Feiga Shamis (Photo courtesy of the Shamis Family Descendants)

One hundred years ago, Jews in what is today Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus suffered through what scholars now call “the holocaust of its day.” Organized massacres called pogroms that swept the region from 1917-1921 killed as many as 250,000 Jews.

My Dear Children follows one woman’s quest to unravel a family mystery dating back to this time. In 1920, Feiga Shamis, a Russian Jewish mother of 12, sent two of her youngest children to an orphanage a continent away. For the rest of their lives, the two refused to talk about their past. The story behind their silence reveals a little-known piece of the Jewish experience, not just for Feiga’s descendants, but Jews the world over.

Judy Favish (right) and her daughter Tess Peacock (left) on the outskirts of Vyshnivets, Ukraine as they trace their family’s history (Photo: Cliff Hackel)

The documentary captures the journey of Feiga’s granddaughter Judy Favish as she seeks to understand why her father, Feiga’s son Mannie, would never talk about his childhood. Using a letter Feiga wrote to the children she let go, Judy travels to three continents to trace the events that tore apart not only her family, but also tens of thousands of others. Through Judy’s journey and Feiga’s letter, the forgotten history of pogroms and the anti-Jewish massacres following WWI are explored, along with the impact of the violence on multiple generations, and why these massacres should be seen as a precursor to the Holocaust.

On CPTV SPIRIT: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 8 p.m. (Encoring Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 4 p.m., Monday, April 29, 2019 at 12 a.m., and Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 12 p.m.)