I am unsure how to define the nationality of this made for television production. Europeans of various nationalities were involved, it was made in English, and registered in Singapore. It is set in occupied France during World War II and based on the book Daddy by Loup Durand. It deals with a very sensitive topic, Jewish bank accounts. The boy playing Thomas Sangster (Thomas von Gall) is engaging and the film suspensful. Thomas is a brilliant chess champion with a phenomenal memory. These lines set the story. Thomas: "I have to put the secret in a safe place." David Quatermain: "Is it that important? Thomas: It's more important than my grandfather's life. It's more important than my mother's. And it's certainly more important than mine." The film unfortunately tends to gloss over a very serious issue and the extent to which individuals besides NAZI villans were involved in the Holocaust. The costuming is reasonably accurate. It also tends to over emphazize the help French Jews received. One of the few groups helping French Jews was an American group which operated before the Torch innasions (November 1942).
I am unsure how to define the nationality of this made for television production. Europeans of various nationalities were involved, it was made in English, and registered in Singapore.
The film is set in occupied France during World War II.
The film is based on the book Daddy by Loup Durand. One of the t actions the NAZIs took in occupied countries was to freeze and then seize Jewish bank accounts. This story deels with Swedish babk accounts. As far as I know there is no basis in fact for this story.
The boy playing Thomas von Gall is English child actor Thomas Sangster gives an engaging performance. He played in quite a number of films.
The film is suspensful. Thomas is a brilliant chess champion with a phenomenal memory. His Swedish mother, Maria Von Gall, is operating a rescue route for Jews trying to escape NAZI Europe and the Holocaust. Her operation is funded by a Swiss bank account. The ruthless professor Grevor Laemelle is helping to track her down. As the NAZIs come closer, she trains Thomas in survival tactics and entrusts him with the secret bank codes. Laemelle succeedds in kidnapping Thomas and offers a exchange. It doesn't work and Thomas sees his mother killed. Thomas is saved by his American father, who was separated and who Thomas does not know. His father protected by American neutrality plans to take Thomas to Spain and saftey. Thomas has been entrusted with a critical secret and is determined to carry out his dangerous mission. These lines set the story and Thomas's resolution. Thomas: "I have to put the secret in a safe place." David Quatermain: "Is it that important? Thomas: It's more important than my grandfather's life. It's more important than my mother's. And it's certainly more important than mine." Laemelle will do anything to gain possession of the codes.
The costuming is reasonably accurate. Thomas is costumed appropriately for the World War II era. He is wearing short pants, short socks (the movie is set in warm southern France), button-on suspenders and a sports jacket. Later he gets a long psants suit.
The film unfortunately tends to gloss over a very serious issue and the extent to which individuals besides NAZI villans were involved in the Holocaust. It also tends to over emphazize the help French Jews received. One of the few groups helping French Jews was an American group (American Emergency Rescue Committee) which operated before the Torch innasions (November 1942). The Sweeds helped Danish Jews and later in the War Hungarian Jews, but I do not know of any important role they played in France. Sweden was very concerned until 1943 about a possible German invasion.
France is unique among all the countries which experienced the Holocaust. France was the only defeated Allied country whose government actively assisted the NAZIs. After the French surrender. The Vichy authorities actively assisted the NAZIs track down and deport Jews. [Eizenstat] The first action taken against French Jews after the 1940 invasion was the expulsion from Alsace. To my knowlege, this was one of the very few non-lethal expulsions conducted by the NAZIs. Presumably the master plan for killing the Jews had not yet been fully worked out. Another early action involving German Jews was deporting Jews in Western Landen (Baden, the Saar, and the Palatinate), including some of the oldest German Jewish families, in October 1940 to camps in the French Pyrenees (Gurs, Noé, Récébédou, and Rivesaltes). Gurs was the largest. The death rate was very high because there were not even the most basic facilities. The camps were run by Vichy authorities. The killing of Dutch, Belgian and French Jews began in July 1942 when the death camps in Poland became operational. Vivian Fry, before American entered the War, worked tirelessy in Vichy to build up a rescue network working with the Emergency Resue Committee, a private relief organization. The NAZIs had inserted a "suuender on demand clause" in Article 5 of the Franco German Armistace of 1940. Fry succeeded in resucing more than 1,500 artists, musicians, politicams, scientists, and writers, many but not all Jewish. The Germans make life a nightmare for French Jew, both in Vichy as well as the occupied area. Many French people risked their lives to protect Jews, including French people that were anti-semitic. One French girl recalls a priest who helped save her and her family describe how he disliked Jews, but saving them from the Germans was the "Christian thing" to do. [Cohn] Others assisted the Germans.
Cohn, Marthe with Windy Cohn. Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany (Harmony), 282p.
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