“Shores of Light” tells a poignant, untold story of compassion towards strangers after a terrible war. It poses the vital question of how victims of unspeakable loss and suffering at the hands of other human beings can find renewed meaning in life.
At the end of the Second World War thousands of displaced persons, Holocaust survivors, arrived in Southern Italy on their way to the Land of Israel. The local Italian Catholics, though poor and hungry, and on the losing side in the war, welcomed them with open arms. For the survivors, chased out of their home towns in Central Europe on their return from the concentration camps, this was a restorative experience of humanity.
Behind the kindness of the Italians were their ancient tradition of kindness towards the downtrodden and the Christian ethic. They could also sympathize with the Jews’ struggle to run the British blockade of Palestine.
In the warmth of their Italian reception and the Mediterranean sun the survivors began to recuperate. On the long wait for a boat their wounds started to heal. Young people fell in love and wanted to raise a family in place of the one they had lost. About 350 couples married and hundreds of babies were born. This was the survivors’ response to Hitler.
The story revolves round three of those babies, Rivka, Esther and Shuni – born in Santa Maria di Leuca in 1946. They decide to return to their birthplace in search of the traces left behind by their parents. They hear the moving testimony of old people who still remember those long-ago days. Drawing on rare archival material, the film tells an uplifting tale of life and redemption on Italy’s Shores of Light.
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