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Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana
“Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels” was born of the tales about Cuba that Marion Kreith told her daughter (Co-Director Judy Kreith) over the years. Marion escaped war-torn Europe as a young girl with her family, evading Nazi capture and crossing the Atlantic to a tropical paradise. Her story mingles with the personal accounts of other refugees who recall their escape to Havana and life in an exotic and unfamiliar land. Film provided by the National Center for Jewish Film.
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Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana

Running Time
46 minutes

Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana

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.

Filmmaker Notes:

Judy and Robin began working on this film project together in 2013 with the first interview of Marion Kreith. Over the next three years, they traveled to meet with more survivors of the Holocaust era who had found safety in Cuba. The footage and poignant stories they gathered and knitted into this documentary film reveal this vibrant yet little known period of history. Their untiring work on this endeavor has been both challenging and rewarding, bringing an acute awareness to the need to preserve historic memory that informs ways that our society might deal with the recurring social issues of racism, immigration, and tolerance.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2017
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