I just finished watching my first Netflix movie, “Into the Arms of Strangers, Stories of the Kindertransport.” Talk about a tear jerker! The story was a documentary told through survivors’ memories and photos, as well as archival footage. Surprisingly, I had never known about the Kindertransport before watching this movie.
The Kindertransport was a train/ship system that took about 10,000 children from 1938-1939 from Nazi conquered areas and brought them to England where very generous families accepted the refugees into their homes. The children were sent away from their homelands by their parents just before WW2 broke out and were able to live relatively normal childhoods with their new English families, who took care of the children and made sure they were educated and looked after. Many of the Kindertransport children lost touch with their parents during the war and came to find out years later their families had died in the Holocaust.
According to the movie, 1.5 million children perished in the Holocaust, and only 10,000 were saved from the Kindertransport. What a noble, social and progressive idea the Kindertransport was! I find it hard to believe anything of the like would occur in the present time. Imagine CNN news announced tonight that America was going to be opening its doors to thousands of adolescent war refugees from Iraq, Darfur or Sudan, and that any family who wants to take in a child can show up at JFK, O’Hare or Los Angeles International Airports on Saturday to pick out a child to bring home? That would be the day!
One female survivor who shares her story on the documentary boarded the Kindertransport train as a child, but her father pulled her out the window as the train began to roll away because he didn’t want to lose her. A few years later that girl was sent to Auschwitz, the largest of Germany’s concentration and extermination camps. She ended up in eight different camps and by the time she was liberated at age 20, she weighed 58 pounds. It really makes me think that even as much as I might think my life “sucks,” I have no idea and probably never will know the turmoil others have been through. My life seems as sweet as a German chocolate cupcake compared to the story I just learned.
This movie was very interesting to me and left me feeling extremely emotional and sympathetic. I recommend this movie to anyone who takes an interest in history, Nazi Germany and/or documentaries. Although I felt like I was in high school history class while I was watching it, my eyes were glued to the screen the entire two hours. The movie has some intriguing old footage that really helped me feel and understand exactly what was going on at the time.
I really can’t believe that one man, Adolf Hitler, could have been so incredibly evil and could have risen to such power and performed as many horrible acts as he did. Not only did he destroy land, cities and cultures, but he put an end to millions of lives. And for the people that survived his vicious and atrocious wrath, he left them with mental wounds, experiences and memories that I wouldn’t even dream about in my worst nightmare. I would like to end this by stating that I hope Adolf Hitler is a tortured, rotting, persecuted, agonizing, mutilated soul that does not feel any sort of peace or happiness in his resting place. Thank you.