The 11 Best Documentaries About Jews

Sep 20, 2023 | Best Of, Religion

Discover the fascinating history and culture of Jewish people through these extraordinary documentaries. From the tragedies endured during the Holocaust to celebrating modern-day successes, these films provide insight into a vibrant community with a long and rich legacy. Dive into this collection of moving pieces that tell inspiring tales of hope, struggle, courage, and joy. These are some of the best documentaries about Jews that you won’t want to miss. Explore the lives of Jewish people in America as seen through the lens of award-winning director Aviva Kempner’s “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.”


1. Jewish identity in Tel Aviv – Freitagnacht Jews

This documentary follows Daniel Donskoy as he explores the meaning of Jewish identity in cities around the world. From London to Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv and Istanbul, each city brings a unique perspective on how Jews live their lives and express their faith. Through conversations with amazing guests, Daniel navigates the complexities of cultural differences while reflecting on his own experiences with Judaism. Freitagnacht Jews is an interesting and informative journey that captures the diversity of Jewish life, past and present.


2. Leaving the ultra-orthodox – Jews seeking a new life in Germany

A growing number of Jews have been seeking a new life in Germany as they look to escape the confines of their ultra-orthodox communities. Rabbi Akiva Weingarten has taken it upon himself to provide assistance during this process, and many individuals have found refuge in the country. This documentary explores the journey these brave souls take—and how they adjust to their newfound freedom—as they start afresh in a foreign land. With powerful stories and sensitive insight, the film shines a light on the strength of community and connection between individuals in similar circumstances as they forge a new path for themselves.


3. DOCUMENTARY: True Jews of the Bible

Discover the true Jews of the Bible in this deep dive into history, customs, and traditions. This unique look at Judaism examines how faith has evolved through centuries of persecution and hardship. Explore the stories of prophets, kings, and common people that have made their mark on Jewish culture throughout time. See the rich tapestry of ritual objects that bind us together as a community. Learn about the powerful symbols and language that represent a people’s faith.


4. Genocide of Jews in Poland | The Abyss

The Holocaust in Poland is one of the most tragic and devastating events in history. Johann Niemann, an SS officer at the Sobibor camp for Jews, was responsible for a large part of this atrocity. Under his watch, countless numbers of innocent people were rounded up and taken to their deaths without mercy. This documentary delves into the abyss that is the genocide of Jews in Poland. The film follows Niemann’s journey and captures the events that unfolded during 1942, when the mass murders took place.


5. The History Of The Jews Around The World

Jewish people have been leaving a mark on the world for centuries. From unique culture to innovations in science, art, and literature, Jews have made an incredible impact around the globe. Documentaries exploring this history can be both fascinating and educational. Here are some of the best documentaries about Jews that you should consider watching:”A People Apart: The History of Jews Around the World” is a BBC documentary that chronicles the history of the Jewish people from their beginnings in ancient times to their struggles and triumphs throughout the world.


6. The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia – documentary by Irene Orleansky (English/Russian subtitles)

The hidden Jews of Ethiopia – named Bal Ej for their artisan skills and persecuted by Orthodox Christians – have been living in secret for centuries. Their ancient traditions date back to biblical times, yet the world has long forgotten about them. Even their synagogues have remained hidden deep in the mountains, seldom visited by outsiders. Irene Orleansky recently endeavored to uncover this untold story and reveal it to the world. Drawing inspiration from the hundred year old account of the prominent Jewish Polish scholar Jacque Faitlovich, she traveled to learn more about this sect’s history, customs, and culture.


7. The Beginnings of Concentration Camps for Jews

The summer of 1933 saw the first glimpses into the grim reality of life in concentration camps for Jews. A Nazi film crew recorded their journey to Oranienburg, just outside Berlin, which would soon become a site for one such prison. The footage they captured was intended to give observers an insight into the harshness endured daily by its inmates. By documenting this reality, the Nazis made a lasting impression and attempted to desensitize viewers to the concept of Jews in concentration camps.


8. The Mystery of the Jews

Uncovering the Secrets of Jewish HeritageWhat is the legacy of Jewish people? Have their contributions shaped our world in profound ways? This captivating documentary delves into the history and culture of this ancient race, exploring their unique role in global society. Featuring interviews from historians, leaders, and scholars, this film provides a riveting investigation into how Jews have impacted society, from religion to politics and more. Through a combination of unique insights and compelling storytelling, “Uncovering the Secrets of Jewish Heritage” reveals the essential role Jews have played throughout history.


9. Jews Survive the Holocaust | Exploitation of Jews | Documentary

Norbert Wollheim, a Jew from Berlin, was sent to Auschwitz in March 1943 after being forced into labor at a factory since September 1941. His story, like so many other Jews during the Holocaust, is one of immense suffering and exploitation. Nadezhda Slessareva was another example of this tragedy—forcibly taken away by the SS and subjected to cruel labor. In her case, the only ending was incineration. These accounts of horror are unfortunately not isolated incidents but a reflection of a larger crisis that befell the Jewish people during this dark period in history.


10. The Exodus Of Soviet Jews Fleeing Persecution And Anti-Semitism

The exodus of Soviet Jews in the late 1980s was a tragic tale of persecution and discrimination. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes, seeking refuge in other countries. Italy became a haven for many, yet they were met with tremendous challenges along the way. In this documentary, we explore the struggles these people faced as they took their first steps towards freedom. From emotional reunions to the hard-fought battles to obtain visas, this film provides an intimate look into a community of individuals who were determined to make their dreams come true.


Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B