In the 1400s, an isolated group of Jews on a Mediterranean island were forced to convert to Catholicism. Today, their dark story of survival is sparking a Jewish renaissance across the community.
Five years ago, when an American landed in Mallorca, Spain, he soon found himself working to revive the Mediterranean island's Jewish community — surprisingly with the help of families forced to convert from Judaism to Christianity 500 years ago. Before the Spanish Inquisition, the island of Mallorca had a sizeable Jewish community. But that all changed under the Inquisition’s campaign of persecution that began in 1488 (four years before it started on Spain’s mainland) and was only officially abolished centuries later in 1834.
Xueta Island explores this fascinating legacy of the Chuetas, a unique group of families on the island who are believed to be descendants of the Mallorca's Inquisition-era Jewish population. Historians believe the Chuetas were forced to renounce their Judaism by the Catholic Church at the beginning of the 15th century in the years leading up to the Mallorcan Inquisition. These families were given the choice to either convert to Catholicism or face certain murder — they were not offered exile.
In this film, the story of Mallorca unfolds by following Dani Rotstein, a Jewish-American ex-pat who moved to the island in 2014. He guides the viewer through Mallorca's Jewish history, using discoveries from his ongoing investigation to try to figure out all the pieces of this compelling puzzle.
Directors: Ofer Laszewicki, Dani Rotstein, Felipe Wolokita