You are now in the NFF Archive. The archive contains contains information on film, TV and interactive productions that were screened at past festival editions. The NFF does not dispose of this material. For this, please contact the producer, distributor or broadcaster. Sometimes, older films can also be found at the Eye Film Museum or the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
When the Germans invade the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, some 850 Dutch merchant ships are on high seas. Returning was not an option: the occupier would promptly seize the vessels. The Dutch government, by then safely in England, decided the fleet should keep on sailing and help transport the Allies. But Holland could not remain non-aligned for long. In the process, ship's cooks, radio operators and sailors suddenly became front-line soldiers, too. This documentary introduces former sailors and their families, talking about the six years the men were away from home and in dire straits. Nobody knew what the home situation was, no more than the home front knew whether their husbands or sons were still alive. German Wolfpack torpedoes, Japanese air raids, mines; 421 ships and their crews were lost. More than 3,600 sailors perished. For a moment, the often emotional and strikingly detailed stories by the people interviewed, substantiated by extra background information from the voice-over and extraordinary footage from private collections and official archives, come to life again.