Expulsion and Memory: Descendants of the Hidden Jews

60 minutes • Documentary • Produced in association with: Vision TV and TV Ontario • Production year: 1996

In 1492, with the stroke of a pen, fifteen hundred years of Jewish life in Spain came to an abrupt end. In a Medieval example of “ethnic cleansing,” the Jews of Spain were given a choice: expulsion or conversion. Half the community left, half converted. Many of the converted, known as “Conversos,” continued to practice Judaism in secret, establishing a way of life that has, remarkably, survived to the present day.

Shot on location in Spain, Portugal, Israel, Canada and the United States, Expulsion and Memory is a one-hour broadcast documentary that tells the story of the “Conversos” and the memories that still haunt their descendants. The film features a lyrical Sephardic/Spanish soundtrack and performances by some of the world’s leading artists, including Placido Domingo and Zubin Mehta. Through extensive interviews with the children of secret believers, the film captures the modern day resurrection of something ethereal – the ghost of a people.

Directed by: Simcha Jacobovici and Roger Pyke
Producers: Simcha Jacobovici, Roger Pyke and Lili Fournier
Executive Producers: Elliott Halpern and Lili Fouriner

Award Highlights:

  • Best Picture Editing, Gemini Awards.
  • Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network
  • Silver Plaque, INTERCOM
  • Gold Hugo, Chicago International Television Competition


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