The Island on Bird Street

The Island on Bird Street is a 1996 movie based on a true story by Israeli author Uri Orlev. It tells the story of a 11-year-old boy, Alex (Jordon Kiziuk), and his courage to struggle to survive alone in a Polish ghetto during World War II.

When the Nazis come to his hometown in Warsaw, they erect a fence so that nobody can get out. They go into hiding when the Nazis come to take the Jews and haul the children and adults on the trains to a “holiday place”, from which they are never heard of again. Alex manages to escape with his pet mouse Snow to an abandoned building in Bird Street and stays inside a cupboard where he has “everything he needs” with his favourite book, Robinson Crusoe. When Snow dies, Alex cries till he falls asleep. He wakens to pounding footsteps – his father has come back, like a ship that has come into the island to rescue him and take him home.

I like that the music adds an additional layer of suspense and tension to the movie. Besides the orchestra, the various solo instruments – harp, piano, cello –  bring out the sense of hope, positivity, drama and melancholy effectively. There are a few songs too, in a language (Hebrew?) I don’t understand.

I would like to get my hands on an English translation of this book. There are not many books on the holocaust from the point of view of children.



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