A Shtetl in the Caribbean

Sjtetl in de Cariben Heerenstraat Curaçao

Research /Scenario / Regie
Sherman De Jesus
Memphis Film & Television
Joodse Omroep

Jews from Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi) fled pogroms and poverty and dreamt of living in America. But, in 1924 their dreams were shattered by increasingly rigid immigration controls that put the USA beyond reach for most of them. In 1926, the first group of Ashkenazi who fell victim to the new laws settled on Curaçao. There they built from nothing their own “Shtetl in the Caribbean”. After World War Two, a new group of destitute Ashkenazi came to Curaçao: survivors of the Holocaust.

The filmmaker returns to his Caribbean island of birth, Curaçao, and goes looking for original Azkenazi refugees. The film is a meticulous collective narrative filled with contrasts and dramatic turning points in the arenas of Curaçao and Eastern Europe.

A Shtetl in the Caribbean is the first film about the Ashkenazi who settled on Curaçao, told by themselves and their descendents.

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