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Kratovo Jewish people were hiding their gold in the shoes of dogs leather

The very well known shoes maker Solomon was a member of the one of the 38  Jewish families, who lived in Kratovo and left behind important marks and memories in culture and historical inheritance in the life and tradition of the oldest city on the Balkan. People were waiting even more than a six months for to make a shoes which he was making them from dogs leather and with inside hidden pocket where the traders were hiding the gold when they were going in the big trade centers. According to the story tell by the old Kratovo citizen Kole Manev, the shoes maker Solomon was making special pocket inside the shoes in which they were hiding exactly 25 golden coins. That way the traders were protecting them to not be robbed by the local thieves on the roads when they were going to Sofija, Solun, Viena, Dubrovnik, Belgrade... Nobody were suspicious on to a poor traveler that can have money with them. That was the way to take out the gold from Kratovo, -said the chronicle writer Mr. Stevche Donevski, who writes and collecting materials about life in the Kratovo in the past times. 

By the statistical data information about Jewish people who lived in Kratovo in 1515 year in this city lived 10 Jewish families, and later the number increased on 38. They all were traders with meat, leather, salt, fruits, basma, and also they were unsurers. Their shops were in the center of the city, and there were two Jewish parts in the city, called Jewish maala. The same time they were the most richest families. Kratovo was the cross road from where in three days by walking you can go in Thesaloniki, and Sofija too. From Thesaloniki they bring sea salt and from Sofija lamps oil. Jewish were setteling where the money was. The Jewish who had gold shops lived in the so called Golden part (today called Sokolana), and today still exist the river and part Sarafka, named by the Jewish word saraf that means exchange for money, the Jewish very well known profession, said Mr. Donevski. In the center for rocks art which is lead by Mr. Donevski, there are rare artefacts remained from the past life of the Jewish people who lived in Kratovo.

There is a piece of the grave stone of the Jewish lady Sara, her husband was teacher in Kratovo, and also there is a very old libra-so called palanza for measuring salt, which was considered the most precise libra, there is a Jewish symbol on it, the David's star. There is existing photo from the Jewish traders with gold, but now the photo is owned by the late prof. Aleksandar Stojanovski from Kumanovo, who also had a name list of the Jews. Unfortunately, their shops and houses behind the Official Municipality building were destroyed in 1946 in search for the gold of the Jewish families. In that time were destroyed also the Jewish cemeteries and the house of the Jewish Raby in Kratovo, which was synagogue too, and it was in the yard of the house who's owner was Stefan Madjev, and now belongs to the Manasovi family, pointed Mr. Donevski. The last Jewish family from Kratovo moved in 1911 in Pariz, before the first Balkan war, they were afraid of conflicts in the region. They said some kind of blessing on their leaving from Kratovo throwing a stone above their heads on the part called Plachi Kruska (crying pear).-said Mr. Donevski.

Descendants of the Jewish families who lived in Kratovo coming to see the city of their ancestors


The chronicle writer Mr. Donevski is saying that the descendants of the Jewish families who lived in the past in Kratovo are returning to visit the city of their ancestors, the place where they lived in their lifetime. Last year in one tourist group was one Jewish man who was interested in the city of Kratovo because his ancestors lived here, he wanted to know everything about the city, its life, and memories that his ancestors left behind. Mr. Donevski said that in the touristic offers are already included informations about the Jewish people who lived in Kratovo in the past times, their history and their tradition. This is a part of the touristic visit of Macedonia and Kratovo.




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