LIFE

Thessaloniki exhibition turns spotlight on dark chapter of 1940-50s

GIOTA MIRTSIOTI

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks during a press conference for the opening at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, on Sunday.

TAGS: Exhibition, History

The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MMST) presents a new exhibition that turns the spotlight on one of the most savage chapters in modern human history with “Fractured Memories 1940-1950,” organized by the Goethe Institute in cooperation with the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. It was inaugurated on Sunday by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

An undiminished interest in this historical period, new evidence and testimonies that keep coming to light, as well as the fact that artists continue to pose questions about barbarity, life and death, constantly demand fresh interpretations of events that have still not been fully analyzed.

At the MMST, paintings, drawing, photographs, sculptures, posters, satirical cartoons, videos and diaries present different narrative approaches to and interpretations of that period, starting with the events themselves: foreign occupation, resistance, genocide, famine and other brutalities committed by the occupying forces – particularly against the city’s Jewish community – followed by civil war. In all the darkness, however, there are also rays of light from the artists and intellectuals who fought the forces of brutality with whatever means they had at their disposal.

An important part of the exhibition consists of evidence and documentation that is being shown to the general public for the first time by the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. This part of the show has been curated by Evangelos Hekimoglou. The timeline starts in the 1930s and ends with the final days of the Nazi occupation. It sheds light on the role of collaborators, on the dismantling of the Jewish cemetery, the road to the death camps, the looting of properties, and evidence of how Jews were stricken off public records or fired from the civil service for being “absent without permission” when they were rounded up in ghettos.

The selection of art and archival material from private and public archives does not just tell the story of that period and of the output of creative forces at that time, it is also a protest against the horrors of war.
 


Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, 154 Egnatia, tel 2310.240.002, www.mmca.org.gr. The exhibition runs to February 26, Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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