We'll Meet Again: Children of WWII (film)
Debut episode of television series hosted by Ann Curry that tells stories about the reuniting of people tied together by a key historical event many years later. The first of six episodes in the show's first season focuses a pair of stories about children of World War II seeking out people who had a big impact on their lives during difficult times.
Reiko Nagumo, born in 1934, grew up in Los Angeles. As with other Nisei , her normal American childhood was interrupted by World War II. While other students at school turn against her after the attack on Pearl Harbor, her friend Mary Francis White remains steadfast, even inviting her over after her parents forbid her from playing with Reiko. Reiko and her family go on to spend the war years incarcerated at the Heart Mountain , Wyoming, concentration camp. After the war, when they return to Los Angeles, and Reiko goes back to school, Mary Francis is the first to welcome her back. But they lose touch later. After a career as a nurse, Reiko becomes a docent at the California Museum in Sacramento and tells the story of Mary Francis's actions in her presentation to children visiting on field trips. She visits local libraries and archives, gathering clues about Mary Francis's whereabouts, eventually tracking down a cousin who connects them. The show ends with their reunion in San Francisco.
The second segment of the program features Peter Engler, also born in 1934, whose Jewish family leaves Berlin to spend the war years in the Jewish ghetto of Shanghai. In his years there, he becomes close to his father's business partner and his wife, the Adlers, who become surrogate parents to him. Years later, and with the show's help, he reunites with their Adler's daughter, whom he had last seen when she was a baby.
The show cuts back and forth between the two stories. Curry interviews the principals Nagumo and Engler and tells their stories through family photos and archival images and footage, with each telling her why they want to find these people who had been important to them. In Nagumo's case, the show also recreates her journey to Heart Mountain and visits the site of the camp today. The faces and voices of the people being sought are not revealed until the end of the show, when the principals also meet them.
The first episode of a six-part series produced by London based Blink Films, the Children of WWII first aired on PBS nationally on January 23, 2018, drawing over two million viewers. The show's producers contacted Nagumo in February of 2017 and interviewed her in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the Heart Mountain site. They helped her track down White in Kentucky and arranged their reunion in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.