Memories of the Occupation in Greece
Reviewed by: Elena Abou Mrad, Carolyn McDonough, and Matt P.
Review started: February 20, 2021
Review finished: April 20, 2021
Data and Sources
- 93 video interviews (68 men and 25 women) conducted between May 2016 and April 2018
- They represent a sample of various witness categories, such as resistance fighters, concentration camp inmates, Jews and political prisoners alike, Shoah survivors, and witnesses of reprisal massacres
- Video interviews were optimized for different formats, transcribed, translated (from Greek into German), indexed, and supplemented with biographical and bibliographical information
- Interviews were published on an online portal, which also contains educational materials based on the oral history project
Digital Tools Used to Build It
- Dédalo “intangible heritage management” system and platform
- Interviews are in Greek
- Website, transcripts, and bibliography are in German
- Parts of the website are in English; review is of these parts
Memories of the Occupation in Greece (MOG) is a digital memory project that describes itself thusly:
The survivors of the German Occupation in Greece narrate their life-histories and they also have the chance to narrate their personal postwar ‘German-Greek’ experience. The interviews provide an opportunity to preserve history from oblivion and they are an indispensable element of the Greek culture of remembrance.
Considering the interviews have been conducted 70 years after the war, this site is a marvel, and the content is of indescribable cultural and historical value. The presentation of the content is straightforward.
Reviewed by: Carolyn McDonough
At a glance, the website is set up in a simple, easy-to-use, but functional and intuitive manner. The aesthetics are unobtrusive and appealing, and there are options not only to search the site by way of a search bar, but also to change the site’s language to German or Greek. Strangely, the links in the top right corner of the sites are split halfway between English and German (note that the German links lead to the German version of the site), at least on the English version of the site.
One of the immediate design issues is the intended/unintended acronym MOG, which is slightly distracting. More importantly, while the website text can be translated into English, Greek, and German, the same cannot be said of the transcriptions of the oral history interviews, which were all created in German. There is a lot of contextual information about the German occupation and a robust bibliography; however, most of the bibliography is in German.
Looking at the “Description of the project” section of the site, the provided statement has a part that really sticks out. According to the statement, “interviews (audio / video), transcripts, translations (if available), photographs and documents, and short biographies” will eventually be made available, specifically as “educational materials.” Comparing this to, for instance, Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony’s About page, it seems a lot more specific and directed, but this may be an unfair comparison. (See review of Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony in this publication.)
There is a timeline which could be made more dynamic with a plug-in such as the Knight Lab JS3 timeline (which accommodates photos, audio, and video content) or through data visualization mapping software rather than the text list chronology of years. The developers have documented a very specific experience; yet, touring the site raises the following question: Did the developers and researchers consider the prospect of reaching a wider “audience”?
Other Comments and Considerations
Reviewed by: Matt P. and Elena Abou Mrad
In all honesty, our knowledge of the German occupation of Greece was practically nonexistent before going on this site. We obtained quite a bit of new information by idly exploring the site, specifically in the realm of background knowledge. Thus, at least on some level, if not quite as a research tool, the site can certainly be used in an informative manner.
The final sentence of the “Description of the project” section is quite interesting: “The aim is also to create an intercultural dialogue between German and Greek young people.” As evidenced by the rest of the paragraph it is included in, apparently, knowledge of “German war crimes on Greek soil” is not common knowledge at all, even in Germany.
A final consideration: Out of 15 team members, 9 are women, which is really refreshing.