1939-1945 : The Children’s War

1939-1945 : The Children’s War

The Children’s War travels back through history to the children who were 10 years’ old in 1940.

It was an exceptional period which shaped a distinct generation, which included 650,000 orphans, 120,000 young delinquents, 90,000 lost children during l’exode (when millions of people fled from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and the north and east of France after the German victory of the battle of Sedan in May 1940) and 11,500 deported Jewish children. The children’s experience between the Collaboration and the Resistance has long been kept quiet. Far from being saved in those dark years, the brutality of the conflict tossed these children into the total chaos of war.

For four years, this age-group became the epicentre of a national earthquake. They were placed at the heart of Petain’s project for French regeneration, put to work out of necessity. The war children were both the instruments and the scapegoats of totalitarian power: confronted with hunger, death, deportation and utterly doomed by an out-dated justice system. The Children’s War invites us to hear the accounts of those who, marginalized by the official line of history, had to grow up in the shadow of a national ‘recovery’ program imposed by Vichy during the world’s largest conflict.

Directors :
Miche le Durren and Julien Johan
Broadcaster :
France 3
Production :
Compagnie des Phares et Balises
Year :
2017
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