INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS, the stunning, heartrending documentary feature directed by Mark Jonathan Harris and narrated by Judi Dench, details the rescue of 10,000 German, Austrian, and Czechoslovakian Jewish children just prior to the outbreak of WWII. A labor of love for producer Deborah Oppenheimer, whose mother was part of the kindertransport, the documentary combines powerful testimonies from now elderly--kinder--with rare archival film footage. Following the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1938, a mission began to remove Jewish children to the only nation willing to harbor them--England. Parents lucky enough to secure their children places had the heartbreaking task of packing a single suitcase and putting their child on a train, promising to follow soon after. Most of the parents, however, died in Hitler's concentration camps. In England, the kinder were faced with new problems--living with strangers who spoke another language, while simultaneously missing and feeling abandoned by their parents. Recounting their compelling, gut-wrenching stories, the pain is still raw for the elderly kinder--but they are survivors in every sense of the word. Their fortune, though traumatizing, is underscored by the film's final, sobering statistic: 1.5 million children perished during the Holocaust.
Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature 2000