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Arts & Culture

The Windermere Children

From center: Arek (Tomasz Studzinski), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski), Chaim (Kacper Swietek), Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Ben (Pascal Fischer) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."
Courtesy of Wall to Wall Media Limited
From center: Arek (Tomasz Studzinski), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski), Chaim (Kacper Swietek), Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Ben (Pascal Fischer) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."

Stream now or tune in Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Stream on demand now with KPBS Passport!

Based On A Remarkable True Story Of Holocaust Orphans In England

“The Windermere Children,” a new feature-length dramatization of a remarkable true story about hope in the aftermath of the Holocaust, premiered in April 2020, following the premiere of WORLD ON FIRE On MASTERPIECE.

The 90-minute film, based on the powerful first-person testimony of orphaned survivors who rebuilt their lives in the U.K. following World War II.

From BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Simon Block and BAFTA- and Emmy-winning director Michael Samuels, “The Windermere Children” is led by an incredible cast including Thomas Kretschmann ("The Pianist"), Romola Garai (THE MINIATURIST), Tim McInnerny (“Strangers”) and Iain Glen (GAME OF THRONES).

Bela (India Angerman-Wajs), toddler 2 (Alicia ‘Lola’ Pokladecka) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."
Courtesy of Wall to Wall Media Limited
Bela (India Angerman-Wajs), toddler 2 (Alicia ‘Lola’ Pokladecka) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."

The story follows a group of child Holocaust survivors who are transported to the Calgarth Estate by Lake Windermere, England in August 1945. Carrying only the clothes they wear and a few meager possessions, they bear the emotional and physical scars of all they have suffered.

Sala (Anna Maciejewska), Arek (Tomasz Studzinski), Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."
Courtesy of Wall to Wall Media Limited
Sala (Anna Maciejewska), Arek (Tomasz Studzinski), Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."

Child psychologist Oscar Friedmann (Kretschmann) is charged with looking after the children. He and his team of counselors, including art therapist Marie Paneth (Garai), philanthropist Leonard Montefiore (McInnerny) and sports coach Jock Lawrence (Glen), have four months to help the children begin to heal and reclaim their lives.

Center: Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Jock (Iain Glenn), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."
Courtesy of Wall to Wall Media Limited
Center: Ike (Kuba Sprenger), Jock (Iain Glenn), Sam (Marek Wrobelewski) in a scene from "The Windermere Children."

They learn English, play football, ride bikes, attempt to integrate with the locals and express their trauma through painting. Haunted by nightmares, they yearn for news of their loved ones from the Red Cross, but in the absence of relatives, the children find family in each other.

“The Windermere Children” is the stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story of the bonds the children make with one another, and of how the friendships forged at Windermere sustain them as they work to rebuild their lives in the U.K.

Watch On Your Schedule:

The film is available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

“The Windermere Children” will be available for purchase on DVD at ShopPBS.org. The film will also be available for digital download.

Credits:

A Wall to Wall and Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) Germany Ltd. for BBC and ZDF in association with Northern Ireland Screen, and distributed by FremantleMedia International for PBS. Directed by Michael Samuels and written by Simon Block, the film is executive produced by Simon Block and Michael Samuels of Wall to Wall Productions; Tim Rostock and Bernd von Fehrn of Warner Bros ITVP Germany; and Eleanor Greene and Leanne Klein of ZDF.