NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress joined the Jewish community of Macedonia on Monday in mourning the 75th anniversary of Nazi deportation of 11,300 Jews from Bulgarian-administered northern Greece and Yugoslavia, who were sent to their deaths in Treblinka in 1943.
The official commemoration ceremony in Skopje, Macedonia was held in the presence of the Macedonian and Bulgarian prime ministers, and followed three days of separate events marking the March 10, 1943 rescue of 48,000 Jews in Bulgaria proper, whose deportations were halted at the intervention of clergymen, parliamentarians, members of the intelligentsia, and ordinary citizens alike.
This was the first time that a Bulgarian premier has taken part in anniversary commemorations of the deportation of Jews from the territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia. In addressing the crowd, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boris Borisov said: "We came here to say that we did not forget the victims"
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev warned in his remarks that "Only the ones who are blind toward history are bound to repeat it.”
Speaking at a special ceremony in Sofia on Saturday evening commemorating the anniversary, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder praised the non-Jews who intervened in the deportation of Bulgarian Jews and noted that simultaneous tragedy of the communities in Bulgarian administered-lands.
“This anniversary, 75 years after the Jews of Bulgaria were saved, is not a completely happy story. There were 11,300 Jews living in Bulgarian-administered territories in northern Greece, Eastern Serbia, and Macedonia who were deported by the Nazis and their allies and murdered in Treblinka’s gas chambers. But we are grateful for those who were saved,” said Lauder.