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First World War Commemoration in Macedonia



11th of November, the end of the First World War, is a date that sends an echo in the whole world and is commemorated by each nation in its own way, but with a clear and unifying message of peace.

On 11th of November 2014 the French Embassy in Skopje organized a Commemoration at the French cemetery in Bitola, Macedonia. This Commemoration was dedicated to the French soldiers who fought and died on the Macedonian Front during the First World War. The French cemetery in Bitola has 6.262 graves and an ossuary with nearly 10.000 soldiers. It is near this cemetery that the French Embassy has begun the construction of a Memorial dedicated to these French soldiers. The decentralized cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia supports the creation of this museum and will additionally work on territorial projects around the subject of “Remembrance”.

The ceremony had a large number of visitors, among which 10 students were from the high school Jean-Mermoz of Vire (Lower Normandy). During the ceremony the students sang the French hymn. In addition, they made a monument dedicated to the soldier Valentin, which was inaugurated during the ceremony.

The High school Jean-Mermoz of Vire cooperates with a high school from Bitola since 2008. It is through those exchanges that two professors from Vire, Pierre Bénabid and Éric Allart decided to start a research work on French soldiers who fought on the Macedonian Front. Thanks to their extensive and prolific work on this subject, professors along with their students took part to the Commemoration in Bitola as guests of honor.

The Macedonian Front is a topic of great importance for Macedonian and French history. This part of history unites these two countries, which is the reason why the decentralized cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia decided to dedicate a part of its programme to this subject. To that end, the cooperation will undertake several actions dedicated to the Macedonian Front during the First World War on the following topics: cultural heritage, remembrance, peace and reconciliation, memorial tourism. These actions will be implemented in correlation with the orientations of the French Embassy in Macedonia.

The Programme for Decentralized cooperation is coordinated by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA). For further information please contact Ivana Dimitrovska ivana.dimitrovska@aldaintranet.org or visit the website of the Decentralized Cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia. 



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