In 1938 and 1939, about 10,000 children, most of them Jews, were sent by their parents from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to the safety of England where foster families took most of them in for the duration of the war. Years later, eleven kinder, one child's mother, an English foster mother, a survivor of Auschwitz who didn't go to England, and two of the kindertransport organizers remember: the days before the Nazis, the mid-to-late 1930s as Jews were ostracized, saying farewell to family, traveling to England, meeting their foster families, writing home, fearing the worst, coping, and trying to find families after the war ended. 1,500,000 children dead; 10,000 saved. Written by
This film continues to haunt me. With such delicacy, honesty, and poignancy, the great tragic horror of the holocaust is brought home to us on a human scale from a child's vantage point. Each unique story is told with such quiet strength and dignity. It is not only what is said, but what is not said, that is so moving. It would have been so easy to over-sentimentalize or shock, yet this film navigates through the emotional landscape with compassion and sensitivity. The voices are wise, direct and articulate on the surface, but just below, there are complex layers of remembrance, guilt, shame, grief, rage, fear, loss, despair, sadness, faith, relief and hope.
The interweaving of the past and present, black and white and colour, child and adult, is crafted with great skill. The musical score is a perfect counterpoint to the unfolding drama. There is not one false note, not one. Everything is presented with a remarkable aesthetic and thoughtfulness.
No other holocaust documentary has had a greater impact on me. As a grownup 'child' and now as a mother, I will think about this film for a very long time to come.
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