Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance
A documentary produced by the Jewish Museum of Greece
On Monday 25 November 2013 the Jewish Museum of Greece showed its documentary Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance (now with subtitles in English) in its periodic exhibition space.This documentary was made to be viewed alongside the JMG periodic exhibition of the same name, as part of the co-operation agreement the museumhas made with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens.
The President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Benjamin Albalas, the representative of Jewish communities in Greece sitting on the board of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Moissis Konstantinis, the Canadian Ambassador Robert Peck, and Professor Emeritus of Athens University Hagen Fleischer, graced the event with their presence, as did many other distinguished guests. The documentary was introduced by Iason Handrinos, historian and curator of the exhibition. Mr Handrinos spoke briefly about the story behind the documentary. After the presentation, David Gavriilidis, who directed the film, spoke about the numerous thought-provoking problems and difficulties which, despite the enthusiasm, are bound to arise during the making of a documentary in which the main voice is that of those who experienced and survived the horrendous events of the war. Then, those present were invited to ask the people who worked on the documentary and the exhibition whatever questions they might like to put to them and also to express any concerns they might have, their response showing yet again what a wonderful reception and positive response the new JMG periodic exhibition and documentary prompt in the audience.
It was the preliminary research and organisational work on the exhibition Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance that gave rise to the idea for the documentary. The exhibition and the documentary are both products of the same research. In effect, they are two narrations of the same story using different means. In addition to using previously unpublished photographs and important documents, the documentary was designed to make good use of some of the most significant historical evidence that now forms part of the JMG collections. Seventeen of the twenty-five oral accounts recorded on video by men and women from various Jewish communities in Greece, who were actually in the National Resistance, were used in the making of this film. The accounts were recorded over a period of five years and now form part of the JMG Archive of Oral History. Film director David Gavriilidis has created a mosaic of accounts that, in the liveliest possible vein, trace the difficult but fascinating progress of the Jewish fighters through the darkness of the occupation and the beginnings of the resistance, the escape from the ghettos and flight to the mountains, the hardship, the solidarity and fierce battles that most of them fought against the occupying forces as members of the resistance. Using the unparalleled technique of the moving image, Synagonistis [comrade in arms] stitches together the testimonies of men who were never in the same place at the same time, in such a way, that they talk to one another and will always talk to one another as Synagonistes. While this exhibition fulfils its aim and meets the huge obligation and sincere desire to honour those who escaped the Holocaust and fought the Nazis side by side with thousands of their Christian fellow countrymen, then the documentary really is the ark which preserves their voices, gestures and facial expressions, preserves the very passion that inspired them to do the things for which they are honoured today.
The exhibition Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance will run until Friday 25 April 2014. Opening times, Monday to Friday 09:00 – 14:30, Sunday 10:00 – 14:00. The museum remains closed on Saturdays. For further information and related material please contact the Jewish Museum of Greece, 39 Nikis Street, 105 57 Athens; tel. 210-3225582; fax. 210-3231577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.jewishmuseum.gr; Monday to Friday 09:00 - 14:30.