In 2012 JIMENA acquired the rights of the Forgotten Refugees from The David Project. To order a DVD or to screen the film, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
In 1945 there were one million Jews living in the Middle East and North Africa. For over two millennia they lived under varying rulers as part of the diverse fabric of peoples native to the region. Yet, in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, Jewish life in other countries in the region dramatically began to disappear. Anti-Jewish riots in reaction to the failure of the attempts of Arab armies to eliminate the infant state of Israel, as well as the rise of post-colonial pan-arabist movements set off a massive wave of Jewish immigration from the region.
From Casablanca to Baghdad, Jews abandoned their ancestral homelands often leaving behind their homes, communities and livelihoods suddenly becoming refugees. For decades, many Jews who fled their native homelands never shared their experiences of being forced into exile but in “The Forgotten Refugees” for the first time, stories of several Jewish Refugees including JIMENA co-founders Joseph Abdel Wahid from Egypt and Gina Waldman from Libya are told.
Directed by Michael Grynszpan and produced by Avi Goldwasser, the Forgotten Refugees won the “Best Featured Documentary” award at the Warsaw Jewish Film Festival and the “Best Documentary Film” award at the 2007 Marbella Film Festival.
“The Forgotten Refugees” is an excellent film that seeks not to indoctrinate but to educate. The interviews with many Mizrachi Jews make clear that the question of identity and allegiance is still a troubling one for many of them. The viewer sees the pain of people scorned by their longtime Muslim neighbors. Understandably, these Jews continue to feel a deep connection to their traditional Arabic food, music and language.
The contemporary footage of crumbling synagogues and empty Jewish quarters throughout the Arab world is a sad record of the complete eradication of once vibrant communities and the separation of these Jews not only from their land and possessions but also, in many respects, from their own identities. “The Forgotten Refugees” should be required viewing for those who preach about the plight of refugees in the land of Israel.”
-CAMERA: Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America