The Lost Transport: train full of ‘exchange Jews’ on its way to… nothing

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Swap-Jews… The Metro reviewer hasn’t read a uglier word lately. However, it is the subject of World War II in the new film drama Het Verloren Transport. No matter how ugly that word: it was reality in 1945.

Het Verloren Transport is a Dutch/German/Luxembourgish film with many Dutch actors. Hanna van Vliet from the success series Anne+ plays one of the three leading roles. But we also see Bram Suijker (Vliegende Hollanders), Frieda Barnhard (now also on TV in Dag & Nacht), Billy de Walle (son of ‘Stefan Sinterklaas’ if you know what I mean) and Dragan Bakema who recently captured the hearts of TV viewers as Pilatus in The Passion 2023. Because Saskia Diesing is also responsible for directing, Het Verloren Transport is Metro’s Film Review of the Week.

Explanation The Lost Transport

The subject of this film deserves more of an explanation than just a message about ‘good’, ‘mediocre’ or ‘bad’. Because exchange Jews, what is that about? The undersigned did not yet know the term for the film Het Verloren Transport. To whomever this applies: during the Second World War there were no gas chambers in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Jews who lived there were regarded by the Nazis as Austauschjuden, which literally means exchange Jews. Nazis saw in them an opportunity to exchange them for German nationals imprisoned abroad towards the end of the war. Or these exchange Jews were simply exchanged for hard cash.

A few days before Bergen-Belsen was to be liberated by the English troops, the Nazis quickly deported the Jews present to Theresienstadt. We then have a total of 6800 exchange Jews. One of the trains ended up in no man’s land in Tröbitz. Fleeing German soldiers abandoned the vehicle. The Lost Transport is about this train, the Jews who did not know where they had ended up, the local population and the Russians from the Red Army present.

Quarantine measures in 1945

The main characters in Het Verloren Transport are fictional. In reality, there were two former Jewish resistance fighters, Mirjam and Menachem Pinkhof, who managed to escape the quarantine measures in Tröbitz by bicycle on May 13, 1945. Yes, you read that right, quarantine in 1945. After the arrival of the Jews from Bergen-Belsen, a typhus epidemic prevailed in the region. The village was hermetically sealed until the typhoid fever was gone.

For those who thought that quarantine measures had been devised by world leaders in recent years… well never mind. It’s interesting to see anyway. The population also walked around with face masks 78 years ago.

Condemned to each other

The Lost Transport is loosely based on those fleeing Jews from back then. The most important person in this film is the Jewish-Dutch Simone, played by Hanna van Vliet. She leaves the deportation train with her sick husband and ends up in the house of the Hitlerjugend teenager Winnie (the Russians decided that the Jews could occupy the houses of the local population). Not that orphan Winnie is a Hitler supporter in herself, she was too young for that during the war. The lives of the two become intertwined, but also with Vera’s.

This Russian sniper is the ‘rock hard’ type and barely speaks. Yet Vera thaws in some way, because for some reason the three of them in the village also have to manage.

The Lost Transport Anna Bachmann
The wonderful and especially special Anna Bachmann. Photo: September Film

The Lost Transport from the Woman

That a story from World War II is once told from the perfective of three women is commendable. But is this story credible? Not that, Het Verloren Transport feels completely romanticized. The three main characters come together pretty quickly, is just one such example.

That does not alter the fact that this drama is also a ‘beautiful film’ at the same time. This is mainly due to the performance of the three protagonists. Hanna van Vliet is always convincing. The taciturn sniper is (in the beginning) smoking like a chimney ice-cold by Eugénie Anselin. But as far as Metro is concerned, Anna Bachmann is the star of Het Verloren Transport. Anna Bachmann is actually in her twenties, but has to portray a German teenager. She does that excellently from the first second.

Rating out of 5: 3.5

You can read Metro’s movie review of the week every Wednesday around 6 p.m. New titles always appear in Dutch cinemas on Thursdays, such as Het Verloren Transport (sometimes also on Wednesdays). Reporter Erik Jonk chooses one every week. Next week something completely different: Summer in France, a genuine Dutch romcom about a holiday romance from a completely unexpected angle. Of course with Jan Kooijman.

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