A film by Jason Ahn and Eugene Chung tells the story of some of these families. The film, “Divided Families,” was screened Tuesday on Capitol Hill for an audience that included Korean Americans.
“This is a film that goes and documents their story as well as to raise awareness and hopefully create a resolution to this tragic story,” Ahn said. His grandmother was separated from her sister during the Korean war, and they never saw each other again.
Ahn, in his final year at Harvard Medical School, became interested in divided families when he was a Fulbright scholar in Korea. The Saemsori project helped him trace his family, and he embarked upon the “Divided Families” film with the help of his friend, Chung, a venture capitalist at New Enterprise Associates.
Saemsori is a Eugene Bell Foundation project that promotes reunions between Korean Americans and Koreans living in North Korea.
Of the U.S. population of 1.3 million people who were born in Korea, about 100,000 left family members in North Korea.
About 80 Korean Americans have take part in North-South Korean family reunions, but only as relatives of South Korean citizens, since it has better relationships with the U.S. Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-bak and first lady Kim Yoon-ok will make a state visit to Washington next week.
North Korea and the U.S. have a tense relationship because of North Korea’s nuclear ambition.
In the documentary, Korean Americans tell their stories.