Armageddon – Jewish Life and Death in World War I
Some 350,000 Jewish soldiers marched to war full of enthusiasm and patriotism for the emperor and fatherland. But the war overran their houses and synagogues in Galicia and brought death and expulsion. It also put an end to the old systems, notably the Danube monarchy and Tsarist Russia, giving rise to new nation states and radical political movements that had no place for the Jews. The young generation reacted by turning to Socialism and Zionism.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated on 02 April 2014, looks at the cataclysmic events of the time: the loyalty of Austrian Jews to the emperor, the theaters of war in Eastern Europe and the Holy Land, the changes in the Viennese community, the anti-Semitism towards soldiers and the work of field rabbis, post-war revolution and pacifism, and the Bund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten in the 1930s. It also features the biographies of prominent personalities.Τhe exhibition also includes artifacts of Jewish religious art (Judaica), memorabilia, works of art, posters, documents, and numerous photos.
The Jewish Museum of Greece participated in this very interesting exhibition with the loan of eight (8) original artifacts from its collections, which are highly pertinent to the subject of the exhibition and are presented to the general public for the first time.
A book entitled Weltuntergang – Jüdisches Leben und Sterben im Ersten Weltkrieg (in German) accompanied the exhibition. Exhibition Duration: 03 April 2014 - 14 September 2014.
In June 2012 the exhibition "Light on light: An Illuminating story" was presented at "Technopolis" of the Municipality of Athens. The exhibition was previously presented at the Folklife & Ethological Museum of Macedonia - Thrace and during the summer it was also opened for the Athenian public. The J.M.G. participated in this exhibition with a loan of 7 artefacts from its collection for the unit "Sacred lamps in Judaism and Jewish tradition".
In June in the parallel events for the exhibition "The Collection of George Economou" presented in the Gallery of the Municipality of Athens, the art historian Alexandra van der Staaij talked about the Jewish Artists in the Collection: Moise Kisling, Ossip Zadkine, Jules Pascin, Mela Muter, Victor Brauner, Man Ray, Arik Brauer, Sam Frances, Daniel Spoerri, Ronald Brooks Kitaj. The event was held in cooperation with the Jewish Museum of Greece.
In December, the Hellenic American Union and the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre of the Academy of Athens presented the exhibition "A World of Votive Offerings". Even today, the votive offering, which was found in religious ceremonies in many ancient civilizations, remains a widespread devotional practice. The exhibition featured votive offerings from all over the world as well as present-day dedicatory practices and works of contemporary art inspired by the votive offerings. The works on display came from Nikos Papageorgiou’s collection of votive offerings, the Museum of the Hellenic Nobel Collection, the Jewish Museum of Greece, the Museum Kresow in Poland and the 21st Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities in Corfu.
The Athens War Museum organised an exhibition on ‘Accounts and Epic Images of 1940’, within the context of its general aims, while also supporting the Greek Community of Montreal in events to mark the 100 years since it was established. The exhibition was dedicated to the Greek people’s struggle against the Axis forces (1940-44) and was opened on 15/09/06 by Minister of National Defence Mr I. Lambropoulos. Most prominent among the exhibits was the special section devoted to the suffering of Greek Jews during World War II and to the help Greek Christians afforded them. On display was the text of the protest and petition against the ‘deportation’ of the Jews of Thessaloniki that was signed by Archbishop Damascinos and a great number of eminent Greek people, as well as photographs of mass arrests made in Ioannina, Didymoticho and Thessaloniki, and false identity cards giving their religion as Orthodox Christian – all supplied by the Jewish Museum of Greece. The section aroused great interest among visitors.
On May 10th
, 2005, the Holocaust Memorial of Berlin was inaugurated. Several family stories from all over Europe are presented in one of the Exhibition
Area’s halls, one of which is the story of Ms. E. Nahman’s family, from Ioannina, Greece. The J.M.G. cooperated with the Memorial in selecting and presenting the story, based on Ms. Nahman’s testimony and photographic material from its archives. Informational material on the programmes and educational activities of the J.M.G. is available at the Memorial’s Information Centre.
The Jewish Museum took part in an International Conference organised by the Department of Cultural Technology and Communications of the Aegean University, in Mytilene, Lesvos. It contributed a poster and photographic material from its educational programme “Dialogue with a Museum” to the exhibition of participants held at the foyer of the town’s Theatre.
The J.M.G. took part in exhibitions and other events in Ioannina, celebrating the 90th anniversary since the town’s annexation to Greece. The Jewish Museum presented its exhibition “The Jewish Community of Ioannina - A Journey through Time” at the town’s art gallery.
The Jewish Museum lent the jacket of an Auschwitz inmate’s uniform to the History Museum of Berlin for its extensive exhibition “Holocaust - The National - Socialist Murder of Peoples and the Features of Remembrance” (January 16 - April 9 2002).
In another instance of its collaboration with other museums, the J.M.G. lent a yellow “Magen David” made of cloth to the Imperial War Museum in London. The latter used the star as part of its permanent Holocaust exhibition and its two-year lease has already been renewed.
Household items used in Jewish holidays from the collection of the Jewish Museum were lent to the Hellenic Children’s Museum as part of its programme “Collections from other Museums” in December.
Τhe Jewish Museum of Greece was invited and took part with material from its archives in four photographic exhibition in schools, cultural centres and educational institutions.
After an invitation from the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the J.M.G. took part in the celebrations for the re-consecration of the Romaniote synagogue of Chania, Crete with informational material.
The J.M.G. took part in the programme “The Holocaust in Greece”, organised by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum of Washington, D.C., in October. The Jewish Museum contributed original WW II and Occupation photographs from its Archive, which were incorporated in the Website constructed by the U.S.H.M.M. for that specific programme. Secondly, some of the Museum’s photographic records of the old Synagogues of Thessalonica were used by Architect and Researcher Dr. Ilias Messinas in his exhibition “The Synagogues of Thessalonica: Destruction and Rebuilding”. The exhibition had been presented in the past at the Goethe Institute of Thessalonica and the Yad Vashem Foundation in Jerusalem. Today it is housed in the “Spyros Vrionis Center for the Study of Greek Culture” in California, where it is part of the permanent exhibition.
In November, after an invitation from the Greek Parliament, the Jewish Museum took part in the exhibition “Thrace, 80 years since its Annexation to Greece” with photographic material from the Jewish Communities of Thrace. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Greek President, Mr. K. Stephanopoulos.