The Long Way Home

Director: Mark Jonathan Harris
Screenwriters: Mark Jonathan Harris

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Extraordinary both in scope and execution The Long Way Home is one of the finest and most accomplished historical documents you may ever have the opportunity to see. Although clearly produced from a specific point of view, it is an overpowering assemblage of images, testimony, and information that add significantly and dramatically to our understanding of the Holocaust, its impact, and its legacy.

Beginning in May of 1945 as the concentration camps were liberated and thousands of half-dead Jewish survivors emerged, the film chronicles the fate and future of a people whose freedom was only one step on the road to a promised land. Working with rare newsreel and archival footage, the filmmakers depict the absurd irony of Jewish survivors being housed in “displaced persons camps,” often on the same sites as death camps, surrounded by barbed wire and not allowed to leave, and mixed in with ex-Nazi collaborators because camp assignment was by country of origin. The film chronicles the efforts of several army chaplains to minister to Jewish refugee needs and the struggle to resolve their plight in the face of Allied leadership which had other priorities. The struggle with the British to allow emigration to Palestine and the subsequent battle for a Jewish homeland are documented with exceptional clarity and comprehensiveness.

From famous stories like the refugee ship Exodus to individual and personal recollections, The Long Way Home is a multilayered recital of endurance and persistence to overcome world indifference and antagonism. Avoiding melodrama but full of emotional power, this is historical narrative that is eloquent, lucid, and memorable. Mark Jonathan Harris and his talented team have created a remarkable cinematic history.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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