Macedonia: 500 year-old Torah scroll

Exhibition presents objects from Jew's deportation from Macedonia including: cattle car that led Jews from Macedonia to Treblinka death camp

Mordechai Sones ,

Torah scroll
Torah scroll

Dozens of guests from all over the world, including Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, participated in the dedication of a new exhibition in memory of the Jews of Macedonia who were deported by the Nazis to the death camps.

The exhibition presents authentic objects related to the deportation of Macedonian Jews, such as the side of a cattle car that led Jews from Macedonia to the Treblinka death camp.

In addition, a 500-year-old Torah scroll was smuggled out of Spain when Jews fled the Inquisition and settled in the Balkans.

On the eve of the Second World War there were approximately 7,800 Jews in Macedonia, 3,800 of them in Skopje, 3,300 in Bitola, and 550 in Štip. During the war Macedonia was annexed as a province of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities persecuted the Jews in areas annexed by Bulgaria from its neighbors.

In 1943, 7,826 Jews were arrested in Macedonia, most of them, 7,215 in number, were transferred to the detention camp at the Monopol tobacco factory in the town of Skopje, where they spent the following days on the wooden bunks of the factory.

Eleven Jews managed to escape from detention and 76 were released because they had foreign citizenship. The deportees were transported in three transports to the Treblinka camp, where 7,144 Jews were murdered.

The only Jews who survived were dozens of young men who, shortly before the deportation, fled to the mountains and joined the partisans who fought in the Bulgarian army. Many of them were killed in these battles.