Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Address by the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski on the occasion of the European Holocaust Remeberance Day
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I believe that every one present here today, when we are marking the 65th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau, the voiceless symbol of the Holocaust, is wondering why this happened. Why over 6 million people, women, children and seniors were killed in a most brutal manner, only because they were Jews. And God teaches that regardless of our religion we are God’s Creations and we are all equal. This issue should not and must not be limited as personal issue, this is our common issue; and our common obligation is to remember the Holocaust and to preserve the historic memory for this event. Even more important for us is to prevent creation of any condition for repetition of the Holocaust regardless who the victim is, since this is the greatest evil of the history of humanity.
This is possible if we constantly promote tolerance and dialogue as the highest value and the most important mechanism which can provide peaceful and stabile future for us, for our future generations, for the humanity. Unfortunately for the past 65 years, since the formal end of the Holocaust, since its legal and political condemnation, we are witnessing impatience, wars, terrorism which are explained by the protection of the own nation, ideology or religion.
From today’s perspective, the use the term Cold War, which divided Europe and the world, is cynical. This was a period of physical walls, but also ideological walls, and a period of low level of tolerance, and so many violations of human rights and freedoms.
If we had true tolerance and dialogue, would the Ex-Yugoslavia events took place? Would there be loss of human lives and suffering? And would have the Hague Court been established?
I am convinced that the humanity turns to dialogue and tolerance as values and true mechanisms for over bridging the differences and conflicts.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Republic of Macedonia and its citizens remember and each year mark March 1943, when 7200 citizens- Jews were deported in the Nazi camp Treblinka. Over 1000 were children. Their destiny was terrifying, about 98% from the deported Jews were killed in the death camps. I will not speak about the Macedonian Jews’ history, but I will only remind that most of them came to Macedonia in the 15th century after the expulsion from today’s Spain. The Jewish Community, whose Members were largely Sephardic Jews, was accepted by the Macedonian citizens, and actively participated in the cultural, social and economy life. Unfortunately, this long symbiosis and common life, but in the same time respect of the differences were, as I said, violently removed from Macedonia in March 1943.
Today, a relatively small Jewish community lives in Macedonia, its members through their activities significantly contribute to the overall economy and cultural development of our state.
I would like to underline that, in accordance with the Law on Denationalization; Macedonia returned the properties to the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia, including the property owned before the World War II, as well as the properties for which there are no legal heirs.
Today, in Skopje, the construction of the Memorial Centre dedicated to the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia is in its final construction phase. This will be a Centre where through numerous activities the multiethnic and multicultural life in Macedonia will be presented, together with the unity, tolerance and the dialogue not only between the Macedonian citizens but in the whole region.
This Memorial Centre, built in the center of the city, is symbolism of the coexistence and the fact that from one side there is an Orthodox church and on the other- mosque, once again shows the tolerance and the openness of the Macedonian people and other ethnic communities that live in Macedonia. That is why, as citizens of the Republic of Macedonia we demand the Holocaust not to be forgotten or repeated. We demand much more tolerance and understanding as solution for our global as well as for the regional and bilateral problems. This is our obligation for all those 6 millions Jews who lost their lives in the death camps; this is our obligation for the present and for the future generations and this is the obligation of the humanity.