Kaleidoscopic imagery and affecting testimonials recount the rich history and heinous fate of a small idyllic Jewish island community in THE LONGEST JOURNEY: THE LAST DAYS OF THE JEWS OF RHODES.
Isolated, impoverished and largely ignorant of events in Europe, the Jews of Rhodes were caught unprepared when the Nazis ordered their deportation on July 23, 1944. Even with Hitler’s imminent defeat, Italian authorities stood idly by as nearly the entire Jewish population of the island was rounded up and put on boats for the long and arduous journey from the sun-kissed Mediterranean to the hellish gates of Auschwitz. Of the approximately 1,800 Jews forced from their homes, only 151 survived. Filmmaker Ruggero Gabbai accompanies three of the survivors – Stella Levi, Sami Modiano and Albert Israel – as they return to Rhodes to recount communal celebrations; cultural interactions with Greeks, Turks and Italians; as well as unexpected horrors that awaited them.
Their moving narration, accompanied by starkly beautiful cinematography and research by leading historians, combine to make THE LONGEST JOURNEY: THE LAST DAYS OF THE JEWS OF RHODES an invaluable testament to a once unique and vibrant Sephardic enclave.
Screens as a double feature with The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
The world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor shares her remarkable secrets to longevity and happiness in THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE.
At 109 years old, pianist and music teacher Alice Herz-Sommer lives alone in a tiny flat in central London, dutifully practicing the piano and maintaining an independent routine. Coherent, clear-eyed and witty, her relentlessly positive outlook offers no hint of the painful losses she experienced in Nazi-occupied Prague during WWII. Both her mother and husband were murdered in concentration camps, and Alice herself was interned at Theresienstadt where she performed in concerts with other musician prisoners. She has outlived her only son Rafael, an accomplished cellist and conductor who died of a heart attack at the age of 64 in Israel. Despite these hardships, Alice speaks with quiet grace and an astounding absence of malice, citing the importance of music and laughter, and her deeply held belief in the essential goodness of humanity.
Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Malcolm Clarke, this uplifting story is among a handful of contenders shortlisted for the Documentary Short Subject Academy Award.
Screens as a double feature with The Longest Journey: The Last Days of the Jews of Rhodes.