Old leprosarium turned into a museum
The Municipality of Corfu has announced its plans to set up a Museum of Medical History and National Reconciliation at the site of a former Leprosy Hospital and concentration camp on the historic islet of Lazaretto, situated at a distance of two nautical miles off the coast of Corfu town. The plans for the museum have been approved by Deputy Environment Minister of Greece, Mr. Stavros Kaloyiannis.
Lazaretto, which had been under the administration of the Greek National Tourist Organization, covers an area of seven hectares. This state-owned, deserted islet has been handed over to the Corfu Municipality for the promotion of cultural activities. This islet was under Venetian rule in the 16th century and was then known as Agios Dimitrios, after a chapel that exists there till today. It was renamed Lazaretto when a leprosarium was founded there. Note that Christian leper colonies were named after the Biblical character Lazarus in those days.
During the Axis occupation of Greece in the Second World War, a concentration camp for prisoners of the Greek National Resistance Movement was established on the islet. More than 100 resistance heroes are estimated to have been executed on Lazaretto. The church of Agios Dimitrios, some small towers, a few cisterns, the old cemetery and a wall against which prisoners were shot still survive there.