No Place on Earth

No place on earth is an American documentary directed by Janet Tobias and produced by The History Channel . It was premiered on September 10, 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival and theaters in the United States on April 5, 2013.


The film features research by New Yorker Chris Nicola who, while exploring Ukraine’s largest cavernous system in 1993, discovered evidence that five Jewish families lived there for eighteen months hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II . 2 This story of underground survival is notable for being the longest in the records of mankind. 3


In 1993, Chris Nicola, a former New York State official, was invited by a Ukrainian speleologist friend to visit some underground cavities in his country. 4 While visiting the Cure Grotto, western Ukraine, Nicola discovered various objects, such as shoes and pottery. 4 When he had rescued the pieces and showed them to the villagers, no one paid any attention to him, according to him, because they believed that he was the relative of some Jew who came to reclaim their lands. 4

In 2002, a relative of those who lived in the cave contacted Nicola to show him a book written in Hebrew by the grandmother of the Stermer and Wexler families. 4 The text, entitled Fight for Survival , was written in 1960, but no one became interested in it until Nicola arrived.

The story of the five families who survived 511 days in the caves began in 1941 when the German army moved from Poland to eastern Ukraine to send the Jews to Nazi concentration camps . At that time, the highest Jewish authority, the Judenrat , ordered his people to move to the ghetto of Borschov, but the matriarch of the group refused and ordered his people to build shelters. In October 1942, the group entered the Cave Verteba, 510 km southwest of Kiev , a place that became their new home. 4 It was a dark, dry and warm environment. They slept for up to fifteen hours a day. They cooked and went out to gather supplies at night, when there was little moonlight, so as not to be discovered.

The German army was not the only enemy they had to hide, but also the inhabitants of nearby villages and the Ukrainian police. On one occasion, they tried to bury them all by blocking the only access to the cave. But they did not, since, after three days of digging, the thirty-eight people fled to the second cave that housed them until April 12, 1944, the day Soviet troops released them. 4 Once outside, the villagers continued to persecute them and killed four members of the group, but the rest managed to travel to the United States and Canada, where they rebuilt their lives. 4


  1. Back to top↑ «No Place on Earth» . Box Office Mojo (in English) . Retrieved on April 28, 2013 .
  2. Back to top↑ Phillips, Michael (April 18, 2013). «Talking heads add power to dark ‘No Place on Earth’ ?? 1/2 ” . Chicago Tribune (in English) . Retrieved on April 28, 2013 .
  3. Back to top↑ Guzman, Rafer (April 11, 2013). ” ‘ No Place on Earth’ review: Holocaust survival .” Newsday (in English) . Retrieved on April 28, 2013 .
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e f g Delgado, Sergio (June 17, 2013). “Expelled from Earth 511 days” . The Country . Retrieved on July 8, 2013 .