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An Unknown Country: The Jewish Exiles of Ecuador (2015)

Story of European Jews who fled Europe escaping the Nazi terror to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador -- barely known at the time.





Credited cast:
Anne Anker
Kurt Freund
Pablo Freund ...
(archive footage)
Alberto Enriquez Gallo ...
(archive footage)
Vera Kohn
Werner M. Loval
Moselio Schaechter


'An Unknown Country' is an independent documentary that tells the story of European Jews who escaped Nazi persecution to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador, a South American republic barely known at the time. Featuring first hand accounts, the film chronicles their harrowing search for a country that would take them in when most had closed their doors. It explores the exiles' perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in what was for them an exotic, unfamiliar land. It also highlights their contributions to the economic, scientific, artistic, and social life of their host country. The film fulfills a vital mission in preserving the stories of those who witnessed and endured one of the most harrowing periods of the twentieth century.

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Release Date:

January 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An Unknown Country  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

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User Reviews

14 June 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Despite a 1938 ruling that all Jews not involved in industry or agriculture must leave within 30 days as per directions of the president of Ecuador, the country did become a haven for fleeing Jewish people to escape Nazi persecution.

We have an excellent documentary here how Jews struggled but persevered in Ecuador adjusting to an agricultural existence and surviving malaria and other illnesses in their attempts to leave the countryside and get to Quito, Ecauador's capital, where conditions were better.

We find the familiar themes of accommodation and assimilation into a totally different society, but yet with the trials and tribulations, people were willing to put up with it as it meant their very survival. Liberation, of course, is the key word here.

Very well told by survivors and people who followed them.

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