The Children Of Chabannes

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

A bittersweet tribute to the Chateau of Chabannes, a French refugee home that saved over 400 Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps. Located in the picturesque Creuse region of unoccupied France, the Chateau was one of 15 children's homes operated by the OSE, a Jewish social services organization. From 1939 until 1943, Chabannes was a haven for predominantly...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A bittersweet tribute to the Chateau of Chabannes, a French refugee home that saved over 400 Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps. Located in the picturesque Creuse region of unoccupied France, the Chateau was one of 15 children's homes operated by the OSE, a

Jewish social services organization. From 1939 until 1943, Chabannes was a haven for predominantly German and Austrian children whose parents made the difficult decision to send their children to France rather than risk deportation to concentration camps. Few parents lived to see their children

again (the 1998 documentary MY KNEES WERE JUMPING: REMEMBERING THE KINDERTRANSPORTS deals with children who were sent to England under similar circumstances). In Chabannes, the children were taught and cared for by a staff of OSE educators and two local schoolteachers, sisters Reine and Renee

Paillassou, all under the protective eye of Chateau director Felix Chevrier. Life wasn't easy (food was scarce and rats were plentiful), but the children felt relatively safe from what was occurring elsewhere in France. In the summer of 1942, Vichy officials began ordering roundups of Jewish

children across southern France; faced with the prospect of their charges' mass deportation, Chevrier, the Paillassous and the OSE made a heroic effort to save the children of Chabannes. This is a deeply personal film: Director Lisa Gossels is the daughter and niece of two of the children of

Chabannes, and deep gratitude clearly motivates her film. She and co-director Dean Wetherell interview surviving "children," OSE workers, villagers and the Paillassou sisters, all of whom reminisce at length about life during the war. Precious memories to be sure, and Gossels and Wetherell are

understandably loath to cut a single one, even if it meant letting this otherwise moving film drag under the weight of its many details.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A bittersweet tribute to the Chateau of Chabannes, a French refugee home that saved over 400 Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps. Located in the picturesque Creuse region of unoccupied France, the Chateau was one of 15 children's homes operated b… (more)

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