The Nissim Levis Panorama 1898-1944 (parallel text, Greek and English)
Stereoscopic photos and travels of a doctor from Ιοannina
Introduction and notes by Αlexander Moissis Preface by Mark Mazower
Distributed by University of Exeter Press. 266 duotones.
A touching photographic journey, captured in over 500 stereoscopic glass plates by the doctor and photographer Nissim Levis, a member of a prominent family in the Romaniote Jewish community of Ioannina, a city in north-western Greece. Th ey were found by chance, in a historic corner of the city, in the possession of a street vendor who invited passers-by to examine them for a fee by looking into a wooden box.
A voyage in time that starts during the last fifteen years of Ottoman rule in Ioannina, with stops along the way for the city’s major historical events and for visits to some of the world’s most cosmopolitan locales of that period. Most of all, however, it is a small tribute to the memory of a group of individuals, the Romaniote Jews of Ioannina, who would otherwise have been remembered only as simple rows on the Holocaust Museum’s list of victims.
Not only do we see important historical events unfold over the years, but we also see the everyday life of residents from different ethnic and religious groups—Christians, Jews and Muslims. More than that, the rescued photographs contain valuable information on the diplomatic background and the battle leading to the liberation of Ioannina, and on the historical background and prevailing atmosphere in Europe and in Ioannina between the two World Wars.
Prologue – Mark Mazower
Introduction - Αlexander Moissis
1898-1912 Part One - Everyday Life in Ottoman Ioannina
1908-1915 Part Two - Years of Upheaval and Change in Ioannina
1899-1919 Part Three - Travels in Epirus On the Road Between Ioannina And Western Europe
1899-1904 Part Four the Life of a Yanniote Medical Intern in Paris
1899-1904 Part Five Vacation Trips in France and Beyond
1919-1930 Part Six - Life in Ioannina and Family Travels after WWI
1944 Conclusion - The Last Image – March 25, 1944
In March of 1944, the Jews of Ioannina, north-western Greece, Romaniote Jews who had been an essential part of the city’s fabric since Byzantine times, were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz. Nine out of ten did not return. Hiette was one of the only members of the Levis family who survived, having gone into hiding on the outskirts of Athens. When she returned with her husband, Asher Moissis, in 1945 to see what had happened to the family house, she found the building had been looted and torched. Only the façade was intact. But that is not the end of the story.
This painstakingly researched book, a collection of the restored images, [...] has captions in English and Greek, a pithy and poignant preface by the historian Mark Mazower, and an introduction by Moissis, who describes himself, charmingly, as one who "reads in French, works in English and multiplies in Greek".
Alexander Moissis grew up in Greece, close to his father’s Romaniote Jewish and his mother’s Orthodox Christian families. He studied electrical engineering, computer science and management science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gaining four degrees before moving to Silicon Valley. He lives in California, where he works in English, reads in French and multiplies in Greek. Difficult to describe in one word – rather like his great-grandmothers’ uncle, Nissim D. Levis.
Mark A. Mazower is a British historian and writer, specialising in modern Greece, 20th century Europe and international history. He is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University, and is also currently the director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia.