Military, orphans, political prisoners, refugees, all of them leaving their mark on the island.
The remote little Island of Leros, together with the rest of the Dodecanese islands, became part of Mussolini’s dream of a new Italy empire. The biggest newly constructed aeronautical base of the Mediterranean sea together with the model new town of Portolago to house its personnel, were built by a team of selected architects between 1923 and 1939, when World War II broke out. The bombing of Leros started in 1939 by the English and ended in 1943 in a massive 52-day operation by the Germans.
After the war ended Leros was occupied by the British and finally united new usages for all those buildings left behind: a school for teenagers orphaned during the Greek civil war, a prison for political exiles during the dictatorship and a mental hospital that would cause an international outcry in the 1980s ; when the conditions of detention were made public. And just as things seemed to quiet down for Leros, waves of refugees fleeing the war in Syria are amassing in the same place, in the same bay, the bay of Portolago.