No Place on Earth

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No Place on Earth
No Place on Earth Official Poster.jpg
Directed by Janet Tobias
Starring Chris Nicola
Saul Stermer
Sam Stermer
Sonia Dodyk
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
Release date
  • 10 September 2012 (2012-09-10) (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • 5 April 2013 (2013-04-05)
Running time
83 minutes
Country US/UK/Germany
Language English
Box office $200,238[1] (North America only)

No Place on Earth is a 2012 docudrama directed by Janet Tobias. The film was released theatrically in the United States on April 5, 2013.[2][3]

In 1993, NYPD officer and caving enthusiast Chris Nicola visited Ukraine to explore the Verteba and Priest's Grotto caves, and found evidence that they had recently been inhabited by humans. After discovering that the caves were used by three Jewish families, comprising 38 people, led by matriarch Esther Stermer (1888-1983), escaping The Holocaust, he embarked on a decade-long quest to find survivors. The film features interviews with some of the 36 survivors and/or their descendants, now living mainly in New York City and Montreal. It includes a segment in which Tobias brings some of the survivors, the oldest of whom was a nonagenarian, back to the caves.[4]

The film was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and the Jewish Film Festival Berlin. Its screenwriters, Janet Tobias and Paul Laikin, were finalists for the 2014 Award for Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America.[5][6]


  • Chris Nicola as Himself
  • Saul Stermer as Himself
  • Sam Stermer as Himself
  • Sonia Dodyk as Herself
  • Sima Dodyk as Herself
  • Yetta Stermer as Herself
  • Sol Wexler as Himself
  • Erin Grunstein Halpern as Herself
  • Cliff Stermer as Himself
  • Katalin Lábán as Esther Stermer
  • Péter Balázs Kiss as Saul Stermer
  • Dániel Hegedüs as Sol Wexler
  • Balázs Barna Hídvégi as Nissel Stermer
  • Fruzsina Pelikán as Sonia Dodyk
  • András Orosz as Sam Stermer
  • Mira Bonelli as Sima Dodyk
  • Nóra Kovács as Yetta Stermer
  • Bernadett Sára Borlai as Hannah Stermer
  • Péter Zsömbelyi as Zaide Stermer
  • Norbert Gogan as Louie Wexler


  1. ^ "No Place on Earth (2013)". Box Office Mojo. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  2. ^ "No Place On Earth". Magnolia Pictures. February 19, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Elizabeth Horkley (2013-04-26). "The story of two Jewish families who lived in caves to escape Nazis". Retrieved 2017-07-01. 
  4. ^ Derviskadic, Dado (March 18, 2013). "511 Days of Total Darkness: The Incredible True Story Behind the Documentary No Place on Earth". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Stermers - Dig Deeper - No Place On Earth". Retrieved 2017-07-01. 

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