Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Republic of Macedonia: Archaeologists Announce Plan to Reconstruct Jewish Cemetery in Shtip

Republic of Macednia: Archaeologists Announce Plan to Reconstruct Jewish Cemetery in Shtip

(ISJM) Ruth Ellen Gruber has posted a Balkan press report (see below) which states that archaeologists in the Republic of Macedonia have obtained funding to begin restoration of the ruined cemetery in Stip, a site that dates to the 16th century, and ranks in important with other Balkan (largely Sephardi) cemeteries Sarajevo (Bosnia) and Bitola (Rep. of Macedonia).

The Institute and Museum of Shtip in eastern Macedonia announced it will soon begin the reconstruction and conservation of the Jewish cemetery in the city. “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 [May 13].

The project involves the building of parking lots, pedestrian alleyways, benches, monuments, and the whole area of 14,000 square meters will be fenced by a wall. “We are in constant contact with the European community in Macedonia. We will also invite an archaeologist from Israel as an associate,” Chitkushev added.
Jews are reported to have settled in Shtip in 1512. The continuing community, which numbered about 500, was deported to their deaths by the Nazis in 1943. There are no Jews in the town today. In 2003, the International Survey of Jewish Monuments arranged for photographs of the site, shown here.

The cemetery in its ruined condition (photos: Diana Zeltser / ISJM, 2003)

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