DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY EXHIBITION - Boston - Sep 25 - Oct 16, 2008
Defenders of Democracy: The American Response to Greece's role in World War II is an exhibition of photographs, memorabilia, newspapers, magazines and ephemera from the private collection of Gregory C. Pappas. It includes the largest known collection of authentic Greek War Relief Association propaganda posters, which were printed in the 1940s to rally support for Greece from the American public. Growing up in an immigrant home with parents from Crete, Pappas often listened to war stories at dinnertime, particularly about the German invasion and occupation that his father had lived through. But it was only after rummaging through a metallic lockbox that he had found under his father’s bed that he developed a genuine interest in World War II. The lockbox contained a host of important family documents, including transatlantic ship tickets, expired passports, photogr aphs and a folded and tattered letter addressed to Anna Papadaki, Pappas’s grandmother, from H.R. Alexander, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Mediterranean Theater. The letter thanked her for her assistance to the Allied forces that were escaping from Crete following the Nazi occupation in the spring of 1941. After extensive research on Greece’s role in World War II, Pappas realized that the events that had been transpiring in the homeland of his parents were resonating loudly in the United States,as an entire nation of Americans rallied behind the cause of helping Greece, a small country which had withstood the Axis forces and had provided the world with inspiration in uncertain times.

Pappas's research led to the building of an impressive collection of items that tell the history of this era from the American perspective, when Greece was the shining example of courage and dignity, when ideals stood first, and the when world’s largest democracy came to the rescue of the world’s oldest. The exhibition tells an important story that has largely been forgotten with the passage of time, but retains its relevance for relations between Greece and the United States, as well as for the history of the Greek-American community which, for the f irst time was able to publicly proclaim simultaneously both its loyalty to Gr eece, the homeland, and to America, the adopted nation. The exhibition is hosted in Boston by the Maliotis Cultural Center and the New England Chapter of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and is sponsored by the Greek America Foundation and Greek America Magazine. Major funding for the exhibition was received by the John G. Rangos Charitable Foundation, the John P. Calamos Foundation and Gregory C. Pappas. The exhibition is curated by Gregory C. Pappas of Chicago, IL with assistance by guest curators Konstantinos Malindretos and Vivian Haritos.

The exhibition, including the opening reception, is free of charge and open to the public.

The exhibition runs from September 25 through October 16

For more information please contact the Maliotis Center ~ 617-522-2800 or Tina Papadopoulos ~ 617-828-7543