- Yael Katzir
Thousands of Jewish survivors arrived in Southern Italy after WWII on their way to Israel, where they were welcomed by the local Italians and took up temporary residence. During this transitory phase, hundreds of children were born in the maternity hospital of the displaced persons camp in Santa Maria di Leuca. It is an amazing story of rebirth and shows the role and power of women, who were determined to fill the gap of their lost families and had the courage to give birth to their first children before they had a real home or even a formal ID. Bearing children in the displaced persons camp was a constitutive event from personal, feminine, and Jewish perspectives. Against the fateful significance of motherhood during the Shoah, it was an expression of the female strength to survive and overcome the horrors of the exterminations. The film follows the story of three Israeli women who were born in Santa Maria di Leuca in 1946 and return to discover the footprints left by their parents. The film weaves rare historical footage with unique current testimonials capturing a ray of light after great darkness.
Sponsored by the Cornell Institute for European Studies.