Have you heard of Kindertransport?I never knew.Movies have opened my eyes to many wonders and yesterday a documentary made me see the horrors of the holocaust through the eyes of children.
Into the arms of strangers-stories of the Kindertransport is an academy award_ winning documentary. It is a heartwrenching account of those dark days and a rescue mission which saw thousands of Jewish children between the age of 5 and 17 from Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia leaving their parents to go to foster homes Britain-the only country which agreed to accept them.Between December 1938 and August 1939 more than 10,000 children were brought to Britain and this is their story narrated by the survivors in their 60s and 70s.
They recall their idyllic carefree life with parents, the preparations for the trip, final goodbyes, the journey, discovery of a new country and learning to live with foster parents.They speak from the heart and tell you their struggles to adjust to the new family and surroundings and living with the hopes of reuniting with their families.They come to know of their parents and siblings perishing in the concentration camps and a few fortunate ones are reunited with their families.What I find most refreshing is that they narrate their stories with candor.They also acknowledge the foster parents and their limitations.They are all survivors and show immense dignity and grace.Many have settled down in UK and USA and are shown leading meaningful lives with children and grandchildren.
There are some movies which have to be seen by all and this is one of them.Yes, there are many popular movies like Schindler’s List, The boy in the striped pyjamas, The pianist, etc.I find this more intense and moving.Even if you are not a fan of cinema, please find time to watch this.
Four statues were erected to commemorate this epic rescue mission in UK, Poland, Germany, and Holland.Frank Meisler, the sculptor had been on kindertransport.What an irony of fate.
“I ceased to be a child when I boarded the train in Prague.It is strange that it’s only six years out of a long life and those six years will affect the rest of your life” -this is how Eva Hayman, a survivor recalls.
I salute all those kind souls who made the mission possible and those foster parents who gave them a home and life.