Meeting in the Museum of Byzantine Culture: “Representations of the Occupation: photography, history, memory”. Report

Meeting in the Museum of Byzantine Culture: “Representations of the Occupation: photography, history, memory”. Report

Start Date:  10 Apr 2016

End Date:  31 May 2016

The Museum of Byzantine Culture successfully organized a conference, titled “Representations of the Occupation: photography, history, memory” on Friday 8 of April 2016 in the auditorium “Stephanos Dragoumis” with the participation of distinguished scholars from Greece and abroad. From 10a.m. to 5p.m. an interdisciplinary approach was attempted to the photographic means and its uses during the Nazi occupation of the country.

Professor Rolf Sachsse (Saar University of Fine Arts) illuminated hitherto unknown aspects of private and official German photography during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

Professor Frances Guerin (University of Kent) dealt with the multiple readings of amateur photography during the war.

In his presentation on the official Photo of Propaganda Units Alkis Xanthakis (Photography School AKTO) focused on the role of photographic correspondents in occupied Greece (1941-1944).

Almut Goldhahn (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz) presented in a vivid way how archives that captured the traces of the destruction that war provoked to cultural heritage monuments were used as instruments of propaganda of the Germans against allied forces.

Collector Byron Metos shared his thoughts on the parameters that determine the activity of collecting war photographies.

Iro Katsaridou and Ioannis Motsianos (Museum of Byzantine Culture) examined the role of propaganda in the "construction" of personal memories of German soldiers.

In his presentation Professor Stratos Dordanas (University of Macedonia) attempted to personalize as historical subjects German officers, who served in the occupying Thessaloniki, whom historical research hitherto faced with general and vague references.

Finally, Nikos Valasiadis (archaeologist, independent scholar) presented cases of identified and documented historical photographs of World War II, from the entrance of Germans in Thessaloniki and the Battle of Crete, based on field research and the use of modern technological means.

The conference was held in the frame of the exhibition “On the Margins of War: Thessaloniki under the German Occupation (1941-1944) through the Photographic Collection of Byron Metos”, with the kind support of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Thessaloniki and the Association of the Friends of the Museum of Byzantine Culture. The proceedings of the conference will be published in a bilingual edition by the end of the year.