It is a little known fact that there were thriving Jewish communities in Greece prior to World War II. The Romaniote communities have been in Greece since the fall of the First Temple in 586 BCE and the Sephardim since the height of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. It is also a little known fact that 87% of Greek Jews were murdered under the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. It is important to make known the fact that many Greeks risked their lives by hiding Jews or helping them escape deportation.
It was a passion to make these facts more widely known that led Carol Gordon, Writer and Administrator of March of The Living Australia, to write a screenplay after many years of intense research. This film script is called ‘Shira’s Journey’ and the story is fiction but the History is real.
The film is about a young documentary filmmaker from Melbourne who travels to Greece to meet an old Survivor who helps her in researching the fate of the Greek Jews during the Holocaust and in the process she finds the courage to make changes in her own life.
Trying to fund and produce an independent, non-commercial feature film as a first-time writer/director is a lengthy process. Carol’s passion for the subject matter has driven her to look for an alternate route. The script has been published as book in script format and is illustrated with photos by world renowned Photographer and Ethnographer Emmanuel Santos – http://emmanueltsantos.com/ . Emmanuel has documented the Greek Jewish Holocaust Survivors, Jewish places of interest and what remains of Jewish life in Greece now.
As food is an important character in the script, the book will include some recipes sourced from the small remnants of the Jewish communities still remaining in Greece.
The team traveled to Greece in September 2013 to shoot a documentary to complement the book. The documentary was shot by up and coming filmmaker Orr Koren of Koren Films – http://www.korenfilms.com/. The documentary follows the journey of the character in the script. It does not retell the story of the movie but tells the History behind the journey that the protagonist embarks on.
Also on the team were Carol’s husband Rory Gordon who worked as Second Cameraman and Carol’s Daughter Tiah Gordon who worked as Production Assistant and Sound Operator.
Together with our wonderful Editor and Co-Director – Natalie Cunningham, we have completed the first phase of the Documentary. The next part involves translating and subtitling all the interviews we conducted. We will also document the guided tours of the communities we visited.
With the Documentary completed we will endeavour to sell it to various television Channels world wide.
The Documentary has been screened at Film festivals worldwide.
We aim to hold events in many cities around the world including Sydney, Athens, New York, London and Tel Aviv. We have enjoyed successful events in Melbourne and in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, South Africa.
Exhibitions of photos by Emmanuel Santos are featured in a major exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne. We hope to take this exhibition to other major capitals worldwide.
This is a non-profit project. A percentage of any income will be donated to the Jewish Communities remaining in Greece and the rest will be put back into the project in order to educate the world about these lost communities.
The educational value of the project will help to create awareness of the history of the Greek Jews and fill a void that exists in Holocaust studies and literature regarding the fate of these communities during World War II.
The Documentary and Photographic shoot undertaken in September 2013 took us to 10 communities throughout Greece. In each community we were lucky enough to meet community leaders and members. In some places we were privileged enough to meet Holocaust Survivors and their families.
To discover more about the communities we visited please go to the ‘Communities We Visited’ page
What happens next?
We have completed the Documentary and Book and the Photographic Exhibition is currently running.
We have had screenings on the following film festivals:
Greek Film Festival – Melbourne and Sydney (2014).
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (March 2015).
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (June, 2015)
New Hope Film Festival – Pennsylvania (July /August, 2015) London Greek Film Festival (2015) Chicago Greek Film Festival (2015) International Peace and Film Festival USA (2015) Reading Film Fest, PA USA (2015) Agon Film Festival, Athens (2016)
We have exciting plans for the footage that has not made it into the Documentary because of time constraints. We have invaluable footage of Survivor interviews and other important information that we will compile into an Educational Package for the DVD release.
We need sponsorship in order to finish this unique project…
Go to ‘Be Part of the Journey‘ – to discover how you can be part of this amazing Journey