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Nazi-collaborator monuments

Nazi collaborator monuments in North Macedonia

In 2019, the United Macedonia Diaspora petitioned the U.S. State Department for aid in pressuring North Macedonia to remove their memorials

This list is part of an ongoing investigative project the Forward first published in January 2021 documenting hundreds of monuments around the world to people involved in the Holocaust. We are continuing to update each country’s list; if you know of any not included here, or of statues that have been removed or streets renamed, please email , subject line: Nazi monument project.

Simnica — Below, a statue of Xhem Hasa (1908–1945), aka Xhem Gostivari, commander of the Nazi-allied Balli Kombëtar, the Albanian nationalist paramilitary that occupied western Macedonia during WWII. The statue was unveiled in 2006.

Left: Xhem Hasa. Right: Hasa statue, Simnica. Photo by Sasha Uzunov


Aqif Krosi Recani statue, Recani. Photo by Sasha Uzunov

Recani (Gostivar region) — A statue of Aqif Krosi Recani (1904–1946), another Balli Kombëtar commander, was unveiled in his hometown in 2015. In 2019, the United Macedonia Diaspora petitioned the U.S. State Department for aid in pressing North Macedonia to remove the statues of Hasa and Recani. (Thanks to Sasha Uzunov for images and information on both statues.)

Note: The entry below was added during the January 2023 project update.

Czar Boris III cultural club, Ohrid, 2022 (Wikimedia Commons). Right: Boris III meeting with Hitler, April 1941 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Perquimans County Library via Wikimedia Commons). Image by Lev Golinkin

Ohrid – In October 2022, Ohrid caused international headlines after opening a cultural club in honor of Czar Boris III (1894–1943), Bulgaria’s ruler during the first half of WWII who had allied his country with Hitler. 

During the war, Boris III controlled not only Bulgaria proper but also the surrounding regions Bulgaria took from its neighbors. This included Vardar Macedonia, which Bulgaria seized from Yugoslavia. 

In 1943, Bulgarian forces arrested over 11,300 Jews in its occupied territories, including over 7,300 from Vardar Macedonia, and turned them over to the Nazis. Nearly all were exterminated in Treblinka. 

(Boris III’s legacy in Bulgaria is complex; his government refused to give the 48,000 Jews living in Bulgaria proper to the Nazis – see the Bulgaria section for more). 

The decision to name the Ohrid club in Boris III’s honor was denounced by the country’s Jewish community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Within weeks of opening, the club building was vandalized several times, including with a firearm. The situation further escalated in January 2023, when the club’s secretary was brutally assaulted

In November, North Macedonia passed a law banning organization names linked to fascism which retroactively applies to the Ohrid club. The law, in turn, led to a backlash from Boris III supporters in North Macedonia as well as from the Bulgarian government. As of January 2023, the law is on the books but has not been enforced; the Ohrid club remains named after the czar. 

Below left, Bulgarian authorities round up Macedonian Jews, Skopje, March 1943. Below right, Macedonian Jews boarding deportation train from Skopje to Treblinka, March 1943. See the Bulgaria section for more Boris III honors.

Bulgarian authorities round up Macedonian Jews, Skopje, March 1943 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade). Right: Macedonian Jews boarding deportation train to Treblinka, Skopje, March 1943 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Central Zionist Archives). Image by Lev Golinkin


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