Macedonia

History

The territory of what is today the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was incorporated into Serbia in 1913 and became a part of Yugoslavia between the world wars. In April 1941, when Germany’s twelve-day campaign against the South Slavic state led to its partition between the Axis powers and their allies, most of Macedonia, including the city of Skopje and the Serb province of Pirot, was occupied and annexed by Bulgaria. Smaller parts of western and northern Macedonia were occupied by Italy. Bulgaria was able to hold on to its newly acquired Macedonian territory until the Soviet Army arrived at the Bulgarian-Romanian border on 3 September 1944 and made the country’s government change sides. Local units played an important role in the liberation of Macedonia from Axis control. Macedonia declared independence in 1991 and joined the United Nations under the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in 1993.

On the eve of the Second World War, the Macedonian part of Yugoslavia had approximately 1,170,000 inhabitants. Among them were some 7,800 to 8,000 Jews who lived mostly in the cities of Skopje, Bitola (Monastir) and Štip. The first anti-Jewish measures taken by Bulgaria aimed at their economic situation: on 4 October 1941, an extraordinary measure prohibited Macedonian Jews from engaging in any type of industry or commerce. Furthermore, their freedom of movement was restricted. On 2 July 1942, the Bulgarian government demanded that all Jewish households hand over twenty per cent of the value of all their assets. In the autumn of 1942 the Jews were denied Bulgarian citizenship, while it was given to the rest of the population. All Jews aged ten or older were forced to wear Yellow Star of David Buttons. In March 1943, the Bulgarian military and police officials deported the entire Jewish population of Macedonia and the Serb province of Pirot – 7,200 to 7,700 people – to a transit camp in Skopje. Between 22 and 29 March 1943, Bulgarian authorities transported 7,144 Jews by train to the Serb border, where the Germans took over and directed the transport to the Treblinka extermination camp. Virtually none of the Macedonian and Pirot Jews deported by the Bulgarian authorities survived. More than 7,000 Macedonian Jews were killed.

Archival Situation

There are eleven archival institutions operating in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, most importantly the Archives of Macedonia.

EHRI Research (Summary)

EHRI identified the State Archive of Macedonia (Državen arhiv na Republika Makedonija) and the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia, officially opened on 10 March 2011, as good starting points for Holocaust-relevant research in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Memorial Center includes a museum with archives and photographs. Beyond the Memorial Center, a number of archives and institutions in the country are likely to be relevant for Holocaust research, EHRI has yet to determine the exact nature and importance of their holdings. Outside of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, EHRI has identified the Central State Archives of Bulgaria (Tsentralen Derzhaven Arhiv) as an institution likely to hold Holocaust-relevant sources on Macedonia. Furthermore, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has collected a considerable amount of sources on Macedonia during the Holocaust period.