A CUNY TV presentation: “The Island of Roses, A Tragedy in a Paradise,” a film by Rebecca Samonà (2008)

The Island of Roses, A Tragedy in a Paradise, by Rebecca Samonà, 2008 (Italian with English subtitles). Produced by L’Altravista. Presented in collaboration with Centro Primo Levi NY, the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, and CUNY TV.

Through the memories of her mother Erminia Licitri, and Stella Levi a family friend who survived the deportation, the author reconstructs the life and annihilation of the Jews of Rhodes from the beginning of the Italian colonization in 1912, to the deportation to Auschwitz in July 1944. Combining era footage with a delicate personal commentary L’Isola delle Rose offers a glimpse into a centuries-old culture which a handful of survivors infused it into a younger generation that is today scattered around the world. The narrative unfolds along the author’s grandparents’ love story, Victoria, from an old local Jewish family and Ernesto, a Sicilian army officer stationed on the island. In spite of the initial parental opposition, the couple gets married but their lives are soon after turned apart by the racial persecution and the war. 

Broadcast dates and times are: Thursday, January 29 at 9:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM, with an overnight repeat showing on Friday morning, January 30, at 3:00 AM.