From Greater to Contemporary Greece Exhibition

Dec 16, 2023 — Jun 30, 2024 • Category: Events
Location: Syntagma

The year 2022 marked 100 years since the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. In view of this, the National Historical Museum (NHM) organized the exhibition From Greater to Contemporary Greece, which follows the course from the so-called Great Idea (the irredentist concept of a Greek state that would encompass the former Byzantine lands) to the border and population formation of the actual Greek State. The exhibition consists of two parts. The first one, presented two years ago, concerned the events following the First World War, the Greek advance into Anatolia, and the burning of Smyrna.

Now, the NHM has launched the second part, which centers around the population movements that shaped the country in its present form. Its aim is to present refugeeism as fully as possible, shedding light on aspects ranging from the forced departure to memory and trauma. In this way, the exhibition highlights the universal feelings of the persecuted: their fear and despair, as well as the acceptance of their loss, their resilience and their will to survive. All this is visualized through an animated video by director Panagiotis Rappas.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: the Causes, the Uprooting, the Settling Down and Memory. The first one examines the reasons (wars, persecutions, border changes or population exchanges) that force a person to flee their country. The next section revolves around the perilous journey, the arrival, and the first attempts to succor the refugees. The third one is about their temporary and permanent housing, healthcare, education and employment, the estimation of the properties they abandoned and the issue of indemnifications. The last section looks at the collective memory and consciousness of the refugees through their involvement in music, sports, cultural clubs, literature and the cinema. The exhibits comprise photographs, historical documents and items from the Museum’s collections, as well as testimonies and press publications of the time. A great number of institutions and private citizens have also contributed significant archival materials.

The exhibition will run until June 30, 2024.