“Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance”
On Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, the Jewish Museum of Greece inaugurated its new temporary exhibition, under the title “Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance”, realized within the framework of a mutual program of co-operation with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens. During the event, the President of the JMG’s BoD, Mr. M. Matsas and the Ambassador of Germany Mr. W. Dold delivered a short adress, while the Ambassador also inaugurated the new exhibition. An opening speech was also given by the President of Demokratiki Aristera (DIM.AR) Mr. Photis Kouvelis, while the event was attended by the Ambassadors of the U.S.A., Canada and Italy, representatives of the embassies of Israel, Austria, Bulgaria, as well as many distinguished guests. Particularly moving was the presence of Greek Jewish Resistance fighters and their descendants.
The German Ambassador Mr. W. Dold, mentioned, among other things, the important work of the JMG and referred to the exhibition “as a memorial to the Resistance Fighters” stressing further “that it is extremely important to us to keep the memory of the war crimes committed on behalf of Nazi Germany alive”.
The President of DIM.AR., Mr. P. Kouvelis praised the actions of the Greek Jewish Resistance fighters and the JMG’s choice to highlight them, while he made a general comment on today’s general situation: “Unfortunately, not only within the society but also within the Greek Parliament”, he said, “there are some people who foment and propagandize Anti-Semitic views, either openly or covertly. The removal of prejudice”, he added, “is an issue of the ideological struggle within our society, a struggle that we have to conduct with steadfastness and integrity, every day, on every level and all together, like a new Resistance against phenomena of racism and Anti-Semitism, against the aggressive teachings of Neo-Nazi ideology, if we wish to never experience persecution, deportations and uprooting again”.
During the research phase for our traveling exhibition “The Holocaust of the Greek Jews, 1941 – 1944” (2001), which included the subject of Greek Jewish Resistance fighters, the JMG came into contact with elderly partisans. In our Museum, they expressed for the first time their pain for being forgotten by their homeland and not honored, as they should have been; for the absence of a Resistance Museum in Greece, such as the ones in existence in other European countries.
It was then that the foundation was laid for a deep commitment and a sincere wish to honour those who fought and cancelled the belief that all Jews succumbed to the Holocaust “like lambs to the slaughter”. The throughout research that lasted for five years, resulted in the collection of 24 personal histories of men and women from various Jewish communities of Greece, who took up arms in the dark and harsh days of the Occupation. Most of them were very young, recently uprooted from their homes, often alone and orphaned, but they found a new, dynamic family on the mountains and served the armed struggle in many ways, with courage and determination. They were christened ‘comrades in arms’, the supreme title of honour among the fighters of free Greece and fought among their equals. While our main concern has been commemorating and honouring the Jewish Resistance Fighters in WW II, with this exhibition, we also honour all the Greeks who fought against the occupying forces, inspired by the ideals of freedom and of a better world.
Photographs, documents, letters, proclamations, resistance newspapers, original artifacts, weaponry and other relevant material are exhibited to the public for the first time. The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual catalogue while, film director David Gavriilidis has produced a documentary film, which explores this subject engaging people, places and events. The permanent exhibition is also accompanied by specially designed educational programs for schools.
Exhibition duration: Until Friday, 25th April 2014. Visitation hours: Daily 09.00 – 14.30, Saturday: Closed, Sunday: 10.00 – 14.00.
For more information and photographs and/or brochures, please contact The Jewish Museum of Greece, 39 Nikis st., Athens, Greece, 105 57, telephone: (+30) 210 3225582, fax: (+30) 210 3231577, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.jewishmuseum.gr, from Monday-Friday 09:00-14:30.