The documentary A SHTETL IN THE CARIBBEAN premiered on the silver screen of the EYE filmmuseum in Amsterdam today.
The first group of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe settled in Curaçao in 1926 to escape pogroms and poverty. They created their own Shtetl [community] and after World War II, a new group of destitute Ashkenazi came to Curaçao: survivors of the Holocaust. A SHTETL IN THE CARIBBEAN is the first film about the Ashkenazi who settled in Curaçao, based on accounts by the first settlers and their descendants.
The film tells the story of two childhood friends, Mark and Tsale, in search of their family history in Eastern Europe. They travel back to the home countries of their ancestors (Belarus, Ukraine) as well as Israel, US and Curaçao, we witness their discoveries, courage and despair while they are reminded of the sacrifices their ancestors had to make to provide a better future.
A SHTETL IN THE CARIBBEAN originated from a strong emotion: we are all part of the same family, no matter how different we are. The film is also an homage to Curaçao, a small island with a big heart, and a place that has been a safe haven for strangers.
A two-part TV version, a co-production with Joodse Omroep [Jewish Broadcasting Company], will air starting next Sunday on Dutch television. An eventual premiere in Curaçao is planned but not yet scheduled.