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
"Into the Arms of Strangers", directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, is a loving account of what parents resort to do in order to save their children from a tragedy that was looming over Europe. Having missed this film when it was first released, we caught up with it in the DVD format that has been lovingly transferred to that medium.
The story of the "Kindertransport" is recounted by some of the children that participated in it. We watch them as they are today, and through pictures, and sometimes on those old newsreels and films where they are captured as children in Germany, and the countries where the prosecution of Jews took an ugly turn.
Our heart goes to some of these older people that speak with such dignity in spite of what was done to them and their families. It's a tribute to the people who tell us what happened to them in the way they express their experiences without venom, or malice. After all, these persons showcased in the documentary are all survivors, something that thousands other Jewish children didn't have the same fate.
One can only imagine what these individuals went through at such an early life, many without being able to speak English, or made themselves understood in the households that received them. Imagine a child separated from loving parents having to deal with a world gone mad. It speaks volumes the people that tells us their stories turned out to be the way they did!
Dame Judy Dench's narration works well in the context of the material being shown. Mark Jonathan Harris has made a valuable contribution to show the whole world how a mad man changed these children's lives, and their parents' forever.
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