Marion Finkels Kreith was fourteen when she and her family fled Nazi-occupied Europe and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. At a time when most countries had shut their doors to the refugees, one of the only options for escape was a Caribbean island – Cuba.
Among the many Holocaust stories, that of Jewish immigrants who survived by fleeing to Cuba is barely known. Refugees who made it to Havana, including young Marion, found work to support themselves and their family members in a newly transported trade: diamond polishing. Firsthand survivor accounts take us back to 1940s Havana – an era at once tumultuous, heart breaking, and intoxicating – to reveal an immigration success story.
“The film’s combination of upbeat Cuban rhythms and stunning visuals of a tropical paradise create an almost subliminal contrast that enhances the telling of the story. The trauma and hardships experienced by the refugees were counterbalanced by the positive energies and accepting attitudes of the Cuban people.” – Bryan Boyne, Houston, Texas
“CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS is a fascinating look at a missing part of the Jewish refugee history – one that is surprisingly uplifting and optimistic, which sets it apart from other accounts.” – Oaxaca Film Festival
After two and a half years of filming and editing, we are proud to announce the completion of our 46-minute documentary! We recently added subtitles to Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels in both Spanish and Hebrew, and we’re now working to take it across the U.S. and out to an international audience. Please consider hosting a screening in your community, or support the film and its distribution by donating here. The National Center for Jewish Film is the film’s distributor and will handle all bookings.
Robin and Judy