August 25, 2021

Oropos: The place of torture becomes a modern museum of democracy

A vision of more than 47 years was materialized for Oropos. The old prisons of Oropos, which were a place of exile and torture for the fighters of democracy during the junta, will be turned into a place of democracy and culture. One and a half years following the request of the mayor of Oropos, Mr George Giasimakis and eleven months following the official announcement of the prime minister that the space will be handed over by the Ministry of Justice to the Municipality of Oropos, the Deputy Minister of Interior, Stelios Petsas announced the funding  of 6,700,000 euros from the Public Investment Program of the Ministry of Interior. The 13 acres of old prisons will be transformed into a place of memory, history and democracy and along with the help of technology, documents, photographs and rare archives material, part of the history of the place will be digitized. A modern museum will be created as a legacy for future generations. The isolation cells of Mikis Theodorakis, Andreas Lentakis and Manolis Glezos  are at a distinguished place  as well as rare testimonies and documents from the stone days when democracy was tested in Greece.”I’m really excited and I feel entirely justified in having been devoted to this vision and having fought for it. I owed it to the generation that wrote the history of this heroic place. I owed it to future generations. To the generations who should be proud of what the elder ones left them as a legacy. To the generations that deserve a better tomorrow, brighter, more civilized, more humane, more democratic. “Tortured people … do not forget Oropos…”, said the mayor of Oropos, Mr George Giasimakis. The buildings were built 111 years ago for the needs of the Amalio Orphanage. Their construction started   in 1909, on an area defined by the will of Andreas Syggros, a large landowner in the area since 1897, two years before his death. The place was operational as an Orphanage until 1933, when it changed its operation to a prison since it was acquired by the Greek state. The prisons operated in violation of international standards as they housed adults and juveniles in the same premises. The buildings were leveled by the strong earthquake of 1938 and rebuilt only as prisons.In 1967, the seven years ruling of the Colonels turned the prisons into a place of incarcerated political prisoners and a place of exile , which were abolished with their fall. In one of the buildings of the former prisons, the 1st High School of Oropos was inaugurated (1976), it operated there until 1989 where it was transferred to a newly built neighboring building. Today in one of the buildings, the Municipal Conservatory of Oropos is housed .The mayor of Oropos, Mr George Giasimakis, a few days after taking office in September 2019, requested the transfer of the prisons from the Greek State and the Ministry of Justice to the Municipality of Oropos.In July 2020, the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou handed over the space to the Municipality of Oropos.

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