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PRESS FROM ORIGINAL THEATRICAL PRESENTATION
2 January 2017 - The Students of the Umberto Primo: From a theatrical play to an open space museum
There are many ways to remember and one of the most effective is to remember telling. When you tell, you share, you transmit and it is created a much stronger and lasting memory. And when memory is combined with the art, well, it becomes a very powerful force.
Just that kind of force was transmitted by the guys of the Dream Team, the students of the first class of Gimnasium and the first class of Lyceum of Fine Arts, through the theatrical performance Oi Mathites Tou Oumperto Primo – The Students of the Umberto Primo – in the Mégaro Mousikís Thessaloníkis.
This theatrical performance was created for International Holocaust Remembrance Day which every year pays tribute to those lives broken during World War II, when more than 49,000 Jews from Thessaloniki were deported. Of this number, only 2,000 came back home at the end of the war. Among the victims were many Jewish families with Italian backgound.
The performance was the result of the research conducted by Antonio Crescenzi, after a very significant discover. One day, in 2003, while Crescenzi was working in the Italian Cultural Institute, a summer storm led the professor into the basement to prevent flooding. A paper, set sail by the wind, stuck to his chest. It was "One of the Best Memories of my Life," by the former student, Alberto Modiano, written in December 1941.
From that moment, Crescenzi rebuilt piece by piece the stories of Lydia, Matilde, Alberto S., Letitsia, Giovanni, Daniel Alberto M., Claudio, all students of the last class of the Umberto Primo. All the research and the subsequent theatrical play was based on the documents found in the archives of the Institute.
That document, with many others, was part of the scenery and afterwards they became themselves the "exhibition" that followed the performance. Thus the audience, after warmly applauding the cast, could approach essays, class assignments, notebooks and books which belonged to the real actors of the story: the students of the school year 1941-42 at the Institute of High School Gymnasium Umberto Primo.
The project, born from the idea of Alessandra Maioletti, moved the audience thanks to special effects that opened and closed the show and it had the role of emphasizing the historical links between Italy and the City of Thessaloniki.
- Carmen Russo, usbngo.gr
31 October 2017 - ERT International, A call for remembrance by “The Students of Umberto Primo”
6 January, 2014 - Jewish Telegraph Agency, Seeking Kin: In Salonika, preparing for a unique graduation
7 January 2014 - Jewish Telegraph Agency, Greek school to present diplomas to Holocaust survivors
7 January 2014 - The Times of Israel, Greek school to give Holocaust survivors diplomas
7 January 2014 - Greek Reporter, Holocaust Survivors Receive Graduation Certificates
7 January 2014 - Jewish Daily Forward, Greek School Unearths Diplomas for 157 Jewish Students Killed in Holocaust