Learn about North Macedonia’s efforts to advance education, remembrance, and research on the Holocaust and genocide of the Roma.
Learn about North Macedonia’s efforts to advance education, remembrance, and research on the Holocaust and genocide of the Roma.
Joined the IHRA
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Day of Deportation of 7,144 Jews to the Death Camp Treblinka in 1943
Gabriel Atanasov (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – Head of Delegation
Afrodita Davko (Bureau for Development of Education) – Deputy Head of Delegation, Education Working Group
Goran Sadikarijo (CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Center) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Mišo Dokmanović (Law Faculty at the Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje) – Academic Working Group
Petar Todorov (Institute for National History – Skopje) – Education Working Group
Elena Zdravkovska (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – Education Working Group
The very concrete achievements of North Macedonia in the areas of Holocaust remembrance, education and research, as well in combating antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion have recently been appropriately valued by its admission as the 35th IHRA Member Country. The IHRA membership is not only a recognition, but even more an additional impetus and obligation for the Government and civil society organizations to enhance and increase their work in all Holocaust related areas. Our lasting and firm commitment to continue working in these areas is not only a political determination. It is our moral duty and debt towards the 7,144 Jews from our country deported to the death camp Treblinka in 1943 – Holocaust victims. At the same time, it is our pledge for the young generations who should provide fresh and substantial contribution to the overall efforts to nurture the memories of the tragic past and shape a better future.
All IHRA Member Countries are asked to complete a basic questionnaire with key facts about the state of Holocaust education, remembrance, and research in their country. The answers to the questionnaire, and to the Country Report, if available, are provided by the national delegations, who are also responsible for keeping the information up to date.
• Declaration on the occasion of 75 years since the deportation of the Jews from Macedonia to the death camp Treblinka adopted by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, 11 march, 2018 (sobranie.mk)
• Address by the President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, on the occasion of 75 years since the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia, 11 March 2018 (sobranie.mk)
• Address by H.E Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia, at the Commemorative concert on the occasion of 75 years since the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia, 11 March 2018
• Address by Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia on the occasion of the 81st Anniversary of the Kristallnacht, 9 November 2019
• Address by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, H. E Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, on the occasion of the European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma, 1 August 2020
• Message by President Pendarovski on European Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma (pretsedatel.mk)
• Address by H.E Stevo Pendarovski, The President of the Republic of North Macedonia on the occasion of the commemoration of 78 years since the deportation of the Jews from North Macedonia, 11 March 2021 (pretsedatel.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Zoran Zaev, President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, on the occasion of the commemoration of 75 years since the deportation of the Jews from Macedonia, 12 March 2018 (vlada.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Zoran Zaev, President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, on the occasion of the commemoration of 76 years since the deportation of the Jews from North Macedonia, 11 March 2019 (vlada.mk)
• Address by H. E. Mr. Oliver Spasovski, President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, on the occasion of the Commemorative Academy on the occasion of January 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2020 (vlada.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Oliver Spasovski, President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia at the occasion of the promotion of “Handbook for teaching and learning about the Holocaust”, Event by the Institute for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of the Albanians, 26 June 2020
• Address by H.E. Oliver Spasovski, President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, at the Commemoration on the occasion of the memory of the victims of the Genocide against the Roma in World War II – 2 August, 1 August 2020 (vlada.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Nikola Poposki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, on the occasion of 27 January – the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2015 (mfa.gov.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Nikola Poposki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, on the occasion of 27January – the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2017 (mfa.gov.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia on the occasion of 27January – the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 28 January 2019 (mfa.gov.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Nikola Dimitrov Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia on the occasion of the commemoration of 76 years since the deportation of the Jews from North Macedonia, 11 March 2019
• Address by H.E. Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister at the opening of the permanent exhibition in the Holocaust Memorial Center, 11 March 2019.
• Address by H. E. Mr. Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia at the Commemorative event marking 27 January – International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2021 (mfa.gov.mk)
• Address by H.E. Mr. Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia at the Educational Webinar “Practical Implementation of the three legally Non-binding IHRA Working Definitions in Multicultural Societies: lessons learned, best practices, steps forward”, 19 May 2021
• Address by H.E. Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia on the occasion of the commemoration of 79 years since the deportation of the Jews of North Macedonia, 10 March 2022.
The Government policy relating to the Holocaust includes concrete steps to combat antisemitism, Holocaust denial and distortion, discrimination, hate speech and other forms of human rights violations.
The Government commitment in this regard has been confirmed by adoption of the non-legally binding IHRA working definitions on antisemitism (6 March 2018), on Holocaust denial and distortion (10 March 2020) and of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination (1 February 2022). The MFA informed all government departments and bodies about the adoption of the working definitions, advising them to consider and use those working definitions in all cases and situations in their respective areas of competence. The definitions, along with the examples and explanatory note were translated and uploaded on the website of the Bureau for Development of Education, with instructions to schools to make use of the definition in the education process, in particular on the occasion of 27 January, 11 March and 2 August, while the same materials were also posted on the website of the Holocaust Memorial Centre.
The Government supported the initiative of the Jewish Community to amend the Criminal Code of the Republic of North Macedonia in three main areas: a) prohibiting the use of national-socialist symbols, b) Holocaust denial and distortion, c) spreading antisemitism. The aim of the amendments is to provide sanctions in cases of glorification of national-socialism, Holocaust denial and distortion and spreading out of antisemitism through usage and public presentation of symbols and writing graffiti, public expression of slogans of national-socialism and fascist regimes in sports arenas, public gatherings and party meetings etc., as well as through use of electronic and printed media, internet and social networks. The initiative has been approved by the Ministry of Justice working group for reforms of the Criminal Code.
In 2019, on the initiative of Roma NGOs working on the advancing of the history and language, and with support of the Minister without portfolio, a National Action Plan for promoting the Roma culture was developed. The action plan included concrete measures in the areas of language, culture and history development such as support in publishing, in establishing institutions for promoting the Romani culture etc.
In 2022, the Government adopted the new Roma Strategy for inclusion of Roma 2022-2030. The strategic goals of the document are focused on eliminating the forms of manifestation of antigypsyism, reducing discrimination against Roma, developing, preserving and promoting the Romani culture. The Strategy provides specific measures such as opening of the Roma Cultural Centers, publishing books in Romani language, amending the Criminal code with provisions on the antigypsyism, raising the awareness of the public administration, improving the research, education, and commemoration of the Roma genocide etc.
In North Macedonia there are three established Holocaust memorial days and one to commemorate the Roma genocide.
a) 27 January – the International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been commemorated since 2012 with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as main coordinator and organizer of the commemorative activities and events.
b) 11 March – the Day of the Deportation of 7,144 Jews from North Macedonia to the death camp Treblinka in 1943 was established in 1946. The main organizer of the commemorative events is the Jewish Community in North Macedonia. The highest state and government officials – President of the Republic, Prime-ministers, Speakers of the Assembly and MPs, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Education and Science, of Culture, city majors and others actively participate in the commemorative events by laying wreaths in honor of the Holocaust victims, delivering appropriate speeches etc.
c) Yom HaShoah – the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising – has also been commemorated by holding different events organized by the Holocaust Fund and the Jewish Community, with participation of relevant Government representatives.
d) 2 August – the Roma Genocide Day has been commemorated since 2017. The commemorative events are held, in presence of ministers and other high officials, in the Holocaust Memorial Center and include appropriate addresses and other activities, such as exhibitions, theater plays, etc.
In general, the content related to Holocaust education is included in the academic programs and courses dealing with 20th century international and national history at public universities. In addition, certain aspects have been taught within courses of related study programs such as the first cycle of university studies Contemporary Macedonian History at the Department for Political Science, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, in Skopje that includes Holocaust content in the syllabus. Apart from that, a separate segment on Holocaust and Antisemitic legislation has been included in the compulsory course History of law for first year students at the Iustinianus Primus Faculty of law, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.
A separate, mandatory one-semester course on the Holocaust has been introduced within the first cycle of university studies in History at the Goce Delchev University in Shtip (4th year of studies).
State universities regularly organize visiting lectures that focus on different aspects of the Holocaust. For instance, in the framework of the Memorandum for Cooperation between the Faculty of Philosophy and the Holocaust Fund, a lecture for the first-years students starting the new academic year was delivered by prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, from the Tel Aviv University on the topic “Conflict Resolving – Holocaust as a study case”. The lecture was attended by about 150 university students.
The Department for Holocaust Education and Research at the ISCHA, in cooperation with Yad Vashem and with support of the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia, prepared and edited a didactic book “Strategies for Holocaust education in the Republic North Macedonia” in Macedonian and Albanian language.
Regarding the permanent teachers training, an online seminar in Holocaust Studies and Education for Educators from primary and secondary schools in North Macedonia was organized by Yad Vashem, and in cooperation with the Bureau for Development of Education at the end of 2021.
The Holocaust Memorial Center published several books and brochures on Holocaust. Worthy of mentioning is “Jews in Macedonia during WWII” by Michael Berenbaum ISBN: 978-608-65129-5-8.
The recent research could be accessed on the following links:
With regards to the researches on the genocide of the Roma, the following were published: “The genocide of Roma during the Second World War” by Mirdita Saliu, Skopje, 2019 (https://rkmcbarikanipe.com/2021/06/2019/), Proceeding of Professional work, First conference on Remembering, Responsibility and Recognition of the Roma victims of the Holocaust (NGO Sumnal, 2019 https://sumnal.mk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/zbornik-na-trudovi.pdf). In process of preparation is the publication “The History of the Roma Holocaust – Roma genocide in South-East Europe between Obliteration, Acknowledgment and Distortion”, based on a study from the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities and the Roma Program at the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University with contribution of the Institute for Research and Policy Analysis Romalitico.
No such surveys have been conducted.
The most used textbooks are: History textbooks for 9th grade of primary schools, published in 2006 and 2009, History textbook for I year of VET secondary schools, updated in 2010, History textbook for III and IV year of secondary schools, namely Gymnasiums, published in 2011 and 2005. The focus in the textbooks is given to the Holocaust in general and the Holocaust of the Jews from North Macedonia.
No such surveys have been conducted.
In North Macedonia there is one authentic site the Tobacco factory – Monopol and one Holocaust Memorial Center.
In the courtyard of the Tobacco factory there is a monument in memory of 7.144 Jews, half of them children, from Skopje, Bitola and Shtip, who were forcefully brought to the factory on 11 March, 1943 and from there were deported and exterminated in the killing center Treblinka, in occupied Poland. Today, the factory is a private international entity with strict internal entrance procedure, which makes it difficult to organize students’ visits on regular basis. However, on the occasion of 11 March and within different project activities and other special occasions, a special permission, is given for students and teachers visits.
The Holocaust Memorial Center is located in the heart of what was once city’s Jewish quarter in the central area of Skopje and was officially opened on 10th of March, 2011.The main activities of the Holocaust Memorial Center consist of organization, on its own or in cooperation with domestic or international partners of: commemorative events; educational and training seminars for teachers and students; conferences and scientific debates; workshops and round-tables; exhibitions; publishing and promoting books; screening of movies and documentaries; art etc.
On 11 March 2019, a new permanent exhibition at the Holocaust Memorial Center was opened. The exhibition is a very rich presentation of the Holocaust of the Jews from North Macedonia and also of the history, tradition and culture of the Jews in the Balkans.
In the Skopje municipality of Shuto Orizari there is a plan to build a Cultural Centre for Roma, with specific part on history of the Roma.
The Holocaust Memorial Center is an independent institution working in the field of preserving the memory and educating the wider public about the Holocaust. The idea for creating such institution was given by the Holocaust survivors and their friends. The Holocaust Memorial Center with its permanent exhibition deals not only with the Holocaust, but also with 2 Millennia reach and flourishing Jewish life. It gives many answers regarding the Holocaust, but also raises questions on the human behavior, human rights and human values, thus contributing the visitors, especially pupils, to have critical thinking of the past, to be an upstander rather than bystander in order to create better future for all. At the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism the President of North Macedonia S. Pendarovski presented a pledge that the visits to the Holocaust Memorial Centre will become mandatory for students in classes in which there is Holocaust education. This pledge has already been realized by amending the relevant Rulebook on visits of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Although no such overview exists, several organizations such as the state ICSHA and the NGO’s as the Holocaust Fund, ARNO, Acta Non Verba, Diplomatic Club-Skopje, Youth Educational Forum, and Association of Roma Folk Art Lovers “Romano Iljo” from Skopje have received support/public funding on ad hoc basis.