Persona Non Grata

A Greek-Spanish couple transcend their anti-Semitic past to rescue Jewish families.


In 1913 Zoe Dragoumis, the daughter of Greek’s prime minister, defies her parents and marries Julio Palencia, a Spanish diplomat. She is marrying out of love, unlike her four sisters whose marriages to local nobility were arranged by their aristocratic parents. This was not Zoe’s first rebellion: she was a social activist at a time  when Greek women were not allowed to vote; and it would not be her last: 30 years later during the Holocaust she would confront a hostile government and act heroically at a great personal cost.und

About the Director

The archivist in Athens was surprised when I asked for materials relating to Zoe Dragoumis. No one  had ever asked to see anything connected to Zoe even though she is from a famous  Greek family. That day Zoe’s diary was opened for the first time since she passed away in 1964.

Such has often been the fate of women– ignored by history.

Zoe and Julio’s bravery strikes a deep chord as my own parents were rescued by a Ukrainian family that hid them during the Holocaust.

I have spent seven years researching the twists and turns of this story. Zoe and Julio are inspiring heroes that have yet to receive the  recognition they deserve.

Their  story shows  how ordinary people, in a moment of reckoning, can overcome their failings and do the right thing.

In Production