Serving in Silence
With the Polish town of Przemysl split in two with the Germans on one side and the Russians on the other 17-year-old Catholic Fusia (Kellie Martin - Death of a Cheerleader) works for the Jewish Diamant family in their grocery store and ends up at their home when the Nazi's take control of the town. With the Daimant's receiving orders to move into the Ghetto Mrs. Diamant (Marion Ross - A Perfect Stranger) signs over all their belongings to Fusia for safe keeping whilst they are forced to stay in the Ghetto. Fusia's contact with the family doesn't stop there and she risks her life to get food to her friends. When news of the liquidization of the Ghetto spreads Max Diamant (Tom Radcliffe) manages to escape and shows up at Fusia's asking for her help. Along with the rest of the family and a few others Fusia and her sister Helena (Gemma Coughlan) hides them in a space in her attic for the next two and a bit years, keeping them fed and hidden from the Nazi's.
"Hidden in Silence" might feature a character called Fusia but in truth this is the true story of Stefania Podgórska and what she did during the war. Now I am no historian but some how I was aware of the name Podgórska and the story and this is not a bad retelling of what happened. Yes some of the facts in "Hidden in Silence" have been changed, it is what you expect but it doesn't detract from the power of this true story and the quiet courage of a young girl to help the Jewish community, putting herself in danger doing so.
Now there are a lot of positives in "Hidden in Silence" with Kellie Martin delivering a very good performance as Fusia, easy to like, never over the top and often quite convincing in the dramatic scenes. When Max arrives at her home blooded from escaping the conviction in her voice as she tells her young sister that Max must be kept a secret is spot on and watching her sneak around to pass on messages with the slight frantic tone in her voice making it feel believable. Martin's is not the only powerful performance and Marion Ross is touching as Mrs. Diamant especially during those scenes where the family are ordered into the Ghetto. There are plenty of other things as well from watching how some of the family escape to how they hide, the family really hits home the horror of the time and the danger that everyone was in.
But, and sadly there is a but, "Hidden in Silence" is a TV Movie and at times it does look like budget limitations are holding it back. At times it struggles to generate the atmosphere and the initial illustration of the Nazi's taking the town looks like it was done cheaply. It is a shame because the story of Stefania Podgórska and her brave sister Helena is a strong one and deserved a better level of production to make it that little bit more realistic.
What this all boils down to is that "Hidden in Silence" is a good dramatization of a powerful story which deserved to be told but it is a TV movie which feels restricted by its budget.