March 11 Commemoration

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Each year on March 11, the Jewish Community commemorates the deportation of the Macedonian Jews. On March 11, 1943, the Jews from Bitola, Stip and Skopje were taken from their homes, brought to Monopol, a temporary concentration camp, and sent to the Treblinka death camp. 7 200 Jews (98% of the total Jewish population) lost their lives right after their arrival in Treblinka.

Every year the Jewish Community commemorates this day with different activities. Since 1946, a delegation from the community has visited the places of deportation – the cities of Bitola, Stip and Skopje.

In Stip, the municipality and the mayor organise a visit to the Monument of the Jews – victims of the fascist terror. Citizens of Stip, particularly fellow citizens and close friends of the deported Jews, lay wreaths and recall life in the Jewish neighbourhood by commemorative speeches. Then, the mayor of the municipality welcomes the guests at a reception in the City Hall.

In Bitola, the Community delegation, accompanied by the mayor of the municipality, visit the Monument of the Jews located in the park that was once the center of the Jewish neighbourhood. A large number of delegations from the Assembly of the National Liberation Movement fighters, the Army, fellow citizens and others who respect Jews, lay wreaths not only in front of the Monument of the Jews but also in front of statue of the Jewess and national hero Estreja Mara Ovadija that stands nearby. Then at the old Jewish cemetery the kaddish is recited, and then the representatives head to the kindergarten named after Estreja Ovadija-Mara. Each year the children prepare a rich program dedicated to this day. In the City Hall, the mayor also welcomes the delegations at a reception where life in Bitola, now and then, is discussed.

In Skopje on March 11, representatives of the Government, political parties and diplomats lay wreaths in front of the monument at Monopol. The activities continue at the Butel Jewish Cemetery in front of the burial mound for the Jews killed in Treblinka, where the representatives lay wreaths and recite the kaddish. Then, the mayor of the city of Skopje welcomes them to the City Hall.

In the evening on March 11, the community organises a commemoration concert, theater play, exhibition or book promotion.


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