as during the Ottoman Empire and the Ladino. The Jewish people of the Balkans established a unique culture based on a common Language. Ladino manifested the three cultural and linguistic heritages of the Jewish community: Hebrew, Spanish and the languages of the Ottoman Empire. Ladino was spoken by Balkan Jews at home and by the Jewish people across the Ottoman Empire.

As in many European countries whose Jewish populations were annihilated, the communities in Macedonia had to wrestle with a paradox of the post-Holocaust world. “The absence of presence and the presence of absence. ” These are not my words, but those from the museum. To see the businesses and homes which were once full of life of Jewish people now either lay empty or were taken over [stolen] by others. Facing continued anti-semitism after the war, or just a knowledge or returning to nothing, many Jewish people of this area immigrated to Israel. This safe haven allowed many Jewish people the ability to start over in peace.

We were very grateful to be able to visit this museum and to learn about the experiences and fate of the Jewish people of Macedonia. They were truly a treasure that was lost.

4 thoughts on “Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia”

  1. my mind refuses to accept such Satanic actions against a people can be even thought of never mind executed! The days when Humanity stood still and Satan reigned!

    with tears and a heartache Ingrid

  2. Yo asiste al memorial en Washington DC, sea donde estén los museos recordatorios al holocausto Judío fue una obra del diablo, no hubo misericordia por nadie, todos fueron asesinados solo por ser Judios. Nuestro Señor Jesús hará un juicio con justicia verdadera contra esos ASESINOS sin conciencia ni hemos a Dios.

  3. Chukwuma Maurice

    With all these agonizing pain, we still have hope. Looking forward to the time when the Prince of this wickedness will be chained and all his allies facing judgement of God. Be courageous to the end brethren.

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