02. Παρουσίαση του προγράμματος – Project description

«Ένας Έλληνας, δύο Έλληνες, τρεις Έλληνες… η Βραΐλα,» είναι το όνομα ενός πολιτιστικού προγράμματος που άρχισε στην Βραΐλα της Ρουμανίας  και είναι μια έρευνα αφιερωμένη στην συμβολή των Ελλήνων που επηρέασαν αποφασιστικά την πολιτιστική ιστορία της πόλης Βραΐλας.  Ο γενικός στόχος του προγράμματος που διεξάγεται από το Μουσείο Βραΐλας σε συνεργασία με την Ελληνική Κοινότητα Βραΐλας και το Νομαρχιακό Συμβούλιο και με την  υποστήριξη από την Διαχείρηση Εθνικού Πολιτιστικού Ταμείου Ρουμανίας (A.F.C.N.)  είναι να επανενεργοποιηθεί η μνήμη και το πολιτιστικό-ιστορικό περιβάλλον της Bραΐλας  από την άποψη της ελληνικής παρουσίας.

Το πρόγραμμα σκοπέυει επίσης τη δημιουργία μίας βάσης δεδομένων με το σύνθετο λογοτεχνικό, φωτογραφικό και οπτικοακουστικό περιεχόμενο, για να παρουσιάσει την πολιτιστική και ιστορική συμβολή της ελληνικής κοινότητας στην ανάπτυξη της πόλης, καθώς επίσης και των ιστορικών στοιχείων, των ιδιωτικών λεπτομερειών (γάμοι, σχέσεις, σχολεία, καθηγητές, τρόποι ζωής και οικογένεια), της αστικής και θρησκευτικής αρχιτεκτονικής, των αστικών μύθων και των πραγματικών γεγονότων, των περιγραφών, των προσωπικοτήτων και της σύγχρονης πραγματικότητας. Ένας εικονικός χάρτης θα εκδοθεί επίσης, παρουσιάζοντας τις αστικές περιηγήσεις με μερικά από τα σημαντικότερα μνημεία που χτίζονται από Έλληνες στην πόλη – την περιήγηση των μεγάλων ελληνικών ιδιωτικών οικοδομημάτων (Λυκιαρδοπούλου, Σουλιώτη, Λάσκαρη, Λεωνίδα, Λάσκαρη, Βιολάτου, Εμπειρίκου, Ξενάκη, κλπ), το δρόμο των μύλων (Βιολάτου και Λυκιαρδοπούλου), το δρόμο των εκδοτών και των βιβλιοπωλών (Κωστομύρη, Πεστεμαλτζιόγλου, Χρυσοβέργη) την περιήγηση Παναϊτ Ιστράτι (συγγραφέας, κεφαλονιτικής καταγωγής) και την περιήγηση Δημήτρη Παναγιώτη «Perpessicius» (ακαδημαϊκος, ιστορικός, κριτικός και ποιητής, με γιαννιώτικη καταγωγή).

Με βάση όλα αυτά, ένα ντοκιμαντέρ θα γίνει για την Ελληνική Κοινότητα, περί μνήμης και αναμνήσεως των δημοφιλέστερων θέσεων της ελληνικής κοινότητας στην Βραΐλα. Η έρευνα εκτελείται σε πολλαπλάσιες κλίμακες, και οι κύριες πηγές της είναι μερικές  από τις πολυτιμότερες εκδώσεις και άρθρα που δημοσιεύονται στη Ρουμανία ή στο εξωτερικό, το αρχείο της Ελληνικής Κοινότητας, καθώς επίσης και τα αρχεία άλλων οργάνων, προσωπικά αρχεία και αναμνήσεις.

Με το πρόγραμμα αυτό προσπαθούμε να σώσουμε, όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερο, τα στοιχεία της πολιτισμικής κληρονομιάς της πόλης, και να τα φέρουμε στην κοινή γνώμη. Το πρόγραμμα θα παρουσιάσει τα ιστορικά γεγονότα και τα στοιχεία, τις προσωπικότητες και τα κτήρια που είναι εμπλουτισμένα με την καταφανή γεύση του ελληνικού πολιτισμού.

Τα αποτελέσματα του προγράμματος αποτελούν την  πολιτιστική υποδομή για την ίδρυση ενός κέντρου της Πολιτισμικής Ποικιλομορφίας της Βραΐλας σε ένα χώρο  που προσφέρεται από το Μουσείο Βραΐλας.

Traducere / Μετάφραση Haralambie Caravia

Introduction of the project

The project is part of the issue of the sphere of cultural diversity (the spirit and key topic of the project), of the initiatives that fructify the mobile and fixed national cultural patrimony (upgrading the imagistic and audio-visual repertoire, making thematic tourist maps that mark, in a historical and cultural way, the presence of these minorities – elements of lay and religious architecture, descriptions of people and houses, public edifices, private life, trade, art, music etc.), as well as the immaterial patrimony (the cultural patrimony of the Greek community in Brăila, which is part of the national patrimony). The project is also part of the sphere of museum activities – digitizing the patrimony, namely the database made as a result of the project.

The complex reality of the city’s development cannot be grasped – anthropologically, culturally, historically and architecturally – without establishing and introducing the coexistence relations between the different cultures that have acted upon it. The Museum of Brăila offers a first project from the series of those that aim at fructifying the contribution of the ethnic groups that have played a crucial role in the city’s cultural history, by proposing the case of the Greek Community. The general purpose of the project is to reactivate the memory and cultural-historical environment of the city of Brăila from the viewpoint of historical diversity. That way, the project will enable the Greek culture from the city of Brăila to get its own voice and restate its value in the public space.

The project puts forward the following actions: research for compiling a database with a rich textual, imagistic and audio-visual content, which comprises the cultural and historical contribution of the Greek community to the development of the city of Brăila – core historical data, private life (family, lifestyles, interpersonal relations, school, trades etc.), lay and religious architecture, urban legends and realities, descriptions and functions of monuments, famous people, contemporary realities; making a virtual map that proposes urban elements with signs of the Greek presence in the city – the large Greek private buildings, Greek industrial edifices, headquarters of Greek bookshops and publishing houses, houses connected to the life of Panait Istrati, as well as Dumitru Panaitescu Perpessicius la Brăila, the beautiful buildings once admired by Nicolae Iorga on the way from the train station to the St. Archangels Square and in the harbor – as well as making a documentary on the Greeks from Brăila, shared places and memories of the Greek community in Brăila.

One Greek, two Greeks, three Greeks… Brăila. This is a suggestive title because, for decades, the Greeks called Brăila home. They came here, traded, prospered, erected houses, churches, schools, mills and printing presses, but also lived, suffered and loved. To what extent they felt at home here or longed for the lost patrida is difficult to say. A historical context or a choice made for financial reasons determined dozens of families to build a life here. They created their own island in a sea of other nations. This was rather simple, given that they had the harbor and their own ships to connect them with Greece. But times have changed and, same as other Greek islands that have little population nowadays, the “Greek island” from the Brăila harbor was, step by step, deserted for places that had better opportunities for freedom of trade or freedom of expression. Later on, the political events from Greece, starting with the 5th decade of the 20th century, made Greek families come to Brăila to settle. Regardless of the reasons that pushed them towards or away from Brăila, these Greeks were, for shorter or longer periods, citizens of Brăila and contributed to the development of the city. The marks of their passing through here are visible in the historical center of the city. How many of today’s inhabitants of Brăila know that, not so long ago, one heard on the streets of the city as much Greek as in Piraeus… not many.

This project is an attempt to save, as much as is a still possible, fragment from the city’s cultural memory and bring this data to the attention of the people. It was our desire to complete the research of the historians, insofar as the Greek element in Brăila throughout time is concerned. In order to better understand a human community, regardless of its ethnic origins and beliefs, one needs to talk with the people and listen to their life stories, to understand how they lived an what for, what were their thoughts, their feelings, the dreams that fueled their destinies, the moral patterns that steered their actions, how they regarded those around them and how they felt influenced by the others, how “different” they were and still are, in fact – because the Greek community is a fact in Brăila, even though it’s not so large anymore and does not have the financial force and luster it once had. Unfortunately, Brăila itself is not what it used to be either!

“I remember there was, on the street… a house (shop, restaurant, coffee shop, school…) that belonged to a  Greek…”, “I remember there was a shipping agency that belonged to a Greek in the harbor…”, “In the Brăila harbor came, in the year… the ship…. from Greece, which had a Greek captain that told the story of…”, “When my grandparents came to Brăila…”, “Dad read a Greek newspaper called…”, “The first house where my grandparents lived was on…”, “As a child, I used to play with the other Greek children a game called… which had these rules… and we said the following verses in Greek…”, “I remember receiving from a Greek…”, “During the holidays…”, “The Greek school had this teacher…”, “My grandmother prepared this dish… a recipe from the island…”, “I used to go to a Greek’s barbershop and often heard him whistling an old Greek song. The verses sounded like this…”, “Our mother would not let us…”, “When we first came to Greece, I remember that…”, “We often danced in our home a Greek dance that…”. This kind of pieces of information is unusual because it cannot be found in books and archives, but only in the minds and souls of people. When people disappear, they take with them their life experiences, unless they choose to share them with a sheet of paper.

The result of the historical research and a synthesis of the answers that we received from several questions – structured in a written interview, very ample and sometimes uncomfortable, which we have sent everywhere – in fact, testimonies of Greeks from Brăila that now live in Brăila, Galaţi, Bucharest, Craiova, Greece, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and US are included in works published as part of the project.

The complete written and video interviews taken during this cultural project, all the photographs – of heirlooms, documents and items – that these families generously made available for this project – as well as photographs of documents from the archive of the Brăila Greek Community, copies of images from the video archive of the Museum of Brăila, the published texts and the two films made as part of the project are available to the public in the Cultural Diversity Hall of the Museum of Brăila. In the meantime, the center will develop, in time, this database on the Greeks from Brăila, but will also create new databases, with testimonies, photo and video materials, connected to other ethnic groups that have lived and influenced the history of the city: Lipovan Russians, Jews, Armenians, Bulgarians, Turks and Romanians.

We invite you to visit the project’s website, at http://www.diversitate-culturala-muzeulbrailei.ro/, where you will find a virtual map that proposes some urban elements with marks of the Greek presence in the city – the large private Greek buildings, Greek industrial edifices, the headquarters of Greek printing presses, houses connected to the life of Panait Istrati and Dumitru Panaitescu Perpessicius in Brăila, the beautiful buildings once admired by Nicolae Iorga on the way from the train station to the St. Archangels Square and the harbor.

Camelia Hristian, chief of Public Relations, Museum of Brăila

Project Assistant

 

English translation – Livia Sîrbu 

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