Departure of Youth (film #17 in the Pre-State section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This 1934 film documents the arrival of a large group of Jewish youth from Germany arriving in a Jewish settlement in Palestine. The film is silent and the title cards are all in German, so it’s kind of hard to follow. Mostly, though, it seems to involve the young people adapting to a healthy rural way of life, doing lots of farm chores and singing and dancing their evenings away. There’s a poignancy about this because this is not just about healthy living––you know that immigration to Palestine probably saved the lives of most of them. For that reason, I wish I could understand the title cards––this looks like it might have been a very interesting little-known story of a group that escaped the Holocaust.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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