SKOPJE, Macedonia, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC joined today in the dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia. The center, erected near the center of the country's capital city of Skopje, includes a memorial to the 7,144 Holocaust victims, a museum depicting the history of Jews in Macedonia, and a planned intergroup cultural center.
"The tragedy of the Jews of Macedonia during the Holocaust is a particularly painful one," said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, who played a central role in the planning for the Holocaust Memorial Center. Baker also serves as president of the center's international advisory board.
"Uprooted by Bulgarian gendarmes from their homes virtually overnight, their assets seized, they were handed over to the Nazis who took them overland and by ship to Treblinka," said Baker. "It is a story that is all the more poignant since civic and religious leaders in neighboring Bulgaria proper managed to prevent similar deportations of Bulgarian Jews."
Baker, who has played a central role in securing restitution for remnant Jewish communities from Central and Eastern European governments, worked very closely with the Macedonian Jewish community, which today numbers around 200, and the government over the past decade.
"In Macedonia there quickly emerged an exemplary partnership between the government and the Jewish community," said Baker. "Successful resolution of restitution claims enabled the creation of the Holocaust Fund in Macedonia which has in turn created this memorial and museum and cultural center."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee