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The Windermere Children

by BBC

Synopsis

August, 1945. A coachload of children arrive at the Calgarth Estate by Lake Windermere. They are child survivors of the Nazi Holocaust that has devastated Europe’s Jewish population. Carrying only the clothes they wear and a few meagre possessions, they bear the emotional and physical scars of all they have suffered.

Charged with looking after them is Oscar Friedmann, a German-born child psychologist. He and his team of counsellors have just four months to help the children reclaim their lives. By the lake, in sunshine and rain the children eat, learn English, play football and ride bikes. They yearn for news of their loved ones every day, and meanwhile they are invited to express their trauma through painting. Some locals taunt them but they are embraced by others. A number of the older children steal and they are haunted by nightmares. Nevertheless, it is in this environment that they begin to heal.

Eventually, letters from The Red Cross arrive with the terrible confirmation that for nearly all the children their siblings and parents have been murdered. One child, however, is convinced that his brother survived.

The Windermere Children is the stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story of the bonds they make with one another, and of how the friendships forged at Windermere become a lifeline to a fruitful future. In the absence of relatives, they find family in each other.

Reviews

Impressively devoid of sentimentality, grim in its facts, and moving in its portrait of the determined effort to rescue these young lives.

– The Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz

Every now and then, something comes along that reminds you just how powerful television can be; just how much it can touch you and move you, leaving you emotionally battered and yet profoundly grateful for the experience of having watched. The Windermere Children is one such drama.

– The Radio Times, Eleanor Bley Griffiths

It is rare indeed to find a television dramatisation, even one concerned, as here, with the Holocaust, that exercises such a raw emotional power.

– The Independent, Sean O’Grady

There’s no bombast, no histrionics in the film. It’s full of quietly devastating moments.

– Irish Independent, Pat Stacey

Awards

Prix Europa 2020: Best European TV Movie or Mini-series of the Year

Thomas Kretschmann
Oscar
Romola Garai
Marie Paneth
Iain Glen
Jock Lawrence
Tim McInnerny
Leonard Montefiore
Konstantin Frank
Rabbi Weiss
Marcel Sabat
Berish
Philipp Christopher
George Lauer
Anna Schumacher
Edith Lauer
BJ Hogg
Dr Willenshaw
Ali White
Mrs Walker
Thomas Finnegan
Chiel Falinower
Pascal Fischer
Ben Helfgott
Marek Wroblewski
Sam Laskier
Anna Maciejewska
Sala
Tomasz Studzinski
Arek
Jakub Sprenger
Ike Alterman
Kacper Swietek
Chaim Olmer
Tara Cush
Yvonne
Jakub Jankiewicz
Salek
Lukasz Zieba
Sevek/Juliusz
Cal O’driscoll
Malcolm
India Angermann-Wajs
Toddler 1
Alicia Pokladecka
Bela
Colm Mccready
Malcolm’s Friend
Jonathan Cameron
Malcolm’s Friend 1
Director
Michael Samuels
Producer
Alison Sterling
Writer
Simon Block


Photos

Impressively devoid of sentimentality, grim in its facts, and moving in its portrait of the determined effort to rescue these young lives.

Every now and then, something comes along that reminds you just how powerful television can be… The Windermere Children is one such drama.