“War and Peace in the Balkans”: NUL hosting a special touring exhibition
The National and University Library in Zagreb is currently hosting a special exhibition entitled War and Peace in the Balkans, in cooperation with the Croatian Goethe-Institute. The touring exhibition, which will be put on in other countries of South East Europe, vividly presents a world as it was in the period between 1914 and 1918 which we may get to know better today owing to photographers of that time who put in special effort to capture the fragments of its at the same time gruesome and fascinating reality. In an effort to bring its visitors closer to this not so distant past, the exhibition features the works of four photographers and 12 short films.
American photographer Lewis Hine focused on capturing the images of children that were victims of the war in one way or another, while Ariel Varges, also an American photographer, took pictures of Thessaloniki at the time when the multinational troops of the Entente Powers were stationed there. Russian photographer Sampson Tchernoff documented the mass retreat of the Serbian army through the mountains of Albania, and a collection of photographs taken by two anonymous photographers from German and French troops provide a realistic insight into the everyday life of people in the Balkans during the war and document war crimes against civilians.
The exhibition’s twelve short films feature leading historians from eight countries who present many fascinating and thought-provoking details related to the experience of war in South East Europe. In contrast to Germany and France, where approximately 4% of the civil population fell victims to the war, these numbers were unfortunately much higher in the Balkan region. Guiltless farmers were hung in acts of revenge, entire towns were cleared of their inhabitants to meet the needs of the occupation forces, while hundreds of thousands of other civilians were displaced or killed. Millions died from malnutrition and disease, were left without their families or became expatriates.
The exhibition programme will include the organisation of educational tours for the secondary school students on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January, 11.00 – 15.30).
A related homonymous documentary, War and Peace in the Balkans, will be screened as part of the 2016 Croatian Night of Museums programme on 29 January (18.00, grand lobby). The film deals with the impact that the First World War had on the daily life of civilians, economy and all other aspects of human existence in the Balkan region, offering its viewers striking details on how Balkan peoples strove to survive in every sense possible throughout this extremely trying period. The film includes the images of war from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as statements by experts who were consulted during the development of the exhibition’s concept.
The exhibition will be on view until 31 January 2016.