As we hit 75 years after the end of the Holocaust, TV drama The Windermere Children takes a look back at the real-life story of a group of young Holocaust survivors who were brought to the Lake District.


The BBC Two drama features a cast of young actors alongside Romola Garai, Iain Glen, Tim McInnerny and Thomas Kretschmann. Here's what we know:

When is The Windermere Children on TV?

Confirmed: One-off TV film The Windermere Children will be broadcast on BBC Two on 27th January 2020 at 9pm to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

This will be followed by the documentary ‘The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words’ on BBC Four at 10.30pm.

27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day, and the programme will also air on ZDF in Germany as a simulcast.

The Windermere Children

What is The Windermere Children about?

As the BBC puts it, "One summer’s night in 1945 a coach-load of children, some as young as three years old, are in transit from Carlisle airport to the Calgarth Estate in Lake Windermere, England. They are child survivors, and presumed orphans, of the Holocaust. With only a few meagre possessions, they do not know what awaits them in Britain. They speak no English and, having spent many years living in death camps, are deeply traumatised."

The drama is based on a true story. At the end of the Second World War, "the British government granted up to 1,000 children the right to come to the UK. Three hundred of these children were brought to Lake Windermere for their first four months to have the opportunity to recover, surrounded by nature."

Responsibility to care for these children falls to Oscar Friedmann (played by Thomas Kretschmann), who is a German-born social worker and psychoanalyst. But the project to rehabilitate these traumatised children is utterly uncharted territory for Oscar and his team.

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The Windermere Children is written by Bafta-nominated screenwriter Simon Block and directed by International Emmy and Bafta-award winner Michael Samuels.

It draws on the first-person testimony of some of the real-life survivors, whose interviews will be featured in the TV film. They can be seen below with some of the actors who play them on-screen:

The Windermere Children

Who stars in The Windermere Children?

Social worker and psychoanalyst Oscar Friedmann is played by Thomas Kretschmann – previously seen in The Pianist, Downfall, Valkyrie, Stalingrad, and as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in the Marvel movies.

He is joined by Romola Garai, who plays art therapist Marie Paneth. Garai has starred in Atonement, Emma, The Miniaturist, and I Capture the Castle.

The Windermere Children

Tim McInnerny plays philanthropist Leonard Montefiore, and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) has also been cast in the drama.

The roles of the children themselves will be played by young European actors selected from Polish communities in Germany, London, Manchester and Belfast, as well as from Warsaw.


The cast includes Anna Maciejewska, Tomasz Studzinski, Lukasz Zieba, Kuba Sprenger, Marek Wrobelewski, Jakub Jankiewicz, Pascal Fischer and Kacper Swietek.