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History > People

The Island of Roses, Tragedy in Paradise

A 56' documentary directed in 2008 by Rebecca Samonà

Rebecca is expecting a baby girl, she decides to travel to Rhodes (Greece) with her mother, Erminia, to unravel the story of their family.

Mother and daughter recall their last visit to aunt Stella, who lived the last year of her life, thinking she had returned to Auschwitz. Erminia and Stella were born on "The Island of Roses", Rhodes, capital of the Italian Dodecanese (1912/1943).
Back on the island where she was born in 1938 to an Italian soldier and a Rhodian Jewess, Erminia reads her father's diaries to her daughter. She recalls her parent's love, her father's opposition to the Nazi occupation during World War II and his deportation, the death of her mother's family in Auschwitz together with the rest of the local Jewish community.
With her, we discover the hidden story of the island's Jewish community, destroyed in 1944.

The journey of the two women starts in Brussels, where, with their cousins of Rhodian origins, the filmmaker and her mother Erminia, celebrate Passover, the symbol of universal freedom.

Festivals : - Seattle Jewish Film Festival 2009 - Jewish Motifs Film Festival 2009 - Los Angeles Sephardic Film Festival 2008 - Jerusalem Film Festival 2008 - Laura Film Festival 2008 Levanto Italia - Religion Today Film Festival 2008 Italia - The 6th Warsaw Jewish Film Festival 2008

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