[aka Judeo-Spanish, Sephardic, Hakitia]

Classification: Indo-European


at risk


How Ladino saved a boy's life, Saved By Language

Saved by Language tells the story of Moris Albahari, a Sephardic Jew from Sarajevo (1930- ), who spoke Ladino/Judeo-Spanish, his mother tongue, to survive the Holocaust. Moris used Ladino to communicate with an Italian Colonel who helped him escape to a Partizan refuge after he ran away from the train taking Yugoslavian Jews to Nazi death camps. By speaking in Ladino to a Spanish-speaking US pilot in 1944 he was able to survive and lead the pilot, along with his American and British colleagues, to a safe Partizan airport. The film is available for sale here:

Susanna Zaraysky

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jan. 1, 2013