Sunday, May 31, 2009

Macedonia: Shtip Jewish cemetery project

Did you know there was a Jewish cemetery in Shtip, eastern Macedonia?

According to, in 1512, 38 Jewish families were the first to be recorded in Shtip. In 1943, all 560 Jews from the city's Jewish quarter were deported to the Treblinka death camp.

The cemetery's reconstruction and conservation project will soon begin under the auspices of the Institute and Museum of Shtip, headed by Zaran Chitkushev.
"The money for the reconstruction project was secured by the government, and with the project the Jewish cemetery will become a monument of culture,” Zaran Chitkushev, head of the Shtip Institute and Museum told the Dnevnik newspaper today.
The to-be-fenced project, covering 14,000 square meters, also includes parking lots, pedestrian walkways, benches and monuments.

Chitkushev also said that it is in contact with the European community in Macedonia and that an Israeli archaelogist will be invited to work on the project.

According to BalkanAnalysis, here's more on the Jewish presence in Macedonia.

The Jewish presence in Macedonia is ancient., as evidenced in the central Macedonian Roman city of Stobi, which has traces of a 1st century BCE synagogue.

Roman Empire trade, commerce and travel brought together peoples from around the empire. The Jewish community remained through Slavic migration in the 6th-7th centuries and Byzantine sources record Jewish references.

The Spanish Inquisition, resulting in the 1492 Expulsion, brought a new population of Ladino-speaking Sephardim to Macedona and other Ottoman-held Balkan territory, such as Saloniki (Greece). The refugees used their commercial and technical knowledge to improve the economy and other aspects of life, including the Sultan's military technology, and the community flourished under the Ottomans.

In 1941, when the Bulgarian Army invaded in a Nazi alliance, some 20,000 Jews were deported from Bulgarian Army-controlled areas in Macedonia, northern Greece, southern Serbia and Bulgaria.

While Jews in Bulgaria were saved, the quota was filled with Jews who lived in other places. Entire communities, such as 7,200 from then-Yugoslav Macedonia, were deported to death camps.


  1. Shalom from Jerusalem. I'm looking through your blog for the first time. I must say, it is very lively!
    Thanks for all this information.
    See you again.

  2. Indeed, I hail from Shtip, and it is a pity that only one Jewish family is left nowadays, when Shtip always had a sizable Jewish neighborhood, during its 2500 years of existence, which lived on best terms with its Macedonian neighbors. We have the Bulgarian Fascist occupiers to "thank" for the situation today.