awardsUnknown Children


Ever since we started planning the work for our documentary a year ago in September 1999, much has happened.

Fifty-odd Dutch-Jewish babies and toddlers survived the transports to Bergen Belsen and Theresienstadt by being part of the so-called 'Gruppe Unbekannte Kinder' (Group of Unknown Children). The identities and present whereabouts of about 25 of these former group-members are known. Most of them are happy about our initiative to make a documentary about their experiences. They themselves have initiated plans for self-organisation and have taken over the search for other former members. Some others, however, prefer not to be included in these activities.

The film crew has been visiting some Unknown Children, in Holland as well as abroad. Eight people were interviewed on Cinematographer. Two group members invited the film crew to come along on a trip they took in March 2000 to the former concentration camp Bergen Belsen in Germany. At the campsite they met and extensively with Dr.Thomas Rahe, the manager of the Bergen Belsen Memorial Centre (GedenkstŠtte Bergen Belsen).

Filming took place during the group reunion on April 9, 2000. The reunion was organised by some Unknown Children. The day began with an informal meeting at the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, (Het Verzetsmuseum). The afternoon was spend at the Amstelveen home of Rudi and Ientje Ehrlich. All in all, fifteen former Unknown Children participated, some of which had brought their partners. All were delighted to share their memories and experiences. Four participants had flown in from Israel to be at the reunion. They did not travel as far as Chaja Verveer, who had come all the way from Houston in the USA. Two former caretakers of the children joined the reunion celebration: Ms.E.Druijf-Van Loggum, from Doorn, and Ms.M.Adriaansz-Groen, from Bussum. They answered many questions concerning the group's stay at Bergen Belsen.

After the crew stopped filming director Annette Apon and editor Dorith Vinken started editing in May 2000. A total of almost 27 hours of video material was shot. Dutch Composer Harry de Wit meanwhile made a musical score for the video.

Researcher Daphne Meijer, who also conducted the interviews on Cinematographer, wrote a book about the Unknown Children.
At the opening of the exhibition at 27 April 2001 in Camp Westerbork, in cooperation with NGN produkties, Mets & Schilt, Uitgevers & Distributors in Amsterdam released the book.