This two-hour Oscar-winning documentary does a great job at narrating the events of 1945-48 for the survivors of the Shoah and their often horrific ordeal as refugees. For most of them, the heartache was only just beginning; liberation and the end of the War for them were not the same as they were for the soldiers who had fought in the War or the non-Jewish people who had been in the camps or in the various nation-states across Europe. Many of them found they had no home to go back to, and were often greeted with hatred and disgust that they'd dared to return and survive. Some angry villagers even killed the returning survivors, as happened in the Kielce pogrom of 1946. During and before WWII, most of the nations in the world had sealed their borders against the people trying to immigrate before the Nazis devoured them, and even after the War finally ended, they continued keeping them out. Even nations that hadn't been able to wait to get rid of them, such as Poland and Hungary, now made it very difficult for the "repatriated" survivors to leave, and many of them had to be smuggled out in very secretive dangerous border crossings, with border guards who had to be bribed heavily. The initial destination for many of them was a DP camp. Many of these camps were in Germany, and were in the very sites of actual concentration-camps. The Americans running them insisted barbed wire be strung along the fences and that armed guards be in watch towers. There also often wasn't enough to eat, there was little privacy, and the people still had to sleep on the wooden planks. The only difference between life in a DP camp and life in a concentration-camp was that in the DP camps the Allies running them weren't exterminating people or physically abusing them. And yet in spite of all of this, the amount of marriages and children being born were totally off of the charts, people finding one another and recreating families, getting together out of loneliness, these people who never would have found one another or considered getting married under such circumstances, after such short courtships, were it not for the Shoah.
97% of the survivors wanted to go to Israel, and when asked for a second destination, hundreds wrote "The crematorium" on their applications. Many survivors did go to other places, such as Australia, America (which was still holding to its pre-war racist xenophobia immigration quotas, coupled with millions of citizens who didn't want any immigrants either), Canada, and South America. But for the majority, Israel was the only place they could envision themselves being. The British too were keeping the survivors out of Israel, and only six ships managed to elude being captured. The rest were pirated, many of the people on board severely abused, and sent to concentration-camps on Cyprus. And yet these people still kept hoping for the day when they would be released and would finally live as free people again, in their own land. Some of them even admitted they were only surviving and getting through these postwar years so their children would have a future. The world closed its doors and its eyes and ears while millions of people were slaughtered and barely changed its tune after the War, but as these people proved on their long road home, they were strong enough to survive another round of hardships and never gave up on their dream of going home.