Washington, D.C. – January 27, 2008 – Today, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) calls upon all Macedonians to remember and honor the Macedonian Jews who lost their lives in the Nazi extermination camps of World War II on this United Nations International Holocaust Victims Commemoration Day.
In March 1943, at the height of the war, Nazi Germany-allied Bulgaria, arrested all Macedonian Jews during Bulgaria’s occupation of Macedonia and interned over 7,000 Macedonian Jews at a transit camp in Skopje. From there, the Bulgarians delivered the Macedonians to the Nazis. By the end of March 1943, most of the Macedonian Jews, including women, the elderly and infirmed, infants, and young children were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where they were murdered in gas chambers.
Today, UMD applauds the efforts of the Republic of Macedonia which is undertaking the construction of a Holocaust Remembrance Center and Museum in the old Jewish quarter of Skopje, the first of its kind in the Balkans, and assisting the small Macedonian Jewish community, one of the oldest in Southeastern Europe and home to the first new synagogue constructed in the Balkans since World War II, with its efforts to maintain its presence and vitality in Macedonia.
UMD also takes this opportunity to urge the government of the Republic of Bulgaria to cease its refusal to compensate the families of those Macedonian Jews who fell victim to Bulgaria’s cooperation with Nazi Germany and to apologize for such cooperation. While Bulgarian Jews were spared the horrors of the Holocaust due to the efforts of Dimitar Peshev, the deputy speaker of Bulgaria’s parliament during the war, and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian government must still atone for Bulgaria’s complicity with Nazi Germany in Macedonia, Serbia, and Greece.
Once again, UMD calls upon all Macedonians to remember those Macedonian Jews who lost their lives and all other victims of the Holocaust today and to reaffirm their commitment to insuring that such atrocities are never repeated again.
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