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Waiting People, The (1954)

Main image of Waiting People, The (1954)
For The World is Ours, BBC, tx. 8/10/1954
40 min, black & white
DirectorNorman Swallow
Production CompanyBBC Television Film Unit
ScriptMichael Orrom
PhotographyEdmond Wooldridge

Outline of some of the measures adopted by United Nations in an effort to solve Europe's postwar refugee problem. Refugees tell their stories of hardship and tragedy against background of camp life.

Video Clips

1. San Sabba camp (3:44)
2. IRO (2:55)
3. Origins (2:30)
4. The UN High Commissioner (3:44)
Complete film (39:14)

What do you think?

Watch the first extract, 'San Sabba Camp'

  1. How does the introduction help us understand the plight of displaced people? What rights do refugees in Europe live without?
  2. Why were so many people taken from their homes during the Second World War?
  3. What does 'repatriation' mean?
  4. Why are there so many refugees living in camps?
  5. Why did some refugees not want to return home after the war?

Watch the third extract, 'Origins'

  1. How effective do you think it is for the film to focus on individual refugee stories? Why do you think the filmmaker chose to do this?

Watch the fourth extract, 'The UN High Commissioner'

  1. What does Dr Goodheart see as the only solution to the problem of the European refugee camps?
  2. What are some of the methods he mentions that have been used to help refugees settle in a local country?
  3. How can ordinary (private) people help the refugees in the camps?
  1. The film lists the different plights of peoples around the globe and why they've had to leave their countries of origin.
  2. Refugees in Europe live without the rights that its citizens enjoy such as the right to work and have protection and assistance when needed.
  3. To work for the German war effort.
  4. Repatriation is the process of returning a person to their place of origin or citizenship.
  5. After the war the allies saw the need to control the masses of people trying to return to their homelands. They were therefore stopped and put into camps so that they could be repatriated. These people were also stopped by the rivers which they couldn't cross.
  6. Some refugees did not want to return to their home countries after the war because they saw that their governments had changed for the worse. They wanted to stay in the West because of its liberties.
  7. Focussing on the personal stories of individuals is a useful device used by filmmakers to help create sympathy and encourage empathy from an audience. In effect, it gives a face to a nameless cause, disease, or tragedy.
  8. He sees the support of international aid as the only solution for closing the camps.
  9. Vocational training, refresher courses and loans for housing.
  10. There are camp adoption schemes whereby communities can help share the responsibility of refugees. This might include sending food and clothing parcels.