Friday, October 20, 2017

World War II and the devastation of the cultural heritage of Crete

The harsh occupation of Greece during the Second World War by German and Italian forces and the atrocities inflicted on its inhabitants are well known. What is less well documented are the contemporaneous assaults on the cultural heritage of the country. This latter phenomenon is a topic that has received very limited attention by researchers. The archaeologist Giorgos Tzorakis (doctoral candidate at the University of Crete) has investigated this broad topic in the context of what happened on Crete between 1942 and 1944. In his lecture on Monday evening, October 23rd, entitled «"Εν μέσω της μενομένης καταιγίδος...". Οι αρχαιότητες της Κρήτης στη δίνη του μεγάλου πολέμου (1941-1944)», he will share his findings on this dark period on “To Megalonisi”.

The destruction of the antiquities on Crete were documented in summary fashion at the time by the then Ephor of Antiquities and Director of the Herakleion Museum, Nikolas Platon. The extent of the violence against this rich cultural heritage by both German and Italian soldiers and officers is palpable and was fully confirmed after the war. It included the pillaging of private and public archaeological collections, the damaging or the obliteration of archaeological sites and monuments as well as numerous unsupervised “archaeological excavations” throughout the island. Such a short period of opportunity, but so much damage.

This lecture is the first in the 2017/2018 Lecture Program of the Syllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiologikis Yperesias. It will be held in the Library of the Canadian Institute in Greece starting at 7 PM on the 23rd. The public is most welcome to attend.

David Rupp

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