AJC Praises Macedonia for Historic Holocaust Restitution Accord

Source: American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK , Dec. 28 — The American Jewish Committee praised Macedonia for concluding an agreement with the country’s Jewish community that resolves all outstanding claims for Holocaust-era communal and heirless private property.

“This historic agreement closes an extraordinarily painful chapter for the remnant Jewish community of Macedonia ,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s director of international Jewish affairs. He has visited Skopje regularly and played a pivotal role in the negotiations.

Under the agreement, Macedonia will allocate 17 million Euros (about 25 million U.S. dollars) for the completion and initial operational expenses of the Jewish Memorial Center now under construction in the capital city of Skopje . The center, which is located on restituted former Jewish property, will serve as a memorial and museum that recounts the story of the Holocaust in Macedonia , and also will provide facilities for cultural and communal programs.

AJC has maintained a long and close relationship with the small, but vibrant, Jewish community in Skopje . The restitution issue has frequently been addressed in meetings between AJC officials and Macedonia ‘s leaders, most recently with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in October and with Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki earlier this month.

In 2002, the Macedonian government resolved outstanding Jewish communal property claims. With this new agreement, Macedonia is one of only a few countries that has settled all claims against heirless Jewish properties. More than 7,000 Macedonian J More than 7,000 Macedonian Jews, representing nearly 95 percent of the community, were murdered during the Holocaust.

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