The 2000 Academy Award Winning Best Documentary is a moving film about the separation of children from their families in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia during the years 1938 and 1939 leading up to World War II. As Axis nations stripped Jews of rights the children of those families were denied access to schools, parks, theaters, etc. Fearing for their safety after the November 1938 Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) in which 20,000 Jews were arrested and taken into custody, Jewish leaders petitioned countries around the world to grant asylum for those wishing to relocate. Only Great Britain heeded the call for help allowing temporary immigration of children. The US Congress voted down such programs.
At its height the Kindertransport program immigrated 300 children per week to Great Britain. Germany approved of the removal of the children so long as they did not leave with anything of value. Most children had prearranged foster parents, but others were temporarily placed into camps or hostels awaiting sponsorship. Many were given a chilly reception being placed into domestic service but others are made to feel part of their foster families and peers. After the declaration of war between Germany and Great Britain communication between the children and their biological families was severely curtailed. Children residing in large cities were further relocated to the English countryside during the prolonged period of aerial bombing raids. Those who were fortunate were reunited with parents or siblings before or just after wars end, but the majority would never see their families again.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Fletcher