GREEK JEWS:
FROM THE EXPULSION FROM SPAIN (1492)
UP TO THE GENOCIDE (1943-1944).
HISTORY, MEMORY, RECONSTRUCTION.

This year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the Jewish Museum is proud to host, for the fifth consecutive academic year (2015–16), a seminar by Odette Varon-Vassard, historian and lecturer-consultant at the Hellenic Open University. This seminar aims to examine in depth different aspects of the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis (known as the Holocaust or Shoah) with an emphasis on the Greek case.

The starting point for the seminar this year will be a thorough introduction to the history of the Sephardic Jews, from their expulsion from Spain to the extermination of Greek Romaniote and Sephardic Jewry in 1943–44.

Outlining the context and implementation of the “final solution” (to use the Nazi term), the seminar focuses on issues relating to historiography, memory/oblivion, silence/speech and representations. In the field of memory it will broach the issue of testimony (written and oral) as well as look at the institutionalisation of memory through museums, monuments and sites of memory. Among the representations considered will be camp literature and some film approaches.

The seminar is divided into two cycles of four meetings (one Sunday a month from October to May). Each meeting begins with a presentation by Dr Varon-Vassard, followed by a discussion. If they wish, participants will have the opportunity to prepare their own presentations on subjects of their choice. There will also be occasional presentations by guests on particular issues or books.

The seminar mainly aimed at graduate students, doctoral students, researchers and secondary school teachers who are engaged with the subject or teach it.

ODETTE VARON-VASSARD is an historian, who teaches history at the Hellenic Open University and organises the seminar on the memory of the genocide of the Jews at the Jewish Museum of Greece. She has worked closely with the museum on its seminars for teaching the Holocaust. Her books (in Greek) include: The Greek youth press: register (1941–1945), IAEN, 1987; The maturing of a generation: young people during the occupation and in the resistance, Estia, 2009; The emergence of a difficult memory: texts about the genocide of Jews, Estia, 2012 (2nd revised edition, 2013). For more see: www.biblionet.gr)