(Fr Christos Tsoraklidis in uniform)
The first Greek War Museum in Australia is scheduled to open next year, according to a Neos Kosmos report.
The newly elected president of the Greek Ex-Servicemen’s Association of South Australia, Fr Christos Tsoraklidis, spoke to Neos Kosmos about the project:
“Our association has just celebrated 70 years of presence in South Australia and our wish is to inaugurate the first Greek War Museum in the country, which will be based in Adelaide and will become the house of military objects that have been used by the Greek armed forces during the two World Wars as a token of honor for the battles, the struggles, the hardships but above all, the bravery of our forefathers.”
The 61-year-old Greek Orthodox priest said the museum will also display a collection of equipment currently used by the Greek Air Force as well as a small collection of replica aeroplanes used by the Hellenic Forces during WWII, such as the P 55 Mustang, along with archival photographic and audio material from that era presented in short narrated documentaries.
“Our nation’s numerous struggles for freedom are an integral piece of our Greek history,” Fr Christos told Neos Kosmos, “Therefore it is our duty not to only remember and respect our forefathers, but also to educate our children and grandchildren who were born here in Australia and have never been given the opportunity or been forced to experience the life of a soldier. Furthermore, they have never had to lay their lives on the line in the name of the most precious of virtues; freedom.”
The priest and ex-serviceman, was born in Thessaloniki and migrated to Australia at the age of 28. “For those of us who were born in Greece and were raised to live and breathe courage, obedience, and bravery, it is easy to appreciate what effect war has on people and their nations and further appreciate the unyielding bond that exists between Greece and Australia.
“This is an aspect that younger generations aren’t able to comprehend but should take time to explore,” Fr Tsoraklidis said.
The Greek Ex-Servicemen’s Association of South Australia intends to contact the Greek Ministry of National Defense to acquire material such as original Greek military uniforms to be displayed in the museum.
“We will be looking at obtaining two replicas or original uniforms from the Hellenic Army as well as a uniform from the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Air Force, which will be then displayed showcasing four Greek soldiers in battle gear surrounded by audio-visual material and murals for a more realistic exhibition.
Fr Tsoraklidis is optimistic that the Australian community, the State and Greek Australians will help so that the project is materialized fully, the Neos Kosmos report concludes.