The Longest Journey: The Jews of Rhodes

Holocaust, Jewish Film, Sephardic, War, History
Ruggero Gabbai
50 minutes


Official Selection

Seattle Jewish Film Festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Jewish Int'l Film Festival (Australia)

Tucson Int'l Jewish Film Festival

A powerful cinematic tribute to a lost world
- Jewish Federation of Greater Portland



Isolated, impoverished and largely ignorant of events in Europe, the Jews of Rhodes were caught unprepared when the Nazis ordered their deportation on July 23, 1944. Even with Hitler’s imminent defeat, Italian authorities stood idly by as nearly the entire Jewish population of the island was rounded up and put on boats for the long and arduous journey from the sun-kissed Mediterranean to the hellish gates of Auschwitz. Of the approximately 1,800 Jews forced from their homes, only 151 survived. Filmmaker Ruggero Gabbai accompanies three of the survivors – Stella Levi, Sami Modiano and Albert Israel – as they return to Rhodes to recount communal celebrations; cultural interactions with Greeks, Turks and Italians; as well as unexpected horrors that awaited them.



Ruggero Gabbai studied Film directing at Columbia University where he graduated in 1993, there he collaborated with directors such as Milos Forman, Emir Kusturica, and Martin Scorsese. His thesis project was his first documentary The King of Crown Heights, aired on prime time by PBS America and distributed worldwide. His documentary Memoria -filmed in Auschwitz- was selected for The Berlin Film Festival in 1997 and won numerous prizes. Since then, Ruggero has directed more than 25 documentaries focusing on many subjects, such as IO RICORDO, docu-fiction based on the testimony of the relatives of the victims of the Sicilian mafia. The film received the High prize from the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano.


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