The search continues for the numerous antiquities looted from Crete during the Nazi occupation on the island. To help commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, which took place from 20 May to 1 June, 1941, and to shine a light on the continued cause, The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is hosting an exhibition titled ‘Cretan Antiquities on Their Way Back’.
Curated by Greek archaeologist Dr Georgia Flouda, on display are a total of 34 ancient works that were illegally taken from Knossos during World War II, 26 of which were only returned in November 2017.
Flouda has done extensive research on the Wehrmacht’s activity on the island.
In 2010 she travelled to Austria, the home of the infamous Major General Julius Ringel who stole many of the antiquities himself.
There she met the widowed wife of officer and archaeologist, August Schoergendorfer, Gerlinde. He was an employee of the occupying forces, and had kept a photo album with 66 photographs from his time on Crete, which his wife gave to Dr Flouda – a priceless resource.
Dr Flouda says that it hasn’t yet been determined how many antiquities were looted by Ringel, but it is known he took many small objects from the Stratigraphic Museum and the storehouse of the Villa Ariadne in Knosssos, along with larger items such as a headless Hellenic statue that was cut in two, the head of a male statue, a section of a carved sarcophagus, part of a stone burial slab depicting a man, and a Minoan vessel carved from steatite.