Essential facts about history of the Jews in Macedonia, by Samuel Sadikaro



The first Jewish established by the Persian-Jewish army (according to the settlements were historian Rozanes) (1,2).


333 BCE:

Alexander the Great conquerred Judea, including Jerusalem. Affectuous meeting with the High Priest signifies the establishment of ancient Judeo-Macedonian friendship. Many Jews came in Macedonia and Grece merchants, or were deported as slaves.


The successors of Alexander Macedonia and Egypt were tolerant towards the Jews (1-3, 6,12).


148 BCE:

Macedonia was definitely occupied and divided by the Roman Empire and the Jews were put under the same oppressive measures as the others(13,14).


1 CE:

Appostle Paul came in Macedonia and Grece. The first Christians were actualy converted Jews (1,6,13,14).


70 CE:

Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. It caused a massive imigration of Jews in the Balcans (1-3,6,13),



A synagogue was built in Stobi (near Skopje).



A decree from Constantine the Great stated exemption of the Jews from personal and social obligations, meaning they were exempt from legal protection. Mixed marriages were prohibited. Soon, severe attacks on Jewish settlements and synagogues were registered (1,12-15).



Arcadius banned the attacks on the Jewish settlements and prohibited new taxes, (1-5,12,13).



The emperor synagogues The decree of Theodosius II brought new synagogues building and assuming state positions(1-5).



Justinian 1 ( the Great) brought the famous antijewish "More Judaico", including: prohibited immigration, celebration of Passover, the use of Hebrew (for the Bible and the Talmud), and witnessing in court.


Legislation: The law was encoded in the famous "Corpus Juris Civilis" (534 AD) 12-15,1-3,5)



Heraclus renewed the antijewish laws (1-5,12,13).



The advancements of the kingdom of the Khazars. Both from the ancient Hebrew and the Khazars, the chordes of the Bulgarian khan Asparukh crossed the Danube( many of the leaders in the army of Asparukh were Jews).



The emperor Leo 11 ordered forcible conversion of the Jews (1-5,12).



The mission of the brothers Cyril and Methodius brought to the creation of Glagolic (later Cyrilic) alphabet, used in most of the slavophonic countries. The brothers learned Hebrew in the the Cyrilic and the Latin alphabet have roots Greek alphabets (1,14).


10th CENTURY :

Large migrations of the Jews from south to the north on the macedonian and bulgarian territories northern Trikkala (1-5)



Robert Guiscard ( Norman leader) and his son Bohemund, conquerred parts of Byzantinum (Ohrid, Kastoria-Kostur), causing great devastation of both the Jewish the Christian and with loss of many lives and poverty (1-5, 13-15).



The First Crusside caused damages, in population, particular to the Jews in Byzantinum, the Skopje, Per, Meglen, Pelagonia



Leon Mung (converted Jew) became archibishop of Ohrid, center of Christianity at that time. His influence in Christian far reaching (up to Ukraine). He helped the Jewish families who were persecuted in other European countries (1-5).



Benjamin ben Yonah de Tudela visited some places in northern Byzantinum including Macedonia, leaving valuable records. He described the origins of the Jews at that period, their customs, language and the good relations with other peoples, particularily the Vlachs (1-3, 5, 12,13).


13-14th CENTURY:

The last from the Macedonian and the Paleologus dynasty in Byzantinum brought some relief for the Jews.

There were a lot immigrants from Germany, France, Hungary and Italy, who of escaped the plague and the brutal pogroms (1,12,13).



Dushan the Great was crowoed in Skopje, and he maintained the restrictive laws. However, there are not registered incidents with the Jews of that period (1-5).



Judah ben Moshe Moskona was born in Ohrid. His famous works are from philology, geography and a prominent doctrine was fled from the fields of philosophy, mathematics, medicine, Talmudic studies (1-5).



The first known synagogue in Skopje "Beth Aharon" was built (17).



The Ottoman Empire expanded to Balkan territories. Under Murad I the Turks conquerred Macedonia (Bitola-Monastir was occupied 1382), Bulgaria, parts of Grece and Serbia (14).



Mehmed II took vast territories on Constantinople ( Istanbul), The Jews (Romaniot) were registered at that time in lstanbul and Salonika areas 10,12-15),



Massive migrations During the reign of Bayezid Il, a great part of the Jews who escape the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal were accepted in the Ottoman Empire, the Balkan and also given tremendous privileges




Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (the diputations of Thomas de Torquemada, the decree of Ferdinand I and 1 Isabela). Those who escaped in Portugal, later were expel1ed, with many of the "conversos". Most of them were coming periodicaly in the Balkans (through the south or north - across "Via Ignatia" passing by or settling in Skopje and Bitola (1-3,9,13).



The first settlements of the Sephards in Macedonia were in Bitola, Strumica, Struga , Kratovo, (Monastir), Skopje (Uskub), Stip, Ohrid, etc (2,3).



An italian traveller stated that the Jews in Skopje have outnumbered the other population (18).



Some great Jewish philosophers were born or resided temporarily in Macedonia, including: Samuel de Medina, Josef ben Lev, Shlomo Koen, Jaakov tam David Yahia, Ishaak ben Samuel Adrabi, Aharon ben Josef Sason, Salamon Molho etc (1-5).



False messianism in Bitola, by Diego Pires from Portugal (2-4).



Shabetai Zvi (Macedonia "Donme") and Nathan of Gaza have visited Bitola-Monastir and Skopje), Skopje was an important center of the Jews. The synagogue "Bet Ya'akov" was built (3,17).



Nathan of Gaza died ant was burried in Skopje. Pilgrims were coming from all over the world (3,17).


1688-1689 :

The Austrian army ( general Picolomini) occupied Macedonia. Skopje was burned down because of cholera. The Jewish quarter and the cemetery were completely destroyed, and families were forcibly taken in Moravia for ransom (10,17).



Great fire in Bitola. More than 2080 houses (1008 were Jewish) burned down. Social depression and poverty escalated, and people leaved in slums.

The greatest poverty of the Jews at that time was registered in Bitola and Salonika, That was followed by massive emigrations in Chile, Argentina, USA, France, Palestine, Belgrade and Grece (2-5, 9).



The Alliance Israelite Universelle established a school in Bitola.


More than one third of the Jews in Macedonia spoke French at that time (2-5).


19-20th CENTURY:

The Macedonian Moovement has been a long and desperate fight for freedom. Authorities like Young Turks, Mohamed Kemal Pasha-Ataturk, Theodor Herzl, Leon Trotsky, David Ben Gurion, R. Picquard, Izhak ben Zvi and others have been deeply touched and inspired by it. Wealthy Jews from the region supported the revolution, politicaly, financialy, with food and arms, and in operative actions ( the Nisan brothers, Santo Aruesti, Peris, Rufel, Mentesh, Kamhi etc). Raphael Kamhi was the most prominent Jewish-Macedonian



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