"The Impure provides a fascinating lesson in historical human trafficking while constantly keeping its gaze aligned with contemporary prostitution. The film unravels common stereotypes and provides a rare voice to the victims of a phenomenon that survived under the public eye." - Ha'aretz (Israel)
This deeply personal documentary investigates a story of institutionalized Jewish prostitution in early 20th century Argentina, a controversial chapter in Jewish history that reveals layers of exploitation, adaptation, and perseverance.
During the wave of Eastern European Jewish emigration, thousands of Jewish women were lured with promises of careers and wealth to Argentina, only to be forced into sexual slavery. Their pimps—in some cases the women's husbands—were also newly emigrated Jewish men who quickly developed an expansive, flourishing underworld in Buenos Aires. The women were seen as “the impure,” provoking the shame of the Argentinian Jewish community.
But, as director Daniel Najenson uncovers by digging up revelations in his own family’s history, the powerful Polish-Jewish criminal cartel Zwi Migdal behind this history was inextricably woven into the social and political fabric of Argentine-Jewish life.
69 minutes - Spanish, Hebrew and Yiddish, with English subtitles