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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Holocaust > Judaism > My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering The Kindertransports

My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering The Kindertransports


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: B



Documentaries on The Holocaust are usually very painful to watch, and though My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering The Kindertransports (1995) is an excellent film that joins that weaving of this epic historical moment, there is a quiet sense of triumph over the Nazis even over all of this ugly, unspeakable pain.  In this case, it has to do with the “opportunities” a small group of children had to get to England when the rest of Europe turned their backs on German Jews.  The other countries did not want to get involved, or were explicitly supporting Hitler and the rest of the Axis of Evil.  Why The Nazis allowed any Jewish children leave Germany or Austria when The Final Solution was at hand is odd, but since they planned to invade and own countries like England, perhaps they thought this was temporary.


Unlike adult victims who are scared for life by the pain directly, these now-grown adults offer a new perspective in how they were also scarred for life, losing their parents under the worst possible circumstances.  The distance gives them a triumph the Nazis could have never imagined, despite being 100%, full-fledged victims, refugees, and nomads upon arrival in the United Kingdom.  They tell their stories and experiences to the best of their ability, but give us a priceless new piece (not heard enough, if ever, before) of the puzzle of what really happened.  This includes Canada and The United States turning down these helpless children.


Director Melissa Hacker begins with her own mother and then moves on to what seems to be a few dozen others, all with amazing stories of survival and serious adjustment disorder, compounded by the nightmares.  It should also be said that this kind of thing happens every day all over to world to its children and the most powerful countries of the world do little about it.  That is wrong.  I only hope people who watch are not complacent or naïve to think this was some one-time thing.  It is only because those very powers were threatened that something good happened.  Just note how all the nations but one did not do anything then!


The full screen image was filmed, most likely on 16mm stock and looks good.  That extends to the stills and stock footage, which retain their film-like look and feel, even with the usual variedness.  We do not see this enough today, with all the video.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is good, though does not really have surrounds, it still is pretty good for this type of 2.0.  Joanne Woodward narrates.  The few extras include the usual Docurama titles gallery with a few of the titles offering trailers and brief text on Hacker.


This by no means negates what Schindler or Wallenberg pulled off in helping Jews, while finding placement in England was far from easy.  This was still often very tough, but a far better fate than death in a concentration camp, the epitome of the lesser of two evils.  Seeing them having quicker access to the nightmare and it being a point of view that no one else could be privileged to is enlightening in a way that the pack of formulaic lies “the revisionists” (those who think The Holocaust was a fraud, or actually want others to believe that; Fascists, Neo-Nazis, Aryans, and other such idiots) keep peddling.  The hate assumes this did not happen and this story, this truth, adds a vital dimension to the full record of what almost became the world’s permanent, endless nightmare.  Though not painless, My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering The Kindertransports completes the picture of the least heard-of Holocaust survivors of all.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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