An outdoor double exhibit to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust took place on Vassilissis Olgas avenue, near the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, on Friday.
The event showcasing work by artist Artemis Alcalay and family photographs from the Jewish Museum of Greece was addressed briefly by Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and Jewish Museum President Makis Matsas.
Billboards lining the pedestrian section of the street show on one side photographs from the daily life of Greek Jews before and during World War II, and on the other photographs of tapestries by Alcalay, who expresses the sense of home and family, and their loss.
“Our greatest enemy is ignorance, which is also the greatest obstacle to our joint journey for building tolerant and inclusive communities,” the Athens mayor said. “Greece lost more than 80% of its pre-war Jewish population. The works of Artemis Alcalay place us in the microcosm of the Greek Jews’ home and refuge during the (Nazi) Occupation. We move from the ‘before’ to the ‘after’, from the ‘inside’ of comfort and security to the ‘outside’ of persecution and destruction. This juxtaposition results in powerful emotions and awakens introspective thoughts.”
Matsas referred to public initiatives like the exhibit that will contribute to ensuring that Nazi atrocities never happen again. He also highlighted the importance of seminars for teachers provided by the Jewish Museum in collaboration with the Education Ministry, as well as to moving compositions written by Greek students who have visited the Museum of Auschwitz in Poland.
Titled ‘The Holocaust of Greek Jews, 1941-1944’ and ‘Artemis Alcalay: Trauma as Memory and Life’, the exhibit will remain on Vassilissis Olgas avenue throughout February. It was jointly organized by the City of Athens, the Jewish Museum of Greece, and Artemis Alcalay, coordinated by the municipality’s Cultural Office, on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.
Also attending the event were Israel’s Ambassador Noam Katz, Greek Parliament’s Greece-Israel Friendship Committee Chair Dimitris Kairidis and Vice President Olga Kefalogianni, and representatives of the Jewish communities in Greece. The speeches were followed by a tour of the exhibits guided by Alcalay.
Photographs of the Jewish Museum used in the exhibit can be seen at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1xNgyyL7xpQbhxAin0jOh5v8pLj7vuAXi?usp=sharing
Photographs of Artemis Alcalay’s work shown in the exhibit can be seen at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sCeSQlKYJ6Q8DfNycyX5IQty7h-kya6r?usp