When Gabriela Bohm, a young Jewish woman, learns that she is pregnant, she resolves to understand better who she is and where she came from. To do so, she must delve into the secrets of her family's past, particularly that of her father who committed suicide 15 years earlier. Her journey takes her first to Hungary where her mother leads Gabriela on a bittersweet tour of old haunts. They next travel to her father's hometown in Romania and meet former neighbors who recall the day her father's family was sent to Auschwitz.
But the Holocaust is not the only source of family grief. During the course of the film, Gabriela also learns of other tragedies among her relatives and even shares one of her own: a rape that had taken place years before. In Israel she finds her childhood friend, who comforts Gabriela and reminds her of what is important. When Gabriela finally reunites with her brother in Argentina, he reveals the troubling truth about their father’s death.
Passages is about the sometimes painful journeys into the past we must take in order to look toward a more hopeful future. For Gabriela that future is represented by the child who prompted her quest. As the years pass and she becomes a U.S. citizen, Gabriela can finally satisfy the question she posed to herself when she began her journey: What am I passing onto my son?