Ongoing exhibition at Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art until April 30

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Ongoing exhibition at Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art until April 30The Irakliotissa’s adventures began in July, 1944, with its chance discovery during the digging of trenches at the Roman Agora

The Irakliotissa, an exquisitely carved Roman statue, was the first antiquity plundered during World War II to be repatriated to Greece 70 years ago, Greek daily Kathimerini reports int he following article:

Housed in Thessaloniki’s Archaeological Museum, its fascinating journey back is charted by an ongoing exhibition at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA) titled “Divided Memories 1940-50.”

Its removal during the German occupation, efforts to locate and repatriate it, and a child’s memories of a statue from an exotic city that he heard about from his soldier father, make for a charming narrative.

The Irakliotissa’s adventures began in July, 1944, with its chance discovery during the digging of trenches at the Roman Agora, which served as a camp for Polish PoWs during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

For propaganda purposes, the Germans handed the statue over to Greek authorities in a ceremony at the Rotonda. A week after its discovery, though, an order came through in response to a telegraph sent by Adolf Hitler for the statue to be transferred to Germany. The argument was that since German troops unearthed it, the valuable find belonged to the German nation.

The statue was initially placed in Hitler’s personal museum in Linz but was moved out of the reach of air raids to a villa belonging to propagandist Joseph Goebbels. After the war ended, it was tracked to the Altaussee salt mines in Austria, found among many other artworks that had been plundered by the Nazis.

“Our abducted statue has been found in Austria,” a newspaper reported on October 31, 1945, adding that a German archaeology professor called G. Venzl had informed Greek authorities the Germans had hidden a statue in a salt mine, hinting that there were more Greek items of value there. Venzl also volunteered to take care of and return the items. Just a day after that report, however, another newspaper claimed that the statue was “in danger of being sent to America.”

Struggle for the statue’s repatriation

The paper said that American soldiers had discovered the salt mine treasure and that the whole lot, including the statue, were in the process of being transported across the Atlantic.

The struggle for the statue’s repatriation, spearheaded by Thessaloniki’s antiquities curator Stylianos Pelekanidis, paid off as the allied forces transported the Irakliotissa to the Central Collecting Point in Munich, from where the Greek delegation picked it up and returned it to Thessaloniki in 1947.

According to experts, the female statue, standing 2.11 meters tall and with a similar hairstyle to that seen in depictions of the Empress Valeria Galeria, is a departure from trends prevalent in the period of the Four Tetrarchs (AD 293-313).

“The exceptional aesthetic of the face and of the body, with the long tunic and rich robe, marks a move away from the passionate forms of the Tetrarchy,” says archaeologist Efterpi Makri.

The statue depicts a prominent figure of Thessaloniki society, possibly Vevia Alexandra, a 3rd century AD high priestess, according to Tzeni Veleni, director of the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum. She is certainly an aristocrat and possibly a sponsor of public works, adds Veleni.

The statue in her honor – created at a Thessaloniki workshop – possibly graced the Odeon. It would have been set up in a niche, which is why its back was unfinished.

The final part of the story on display at the MMCA involves the son of a German soldier who was at the statue’s excavation. The younger man appeared at the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum demanding to see his father’s statue. He held a photo of the Irakliotissa in his hands that he inherited from his father – along with stories about Thessaloniki, a city depicted by the German soldier as exotic. The father had apparently mentioned the discovery of the statue as part of a story intended to conceal the fact that he was in the city not to work but to fight.

The show runs through April 30 at the MMCA, 154 Egnatia, tel 2310.240.002, www.mmca.org. The statue is on permanent display at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, 6 Manoli Andronikou, tel 2313.310.201, www.amth.gr

Source: ekathimerini.com

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Tornos
  1. 25/05 02:09

    Buses and trolleys affected by work stoppage and strike in Greece next week

  2. 25/05 02:00

    Greece waits to see how new GDPR data privacy law will evolve

  3. 25/05 01:55

    New Greek stamp series celebrates bees and their importance in biodiversity

  4. 25/05 01:50

    Greek airports record 6.4% year-on-year rise in arrivals

  5. 25/05 01:41

    Three-day conference on Armistice of Moudros begins Friday on Lemnos island

  6. 24/05 23:33

    AP report: Meet the Godly giants in kilts, the Greek Presidential Guards

  7. 24/05 22:25

    Carreta caretta turtles prefer Zakynthos and Kyparissia for nesting in Greece

  8. 24/05 22:04

    Cretan authorities approve building new five star hotel in Elounda

  9. 24/05 22:04

    Intercultural Choir of Greek National Opera at Athens International Airport

  10. 24/05 20:56

    Greek island of Sikinos to become plastic straw-free this summer

  11. 24/05 20:50

    Silkair to undergo major cabin product upgrade and be merged into SIA

  12. 24/05 20:43

    TUI reorganises Executive Board responsibilities

  13. 24/05 18:36

    USS aircraft carrier docks at Souda Bay in Crete and crew gets shore leave

  14. 24/05 16:27

    One of the world's top-7 majestic natural pools is in Greece

  15. 24/05 14:19

    Local entrepreneurs to enter for Envolve Awards Greece by May 31

  16. 24/05 12:07

    AP: Cyprus toughens vetting for Investment-for-Passport scheme

  17. 24/05 10:00

    Greek President inaugurates Psychiko Municipal Glyptotheque

  18. 24/05 01:36

    Lonely Planet: Small Cyclades among top-10 places to visit in Europe 2018

  19. 23/05 20:49

    Bill Murray gives poetry recital at Ancient Athenian Theatre on June 19

  20. 23/05 16:42

    Major exhibition on beauty ends National Archaeological Museum ‘trilogy’

  21. 23/05 12:31

    New train line to link Patras with Kato Achaia in Peloponnese, Greece

  22. 23/05 10:56

    Fast-food fish shop opens in Monastiraki area of Athens

  23. 23/05 01:17

    Former Ledra Hotel to open as Grand Hyatt in Athens

  24. 23/05 00:17

    Report: Wild boar roam posh Athens suburb of Ekali (video)

  25. 23/05 00:13

    Greek Energy Ministry tries to resolve the Eldorado standoff

  26. 23/05 00:03

    ‘Japan Seminar at Posidonia 2018’ takes place in Athens on June 5

  27. 22/05 23:50

    Event on repatriation of Athens Parthenon Marbles in Stockholm

  28. 22/05 23:38

    National Hellenic Museum in Chicago raises $800,000 to support Hellenic Legacy

  29. 22/05 23:10

    Bears in Greece fitted with tracking collars for data on traffic accidents

  30. 22/05 22:57

    TripAdvisor Choice Awards 2018: The 10 most popular Greek sites

  31. 22/05 20:42

    Greece has the 6th most powerful passport in the planet

  32. 22/05 20:32

    Government officials examine ways to boost green spaces in Thessaloniki

  33. 22/05 18:27

    Inauguration ceremony of “The Story of Neophytos the Recluse” art exhibition

  34. 22/05 16:20

    IMTJ Medical Travel Summit 2018: Greece to play leading role in health tourism

  35. 22/05 14:11

    Prehistoric finds in Cyprus Troodos mountains by Aristotle University

  36. 22/05 12:59

    Emirates Airlines adds A380 Athens service in June 2018

  37. 22/05 10:50

    + 12.8% arrivals and + 28.2% travel receipts in Greece in March 2018

  38. 22/05 01:52

    Holy Sepulchre project presented in 3D at Byzantine Museum in Athens

  39. 22/05 01:45

    Tourism markets: Turkish lira continues freefall to historic low

  40. 22/05 01:40

    Laudamotion cancels Zurich operation in summer 2018

  41. 22/05 01:18

    Turkish ‘shrine’ turns out to be tomb of Ancient Greek boxer Diagoras

  42. 22/05 01:11

    Delphi Festival on June 15 with Manos Hadjidakis’ music recitals

  43. 22/05 00:47

    Temperatures of 30 °C in Athens and other parts of Greece already

  44. 21/05 22:55

    National Pangaea buys Lazart Hotel in Thessaloniki for 7 million

  45. 21/05 22:02

    Innovation competition “Disrupt Greece” invites startups to register by May 24

  46. 21/05 20:40

    Popular Greek comedian Harry Klynn passes away at the age of 78

  47. 21/05 20:22

    Greeks promote Mediterranean Diet in Chicago

  48. 21/05 18:04

    Decisions on new Greek property tax values and ENFIA bill set for June

  49. 21/05 16:00

    Ryanair launches new Athens to Heraklion route on June 15, 2018

  50. 21/05 14:55

    Windrose schedules new Kiev-Patras route in summer 2018

  51. 21/05 12:44

    Expedia study: More business travelers combine business and leisure in trips

  52. 21/05 10:31

    Kayak: The 9 latest travel-tech innovations from your dreams and nightmares

  53. 20/05 23:02

    Greek Minister: Agreement to simplify business licencing with institutions

  54. 20/05 22:53

    Inmates at New York City biggest jail get taste of Ancient Greece

  55. 20/05 20:34

    Battle of Crete’s Nazi shelter at Platanias village in Chania turned to a museum

  56. 20/05 18:27

    Report: Europe’s “Largest Casino” to be built in Cyprus (video)

  57. 20/05 16:44

    Exhibition on Ioannis Capodistrias at the Art Gallery of Greek island of Corfu

  58. 20/05 14:33

    Thousands flock to Brisbane’s biggest Greek Festival in Australia

  59. 20/05 12:15

    Kythnos island’s huge network of footpaths a draw for hikers and ramblers

  60. 20/05 10:43

    Greece and its islands win Leisure Lifestyle Awards for 2018

  61. 20/05 00:34

    IMTJ Medical Travel Summit 2018 to take place in Athens from May 21-24

  62. 18/05 23:05

    Natura 2000 award won by Callisto wildlife organisation in Greece

  63. 18/05 23:01

    Reuters: Thomas Cook to target more image-conscious audience

  64. 18/05 22:58

    World Museum Day celebrated in Greece with tours, exhibitions, workshops

  65. 18/05 22:56

    Cretan city of Rethymno in Greece sends soil from battlefield to Australia

  66. 18/05 22:46

    Greek Prime Minister agrees to give vote to Greeks abroad

  67. 18/05 22:44

    Ionian Growth Days: Greek opposition party conference on Corfu island

  68. 18/05 22:37

    Greek cultural center opens in Shanghai

  69. 18/05 22:32

    Greek Tourism Minister pushes for direct Athens-Shanghai flight

  70. 18/05 22:20

    Foodies go crazy for Halloumi Fries

  71. 18/05 22:16

    Minoan Lines: Net profits of 1.7 million euros during Q1 2018

  72. 18/05 21:55

    Central Brisbane bridge turns Greek for city’s Paniyiri Festival

  73. 18/05 20:02

    ‘The Durrells’ return to Greek island of Corfu for fourth season

  74. 18/05 18:43

    Egyptair offers up to 35% discount on tickets from Athens and Larnaca

  75. 18/05 16:39

    Italian Eni to take full ownership of Thessaloniki-Thessaly Gas in Greece

  76. 18/05 14:34

    TIF Helexpo organizes Greek business delegation for Saint Petersburg in Russia

  77. 18/05 10:17

    Greek-Italian artistic directors platform at Acropolis Museum in Athens

  78. 17/05 23:38

    TripAdvisor: The top-10 food experiences in the world

  79. 17/05 23:25

    Thomas Cook: Greece again among summer season winners with strong demand for 2018

  80. 17/05 22:51

    World Travel Awards: Vote for Athens until next Sunday May 20th

  81. 17/05 22:35

    Fans of Instagram highlight beauty of Greek island of Andros

  82. 17/05 22:31

    Aegean Airlines founder Theodoros Vassilakis passes away at 78

  83. 17/05 22:30

    OTE Museum celebrates International Museum Day on May 18

  84. 17/05 22:20

    Book Now! exhibition in Athens World Book Capital 2018 until May 26

  85. 17/05 22:14

    Greek Tourism Minister inaugurates ITB China travel exhibition

  86. 17/05 22:03

    Dep. Economy Minister: Time is ripe for lifting of capital controls in Greece

  87. 17/05 20:51

    Tourist arrivals in Cyprus record increase between January - April

  88. 17/05 18:37

    7,300 new investment plans in tourism worth 2.3 billion euros across Greece

  89. 17/05 18:07

    Athens celebrates Museum Day on May 18 with free cultural events

  90. 17/05 16:45

    Sports Tourism: “Navarino Challenge" with over 20 activities this year

  91. 17/05 14:36

    3rd Aviation and Flight Academy at the Athens International Airport

  92. 17/05 12:28

    Montreal mayor and Greek community representatives visit Athens

  93. 17/05 10:20

    Deputy Foreign Minister: Diaspora is a powerful tool for Greek economy

  94. 17/05 01:20

    Ancient Greek tragedy “Troades” becomes modern Korean opera (video)

  95. 17/05 01:12

    ASTA VP: B2B Roadshow for Greece completes United States events

  96. 17/05 01:02

    Greek Transport minister blames privatization agency for delay in airport tender

  97. 17/05 00:58

    Medical Tourism: Pharma firms to turn Greece into hub for clinical trials

  98. 17/05 00:48

    Robotex, Europe’s largest robotics festival to take place in Athens in November

  99. 17/05 00:48

    Greek privatization agency announces schemes for motorway, marina tenders

  100. 17/05 00:31

    International Driving Permit now required to rent cars throughout Greece