The five-day seminar “To the Future: Holocaust Commemoration in Our Generation!”, organized by the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia and the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) was held from 25th to 30th of April in Skopje.
Twenty participants, Jewish students leaders from all around Europe and from Skopje, seized the opportunity to learn about the history of the Balkan Sephardi community and to discuss how this generation will carry the responsibility of remembrance, education and activism forward. The seminar took place over Yom Hashoah, and the group took part in the commemoration of the Holocaust of the Macedonian Jewish Community.
The program of the seminar combined lectures and discussions with educators from Yad Vashem, the Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia and CEJI – A Jewish Contribution for an Inclusive Europe with the visit of the most significant sites for the Macedonian Jewish Community, such as the Jewish cemetery of Bitola and the Tobacco Factory in Skopje where Macedonian Jews were taken before being deported to Treblinka, where 98% of the community was murdered.
The group concluded that visiting small communities, seeing and feeling the devastation of the Shoah on local Jewish life, learning about how the community seeks to revive itself and actively participating in that revival is a meaningful way to honor the memories of the souls lost in the Shoah. One participant summarized it as follows: Action through memory”.
Participants also took part in the ceremony for Yom Hashoah at the Memorial Centre for the Jews of Macedonia, during which EUJS President Jane Braden-Golay and WUJS Chairperson Andi Gergely delivered a speech. On friday night, during Shabbat dinner, they were welcomed by the President of the Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia Berta Romano-Nikolik, who addressed the group in Ladino, and members of the Jewish youth club. The seminar was generously supported by the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia.