From Thessaloniki to Tetouan, Constantinople to Benghazi, cities and countries neighbouring the Mediterranean were housed for centuries, even millennia, by Jewish populations who both developped and preserved - by contact with surrounding populations -, a unique culture, an genuine way of life. These Jewish families, while borrowing some of the customs and clothing habits in people who harbored them, have nevertheless maintained and reinforced number of singularities of their traditions. Today in most of the countries of the Mediterranean area, the Jewish presence has disappeared or is found reduced to a minimum. Ultimate witnesses of a lost world, of a lifestyle and of an environment, family photos illustrate and show the diversity of the past with acuity. They are these thousand and one facets that reflect such expression of Jewish life on a daily basis; "Jewish Memory - Photographic Heritage" society began, almost thirty years ago, to save them to be able to transmit and disseminate: cultural, dress, worship, portraits, family meetings, youth movements, fraternal societies... aspects.
They are unique witnesses of a bygone era and fertilizes the memory starting point. You don't need imagination to resurrect the past, the more humble photo helps revive the memory, to give back its privileges. Eloquent language, family photographs - materials of collective memory -, describe, with intensity and emotion, the reality of a Mediterranean Jewish presence, age-old presence of a today cleared culture. Also, family iconography enriched by story fed by memory and historical study, illuminates the memory, gives relief and somehow, reality.
||Louis Armstrong C & D|