Macedonia opens Holocaust memorial centre

A memorial museum devoted to Macedonian Jews who were victims of the Holocaust during World War II opened on Thursday in the capital Skopje.

The inauguration ceremony was marked by symbolical placing of three urns with ashes of Macedonian Jews killed in the Treblinka concentration camp in Poland, where 7,148 of them lost their lives after being deported there in 1943.

The urns were carried by Macedonian soldiers who marched through the centre of Skopje followed by several hundred people.

“The lessons of the Holocaust in your country must serve as en early warning system to those of your neighbours, where anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are resurgent,” Shimon Samuel of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said at the ceremony.

The memorial centre, built in an area once populated by the Jewish community, was inaugurated in the presence of Macedonian President George Ivanov, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and officials and diplomats from neighbouring countries.

“The only surviving member of the 81-strong Misrahi family was my father,” Viktor Misrahi, one of the rare survivors, told AFP.

“Today, the ashes of our people were brought back here from Treblinka and they will remain here, at their home,” he added.

Only an estimated 200 Jews live in Macedonia today, most of them in the capital Skopje.

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