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40 years of active presence

Thursday, September 21, 2023

    Nissim Levis’ Panorama

    One of the best devices ever produced to project glass slides was the “Jules Richard Le Taxiphote Stereo-Classeur” projector, which hit the market just before 1900. It resembled a piece of furniture, which included storage for the glass plates. Nissim Levis had such a device to show his photos.

    After the violent displacement of the Jewish population (1944), almost all Jewish homes were plundered. The Levis house was also looted. The cabinet holding the Taxiphote projector also contained 500 glass plates. Stolen in one piece, fortunately they were not scattered.

    In 1945, the projector and the plates came into the hands of a young man, who set up a mobile viewing “business” on the streets of Ioannina. For a fair price, customers could view the “panorama”, that is, the old stereoscopic slides of a rather unknown prosperous family. The way the Levis family had lived in the early 20th century seemed exotic in Ioannina 40 years later, so poor had the city become.

    In spring 1945, when the transport situation allowed it, Hiette, a granddaughter of Davidjon Levis, and her husband, Asher Moissis, both Holocaust survivors, visited Ioannina, where they accidentally encountered the young man with the “panorama” and recognized the pictures. Immediately, they bought the projector and the slides. The family’s past once again took shape. The faces that were lost in the Holocaust re-emerged from the photographs. Another 50 glass plates of Nissim D. Levis were found in an antiques store in Athens in 1976 by the Ioanniote collector, Phillip Yovanis, who kindly passed them on to Nissim Levis’ descendants.

    The thematic and chronological classification, as well as the identification of people and places, was a laborious work initiated by Davidjon’s great grandson, Raphael Moissis, and completed by his son Alexander with the creation of the book “The Nissim Levis Panorama”, which was awarded a destinction by the Academy of Athens.