The History of the Jewish Community

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In early December 1944, right after the end of the war, the surviving Jews decided to continue the long tradition of Jewish communities in Macedonia and to renew the Jewish Community in Skopje. On December 26, 1944, the first Macedonian-Jewish Liberation Committee was established in Skopje, which decided to set up a Macedonian Jewish Community within the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia. In early 1945, the Jewish Community in Bitola was also renewed. Josef Kamhi, who later immigrated to Israel, was elected the first and last president of the community. Despite the substantial support provided by the communities in Skopje and Belgrade, the Community ceased to exist two years later due to the emigration of many of its members.

Gjorgji Blaer was elected the first president of the Community in Skopje. In 1946, the community consisted of 471 members, a quarter of them originating from other parts of Yugoslavia. During the postwar period, the Community’s work was concentrated on renewing Jewish life and providing social aid to those who needed it. All the surviving Jews were registered, a kitchen and a small library were established. With the establishment of the State of Israel, many Jews immigrated to the new homeland and the Community’s membership slowly began to decrease. Others moved to the USA and South America.

The community was located in the old Jewish neighborhood at 370 Street no.7 under the Kale Fortress. The communal building was partly damaged in the disastrous Skopje earthquake of 1963. In 1964, the damage was repaired and the community was named after Doctor Albert Weiss. The new building was constructed in 1975 on Borka Taleski Street, where it remains today.

In 1991, after Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia, the Jewish Community separated from the Federation and continued functioning independently. Today, it is the only Jewish community in Macedonia, consisting of 250 members, most of them Sephardic Jews. The members participate in different events, such as March 11 and the European Day of Jewish Culture, aimed at preserving Jewish culture, traditions and values.

Members of the Jewish Community who survived the war have substantially contributed to the building of a democratic Republic of Macedonia.

 
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