Synopsis by Mark Deming
A Jewish boy struggling to survive the Nazi pogrom during World War II finds an unexpected ally in this period drama. As Nazi troops invade Poland, a young boy from Krakow named Romek (Haley Joel Osment) is given to friends by his parents, who smuggle him out of town in hopes of saving him from the advancing armies. Romek is taken to a rural community, where a sympathetic farming family has agreed to put him up, under the pretense that he's a nephew whose parents have fallen ill. Thanks to his blonde hair and blue eyes, Romek is able to blend in with the largely Catholic townsfolk, though a few of the neighbors become quite suspicious when Romek appears not to know elementary prayers and church procedures. The priest (Willem Dafoe) of the neighborhood's church becomes aware of Romek's secret, and is sympathetic to the boy's problems, so in secret, he coaches Romek in basic catechism, while remaining mindful of the lad's Jewish heritage. But while Romek is getting better at fooling others into believing he's Catholic, he can't escape the signs of the devastation that the Nazi onslaught has wrought against his people.
boy, Catholicism, deception, farmer, hidden, Jewish, Nazi, Poland, priest, suspicion