The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

In "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" the Holocaust is recognised as such but there is no information whether the Roma are recognised or not as victims of the Genocide.

The 12th March has been designated as the Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 12th of March 1943 the Jews were deported to the National-socialist camps, namely Treblinka, by the Bulgarian occupation forces. Macedonia lost the highest proportion of its Jews of any country in the world - 98% of them perished in the Holocaust.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

The Holocaust Memorial Centre in Skopje was inaugurated on 10th March 2011 in the presence of the country's president and representatives of international Jewish organisations (please see the news). It is not known if Roma are included at that centre.

Other places of Remembrance are Jewish cemeteries in Bitola, Štip and Skopje and the Memorial Plaque at the Tobacco Factory, the monument erected in the building of an old tobacco factory that was used as a transit camp during the Holocaust. The memorial plaque on the factory premises and a monument were set up in 2004.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

According to the available information, there is no information about specialised institution, commission or research centre dealing only with the issue of the Genocide of the Roma.

11th March Street, no 2
Skopje
Telephone: +389 2 329 8025

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

In “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” there is no special commemoration day of the Genocide of the Roma.

The central commemoration event is held in the Holocaust Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia. It is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Jewish community and non-governmental organisations. The event is attended by high level Government officials, mayors, public figures and representatives of the Jewish community. 

Other annual commemorative gatherings are also held on 10th and 11th March, which are also attended by Government officials, politicians, diplomats, representatives of the Jewish Community and public figures. In Skopje, the Jewish Community traditionally holds an official meeting with the Mayor, as symbolic recognition of the coexistence and good relations that have traditionally existed among various communities in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The commemoration ends with a concert in honour of the victims.  The events are promoted through the media, as well as through the educational system. (OSCE report “Holocaust Memorial Days in the OSCE Region: An overview of governmental practices”, page 69)

Other dates of commemoration of victims of National Socialism are 9th May - the Day of Liberation and 11th October - the date of the start of the Macedonian uprising against fascism in 1941. These dates are commemorated to honour 28 000 citizens who lost their lives in World War II. Ceremonies are held in the National Assembly, in front of the monuments to victims throughout the country, and in schools and universities as well as at the Holocaust Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia. Such ceremonies have been held since 1945. The events are organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science, associations of veterans and representatives of the Jewish community. Government officials at the highest level participate in the ceremonies. Activities may include exhibitions, lectures and presentations of short movies about the lives and heroic deeds of the people in World War II, as per the OSCE report “Holocaust Memorial Days in the OSCE Region: An overview of governmental practices”, page 70.

A memorandum of cooperation was signed on 16th December 2014 between Albania’s State Archive and FYROM’s Holocaust Museum. In this document, both sides engage to boost scientific cooperation and exchange of archive documents.

The 12th March  has been designated as the Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 12th of March 1943 the Jews were deported by the Bulgarian occupation forces to the National-socialist camps.
Currently the Macedonian Government is building a Holocaust Memorial Centre in Skopje. It is not known if Roma will be included at that centre.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

According to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), the “Bureau for Development of Education reported that the subject of the Holocaust is a part of the curriculum for elementary and secondary schools. Teaching about the Holocaust is integrated into the framework of the history of World War II, and the topic is also mentioned within the civil-culture and sociology curricula (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, page 103).

The Holocaust is integrated into regular lessons as a part of the curriculum in high schools and universities. On 10th and 11th March, special lectures are delivered in high schools and universities in Skopje, Bitola and Stip. (See the OSCE report “Holocaust Memorial Days in the OSCE Region: An overview of governmental practices”, page 69).

During 2007, an elective subject “Roma Language and Culture” was inserted in curricula and textbooks for the Roma students from the third grade until the end of primary education; the implementation took place in the nine schools of the five municipalities. More than 50% of Roma students are following this subject. In addition, sixteen intercultural curricula for four subjects of primary education were developed, containing content of the history, culture, language and traditions of the students who attended the school. From 2007 to 2013, around 350 students (160 Roma and 190 non-Roma pupils) from two primary schools in the municipality of Gjorche Petrov in Skopje were following these curricula each year. (Taken from the presentation of Mr. Redzep Ali Cupi, Director of the Directorate for Promotion and Development of the Languages in the Education for the Ethnic Minorities, Ministry of Education,  at the International Seminar on Roma History teaching in Rome, 11th to 12th Decembre 2014).

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

The sixteen intercultural curricula for four subjects of primary education were developed, containing content of the history, culture, language and traditions of the Roma students who attended the school.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

According to the OSCE, “the state does not provide separate teacher-training courses in the field of Holocaust education. The Bureau for Development of Education stated that teachers are sufficiently trained to teach about the Holocaust.” ("Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism: An Overview and Analysis of Educational Approaches", page 124).

The international seminar on Holocaust “The Diverse Survival Strategies of Jewish and Roma Communities in Macedonia: From Resistance to Memorialisation” was held from 26th September to 2nd October 2011 in Ohrid. The organiser was the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Euro-Balkan from Skopje in cooperation with the International Task Force for Holocaust Research (ITF) and the Academic program Ohrid Summer University.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

The Macedonian History Teachers Association organised a kick-off meeting in the EUROCLIO project “History that connects the Balkans, Rethinking History Education? 21st Century Approaches” in Skopje, from 2nd to 5th April 2015. Members of History Teachers Associations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia were invited to participate in order to discuss organisational issues with the development of regional website and with preparations for the summer school in Mrkonjić Grad. The summer school will be focused on topics such as cultural history, remembrance and glocal history (global and local history). In addition to this, there will be several on-site learning activities such as visits to archaeological sites, museums, former concentration camps and memorial sites. EUROCLIO was represented by Jonathan Even-Zohar (director), Judith Geerling (project manager) and by Ivan Markovic (trainee).

2.5 Remembrance day

In “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” the 12th March is observed as the Holocaust Memorial Day. The day commemorates all victims of the Holocaust.

There is no available information whether the Roma and Sinti Genocide is officially commemorated on 2nd August.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

According to the available information, there is no designated responsible person in the Ministry of Education and Science.

Mr. Redzep Ali Cupi
Director of the Directorate for Promotion and Development of the
Languages in the Education for the Ethnic Minorities
Kiril and Methodij, no. 54
1000 Skopje
Telephone: 02 3 140 156
E-mail: redzep-ali.cupi@mon.gov.mk

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

Sofija Grandakovska, Ass. Prof., Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities “Euro-Balkan, Skopje

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

The 11th March 1943 Foundation, whose name refers to the deportation of the Jewish population to the Treblinka concentration camp, sponsors a writing competition for the best story on the Holocaust in one of the daily newspapers and organizes a literary competition for secondary-school students every five years. Awards for the winners are presented at the commemoration of the 11th March events. Members of the Jewish Community have also undertaken an initiative to conduct a 45-minute class on the Holocaust in any school that expressed interest in the subject. (See “Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism: An Overview and Analysis of Educational Approaches”, page 124)

The Post-Conflict Research Centre organised a two-day capacity-building seminar on Preventing and Responding to Genocide and Mass Atrocities for NGO and civil society representatives in collaboration with the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG) from 22nd to 25th October 2013 in Skopje.

5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies

In August 2015, R.R.O.M.A. Kratovo (Regional Roma Educational Youth Association from Macedonia), participated in the Roma genocide commemoration activities organised in Poland. During 2013, the NGO was a part of the project “Migration never stops” together with young people from Germany, Czech Republic and Serbia.

Another project that involved young Roma and non-Roma participants from “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” called Pravde Jakhenca (With Open Eyes) took place in Krakow/Żywiec in Poland from 24th July to 4th August 2013. 60 young Roma and non-Roma from Albania, Germany, Macedonia and Poland came together to learn more about the Roma Genocide during World War II and to fight anti-Gypsyism and racism in the present day.

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