Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The lost memories of the 'Tehran children'

The unknown but heart-rending story of the 'Tehran children' - some 700 orphans smuggled from Poland to Palestine via Tehran in 1943- is at last to be made into a film, Haaretz reports. The children - deprived of their parents and ignorant of their backgrounds - were only passing through Tehran, but they symbolise the desperation of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. (With thanks: Lily)

Today (..) some 700 orphans who immigrated to Israel in February 1943 are the subject of "Tehran Children," a documentary film currently in the making, directed by Yehuda Kaveh ("Avidanium 2005," "Letters from Lebanon").

The film interviews now middle-aged "Tehran Children," to find out how they are coping with their memories or lack of memories of their arrival in Israel, which at the time caused a tumult in the pre-state Jewish community.

The story of the "Tehran Children" began during World War II, when Jewish refugees from Poland crossed the border into Russia to escape the Nazis.

In order to save their children from the hunger and harsh living conditions in Russia, many parents sent their children to local orphanages.

In 1942, the Polish II Corps was established to fight the Nazis alongside the Russians and the troops were sent to Tehran to train; they were accompanied by a few thousand civilian refugees, including several hundred orphans.

In Tehran, the Jewish Agency assisted the refugees, who were housed in tent encampments, and after lengthy negotiations with the British administration in Palestine, the children were granted immigration certificates.

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