• Synopsis
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Credits
  • 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

    THE TIMES *****
    THE DAILY MAIL *****

    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

    The most powerful moments come in the final few minutes when the drama stops and the teenage Polish actors playing Holocaust survivors are suddenly replaced by the survivors themselves – real people, still alive, talking about their happy and fulfilled lives. It seems more than just a familiar device to show that the film is based on actual people and true events. Seeing these men smiling, thriving, provides an unexpectedly optimistic conclusion.

    The Guardian, Amelia Gentleman

    This drama’s strength was in its understatement, the orphans’ experiences eked out delicately, the temptation to ramp things up for dramatic effect resisted. Atrocity needs no loud-hailer.

    The Times, Carol Midgley

    Writer Simon Block and director Michael Samuels gave us a sad and beautiful film.

    The Telegraph, Anita Singh

    Superb feature-length drama.

    Evening Standard, Katie Law

  • Awards

    • Prix Europa 2020: Best European TV Movie or Mini-series of the Year
    • Shanghai Int’l TV Festival 2020 – Magnolia Award: Nominated for Best Foreign TV Film/Miniseries
    • BAFTA TV 2021: Nominated for Best Single Drama
    • Prix Italia 2021: Nominated for TV Drama
  • Credits

    Thomas Kretschmann
    Romola Garai
    Marie Paneth
    Iain Glen
    Jock Lawrence
    Tim McInnerny
    Leonard Montefiore
    Konstantin Frank
    Rabbi Weiss
    Marcel Sabat
    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
    Tomasz Studzinski
    Jakub Sprenger
    Ike Alterman
    Kacper Swietek
    Chaim Olmer
    Tara Cush
    Jakub Jankiewicz
    Lukasz Zieba
    Cal O’driscoll
    India Angermann-Wajs
    Toddler 1
    Alicia Pokladecka
    Colm Mccready
    Malcolm’s Friend
    Jonathan Cameron
    Malcolm’s Friend 1
    Michael Samuels
    Alison Sterling
    Simon Block


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