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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most moving yet little known acts of mercy, 9 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Into the Arms of Strangers - Stories of the Kindertransport [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
The 'Kindertransport' was an initiative of the British Government in late 1938 to allow the temporary migration of Jewish children at risk in the German occupied countries (Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia)to Britain, where they would be housed by British families. The government at the time, decided only children would be allowed, as they would not place a burden on the economy by taking jobs of British adults. This was at a time when no country was willing to take in Jews, despite being aware of the pogroms since Hitler's ascension to power and the horrific events on Kristallnacht in November of '38. Kristallnacht was the catalyst for the government's debate and acceptance of the scheme to allow limited entry to Britain. The Germans agreed, making sure that if one adult escort failed to return to Germany, the transports would be stopped. The transports began and only stopped when war was declared in September of '39, by which time almost 10,000 children had arrived safely in Britain.

Their's was not always a warm welcome. They were billeted in holiday camps and 'adoptive families' came and 'shopped' for a child they liked the look of. Many children remained in these camps for some time, either because they were too old, or not appealing enough to the carers. A small proportion were even abused - taken by families that used them as unpaid domestics. All of them missed their parents and were constantly worried about their welfare.

This incredibly moving documentary is told in the first person by children who migrated, their adoptive carers, and in narration by Dame Judi Dench. It is a tale of unutterable sadness and grief, yet one that must be told and heard. It is also a tale of how only one country made any real attempt to save Jewish children who were already being persecuted and would certainly face a worse future in Europe.

Not being a parent, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to consign your child to migration to 'safe' England, when your own fate was far from secure. Most parents believed they would never see their children again, and in the vast majority of cases this fear was realised.

This documentary is of such importance that it forms a compulsory part of the school curriculum in Germany today. Watch it, but be prepared to be greatly moved.
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