On January 27, 2019 in the Akantus Gallery – Skopje (situated in a house that was owned by Jews), the Organization for Social Innovations “ARNO” organized an event marking the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust – January 27th. On this event the winners for the competition “Holocaust in Macedonia” were announced. The winner in the essay category was Angela Petkoska (17) from Kicevo, and the winner in the postcard category was Simona Slakova (21) from Skopje, for the visual choice of the “Suitcase”.

As part of the event, Mr. Dimitar Belchev, a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Jana Nichota, a representative from the Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia, and his Excellency, the Israeli ambassador. Dan Oryan, gave their speeches and addressed the young audience. The people who attended this event also had a chance to fill out the printed postcards, that were later handed to Mr. Goran Sadikarijo – Executive Director of the Memorial Center of the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia, by ARNO.

The overall event was marked with a great atmosphere and was received with a great interest from the young students who participated in the competition, the professors working on this topic and diplomats who expressed support for the project (Mr. Jovan Tegovski, Ambassador and National Coordinator for the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance).

The project “The Holocaust in the Balkans – Research, Education, Remembrance”, implemented in Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Greece, aims to present the conditions of the Holocaust in these countries and increase awareness, especially among young populations, on what happened during the Second World War. In addition, the project aims not only to raise awareness, but also points out the possible negative effects of intolerance, racism and discrimination on certain minorities, that are also current problems of today.

In the final phase of this project, each of the partners marked the International Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust victims. “ARNO”, as an organization for social innovations, opted for a more creative approach and organized an essay competition and a postcard design on the topic “The Holocaust in Macedonia”. The aim of the competition was to inspire young people to creatively express themselves and through a written word or visualization and to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to convey a message that this tragic event will never be forgotten.

The competition lasted from December 24 to January 14. A total of 8 essays and 14 postcards were received. ARNO sends great gratitude to all the participants in the competition and encourages them to continue to reflect on the topic and make relevant for their peers.

“We are very pleased to say that ” ARNO “with its commitment, contributed to this important social discussion. We work with youth and when we talk about this topic, we are talking not only about the past, but also about the lessons learned and in general about human rights. Philanthropy is also in our strategic area, we want to bring this topic closer to the youth and to remind them of what the definition of “philanthropy” truly means, not only as an applied concept of corporate philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Inspired by the success of the event and the support of the stakeholders, we promise that we will continue working on this topic, not only in celebrating this day but also throughout the year. The postcard “Suitcase”, which is the winning work of Simona, brings a strong message, and we promise that this suitcase full of memories, will be with us every day, with all its importance, but also with all the meaning it has for the future paths that we are going to take. ”

Within the project “The Holocaust of the Balkans – Research, Education, Remembrance”, study visits to each partner country were implemented, visits through which the participants were introduced to this part of history and inspired for their future work.

“During the visit to these events,” ARNO “included young people who had the opportunity to visit the cities of the Balkans: Bucharest, Osijek, Thessaloniki, Belgrade, Plovdiv and Skopje. Each of these visits, according to the testimonies of our participants, was educational and inspiring. For example, in Bucharest, the participants visited a Jewish theater in which the Jewish performances can be seen on the repertoire. From Plovdiv the participants came back with impressions from the visited synagogue, meeting with a rabbi and a conversation with the surviving Jews. Believe us when we say that, we talked about these experiences for a long time in our office.

As for the event in Skopje, our partners wrote to us after several months. On behalf of “ARNO”, let me, once again, publicly express my gratitude to the Museum of the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia and the Director Mr. Goran Sadikario, who came out in the wake of our request for hospitality, openly opened the doors and I led a tour that, once again to emphasize, left the guests speechless. We are very pleased with the support of the key actors and stakeholders, and thanks to this project, we felt welcomed and motivated to work on this topic with young people even more. ”

– shared Katerina Panova Matoska from “ARNO” -moderator of the event.