Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport

Though one of the most thoroughly documented events of the 20th century, certain aspects of WWII are still relatively unknown; this affecting documentary examines one. In 1938, as Jews in Germany, German-occupied Austria and the German-annexed portion of Czechoslovakia were looking to flee the homelands that had turned on them, the government of Great Britain...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Though one of the most thoroughly documented events of the 20th century, certain aspects of WWII are still relatively unknown; this affecting documentary examines one. In 1938, as Jews in Germany, German-occupied Austria and the German-annexed portion of

Czechoslovakia were looking to flee the homelands that had turned on them, the government of Great Britain extended a humanitarian offer. They would place Jewish youngsters (up to 17 years of age) with English foster families, until such time as they could return home. The kindertransports

were suspended when war erupted the following year, but some 10,000 children (kinder) were saved. "I would claim that every one who came over was alive at the end of the war," says rescuer Norbert Wollheim, who coordinated the kindertransport in Berlin and lost his own wife and child

in a concentration camp. Sadly, most of the children lived to learn that their parents had perished. Like Melissa Hacker, who made MY KNEES WERE JUMPING: REMEMBERING THE KINDERTRANSPORTS (1998), producer Deborah Oppenheimer is the daughter of a kindertransport survivor. But while Hacker's

approach was intensely personal and includes material dealing with the experiences of children of kindertransport survivors like herself, this film — directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris (THE LONG WAY HOME) and narrated by Judi Dench — keeps the focus

firmly on the kinder, now in their 60s and 70s. From Lore Segal, who as a displaced ten-year-old acquired life-saving visas for her parents, to Alexander Gordon, who signed himself up for the program as a 16-year-old and experienced the worst of England's anti-refugee backlash, these

stories are both informative and intensely moving. The interviews are fleshed out with carefully researched archival footage (some rare and previously unseen) and evocative recreations.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Though one of the most thoroughly documented events of the 20th century, certain aspects of WWII are still relatively unknown; this affecting documentary examines one. In 1938, as Jews in Germany, German-occupied Austria and the German-annexed portion of… (more)

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