CULTURE

The legacy of Sophia Schliemann

On the 70th anniversary of the death of Sophia Schliemann, the association of graduates of the «Philekpaideftiki Etairia,» which runs the prestigious Arsakeio Academy, held a ceremony last Saturday in honor of her social work. Few people know how many hospitals in Athens are indebted to her for her initiatives and donations after the death of her husband, the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann who discovered the ruins of Troy in the 19th century. Her contribution to the Sotiria, Laiko, Triantafyllaki, Spiliopouleio, Economeio and «Military» hospitals, as well as many more, were mentioned in the commemorative ceremony held at the Stoa tou Vivliou. Ioulia Simantira (a graduate of the Arsakeio Academy) related the life of Sophia Schliemann (nee Kastrioti or Engastromenou) as if it were a novel, enthralling the audience with all the aspects of Schliemann’s humanitarian work. On show was the the beautiful bust of Schliemann decked with Trojan jewels, the work of her nephew, the sculptor Giorgos Kastriotis. Professor Antonios Rasidakis, director of the Respiratory Failure Unit at Sotiria Hospital, spoke of Schliemann’s efforts in the fight against tuberculosis and her contribution to the construction of new hospitals, setting up what we would now call an entire public health system. Also addressing the gathering were Dimitris Kakavelakis, adviser to Philekpaideftiki, art historian Nikos Zias and Professor Georgios Korres, an archaeologist, who spoke of Sophia Schliemann’s relationship with archaeology and the Schliemann home, the «Ilion Melathron.» (Helbi is away on assignment.)