Synopsis: Shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the Republic sent 3,000 children to Russia to protect domestic bombings...
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Carlos Iglesias
Production: Alta Films
  1 win & 1 nomination.


In November 1941,

I was just another Spanish refugee

in the Soviet Union.

The Germans had been invading

relentlessly since June.

Although autumn and the first snows

had stabilized the fronts

the most important cities

in Central and Western Russia

had either been evacuated, occupied

or were under siege.

Among the millions who

had abandoned their cities

were 3,OOO Spanish children

who had arrived

during the Spanish Civil War

between 1937 and 38.

After a few good years

they were now trapped in a war even

worse than the one they had left behind

Trains filled with refugees

waited for weeks in railways sidings

to leave the main tracks open

for convoys

of fresh Siberian troops

to stop the German attack.

Their planes were

the absolute rulers of the air

and just like in Spain,

they fired

at the civilian population at will.

- Get in.

- But...

Javier, get in the car right now.

I first met Paula at a station

about 125 miles south of Moscow.

She was fleeing to Stalingrad

with a group of Spaniards

who had fallen behind.

- Antonia!

- Girls!


This man has saved us.

They did a good job

on you in Leningrad.

The scar has been torn off

but it will be fine.

- Thanks

- Not at all.

Where are you going, comrade?

Wherever they'll let me stay.

I was going to go to Astrakhan

to cure my wound.

But I've been in Tula for 15 days

without any transport.

With the evacuation of the city

I suppose it'll be much more difficult.

Come with us, then.

We are taking these

Spanish children to Stalingrad.

We'll sit out the war there

until we win and can return.

We've also been going

to and fro for days.

Luckily we always find

a train to take us somewhere.

Even when we have to share it

with machinery or cattle.

Come along.

At least you won't be alone.

Are you all Spaniards?

Yes, from everywhere.

Basque Country, Madrid,

Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia.

I'm Piedad, from Almendralejo

in Badajoz, Extremadura.

Married too.

Why don't you tell him everything?

But the doctor is Russian, right?

Yes, a gift from the Soviet government

to take care of the children.

He's crippled and can't go to the front.

He's pretty dull.

Shut up! He'll hear you.

Poor guy, he's crazy about her.

Is your husband here?

No, he's in Mexico.

To his health!

They were going

to meet in France.

But it never happened.

And you,

are you married?

The truth is that between politics

and the war I haven't had much time

and now with this face

I'll be out of luck.

Well, that beard suits you nicely.

It covers up the scar.


If the rest is just as nice...

Piedad, please...

Well, comrade, are you coming?

No. I would feel like an intruder.

We are all intruders here.

We hardly know each other.

Our train is like a sweeper

picking up all the stragglers.

I live in Kiev.

I was visiting Minsk when they invaded.

I couldn't return to the Ukraine

and fled east.

I am a teacher in House 9 in Leningrad.

I was in Odessa for a few days

and when I tried to return

it was impossible.

You are a political commissioner,

aren't you?

Yes, I was in Spain.

But how do you know that?

Just what we need.

Someone to sort this mess out.

The engine has just arrived.

Everybody, get ready.

I'll tell the children, quickly.

I'll be right there.

This is Ludmilla.

She's Russian. She's Angels wife.

I know what you're thinking.

Some have all the luck, right?


We say farewell here.

Thanks for saving the girls.

Not at all.

This is Treblin.

He was a brigadier in our civil war,

where he learned a bit of Spanish.

He thinks he's running the mission.

No way Treblin, he is he staying with us.


We've got an engine now.

You can't leave.

15 days later

we had moved only a few miles.

He says when the train with the soldiers

passes we'll have to go.

We're not leaving

until the kids get back.

We outwitted our hunger

with great dignity

but the older kids

impatient at that age,

formed gangs,

in the long periods of waiting

wandered about the markets and farms

looking for food for all us.

The adults thought

it was better not to ask

where it came from.






Throw that away!


What's that?

Javier, don't cross!

Don't cross, Javier!

It was the first time

I had really noticed her.

Later on I would find out

why there was so much pain.

What's wrong?

Everyone is staring at you.

Are you ill?

- I'll be right back.

- This is no meeting place.

Go on, go with him.

What a sight for sore eyes!

How are your parents?

Here it is.

Knock and wait for someone

to let you in.


You don't know me.

If you get pregnant again,

see me first

and don't think about it so much.

Take your clothes off

from the waist down.

I'll come back to get you.

You must urinate

don't forget.

Hey, you. Where are you going?

I can't do this. I'm leaving.

What the hell!

You'll pay me right now!

Don't cover that furniture. I'm staying.

Let it be. You're can't use

the whole house yourself.

You know how dusty it gets

with the windows open all day.

Are you sure you don't want

Pepa with you?

Sure, mum.

I've got a million things to do.

Why do we need

such a big house?

We only use it for 3 months

in the summer.

The girls should have gone alone

like every year.

Now until we can ventilate it...

Well, they should have gone.

Little sister

I'll stay with you.

No way!

I see you want to be alone.

Well, let's go.

She looks strange, doesn't she?

I don't know,

prettier with a nicer figure...

It's clear that she wants

to be alone to meet someone.

You don't think she's found a boyfriend

and not told us?

God! I hope so.

Don't get your hopes up.

Julian was her last chance

and she let him get away.

She'll be left on the shelf,

you'll see.

At the end of the summer

Paula gave birth to a son

she called Javier.

Everything is fine.

She's very weak, as if from not eating,

but the baby is a strong as an ox.

She didn't eat so as to hide

her pregnancy.

I insist on filling in the record

for the authorities.

The only authority here is you, mother.

Under my responsibility

this child has no family.

Understand it.

The father would kill him.

I'm asking you a favor.

Father, the child is beautiful

and the mother

wishes to see you.

No, I don't want to see her.

Her son was born in sin.

I have no more obligations to her.

You know what you have to do.

Tell her not to look for me

and make it clear to her.

What are you doing?

Get out immediately!

Where is my son?

Nobody will tell me.

Is he your son?

What is his family name?

What is your family name?

What did you expect?

This is a hospital not an orphanage.

He is no longer here

and you will never know where he is.

Either you tell me where he is

or I swear to God

you will not get out of here alive.

JULY 1936

The years went by

and in the summer of 1936

Spain came ever closer to the brink

of its most shameful episode,

the Civil War.

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Carlos Iglesias

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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