An impressive amount of the island’s war history can one see and listen at the private collection of Ioannis Paraponiaris. This private museum considered to be his private collection where visitors can see the exhibits for free. The so-called “Diposito di Guerra” is located at the area Agia Irini.
The Collector Ioannis Paraponiaris
He was born in Leros Island in 1954, in the area Agia Irini. In that particular area it was the Battery PL127, with the most modern cannons of that period, and the headquarters of the British Commander Tinley during the Battle of Leros in November 1943.
The memories of his childhood are full of pictures and objects that remain in the island to testify the events took place during the Battle of Leros. He still remembers the signs of the war on the buildings as well as the interspersed ammunition and the huge number of bombs and shell bombs that were never exploded.
The first steps towards the creation of this stunning collection came some years later when he started collecting anything related to that period and to the Battle of Leros. He was mainly collecting back then arms and ammunition of that time usually forgotten in military warehouses, in wells or even from people that were trading various old things. However, all these objects need proper maintenance and as a result, Mr Paraponiaris spent a lot of his time, money and passion in order to transform the findings into exhibits.
The Museum of War Findings of Ioannis Paraponiaris or the so-called «Diposito di Guerra» contains 3000 exhibits. Among them the visitor can observe black and white photos of that period, arms, shell bombs, medals, and bombs, newspapers of that period, parachutes, and parts of aircrafts as well as personal belongings of soldiers.
The weapons that are part of this private collection are completely legal. According to the decision no. 103 / 17.10.1996 of the Court of Appeal Dodecanese the ownership of the collection was lawful and inspected by the Greek Army.
The museum and all the objects are the story tellers of Leros during World War II, the Battle of Leros and they also tell personal stories of soldiers. However, visitors have a unique opportunity to hear the story from Mr Paraponiaris with all the details known by a collector. As he says «My story is the story of a collector with all the meaning of the word. It is the story of a person with passion about history, a history told by my 3000 objects. I invite you to discover that history».