Raquel: a Marked Woman

Raquel: a Marked Woman

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November 19, 2014 / 6.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Raquel's story is from another time, but resonates today. A mother, she was torn from her children and tricked into prostitution. In the early 20th century, thousands of Eastern European Jewish women were lured to Argentina and forced into prostitution. Others gave up. Not Raquel. Bravely, she exposed her oppressors.

Raquel: a marked woman is a window on to a shameful and largely unknown episode in the history of the Americas. More than 3,000 Jewish women were lured from Europe to the New World from the late 19th century through the 1930s, only to be devoured in Argentinean prostitution rings run by Jewish criminals.

The film details the quest of one of those women — Raquel Liberman — who was torn from her children and tricked into prostitution. Her journey — from wife and mother to exploited woman to defiantly free woman — would be exceptional under any circumstances, but is even more so given the times and place where she lived.

Sexual slavery is still a scourge in our society. This historical story is relevant today, showing how the actions of one person can make a difference.

The discussion with the film director was led by Dr. Vasyl Rasevych, historian and senior researcher at the Ivan Krypyakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Vasyl Rasevych, a specialist in the history of Austrian Galicia, researched the topic of trafficking of women in Galicia and prepared a separate block on this topic for the Center’s exhibition "Eros and Sexuality: A Century of Violence, Control, and Freedom."

Gabriela Böhm 

is a documentary filmmaker and founder of Böhm Productions. She recently completed her latest documentary short film, Raquel: a marked woman. She has produced/directed several award winning documentary films. The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America was honored as Best Documentary (Long Island Latino International Film Festival) Best Latino Film (Santa Fe International Film Festival) and received a Telly Award. Passages won Best Documentary (Woodstock International Film Festival) and Jury Award (Tambay Film Festival). A native of Argentina, Böhm received a BFA at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and MFA at Maine Media College.