The darkness of war, the luck of escape, and a journey by ship to a Caribbean island full of light, color and music – this was the experience of young Marion Finkels and others who found safe haven in Cuba from the extermination of Jews during WWII. Marion remembers the exotic food, rhythms, and language of this new land combined with the tropical heat and arduous work in a refugee-established diamond polishing factory. Along with other survivor accounts, Marion’s tale conjures a dramatic view of 1940s Havana – an era at once tumultuous, heartbreaking, 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 almost three years of filming and editing, we are proud to announce the completion of our 46-minute documentary! We’ve added subtitles to Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels in both Spanish and Hebrew, and we’re now scheduling screenings across the U.S. and internationally. 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