I had never heard of this movie before, but it popped up on my Netflix list, and I knew I had to watch it.
Honestly, before we watched this movie, even though I have read quite a bit about the Holocaust, I had never heard of the kindertransport.
At the end of 1938, England arranged to take in 20,000 Jewish children from Nazi occupied areas. The Nazis let this happen rather willingly, at least for the 9 months before World War II broke out. The children who were chosen had to be younger than 17, and most of them had lost a parent or were in some way vulnerable.
This movie featured interviews with those who were part of the Kindertransport. I was fascinated and haunted while I watched this movie.
Can you imagine in 1938 or 1939 sending your child off on his or her own to England without you? Just thinking of this as a mother makes me lose my breath. Undoubtedly, bad things were happening in Nazi-occupied areas, but things were not as bad as we all now know they would get. It would be so easy to convince yourself that things are as bad as they will get and that you should keep your children with you.
These parents selflessly gave their children, knowing that their futures were probably better outside of Nazi-occupied areas. In addition, the parents tried to instill in the children how important it was, once they reached England, to find sponsorship for the parents, so they, too, could come to England and be with them.
One Kindertransport survivor was nine years old when she went on the kindertransport. Once she reached England, she spent her days knocking on the doors of big houses, asking if there was work her parents could do so they, too, could come to England. Amazingly, some parents were able to come to England this way, but that all ended at the start of World War II.
Many of the children were taken in by loving English families, but others were taken in and forced to work as maids or other household servants. It wasn’t a perfect program, but it did keep alive 20,000 children who otherwise likely wouldn’t have stayed alive.
Unlike other Holocaust movies, this one doesn’t have graphic scenes of violence. However, the stories are just as haunting.
This is a movie that stayed with me for weeks after I watched it and resonated deeply with me as a mother.
Five out of five stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.