Hidden Children in Occupied Greece – in Nicosia


To mark the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January 2018, the Embassy of Israel in Cyprus, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, organised a programme of events 7–9 February in Nicosia. Within the framework of the events, the “Hidden Children in Occupied Greece” travelling exhibition was presented at the Museums of the Pancyprian Gymnasium, with the Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece (JMG), Ms Zanet Battinou, in attendance.

The opening ceremony, held on Wednesday, 7 February, was very well attended and included many ambassadors. The welcoming address by the director of the Museums of the Pancyprian Gymnasium, Ms. Sofia Ioannou, was followed by greetings from the Minister of Education and Culture, Mr Costas Kadis, the Ambassador of Israel, Shmuel Revel, and a “hidden child”, Mr Alexandros Simcha. In delivering the main speech of the evening, Ms Battinou referred to the Holocaust education activities of the JMG as well as the content and importance of the particular exhibition and the research programme that led to it. After the welcoming addresses, she offered a bilingual tour through the traveling exhibition and fielded questions from guests.

The exhibition will be hosted in the Museums of the Pancyprian Gymnasium until 20 April 2018. Admission is free for the public and schools, while educational programmes for pupils have been prepared in collaboration with the museum.

The following day, Thursday, 8 February 2018, from 9–12:00, at the exhibition location at the Museums of the Pancyprian Gymnasium, Ms Battinou presented the educational goals and proposed activities of the exhibition to 25 secondary-school teachers from junior- and upper-high schools in the region, in the presence and with the assistance of Ms Aphroditi Spanou, an educator and coordinator of the Holocaust events at the Ministry of Education. This was a fruitful debate and exchange of ideas, based on the experience of the JMG and the issues of interest to the teachers. Each participant received an official certificate of participation.

During the week of 5–9 February, Mr Simcha, a Holocaust survivor whose story is included in the 24 stories of the exhibition, presented a series of lectures to high-school pupils. He was introduced by the JMG to the cultural official of the Embassy of Israel, Ms Maria Hadjigeorgiou, as an experienced speaker in schools and universities and a long-standing partner of the Museum in many and successful similar events. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, visits were planned to schools in each district, involving at least 150–200 students in each case.

The official visit included moving visits to historical points linked to the subsequent history of the Holocaust in Cyprus, the British Military Hospital, and the winter camp used to house for Jewish Holocaust survivors in the Xylotympou area in Dhekelia.

© JMG 2018