Arts & Culture: Film on Jewish Refugee Children Gets Oscar Nod for Documentaries

A film on the Nazi-era rescue of refugee children, most of them Jewish, has been nominated for an Oscar in the documentary feature category.

“Into the Arms of Stranger: Stories of the Kindertransport” chronicles the rescue of some 10,000 children from Nazi-dominated Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the 18 months leading up to World War II.

In addition, “One Day Crossing,” about a Jewish woman who poses as a Christian in 1944 Budapest, was nominated in the category of live action short film.

The Kindertransport film also traces the children’s reception in Great Britain and their lives after the war.

Britain agreed to accept the children at a time when most other doors were closed to Jewish refugees. Entry was limited to children between 2 and 17, however, which meant their parents had to stay behind.

“I am euphoric,” said producer Deborah Oppenheimer, whose mother was one of the transported children. “I have already talked to the survivors of the transport featured in the film, and they are thrilled. The nomination means that `Into the Arms of Strangers’ will be widely shown, including in many schools.”

Director and writer Mark Jonathan Harris ascribed the nomination to the subject’s universal appeal in showing the traumatic separation of children and parents.

Harris previously directed “The Long Way Home,” a documentary about Holocaust survivors, which won an Oscar for its producers — the Simon Wiesenthal Center — in 1997. Harris also won an Academy Award in 1968 for the short film “The Redwoods.”

“Into the Arms of Strangers” was one of five finalists nominated for an Oscar in its category. The winner will be announced at the Academy Awards presentation on March 25.

Israel’s entry for best foreign-language film, “Time of Favor,” was not among the five films nominated in its category.

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