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Home > Screenings > LOOKSfilm > Kids Of Courage

Director: Matthias Zirzow

Producer: Ramona Bergmann

Executive Producer: Gunnar Dedio, Katarzyna Gromadzka

Writer: Matthias Zirzow, Ramona Bergmann

Cast: Jury Gayed, Nils Sand Näslund, Mina Christ, Ruairdidh Harris, Adam Halajczyk, Uljana Torkiani, Arved Friese, Natálie Vágnerová

Genres: Documentary, Drama, Kids

Demographics: Family


8x25’

What does it mean to be a war child? This outstanding and sensitive documentary drama series tells the stories of children who lived through a most difficult era in recent history - and who grew with its challenges. It deliberately sets the traditional version of history against a young and international perspective and shows how children experienced WWII in Europe. Our protagonists include:

Anton (10), who no longer wants to be the outsider. All he wants is to join the Hitler Youth, but his father is dead set against it, leading to a huge argument. When Jewish neighbours ask his family for protection, Anton sees what the Nazis are capable of. Confidentially, he goes to his comrades for advice - and lands his father in great difficulty.

Fritjof (10), whose fishing village was occupied by the German army. While his father is at war, Fritjof must contribute to the livelihood of his family. At first, he works for the German occupiers, but the news that his father is missing changes everything. Fritjof no longer wants to accept the situation.

Calum (15), who has lived alone with his mother since the outbreak of the war. His father is a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Instead of wasting his time on air-raid protection exercises, Calum prefers to nick apples and skip school. But then German bombers fly in over his home city and attack.

Vera (10), who loses her home and must go to live in an orphanage on the countryside. While the other children there hope to be adopted and find new parents quickly, Vera believes that her mother is still alive and waits to hear from her.

Romek (10), who lives in the ghetto and is part of a group of smuggler children. From his last run, he brings not only potatoes but also some unsettling news: the residents of the ghetto are to be moved to a labour camp. A race against time ensues - Romek wants to find a way out of the ghetto for himself and his parents.

We open up a new and multi-national perspective on the history of WWII; at the heart of each episode are the experiences of one child protagonist and his or her responses to the war - to air raids, hunger, loss, escape and persecution - but also their everyday lives and how these experiences shaped them. The series is based on authentic diaries, letters and memories of children from the period from 1933 to 1945.

KIDS OF COURAGE follows in the footsteps of the 2014 series "Small Hands in a Big War", which focussed on children in WWI. Thereby we have introduced a brand new history TV format for children that deals with decisive eras in history in an age-appropriate manner: We carefully retell exemplary individual stories and combine them with exciting archive material and imaginative animations. These three elements overlap, supplement and reinforce one another.

Through KIDS OF COURAGE, today's children have the opportunity to learn more about war children and the lives they lived, in an emotive and understandable way – lives that were different and incredible in one way, but, in another, seem as relevant and close as never before…