Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
October 15, 2007
"The Last Jews of Libya" To Be Shown at the Library of Congress on Nov. 5
More than 36,000 Jews lived in Libya at the end of World War II, but not a single one remains today. "The Last Jews of Libya," which documents the final decades of a centuries-old Sephardic Jewish community, will be shown at noon on Monday, Nov. 5, in the Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the Library’s James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Sound Division and the Hebrew Language Table, is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
The film presents the story of an ancient and unique Jewish community with its own religious traditions that was transformed by modern European culture and by its relationship with the Arab nation of Libya. Told through the use of interviews, rare archival footage and photographs, and narrated by actress Isabella Rossellini, the film builds on the recently discovered memoirs of the family’s matriarch, Elise Roumani. In this tale of war, cultural dislocation and perseverance, filmmaker Vivienne Roumani Denn traces the story of her family from Benghazi, Libya, through Turkish Ottoman rule and the age of Mussolini and Hitler to the final destruction and dispersal of Libya’s Jews in the wake of Arab nationalism.
The filmmaker will lead a discussion following the screening of the 50-minute film.
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