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The Children of Chabannes

17 customer reviews

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(Jun 28, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the spirit of Louis Malle s Au Revoir les Enfants and Steven Spielberg s Schindler s List, the Emmy® Award-winning film THE CHILDREN OF CHABANNES has been praised as splendid, informative and emotionally involving (Los Angeles Times) and called a seamless memoir of courage and a tribute to the human spirit. (New York Daily News).

A magical World War II tale of courage, resilience and love, THE CHILDREN OF CHABANNES reveals the untold story of how the people in a tiny village in unoccupied France chose action over indifference to save the lives of 400 Jewish refugee children. Returning to the forgotten corner of France with her father and uncle (two of the saved children), filmmaker Lisa Gossels and co-director Dean Wetherell movingly recreate the joys and fears of daily life in Chabannes during the war. Through warm and wonderful accounts from the educators, townspeople and from the children themselves, we see how this oasis of hope is shattered in August of 1942, when the war reached the doorsteps of the chateau where these children lived.

A celebration of human kindness, THE CHILDREN OF CHABANNES delivers a profound message of tolerance. The film documents the remarkable efforts made by the citizens of Chabannes, who risked their lives and livelihoods to protect these children, simply because they felt it was the right thing to do.

Special Features

  • Feature-length French Language Version; Children s Art Gallery; Chateau Journal Pages; Filmmaker Biographies; Trailer


A moving record of the unassuming, uncompromising heroism of ordinary people. --The New York Times

Special Features

  • Children's art gallery
  • Chateau journal pages
  • Filmmaker biographies
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Norbert Bikales, Wolfie Blumenreich, Rene Castille, Collette Dony-Pascal, Jerry Gerard
  • Directors: Dean Wetherell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: June 28, 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00092ZT46
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,003 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Children of Chabannes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Chaplin on May 29, 2007
Format: DVD
We've watched many Holocaust films & documentaries and read hundreds of stories regarding this horrific time in our world's history. It is a delight when a historical piece comes alive that is inspiring in this way -- documenting how a village, teachers, and a kind-hearted man got together to save Jewish children needing refuge in a place they could call home for a while. There are no graphic scenes nor specific verbal descriptions of what happened to people in the concentration camps, so this is really a film you can share with people of any age. In other words, this would be fine to show in schools because of its accuracy and forwardness, yet there's a certain care taken to not horrify a viewer with graphic images or depictions of violence.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on October 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Excellent documentary coverage of a small slice of WWII. The Jewish children, separated from their families, gathered at Chabannes in France with hopes of evading the German death camps. The caretakers provided schooling and an almost normal life as the threat of extermination came closer and closer to the 400 children at Chabannes, a small French village.

The interviews with the survivors, including the teachers, gives a good picture of the life there. The many photos and written accounts round out the documentary. Very well done!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Retired and Loving It! on March 22, 2007
Format: DVD
I teach sixth graders. We spend time learning about the Holocaust from our WWII unit in our SS book, as well as, our novels. I have just added a film to these studies..."The Children of Chabonnes". All I can say is WOW! It was more touching, informative, and uplifting

than I imagined. 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 a great asset to our curriculum. I cried at a few beautiful statements which I don't do easily. The members of this crew are to be congratulated for a job well done! Guess I better have tissues ready in my classroom. The music was perfect...and the camera shots, dialogue, and updates on the "children" added a valuable, insightful component to this award-winning testimonial!
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Format: DVD
"The Children of Chabannes" is a compelling documentary that focusses on the heroic acts by the villagers of Chabannes in unoccupied France who helped save the lives of German-Jewish refugee children. Filmmaker Lisa Gosells' documentary is quite personal as her father and uncle were two of those Jewish children saved from the Nazis.

Between 1939 and 1943, Chabannes was the location of choice by the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, or OSE, a Jewish social service organisation that placed 400 German-Jewish children at an old chateau under Feliz Chevrier, a non-Jew. The children ranged in age between 2 and 17. Though Chevrier died in 1962, some of his colleagues and secretary are featured in this documentary. Most notably featured are the Paillassou sisters who were schoolteachers, Rachel Pludermacher, the first teacher recruited by the OSE to instruct Jewish refugee children and many other remarkable people.

The documentary is very engaging as it features accounts by the surviving children and of course, the amazing and courageous townspeople who risked everything to protect them. It is a testament to a community that refused to give in to the Nazi tyrants - simple, ordinary people who did extraordinary good things in a horrific time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan C. Bentler on December 15, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Chateau of Charbannes" exemplifies the light of human spirit when surrounded by encompassing evil. Despite the horrors of war, persecution and justifiable fear of punishment, a band of dedicated French heros and heroines successfully demonstrated their belief in the equality of all people, by working to save hundreds of Jewish refugee children in the village of Charbannes, once part of Vichy France. In the film, one of the OSE rescuers describes the period of the chateau as "a luminous time."

In the 1940's, Charbannes was a rural village of modest farmers known for their "republican" sentiments and their stolid disbelief in the exhortations of Vichy propaganda. All of the Jewish children who were housed, fed and schooled in the Chateau of Charbannes were refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. Some of them had narrowly escaped concentration camps in Germany. At the chateau, they led a safe, nurtured existence until 1943, when the inevitable quotas for death camp transport were issued in earnest by the Vichy regime. Despite the available depth of Holocaust literature, one cannot fail to feel shock and dismay at hearing the Charbannes rescuers and survivors recall how Vichy officials demanded exhaustive details concerning innocent, traumatized Jewish orphans. To the everlasting honor of the OSE staff and French teachers at Charbannes, the children of the chateau were dispersed by the Charbonnes rescuers into the local forests and later guided to refuge elsewhere.

"The Chateau of Charbannes" is a wholly uplifting and successful work, laden with the gleam of the French rescurers, teachers and refugee children who went on to live productive, meaningful lives.
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