The panel discussion took place by Zoom on Wednesday, June 24 at 7 p.m. featuring the film’s director participating from New York and Anna P. Guerra former Laredoan and genealogist who has researched the topic, based in Houston.
The Webb County Heritage Foundation wishes to acknowledge the sponsorship of Lawrence Friedman Realty and Able City for their generosity in making this film available to local audiences.
“Children of the Inquisition,” a remarkable reconsideration of history and identity, takes us on a 500-year trek across continents, oceans, and political landscapes when intense religious persecutions forced people to convert, flee, and hide in order to survive.
The film follows more “openly Catholic and inwardly Jewish” families from Portugal to Brazil and the Caribbean to the United States and from Spain and Portugal to Mexico to the American Southwest.
It features a diverse international cast as they search to discover what happened to their Spanish and Portuguese ancestors as they were pressured to convert to Catholicism or flee during the Inquisition.
The film’s revelation of these treacherous journeys and conflicting identities leaves audiences questioning their assumptions about their own family histories and identities. During today’s unprecedented social, ethnic, and racial divisiveness, “Children of the Inquisition” breaks down barriers between people and re-establishes the history we share.
Director Joseph Lovett, a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, first learned of the Inquisition when in 1958 his Rabbi William Braude of Temple Beth El in Providence, Rhode Island gave a sermon “Todos Catolicos – Everyone is Catholic” about Spanish Catholic families who had been converted from Judaism in the years prior to and during the Inquisition. Thirteen-year-old Joe was fascinated that something that happened 500 years ago could still affect people today.
Anna P. Guerra is a psychotherapist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is a frequent lecturer and workshop presenter in topics related to psychological functioning, relationships, and the role of art and imagination in mental health. Ms. Guerra is a 9th generation Laredoan who became interested in the Sephardic history of Northern Mexico and South Texas after hearing about her “Jewish” grandmother from Monterrey. She is a regular instructor at the Jung Center of Houston where many of her lectures are available online including a lecture about the often-untold story of the Sephardic history of Northern Mexico and South Texas.