The Windermere Children

Watch The Windermere Children

  • NR
  • 2020
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 7.2  (3,638)

In 1945, World War II had come to an end, and the Allied forces were beginning to liberate the concentration camps. One such camp was Bergen-Belsen, where British soldiers found hundreds of Jewish children who had been left behind by the Nazis. The soldiers quickly realized that these children were too weak and traumatized to return to their former lives, so they organized a rehabilitation program that would bring them to the Lake District in England.

This is the premise of The Windermere Children, a 2020 film that tells the true story of a group of Jewish children who were brought to the Calgarth Estate near Lake Windermere to recover from the horrors they had experienced in the concentration camps.

The film begins in Germany, where we meet four of the children: Benno, Arek, Roma, and Michael. They are survivors of Auschwitz, and when they are told that they are going to England, they are hesitant to believe that there could be a place where they will be safe and cared for. They are accompanied by two doctors, Josef and Anna, who are also survivors of the concentration camps.

When they arrive in England, the children are greeted by a group of British soldiers who will be looking after them at Calgarth. The soldiers are led by Leonard Montefiore, the founder of the Central British Fund for German Jewry, who has organized the rehabilitation program.

At Calgarth, the children are given a safe and supportive environment where they can begin to heal. They are provided with food, clothing, and medical care, and they are encouraged to participate in activities like painting and music. They are also given the opportunity to attend school and learn English.

The film does an excellent job of showing how difficult it is for the children to adjust to their new lives. They are haunted by the memories of the concentration camps and the loved ones they have lost, and they struggle to trust the adults who are caring for them. However, as the weeks go by, they begin to make progress. They form friendships with the other children and the soldiers, and they start to believe that they might have a future after all.

Throughout the film, we see flashbacks to the children's experiences in the concentration camps. These scenes are difficult to watch, but they are important in conveying the extent of the children's trauma. They also provide context for some of the children's behaviors at Calgarth. For example, we see that Roma struggles with insomnia and nightmares, and we understand why this might be the case.

The performances in the film are outstanding. Thomas Kretschmann plays Josef, one of the doctors who accompanies the children to England. He is a complex character who is haunted by the guilt of his own survival. Romola Garai plays Marie Paneth, an art therapist who works with the children. She is kind and compassionate, but she also has a no-nonsense attitude that is necessary when dealing with traumatized children. Iain Glen plays Leonard Montefiore, the man who spearheaded the rehabilitation program. He is firm yet caring, and he is committed to giving the children the best possible chance at a new life.

One of the most moving scenes in the film is when the children are taken on a boat ride on Lake Windermere. They are initially hesitant to go on the water, but when they see the beauty of the lake and the surrounding countryside, they start to relax. They sing a Hebrew song together, and as they do, we see glimpses of the future they might have, a future that was almost taken away from them.

Overall, The Windermere Children is a powerful and important film that sheds light on a little-known aspect of World War II history. It shows the resilience of the human spirit, and how even in the darkest of times, hope can be found. The film is a testament to the bravery of the soldiers and doctors who cared for the children, and to the strength of the children themselves.

The Windermere Children is a 2020 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

The Windermere Children
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (3,638)