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The Children Of Chabannes

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Overview

During World War II, the staff of a school in the small French village of Chabannes managed to save the lives of 400 children, Jewish refugees whom they took in and were able to hide from Nazi authorities; their brave and ingenious efforts are recounted in the documentary The Children of Chabannes. Located in the Creuse section of unoccupied France, the staff of the Chabannes School and members of the French child welfare group OSE took in Jewish children ages two through 12 from Germany, Poland, and other parts ...
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Overview

During World War II, the staff of a school in the small French village of Chabannes managed to save the lives of 400 children, Jewish refugees whom they took in and were able to hide from Nazi authorities; their brave and ingenious efforts are recounted in the documentary The Children of Chabannes. Located in the Creuse section of unoccupied France, the staff of the Chabannes School and members of the French child welfare group OSE took in Jewish children ages two through 12 from Germany, Poland, and other parts of Eastern Europe. They not only gave the children safe haven, but taught them to speak French so they could blend in with local children in order to resist capture, and gave them basic survival skills should they need to escape on their own. Through a combination of careful planning, deception, and luck, only six of the refugees that passed through the school were deported back to their homelands, and two of them survived to tell the tale. Director Lisa Gossels is the daughter of one of the Chabannes children; here she has collected interviews with the teachers who protected the children, their now-adult charges, and footage of a 1996 reunion of Chabannes students and faculty.
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Special Features

Feature length French language version; Children's art gallery; Chateau journal pages; Filmmaker biographies; Theatrical trailer; Interactive menus; Scene selection
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
Some topics are so compelling that you don't have to work hard to keep the audience interested. This is the case for The Children of Chabannes, a documentary that's moving even though it isn't told in a dynamic manner. You won't find much spiffy camera work or attention-grabbing editing here, you also won't find much attempt to build dramatic tension over the course of the film, even though the efforts to keep the children safe from the Nazis could have been presented in a much more suspenseful manner. Instead, the film presents the interviews and historical materials (including a 170-page journal prepared by children and staff of the Chabannes chateau in 1942) in a sober manner that takes the topic's inherent interest for granted. The result is a film that's less gripping than it could have been. Fortunately, it's also less self-righteous and sappy than it could have been, which befits the unpretentious nature of the villagers and former teachers and students who were interviewed for the film. The film may not keep viewers on the edge of their seats, but it does convey the kindness, generosity, and courage of the people of Chabannes. It also conveys their cleverness and persistence; some of the best stories involve the late director of the school, Felix Chevrier, whose tenacious personality and razor sharp mind helped keep all but six of over 400 children out of concentration camps (sadly, only two of those six children survived). While these numbers may seem small compared to the 76,000 Jews sent to concentration camps by the Vichy regime, this film reminds us that every life is sacred and helping others is important even if you can only help a few. Granted, this isn't an original or profound message, but it is a message that bears repeating, particularly when it is conveyed by a previously unheralded real-life story such as this.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/2005
  • UPC: 767685967430
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Video Group
  • Presentation: B&W / Colorized
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 64,160

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Norbert Bikales Interviewee
Wolfie Blumenreich Interviewee
Technical Credits
Lisa Gossels Director
Dean Wetherell Director
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. I Come From Germany [7:19]
2. The Rights of Man [8:07]
3. Visionary People [8:29]
4. Culture Shock [5:28]
5. A Day at Chabannes [8:12]
6. Period of Collaboration [8:17]
7. The Spread of Hate [6:53]
8. Meeting the Quota [8:13]
9. The Round Up [9:20]
10. Lives in Danger [10:11]
11. Eternal Questions [8:44]
12. Credits [1:52]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scenes
   Extras
      French Subtitled Version
      Filmmaker Biographies
         Lisa Gossels
         Dean Wetherell
      Children's Art Gallery
      Chateau Journal Pages
      Theatrical Trailer
      About Docurama
         Credits
         DVD Catalog
            Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back
               Play Trailer
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               Play Trailer
            The Smashing Machine
               Play Trailer
            The Weather Underground
               Play Trailer
      Catalog/Trailers
         Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back
            Play Trailer
         Brother's Keeper
            Play Trailer
         Go Tigers!
            Play Trailer
         Keep the River on Your Right
            Play Trailer
         The Legend of Ron Jeremy
            Play Trailer
         Lost in La Mancha
            Play Trailer
         The Smashing Machine
            Play Trailer
         The Weather Underground
            Play Trailer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't miss this touching, beautiful film

    I am speechless. I finally had a chance to view this film with my sixth grade classes. It was more touching, informative, and uplifting than I imagined it would be. I waited so long to see it that I hoped I wasn't going to be disappointed... I wasn't! It was wonderful. I thought of a hundred ways to use this in school...ok, I may be exaggerating but it is going to be an asset to our curriculum. I cried at a few beautiful statements which I don't do easily. Guess I better have tissues ready in my classroom. The music was perfect, as was, the camera shots and dialogue. I also loved that there were updates on the "children" since I knew my students would ask. Kudos to all the talented people associated with this fabulous film.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews