In 1918, what is now North Macedonia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After the German conquest of Yugoslavia in April 1941, North Macedonia was divided between the occupying forces of Germany (in the north), Bulgaria (in the centre and east), and Italian-controlled Albania (in the west). After Italy’s capitulation in September 1943, a portion of western Vardar Macedonia briefly came under partisan control before German forces captured the territory. In September 1944, the Germans attempted to establish an Independent State of Macedonia, but without substantial military support, it ceased to exist in November 1944. Shortly afterwards, North Macedonia was declared a state-member of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FNRJ), later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). In 1991, it declared independence as the Republic of Macedonia. In 2019, it was renamed North Macedonia. Before the Second World War, approximately 12,000 Jews lived in North Macedonia. Towards the end of 1941, authorities in the Bulgarian-occupied territories passed laws prohibiting Jews from engaging in commerce. In 1943, the Bulgarians deported thousands of Jews from the regions they controlled in North Macedonia (and Greece) at the behest of the Germans. Once they were handed over to the Nazi German authorities, they were taken to Treblinka II where they were murdered in the gas chambers upon their arrival. 7,144 Jews from North Macedonia perished in this way. After the war, there were approximately 200 surviving Jews left in North Macedonia.
A network of nine archives in North Macedonia is centrally managed by the State Archive of the Republic of North Macedonia. Each archive functions as a separate Department, оr as a dislocated organisational unit, of the State Archive of the Republic of North Macedonia and performs archival functions within a particular territorial area in North Macedonia. Further sources can be found in the Archive of the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia (Skopje) and the Holocaust Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia.
The State Archive of the Republic of North Macedonia, with nine Departments of the State Archive that perform archival functions within a particular territorial area in North Macedonia: Department Bitola, Department Veles, Department Kumanovo, Department Ohrid, Department Prilep, Department Skopje, Department Strumica, Department Tetovo and Department Štip; The Archives of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of North Macedonia and the Archive of the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia (in Skopje).
A. EHRI approach to North Macedonia: Pre-existing research and available archival guides
For its work in North Macedonia, EHRI could rely on two collections of documents:
Zhamila Kolonomos (ed.) Evreite vo Makedonija vo Vtorata svetska vojna 1941-1945. Zbornik na dokumenti, Skopje: Makedonska akademija na naukite i umetnosti 1986, 2 vols.
Nadja Danova, Roumen Avramov, (eds.) Deportiraneto na evreite ot Vardarska Makedonija, Belomorska Trakija i Pirot, mart 1943. Dokumenti ot bălgarskite arhivi, Sofia: Obedineni izdateli, 2013, 2 vols.
For a recent edited collection on the Holocaust history of North Macedonia, see Sofija Grandakovska (ed.) The Jews from Macedonia and the Holocaust: History, Theory, Culture (2011).
B. Characteristics of the North Macedonian archival system and specific challenges
The State Archives of the Republic of North Macedonia are organised as an independent official administration body for performing archival activity throughout the entire state of North Macedonia. The State Archives manage a network of nine regional archives, which are located in Bitola, Kumanovo, Ohrid, Prilip, Skopje, Strumica, Tetovo, Titov Veles, and Štip. Each archive functions as a separate department, оr as a dislocated organisational unit, of the State Archives and performs archival functions within a particular region of North Macedonia.
There are also Holocaust-relevant archives that function outside of the network of the State Archives, including the Archives of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MASA) and the Archives of the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia. The role of the MASA Archives is to collect, house, process, protect and make available archival materials produced by scientific, scholarly and artistic institutions, by the Academy or its individual members or by other individuals whose work is relevant to the sciences and arts in North Macedonia. As for the Archives of the Jewish Community, these were formed in the wake of the Second World War and they hold significant material from the period preceding and after the Holocaust.
C. EHRI identification and description results on North Macedonia
C.I. In North Macedonia
In North Macedonia, EHRI has surveyed collections held by the State Archives of the Republic of North Macedonia in Skopje; several regional departments of the State Archives; the Archives of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts; and the Archives of the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia. EHRI has identified Holocaust-related collections in the State Archives, including the fond of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Macedonia/League of Communists of Macedonia, as well as material of a more local provenance in the regional archives of Bitola, Skopje and Štip. In those institutions which work independently of the State Archives, EHRI has also described the Fond Aleksandar Matkovski held by the Archives of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and a handful of registers and complaints held by the Jewish Community Archives.
C. II. In other countries
Collections relating to the Holocaust in North Macedonia can also be found at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Fortunoff Video Archive, and Yad Vashem.