My Mother's Lost Children Storyville


My Mother's Lost Children

A Storyville documentary: an eccentric Jewish family is thrown into turmoil when two stolen children reappear after 40 years.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language

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Do I look presentable?

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-Yep.

-You know, I'm quite an old lady now.

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Thanks for getting the Mini Bites, Mum.

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How many have you had?

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-Please!

-Can I have one, too?

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Of course you can.

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-Where's Dad?

-He's resting.

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I'm just going to make Dad a cup of tea, then we're going to start.

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Another cup of tea?

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My God, it's a wonder he doesn't look like a cup of tea, that man!

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PHONE RINGS

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Oh, go away, for goodness' sake.

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Joe, can you just set up that camera, please?

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Oh? Thank you. Well, I'm actually sitting down,

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waiting to be interviewed.

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-Mum, we want to start.

-We've got to go, doll.

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Oh, have you got a list of questions for me?

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I do. Um...

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-Are you ready?

-I'm ready.

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Shall we start at the beginning?

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Oh, do you think you can?

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I think the best place to start my mum's story is here,

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in the Lithuanian shtetl of Dusetos.

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This is the street where my grandmother, my Bubbe, lived.

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Bubbe was lucky. She left for London in the '30s before the rest of our

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family ended up in a death pit,

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courtesy of the Nazis and their Lithuanian allies.

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In the East End of London, Bubbe did what migrants do, start a new life,

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with her son Manny and her daughter Lillian, my mum.

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In the '50s, Mum had two children of her own, Michelle and Andrew.

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Growing up, I discovered that, one day,

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they disappeared and she never saw them again.

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The horror of what happened to my mum only really hit home when I was

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living in Australia and had children of my own.

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It then dawned on me that I and so many others were living in

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the shadow of that fateful day.

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The time has come to find out what really happened to my mum

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and her lost children.

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It seems all roads lead to London.

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Ah. Here we are, then,

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better late than never.

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All right. Thanks so much.

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You dressed up for me!

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-Hello.

-Hello, doll.

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Oh.

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How are you?

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-Just for a change.

-Really?

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-Yes, but all the better for seeing...

-This is a nice cuddly outfit.

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Ha-ha. Hello!

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-Hello again.

-What's the number?

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Nine...

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Nine...

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-Oh, I don't remember.

-Oh, we're trapped outside.

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-Is Dad there?

-Yeah.

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Ring him, Dan.

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INTERCOM BEEPS

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And then call.

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-INTERCOM:

-Please wait while your call is connected.

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Why does it have, like, a Russian in there?

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I don't know.

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RINGING

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-H!

-He's got to answer, Mum.

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Why doesn't he answer the phone?

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We're trapped outside.

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-What?

-We're trapped outside.

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No, one more time.

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Yes, yes.

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Oh, H, for God's sake, get up!

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What's the number?

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Finally.

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Oh, God.

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Never a dull moment, Daniel.

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I don't know how I've survived, to tell you the truth.

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I really do not know.

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If you would let me go...

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Come in, H, come in, join the club.

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-Welcome, it's a party.

-Oh, dear, dear me.

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-Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay.

-Did I take all the pills?

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So all those pills are for your memory?

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Memory business, yes.

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-Yeah.

-But she's not taking them in regular doses.

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Oh, I am. I take them twice a day, Henry.

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-Very rarely...

-So, why do I have to remind you?

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Well, you reminding me makes me take it a bit earlier.

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All right, Mum, let's just focus on the story, please?

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What story are we doing?

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OK.

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I found an old photograph of him.

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Come on, you old bugger, wherever you are.

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I know he's here somewhere.

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But I will find it for you.

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Here he is. This is Raymond.

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This is the old bugger when he was young and handsome.

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Raymond came from a wealthy Iranian Jewish family.

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He came to London to study.

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He was 20 years old.

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There was this Christmas party, kiss under the mistletoe.

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I rang him, and I started seeing him quite frequently.

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Can you imagine being 14 or 15, growing up the way I did?

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I didn't have a clue.

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So I was there for the pickings, as you might say.

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I then got a job in a fashion shop in Regent Street.

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He's obviously very taken with me.

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I remember one of the older girls was saying,

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"This kid is having a better time than I am,"

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cos of this dark, handsome guy outside, waiting for me.

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And the next best step is a necking session became

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into the real thing.

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And I did not have a clue, Daniel.

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We were not given sex education then.

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And, unfortunately...

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..on the first time that I was intimate, I became pregnant.

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That was it.

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-How old were you?

-I was about 15 and a half, I would think.

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I was still pregnant with Andrew when we went to a registry office

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and we were married. But I was no more ready to be a mother

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than you are ready to go to the moon.

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I didn't feel like a mother.

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I was still a child myself.

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I wasn't very happy, so Raymond said, "We can go to Iran."

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It was like going to another world.

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It was so different.

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And, by this time, I was pregnant with Michelle.

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Again, I wasn't very happy.

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So, we came back to London.

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You look like quite a young, happy family.

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Well, I suppose...

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You have a photo taken and you smile, and so all the crap,

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for the want of a better expression, that doesn't show, Daniel.

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You pose for a photograph, and who knows what's behind that photograph?

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What was behind the photograph?

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Poverty, I would say.

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We lived with Bubbe in Ainsworth Road.

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It was such a shame for my mum because she had remarried this older

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gentlemen. Here he was, taking in her daughter with her husband,

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with two children.

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He was a bit acrimonious towards Raymond.

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You know, "If you can't find a job, put some money on the table."

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And, unfortunately, my stepfather asked him to leave.

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But did you want him to go?

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-Raymond to go?

-I don't think I really wanted him to go.

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I and the children stayed there.

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We're living with Bubbe.

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I've got to get a drink, do you mind?

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I'll get you a drink. No, stay, stay, stay. I'll get you a drink.

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When you say "we", just again be clear who you're talking about?

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I've got to get a pill at the same time.

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I'm getting all emotional.

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-Are you OK, darling?

-Yes.

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SHE CRIES

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It's not a pretty story.

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Thank you.

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I should have a tissue somewhere.

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It's just very emotional, Daniel.

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I know.

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OK.

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Right. Next question.

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OK.

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Right, so, I need to eject this...

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-The drive.

-Yes.

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I wouldn't do this for anybody else.

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You know that, don't you?

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Yes. But is it something you want to do?

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Oh, no, I could do without it.

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-So, why are we doing it?

-Because you asked me to do it.

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Yeah, but I wouldn't do it if you didn't want to do it.

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I know, but I know you wanted to do it.

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Yeah, but I still wouldn't do it if you didn't want to do it.

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I didn't want to say no to you, Daniel.

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-You could have said no to me.

-I could have said,

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but it wouldn't have been right, doll.

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And this is the road that Michelle and Andrew played in.

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I can't believe it, Daniel.

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Oh, look how different it all is.

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Oh, my God.

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I'm living with Bubbe, and the two children...

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..and Raymond comes to visit.

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One particular day, he comes, knocks on the door,

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he's going to take the children to the park, I give him the children,

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and he doesn't come back with them.

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So, Raymond walked up these steps one day?

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Yes. What?

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Came inside? Or the kids were brought outside?

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No, he rang on the bell, I came down the stairs,

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I opened the door for him.

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He said, "I want to take the children to the park."

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And that was it.

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The last time I saw them,

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Andrew was three, Michelle was two.

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And you went to the police?

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I didn't go to the police, no.

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How come you didn't go to the police?

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Because, in those days, Daniel, if you had a problem,

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you went to the Jewish Board of Guardians,

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you didn't go to the police, doll.

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I thought that he'd gone back to Iran with them.

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I remember sitting there and crying so much.

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I've never forgotten it.

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I thought, "I'll never be able to cry again."

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Well, well, well, look who's here!

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Good to see you again.

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-How are you doing?

-Good, good.

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-Very well.

-Everyone's good.

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-Great.

-Everyone's good.

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Come inside, come in.

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Can you talk me through that fateful day when the kids were taken?

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I went to work, they were there.

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I came back from work, they were gone.

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What did the family do?

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Nothing we could do.

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What was there to do?

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Very, very easily said.

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First of all, we didn't know where they were.

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-Yeah.

-Um...

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Lillian was in a state.

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Um, and I don't remember too much else about it.

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At the end of the day, I think...

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..in view of the overall circumstance in which we were living,

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it became a fait accompli.

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That, what, it was just...?

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That that was it.

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Hm.

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-That was it.

-Why did no-one go to the police?

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It wouldn't have occurred to us.

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It was a father taking his children.

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Where's the crime?

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For me...

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..yeah, sure, missed the children.

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It was traumatic,

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and felt it enough to shut it out of my mind.

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I didn't know when I'd see them again.

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I didn't know if I'd see them again.

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You can't make them appear again.

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But, because I was still so young, and very immature,

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I carried on with my life the best way I could.

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I got a job.

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I bought a dress.

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And I went to a dance hall eventually.

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And that's how I met Dad.

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-So, give us a kiss, H.

-Don't forget to take the water, take the pills.

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-I've taken the pills.

-Take more of the water, though.

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-OK. Bye-bye.

-Bye.

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Lillian, I met originally in a disco in Little Newport Street.

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And, at the time, everyone did cha-cha,

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and I remember she was wearing a sailor suit.

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I was physically attracted to her.

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How did you find out about the fact that she was previously married,

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and also had children?

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I think, after the second date, she told me.

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She said, "Look, if you're going out with me, I'd better tell you."

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It often went into my mind,

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what would happen if they suddenly turn up?

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I asked her, "Did you try and find them?"

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She said she had.

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And everyone had dissuaded her, you know, no real point.

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It includes her mother, and included her brother,

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they all more or less told her, "Look, you're wasting your time,

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"get on with your life," sort of thing,

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now that they've met me and we were going to be a couple, and I think,

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particularly once children were on the way.

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And there comes a time when you've got to let sleeping dogs lie, doll.

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I am so grateful for Dad marrying me, for having Ira, for having you,

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and for all the good things.

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One, two, three!

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ALL: Sheva brachot.

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This is our yearly Halloween event, this is, I think, our fourth year

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as Halloween has become more popular.

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So it is a fundraising event for All Dogs Matter,

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which is a charity which I run.

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We do a walk.

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This is pub is, um, Spaniards Inn, it's meant to be haunted.

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I remember Mum telling us she had kids and they had been taken away

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from her, and she didn't know where they were,

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but she always thought about them.

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But we were too young to really understand, I think,

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the full meaning of what had happened.

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But then it kind of just went on as normal life.

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It was never a plan of, "Oh, I've got these children,

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"how are we going to work out finding them?"

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Do you think Mum did enough to find Michelle and Andrew?

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Probably not really, no.

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Well, she didn't really do anything.

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Well, you know, not really.

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We should've come round this way.

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Abby.

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Oh, sorry, Abs.

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-Sorry, Ab.

-This sounds like a ridiculous analogy,

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but if someone came along and took Abby...

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Oh!

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Oh!

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I'd have to kill them.

0:21:390:21:40

-So, you'd move heaven and earth to find your dog?

-Yeah.

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We grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb,

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in a nice family home.

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We had a relatively nice life, I guess.

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But I do remember spending quite a bit of time on our own.

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Mum wasn't a particularly kind of proactive mum that would pick us up

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from school and take us out here, there and everywhere.

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Yeah, I remember even the dog collecting us from school,

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hence my affinity.

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So we were kind of farmed out, quite a bit.

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Have you and Ira always been kind of a bit of a clash of energy?

0:22:210:22:27

It's not a clash.

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I wouldn't call it a clash of energy because I don't have energy to waste

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on clashes.

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But I think it's...

0:22:350:22:36

..a lack of a connection.

0:22:380:22:41

When Ira was born in November, I had to go to work for Christmas.

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So Ira was neglected in her formative years.

0:22:470:22:53

Whatever it is, I thank Hashem that she is married to Philip,

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because I don't think she could be married to anybody else.

0:22:580:23:01

Guys, I've just arrived home from Coventry.

0:23:070:23:11

It's my wife's my birthday tomorrow.

0:23:110:23:12

I'm surprising her with Tesco's Finest!

0:23:120:23:16

Follow me.

0:23:160:23:18

# Happy birthday to you

0:23:220:23:25

# Happy birthday... #

0:23:250:23:27

Sorry, is this flat 18?

0:23:270:23:28

You look so much like the woman I married.

0:23:280:23:31

Hello!

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Good evening, baby.

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Look, it's just me and a film crew.

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Sit! That's it.

0:23:390:23:41

I was talking to Ira. See, this is what I come home to.

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Obviously it's upsetting for me to leave my other wife.

0:23:450:23:48

I mean, but look...

0:23:480:23:49

This is a lovely thing to come home too.

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Very nice indeed.

0:23:510:23:53

I'm not exactly certain what we should be...

0:23:530:23:57

Is there anything more? Oh, you want to see a normal homecoming?

0:23:570:24:01

Right. So, do you want to go and have intercourse now.

0:24:010:24:05

Come on. Come on, let's go. Let's just get it over with.

0:24:050:24:08

Ira was never farmed out.

0:24:080:24:10

You've got to get this straight, that story is completely wrong.

0:24:100:24:14

Here's the record - a few weeks ago, on a Friday night,

0:24:140:24:17

we sat down and the dynamic between Ira and your mum and your dad began.

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And it was, as usual, it was confrontational,

0:24:250:24:29

it was all irritating and there was a row and more rows,

0:24:290:24:33

-as it normally happens.

-It's not a row, it's a discussion.

0:24:330:24:35

-A discussion is not a row.

-No, all right, I know.

0:24:350:24:37

A difference of opinion is not a row.

0:24:370:24:40

Ira then left the table and you, Henry and Lillian,

0:24:400:24:44

asked me why Ira is unable to sit down with Lillian and display love

0:24:440:24:49

for her. And what was my response?

0:24:490:24:52

-Cos she was abandoned as a child.

-No, that is not what I said.

0:24:520:24:55

I did not say she was abandoned.

0:24:550:24:57

I said to you that in my opinion she was damaged.

0:24:570:25:01

She is a damage... She is damaged.

0:25:010:25:04

And the damage would have occurred...

0:25:040:25:06

I haven't damaged her. Damage...

0:25:060:25:08

In my view, she was damaged in childhood.

0:25:080:25:11

I didn't have a bad childhood and I do remember you leaving home

0:25:110:25:13

and going to the other side of the world and leaving me to deal with it on my own.

0:25:130:25:17

Were you farmed out?

0:25:170:25:18

-No, but after school and stuff...

-This expression of "farmed out"...

0:25:180:25:21

But after school and stuff, yes, I didn't...

0:25:210:25:23

There were people that I used to stay with that took me out more so than Mum.

0:25:230:25:27

40 years after the children were taken,

0:25:550:25:58

out of the blue I got a call from Mum, saying Michelle was looking for her.

0:25:580:26:01

I told Mum she better prepare herself.

0:26:030:26:05

She could be a druggie, a pauper, on death row, anything.

0:26:050:26:08

I was way off the mark.

0:26:090:26:11

It's not the first time I've met Michelle, but now she also wants

0:26:370:26:41

to get to the bottom of the story.

0:26:410:26:43

All of this happened a long time ago but there are some missing pieces

0:26:460:26:51

here that it would be nice if we piece them together

0:26:510:26:56

because I think that the truth will set us all free.

0:26:560:26:59

When you were growing up, where did you believe your mother was?

0:27:000:27:05

I was told, by my father, that my mother could not take care of us...

0:27:050:27:12

..and she didn't want us.

0:27:130:27:15

We were told that we were going to be given up for adoption.

0:27:160:27:19

And when this is what you're told as a child,

0:27:210:27:24

you...have no value for yourself.

0:27:240:27:27

If your mother doesn't want you, then...

0:27:270:27:30

..who wants you?

0:27:310:27:32

I didn't have the maturity to ask more questions.

0:27:360:27:41

Maybe I was scared, I'm not sure.

0:27:410:27:44

This is Lillian, this is when she was married to my father.

0:27:550:27:59

Check that out!

0:28:020:28:04

-Wow.

-She gave that to me.

0:28:040:28:06

This is probably the one she went to Iran less.

0:28:070:28:10

So she would have been there...

0:28:100:28:12

And then you know what my father says?

0:28:120:28:14

He says that Bubbe would send Lillian pills

0:28:140:28:19

so she could have an abortion.

0:28:190:28:21

Where would Bubbe get pills from to send you, to have an abortion?

0:28:230:28:28

She had no money, she had no English.

0:28:300:28:32

Unless there was a Yiddish black market for abortion pills.

0:28:340:28:37

PHONE RINGS

0:28:440:28:46

-Hi, Mich.

-Hi, Andrew. You're on speakerphone.

0:28:520:28:55

I was just thinking about you one second ago, and then you called.

0:28:550:29:00

Yes. Well, Danny is here...

0:29:000:29:02

-Hi, Andrew.

-..with his camera crew.

0:29:020:29:04

OK.

0:29:040:29:05

It's his opportunity to...

0:29:070:29:09

..have a cathartic experience, you know,

0:29:100:29:13

to say what he has to say because he went through hell.

0:29:130:29:18

I was diagnosed about two and a half years ago with leukaemia.

0:29:440:29:49

I am taking this new medication,

0:29:490:29:51

and...I'm OK.

0:29:510:29:53

I sell gourmet chips, kosher potato chips,

0:30:030:30:08

and I enjoy my business.

0:30:080:30:10

Whatever happened in the past, is the past.

0:30:130:30:15

I look ahead.

0:30:150:30:17

I do not disrespect my biological mother because she was young.

0:30:170:30:22

If she had an opportunity to find us, she could have found us.

0:30:220:30:25

She could have gone to the Iranian Embassy in London,

0:30:250:30:29

they could have found us in half an hour.

0:30:290:30:32

Lillian, what did she know?

0:30:320:30:34

She was 17, 18 years old.

0:30:340:30:37

She said...

0:30:370:30:38

She said... I said, "If you thought they were in Iran,

0:30:380:30:41

"you knew where the house was, why didn't you go round?"

0:30:410:30:44

She says, "Firstly, how will I have the money to go to Iran?"

0:30:440:30:46

-Exactly!

-"Secondly, how would I...

0:30:460:30:50

"If he's there in Iran with everything,

0:30:510:30:53

"how would I possibly get the children back?"

0:30:530:30:55

-Absolutely true.

-She could have easily gone to the police.

0:30:550:30:58

In those days we had international police.

0:30:580:31:00

She could also have filled an application out.

0:31:000:31:03

It was very, very easy.

0:31:030:31:05

I lean towards...she could have and should have done more,

0:31:050:31:08

but I'm not sure about what advice she was being given.

0:31:080:31:11

At the end of the day, it's your dad who took you.

0:31:110:31:15

If somebody said, "Andrew, did your mother leave you for somebody else,

0:31:150:31:19

"she just didn't want you any more?

0:31:190:31:21

"What happened to you?"

0:31:210:31:24

I want to know what you're going to say to them.

0:31:240:31:26

I wouldn't even answer the question.

0:31:260:31:28

I wouldn't answer the question.

0:31:280:31:30

So can I ask you, do you think...

0:31:300:31:35

..Mum didn't want you?

0:31:360:31:38

I can't...

0:31:450:31:47

I can't really answer...

0:31:470:31:48

It's very difficult to answer this question because...

0:31:500:31:53

..I don't know.

0:31:540:31:55

I think, you know, I have a better relationship with Uncle Manny

0:31:560:32:00

than our mother.

0:32:000:32:01

I get along with Uncle Manny better.

0:32:020:32:04

Have you ever discussed any of this with Mum?

0:32:050:32:08

No.

0:32:080:32:10

The moment of truth has arrived -

0:33:030:33:04

I'm going to have to talk to Raymond.

0:33:040:33:07

He lives in Iran, so at least we won't come any closer

0:33:080:33:11

than our respective computer screens.

0:33:110:33:13

I have hired an Iranian crew to film the man who started it all.

0:33:150:33:19

-Danny?

-Yeah.

0:33:240:33:25

I can see you.

0:33:250:33:27

In England, the children will go to mother.

0:33:280:33:31

But...I took my own children.

0:33:330:33:37

I would not give them to anybody.

0:33:370:33:39

My father was a royal tailor

0:33:420:33:45

to three royalties.

0:33:450:33:47

We have eight children in the family and we went to a good school.

0:33:490:33:54

When you marry, you marry...

0:33:550:33:58

..your level.

0:33:590:34:00

You must marry your level.

0:34:010:34:03

Unfortunately, Lillian was not my level.

0:34:040:34:08

I had not the brain at the time

0:34:100:34:14

to understand this sort of thing.

0:34:140:34:16

I was 21 years old.

0:34:160:34:18

-And I love her.

-I don't understand how you could love her and then do

0:34:190:34:22

-what you did to her.

-Danny, your mother was not a bad woman.

0:34:220:34:26

The witch, the bitch, was your grandmother!

0:34:300:34:33

I would not comply with her request.

0:34:350:34:38

She wanted me to give my child for adoption.

0:34:380:34:42

I never heard of this in my life.

0:34:420:34:45

Do you really think that after losing all her family she would want

0:34:450:34:48

to give away her grandchildren?

0:34:480:34:50

Yes. She told me many times.

0:34:500:34:53

Now, she went to hell.

0:34:550:34:59

Danny, has your mother grown up?

0:35:010:35:04

I want to know if your mother has grown up.

0:35:060:35:09

She is now a 76-year-old lady.

0:35:090:35:13

He took Michelle and Andrew from her when she was 18.

0:35:130:35:18

What does he think?

0:35:180:35:19

That she's a 16-year-old girl that he got together with?

0:35:210:35:24

It's a ridiculous question.

0:35:260:35:27

I'm sorry, but it's a ridiculous question.

0:35:290:35:31

We had a neighbour and she knew our situation,

0:35:390:35:45

so she said that she knew these people

0:35:450:35:48

that was interested in adopting.

0:35:480:35:50

She asked, we said no.

0:35:520:35:55

It never went further than that.

0:35:550:35:58

I can remember leaving England and going to live in Israel.

0:36:100:36:17

We were living with my grandmother and grandfather.

0:36:180:36:23

He was more a father than my own father was.

0:36:230:36:26

I really believed, and my grandmother would tell me a story

0:36:270:36:31

that she had this many children,

0:36:310:36:33

and the last child was Andrew and myself.

0:36:330:36:36

So I really believed that my grandmother gave birth to us.

0:36:360:36:39

I remember my grandmother holding me and loving me,

0:36:420:36:46

but I was taken away from that too.

0:36:460:36:48

When my grandfather passed away, we were sent back to England.

0:36:520:36:57

You know, nobody said at that time, "Here are two small children.

0:36:580:37:02

"You're the only mother they know."

0:37:020:37:04

They just threw us... Just sent us back to England.

0:37:040:37:08

My father really couldn't take care of two small children and we were

0:37:190:37:24

dropped off in a boarding school.

0:37:240:37:26

I think I must have been about maybe seven, eight.

0:37:270:37:30

I don't remember my father really visiting us.

0:37:330:37:37

I do remember one day specifically standing,

0:37:370:37:40

looking outside and saying to myself, "This is it.

0:37:400:37:44

"You're never going to see him again."

0:37:440:37:46

That boarding school was like a prison to us.

0:37:490:37:52

We were in a cage.

0:37:520:37:53

What am I doing here? Who do I have?

0:37:570:37:59

I had Michelle.

0:38:070:38:09

Too much!

0:38:110:38:12

What's so tragic is that while Mum thought the children were

0:38:170:38:20

out of reach, thousands of miles away in Iran,

0:38:200:38:23

their boarding school was just an hour down the road

0:38:230:38:25

from where she lived.

0:38:250:38:27

And here you're having your birthday party.

0:38:370:38:41

You've got to realise, Daniel,

0:38:430:38:44

I didn't particularly need them back into my life.

0:38:440:38:47

If she's happy as she was, and she's got two children,

0:38:470:38:50

a similar sort of thing, a boy and a girl,

0:38:500:38:53

and everyone was quite happy and there wasn't...

0:38:530:38:55

We were doing very well at the time.

0:38:550:38:58

Certainly didn't need to disturb things and throw things up.

0:38:580:39:00

In 1966, I had the first ladies' boutique in Carnaby Street,

0:39:120:39:19

called Lady Jane,

0:39:190:39:20

and it was very, very successful.

0:39:200:39:23

It was fantastic because it was full of life,

0:39:230:39:25

it was all different colours.

0:39:250:39:27

We had girls changing their clothes in the window,

0:39:360:39:38

it was the biggest publicity stunt ever in this country.

0:39:380:39:42

It was fantastic.

0:39:420:39:43

I was arrested, charged with obstruction of the highway.

0:39:480:39:52

A £2 fine.

0:39:520:39:53

Was there any discussion...

0:39:590:40:01

..in the '60s,

0:40:020:40:04

particularly when you were sort of in this Carnaby Street world,

0:40:040:40:07

-about Michelle and Andrew?

-No.

0:40:070:40:09

Not as far as I was concerned, not really.

0:40:090:40:11

Was there ever any thought given to you like, for example,

0:40:110:40:15

hiring a private detective?

0:40:150:40:17

No. It was never discussed as far as I was concerned.

0:40:170:40:20

-You could've done.

-We could've done.

0:40:200:40:23

Why do you think something like that didn't happen?

0:40:230:40:25

It wasn't my affair, was it?

0:40:250:40:27

-No.

-It wasn't... At least be honest about it, Daniel,

0:40:270:40:30

they are not my children and never will be my children.

0:40:300:40:34

They will be your mother's children.

0:40:340:40:36

She's a person that gives up easily.

0:40:360:40:38

Even if she's got a problem, she will bury her head under the sand.

0:40:380:40:41

I have always said that.

0:40:410:40:42

Life is good, right? You got married, the money is coming in,

0:40:530:40:56

buy a nice big house in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

0:40:560:40:59

You have got two kids, again.

0:40:590:41:01

Yes, I was very blessed.

0:41:010:41:03

Hashem was very good to me.

0:41:030:41:05

But, Daniel, the problem was that when I was on my own originally...

0:41:050:41:11

Oh, I am getting a need for a cigarette again.

0:41:120:41:15

Since when do you smoke?!

0:41:150:41:17

Only under pressure, doll.

0:41:170:41:19

It's that or Ativan and if I have too many Ativans,

0:41:190:41:23

I will go off altogether.

0:41:230:41:24

Ativans are antidepressants?

0:41:240:41:26

Yes, yes.

0:41:260:41:27

They've saved my sanity.

0:41:280:41:30

Giving birth to another child, it's only now I understand it,

0:41:360:41:41

it must have triggered off a lot in my subconscious.

0:41:410:41:45

Because after having Ira, I got a depression.

0:41:450:41:49

I don't ever recall anyone saying to me,

0:41:510:41:58

"Lillian, your illness is because of what happened to you."

0:41:580:42:04

Right, so no-one put two and two together.

0:42:040:42:06

When you say, what's... What two and two together?

0:42:060:42:08

Your severe depression

0:42:080:42:11

and the fact that you had your two children stolen from you.

0:42:110:42:15

Well, that's what happened, Dan. I can't say different.

0:42:160:42:19

No, it's not your fault!

0:42:190:42:21

I know it's not my fault.

0:42:210:42:23

But, God, did I pay the price.

0:42:230:42:25

Whew!

0:42:250:42:26

But I was so bad, Daniel, I was taken into hospital.

0:42:290:42:33

I don't remember being suicidal, but I was really...

0:42:340:42:39

..how can I say it? - I was really out of it.

0:42:420:42:44

I was very bad.

0:42:440:42:46

So what was the nadir, what was the lowest point of her ill health?

0:42:460:42:52

I don't know whether you would need this on camera.

0:42:520:42:55

But you might.

0:42:550:42:57

They wanted her to have this

0:42:570:42:59

electric shock treatment.

0:42:590:43:01

-Jeez!

-Yes.

0:43:010:43:02

-And I stopped it.

-Electric shock treatment?

0:43:040:43:06

Yes.

0:43:060:43:08

-Electric shock treatment?

-Yeah. You obviously didn't know.

-No.

0:43:080:43:12

They once spoke about it.

0:43:120:43:14

And I said, "No, she's not having that."

0:43:140:43:16

I remember going to that hospital for a long time after school,

0:43:160:43:19

but I've got no idea how long and I cannot remember anything

0:43:190:43:22

from inside the hospital.

0:43:220:43:24

Here we are.

0:43:390:43:40

Because Mr Moss always complains that I never make enough

0:43:400:43:44

of these potatoes.

0:43:440:43:46

So I've put as many as I could into the pan.

0:43:460:43:49

Hello, Lillian! I've returned.

0:44:040:44:06

I'm always pleased to see you.

0:44:060:44:08

-How are you, Lillian?

-Not bad.

0:44:080:44:11

Are you still off the booze, Manny?

0:44:110:44:12

-Still off the booze.

-I sincerely hope you are on the booze because,

0:44:120:44:16

quite frankly, I prefer you drunk.

0:44:160:44:18

Can we have no un-politically correct discussions tonight?

0:44:210:44:24

And maybe we could also have, while we're about it,

0:44:260:44:28

you taking a little bit of a...

0:44:280:44:31

..you know, just a little bit?

0:44:310:44:34

It won't do you any harm, doll.

0:44:340:44:35

-The police came?

-Yes.

0:44:370:44:39

Mum has no recollection.

0:44:390:44:40

She used to phone me so often when I was in...

0:44:400:44:46

Where are my little side plates?

0:44:460:44:49

-They're here.

-We thought we would make more room on the table, Lillian.

0:44:490:44:53

But Henry wants them.

0:44:530:44:55

We're coming in one second.

0:44:550:44:57

-Don't worry.

-She used to phone me up...

0:44:570:44:59

..so many times in the day and say,

0:45:000:45:02

"Pat, I want to...

0:45:020:45:05

"..I want to kill myself."

0:45:060:45:09

Those were her words.

0:45:090:45:10

"I want to kill myself.

0:45:120:45:14

And it was during that time that she did take...

0:45:140:45:18

..an overdose.

0:45:190:45:20

SHE RECITES A PRAYER

0:45:310:45:34

HE RECITES A PRAYER

0:45:380:45:41

Oh, sorry, Henry!

0:45:480:45:50

Please.

0:45:500:45:52

I can't... Do you mind being quiet for a minute?

0:45:530:45:56

Hello?

0:45:560:45:57

Mum doesn't even know that I'm talking to you now,

0:46:080:46:10

it's more for me than for her.

0:46:100:46:13

Mum's life was completely devastated...

0:46:140:46:18

..by what happened...

0:46:200:46:21

..of not having Michelle and Andrew.

0:46:220:46:25

It is her own fault.

0:46:250:46:26

You know why?

0:46:270:46:29

-Why?

-She was devastated because she couldn't see them.

0:46:290:46:32

Anybody stopped her?

0:46:330:46:34

Anybody stopped Lillian to go and see Andrew and Michelle?

0:46:360:46:40

Did I stop her?

0:46:400:46:41

Didn't she know where they lived?

0:46:420:46:45

-She knew.

-But she didn't know when they were in boarding school.

0:46:450:46:48

If she didn't know their address,

0:46:480:46:51

how could she send me a letter to go and give her a divorce?

0:46:510:46:56

She knew.

0:46:560:46:57

They weren't really in Iran,

0:46:570:46:59

they were in boarding school in England.

0:46:590:47:01

But I didn't know!

0:47:010:47:03

That bastard never let me know.

0:47:030:47:06

He never said...

0:47:060:47:07

I didn't know they were in England.

0:47:070:47:09

I... How would I know?

0:47:090:47:11

And then how long was the period of time between taking the kids and the

0:47:120:47:15

-divorce?

-Till they found him, till they got it organised,

0:47:150:47:19

till it happened, I would say two and a half years.

0:47:190:47:24

Jewish Board of Guardians got him there...

0:47:250:47:28

It was done and I never saw him again.

0:47:280:47:32

I must be honest with you,

0:47:320:47:34

I don't remember asking him about the children.

0:47:340:47:38

Maybe I did, maybe I didn't,

0:47:380:47:41

but I cannot put my hand on the good book

0:47:410:47:44

cos I really don't remember, Daniel.

0:47:440:47:47

Do you think that might have been an opportunity lost?

0:47:490:47:51

Possibly, yes.

0:47:530:47:54

I felt almost like an orphan until Amanda came into our lives.

0:48:020:48:06

I was 22 when I met Raymond in London.

0:48:200:48:23

Magic.

0:48:250:48:26

He was very good-looking, I absolutely fell for him

0:48:260:48:31

hook, line and sinker.

0:48:310:48:33

He was ten years my senior.

0:48:330:48:35

We went to meet Andrew and Michelle when they were in school.

0:48:390:48:43

I could see, you know, how he cared about them.

0:48:430:48:46

They were very happy to see him

0:48:460:48:48

and I could see that there was love there.

0:48:480:48:51

Immediately, Andrew ran and took hold of his father's hand.

0:48:510:48:55

He took me out one evening and he said, "Will you be my wife?"

0:48:590:49:05

And I said, "On one condition -

0:49:050:49:08

"that I can be a mother to Andrew and Michelle."

0:49:080:49:11

And he said, "Of course."

0:49:120:49:13

I went with Raymond to Iran when I was three months pregnant

0:49:170:49:23

and Andrew and Michelle were in boarding school.

0:49:230:49:25

They were not very happy and they wrote many letters to us

0:49:260:49:31

which I still have.

0:49:310:49:32

But I have to look for them,

0:49:340:49:36

I'm not exactly sure where they are because I'm a hoarder.

0:49:360:49:40

Here we go. Here we go.

0:49:420:49:44

Here are the letters.

0:49:440:49:46

-Cool.

-1964.

0:49:460:49:48

"Dear Mummy and Daddy, I hope you're well and happy.

0:49:500:49:53

"We're both very well at school and missing you very much.

0:49:530:49:57

"Are we going to Tehran on the 23rd of July when school ends?"

0:49:570:50:02

You can feel the stress.

0:50:040:50:07

"Please write soon and tell us when we are going home."

0:50:070:50:10

I couldn't take it.

0:50:120:50:14

Why shouldn't they be with us?

0:50:140:50:16

I'd discussed this with Raymond, so Raymond,

0:50:170:50:20

he signed up the children to go to school in Tehran.

0:50:200:50:24

-ANDREW:

-I think Amanda treated us like her own kids.

0:50:300:50:34

She was like a mother and a father to me.

0:50:350:50:37

-MICHELLE:

-Amanda loved me and cared about me.

0:50:390:50:43

When I told her of a pain, she addressed it.

0:50:430:50:46

# Soldier, soldier, won't you marry me

0:50:480:50:51

# With your musket, fife and drum

0:50:510:50:54

# Oh, no, sweet maid... #

0:50:540:50:56

Before I came into Andrew and Michelle's lives,

0:50:560:51:00

I'm quite sure nobody sang nursery rhymes to them.

0:51:000:51:02

Michelle used to dream sometimes that I would leave her.

0:51:040:51:07

See, that was something that really frightened her.

0:51:090:51:11

And I used to say to her, "Even if Papa and I don't stay together,

0:51:130:51:19

"you will always be with me.

0:51:190:51:20

"Don't worry, I'll never leave you, never."

0:51:200:51:22

I wasn't free.

0:51:340:51:36

Everything was done through Raymond -

0:51:360:51:38

if I could visit this one or couldn't, or if I could go shopping.

0:51:380:51:42

Michelle, she would see things and she'd point them out to me and she

0:51:420:51:46

said, "Mum, you know, why do you take it?

0:51:460:51:48

"Why don't you say anything?"

0:51:480:51:50

Raymond never told me that he had a mistress by the name of Rosetta.

0:51:530:51:59

Raymond never told me that he had two children.

0:51:590:52:03

They were living in Israel at that time.

0:52:030:52:05

PHONE RINGS

0:52:050:52:07

-Eli?

-Yes.

0:52:070:52:09

I've got here Michelle and Andrew's half-brother who's come to Israel

0:52:090:52:14

and he'd like to talk to you, is that all right?

0:52:140:52:19

-Yes, why not?

-Good, OK.

0:52:190:52:21

So, I'll let you talk.

0:52:210:52:23

You forgot to mention the documentary part!

0:52:230:52:25

-No, no, I didn't, I left it up to you.

-No, I know.

-On purpose, on purpose.

0:52:250:52:29

-Eli.

-Yes.

0:52:290:52:31

Hi, my name is Danny.

0:52:310:52:33

As I've been delving more and more into the story,

0:52:330:52:36

trying to work out how could such a thing happen to my mum and my

0:52:360:52:40

half-siblings, the name of your mum has come up on several occasions.

0:52:400:52:46

Eli! If you were interested and if you were available,

0:52:460:52:50

I'd love to come and have a chat with you on camera.

0:52:500:52:53

Wow. It's amazing.

0:52:530:52:55

Your mother was Rosetta.

0:52:580:53:00

-Right.

-Your father was Raymond.

0:53:000:53:01

-Correct.

-Do you know if your mum knew about Raymond taking...?

0:53:010:53:07

-Yes. I know the whole story.

-And you heard it from who?

0:53:070:53:10

From my mother.

0:53:100:53:11

-OK.

-And most people that...

0:53:110:53:15

You know my aunts and...

0:53:150:53:16

They told me that your mother...

0:53:160:53:18

..got up one day and she left.

0:53:190:53:22

-For no reason.

-My mum left?

0:53:220:53:24

-Yeah.

-Left where?

0:53:240:53:26

She ran away.

0:53:260:53:28

-That's what your mum said?

-Yeah.

-About my mum?

0:53:280:53:30

-Yeah.

-You're kidding me?

-No.

0:53:300:53:33

She got up one day and she just left.

0:53:330:53:36

And she left the two kids by Raymond.

0:53:360:53:39

What happens is...they were divorced or formally separated.

0:53:420:53:46

One day he came, he took Michelle and Andrew to the park

0:53:460:53:49

and he never came back.

0:53:490:53:51

And that was the last time my mother saw her children for 40 years.

0:53:520:53:56

HE CHOKES UP

0:54:040:54:06

If I tell you a story...

0:54:080:54:09

..you won't believe it.

0:54:110:54:12

You won't believe it.

0:54:140:54:15

I never knew my father until I was...

0:54:190:54:21

..I believe...

0:54:230:54:24

..seven, maybe six.

0:54:250:54:28

He took us, he bought us a ticket.

0:54:290:54:32

Took me and Ora, who lived in Israel,

0:54:320:54:34

and he asked us to come and visit him in Iran.

0:54:340:54:36

We went to Iran for the summer...

0:54:370:54:39

..and he did the same thing a different way

0:54:410:54:44

that he didn't want us to come back to Israel.

0:54:440:54:46

He had our passports and everything and he said,

0:54:470:54:50

"By Persian law they're Persian

0:54:500:54:53

"and I cannot let you take the kids back."

0:54:530:54:55

You know, Daniel...

0:54:570:55:00

..the memories that I had in Iran, it wasn't very pleasant.

0:55:010:55:06

He took...he took a stick...

0:55:060:55:08

..and he tied me to the tree.

0:55:100:55:11

Oh, my God. What?!

0:55:110:55:13

He tied you to a tree?!

0:55:150:55:16

He tied me to a tree in Damavand...

0:55:160:55:18

..because I was making pee-pee in the bed.

0:55:220:55:24

Yes, he's right, I gave him a good hiding. I nearly killed him.

0:55:260:55:28

At the age of 13, 14, he used to piss in bed.

0:55:310:55:34

PHONE BEEPS

0:55:340:55:36

Why did Rosetta come...

0:55:380:55:40

..to Tehran...

0:55:410:55:42

..by surprise, why did she do that?

0:55:430:55:47

Because I wanted to keep them in Iran.

0:55:470:55:50

I wanted to keep Eli and Ora in Iran.

0:55:500:55:53

Because I knew that she couldn't look after them.

0:55:540:55:57

I... When they were in Iran, I took them to school,

0:55:570:56:00

I put them in a school, I look after them, I got teacher for them.

0:56:000:56:05

But she was stupid.

0:56:050:56:06

"What about me?"

0:56:060:56:08

"Go to hell!

0:56:090:56:11

"These are children, they have future in front of them.

0:56:110:56:14

"I have to think about them, not about you."

0:56:140:56:16

Were you...? Were you married to Rosetta or you just had the children

0:56:180:56:21

-with her?

-I never marry everybody I sleep with.

0:56:210:56:24

HE CHUCKLES

0:56:300:56:32

One night, all of a sudden there was this tremendous bashing at the door,

0:56:330:56:39

downstairs - boom, boom!

0:56:390:56:41

The front door. Rosetta came running up the stairs.

0:56:410:56:45

She went over to a tray and she took

0:56:450:56:48

the very, very sharp butcher's knife.

0:56:480:56:51

She pulled her children to her, held the knife in front of her and said,

0:56:510:56:58

"Nobody's going to take my children away from me."

0:56:580:57:01

Amanda came up and said, "No, don't kill him, don't kill him!"

0:57:030:57:05

My mother would go - pfft - slit his throat.

0:57:070:57:09

-It's how tough she is.

-Rosetta was there and had a knife -

0:57:110:57:15

"I want my kids back." So I can remember that she fought and then he

0:57:150:57:20

made this scene, you know, "These are my kids." She said,

0:57:200:57:23

"No, I'm going to take my kids back."

0:57:230:57:25

And she took her kids back, she took Eli and Ora back.

0:57:250:57:28

So she fought and she got them back.

0:57:280:57:30

I know Andrew was very upset that Lillian didn't come to look for him,

0:57:330:57:37

he resented it for a long time. He told me that.

0:57:370:57:40

I went to an American school when I was in Iran.

0:58:020:58:05

This school prepared you to go to college in America and I had gotten

0:58:050:58:09

a scholarship and I had told my father that I had a scholarship

0:58:090:58:15

and that I needed to answer them at a certain amount of time.

0:58:150:58:19

Michelle said to her father, "Papa, when are you going to give me

0:58:210:58:25

"the registration fee for the university?"

0:58:250:58:28

And her father said,

0:58:280:58:30

"Can you tell me, if I send you to America

0:58:300:58:34

"if you will behave properly?"

0:58:340:58:36

And Michelle said to him, "Papa, you brought me up.

0:58:370:58:41

"Don't you trust in your upbringing?"

0:58:410:58:43

He just turned around

0:58:440:58:46

and he slapped her across the face as hard as he could.

0:58:460:58:51

She had this red mark on her face and he broke his hand, actually.

0:58:510:58:54

-MICHELLE:

-At that time I realised that I couldn't live in his home.

0:58:570:59:02

I just knew that I had to run away.

0:59:020:59:04

I was 17 years old.

0:59:060:59:09

I travelled from Afghanistan into Pakistan,

0:59:150:59:22

and from Pakistan into India, and from India I flew to London.

0:59:220:59:27

Then from England, I flew to America.

0:59:270:59:30

I had no idea where she was. I was beside myself.

0:59:320:59:36

She didn't leave me a note or anything.

0:59:360:59:38

It's kind of ironic, isn't it?

0:59:380:59:39

Because Michelle was taken from her mother and then she leaves the woman

0:59:390:59:45

who's become her mother.

0:59:450:59:47

No, she wasn't leaving me.

0:59:470:59:48

She was leaving a situation.

0:59:500:59:52

It was very painful for me to leave her.

0:59:530:59:56

I loved her so much.

0:59:560:59:59

I remember when I...

0:59:591:00:01

..got her first letter when I ran away

1:00:021:00:06

and I don't think I've ever cried like that.

1:00:061:00:09

-ANDREW:

-When revolution started, Mandy left Iran, came to Israel.

1:00:181:00:22

I always want to run away, but I wasn't able to leave Iran,

1:00:251:00:30

but when Khomeini came I was able to save enough money...

1:00:301:00:34

..to come to the States.

1:00:351:00:36

We were sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the news.

1:00:391:00:44

The Ayatollah coming into Iran with the revolution.

1:00:441:00:47

-Yes.

-And you know, everyone in black and he was being carried -

1:00:471:00:50

I even remember that image - and it was like that old-style television -

1:00:501:00:53

big, thick wood...

1:00:531:00:55

And, um...

1:00:551:00:57

And I remember my dad turning to my mum and saying,

1:00:571:01:01

"There's no chance you'll see Michelle and Andrew again now."

1:01:011:01:04

-Wow.

-OK, when I was, like,

1:01:041:01:06

10 or 11 years old and the Iranian revolution is going on, you go,

1:01:061:01:09

-"Oh, right. I'm never going to see them again."

-That's it.

1:01:091:01:11

But then, when you hit 20 or 30,

1:01:111:01:16

I actually never did anything to try and find them.

1:01:161:01:18

-MICHELLE:

-I was depressed...

1:01:431:01:44

..probably my whole life, but you don't know it.

1:01:451:01:48

It's only when you're not depressed any more that you look back and say,

1:01:501:01:53

"You know what? I wasn't so happy."

1:01:531:01:55

And when I had my son, Nisan,

1:02:011:02:05

I always feel that a monster came alive in me.

1:02:051:02:10

Something moved me inside, everything woke up.

1:02:101:02:15

All the sadness and pain...

1:02:151:02:18

..just came out,

1:02:191:02:22

but I would say that this all came up when my son was becoming

1:02:221:02:28

bar mitzvahed, it was a very painful time for me.

1:02:281:02:31

I remember crying and...

1:02:311:02:34

..wondering, "Where is she?"

1:02:361:02:40

And how come, as much as I loved my stepmother Amanda and adored her...

1:02:401:02:45

..it really came about - "Where is she?"

1:02:461:02:50

And she could be here and she could...

1:02:501:02:52

..be in this joyous, very...

1:02:541:02:55

My first joyous occasion.

1:02:551:02:57

I wrote a letter to the Salvation Army,

1:03:011:03:04

just saying that I had been searching for my birth mother, Lillian.

1:03:041:03:08

I had no fear that Lillian would not want to connect with me,

1:03:111:03:17

but I remember holding back

1:03:171:03:21

and knowing that anything could be possible.

1:03:211:03:23

Lillian and Henry lived across the road.

1:03:301:03:33

We were very friendly.

1:03:331:03:35

Sadly, they lost the house and after that either my husband or myself

1:03:351:03:40

used to pick up the post regularly and keep it here till they were

1:03:401:03:44

ready to pick it up.

1:03:441:03:46

And there was this large pile of post,

1:03:461:03:49

and while I was making the tea in the kitchen,

1:03:491:03:51

Lillian was going through the post,

1:03:511:03:54

and I suddenly heard the most awful sound...

1:03:541:03:58

"Betty!"

1:03:581:03:59

The way she said it, I thought,

1:03:591:04:01

"God knows what's happening."

1:04:011:04:03

And I came in the room and she was absolutely

1:04:031:04:08

white as a sheet and trembling.

1:04:081:04:11

And her hand was shaking and she held the letter out to me.

1:04:111:04:14

It was unbelievable, we just couldn't speak.

1:04:171:04:21

You know, we just sat there.

1:04:211:04:23

My immediate instinct was to get in touch immediately with the

1:04:231:04:26

Salvation Army, Lillian's was not.

1:04:261:04:30

She said, no, she's got to think about it and speak to Henry.

1:04:301:04:35

She said, "I've got a letter, I've got to show it to you."

1:04:371:04:40

And what was your response?

1:04:401:04:41

"Well, it's happened, so good for you.

1:04:411:04:44

"Let them come or you go there, wherever it is."

1:04:451:04:47

KNOCK AT DOOR

1:04:501:04:51

Bubbe said to me, "One day there will be a knock at the door.

1:04:531:04:58

"You will answer the door,

1:04:581:04:59

"Michelle and Andrew will come and find Lillian and Uncle Manny."

1:04:591:05:05

They did come in the form of a letter.

1:05:051:05:07

I haven't discussed this yet with Manny, it has come up in conversation...

1:05:071:05:11

I'm wary to say anything about that.

1:05:111:05:13

Talk to Manny first.

1:05:151:05:16

-OK.

-OK?

1:05:161:05:18

-OK.

-Because...

1:05:181:05:19

..I didn't know that I wasn't the only one to get the letter

1:05:211:05:25

for a long, long time.

1:05:251:05:26

It might have been mentioned that Manny got a letter as well,

1:05:291:05:36

but very pie in the sky, nothing concrete.

1:05:361:05:40

They could have found Lillian a year or two earlier.

1:05:431:05:46

I think they had corresponded before,

1:05:461:05:48

but Manny made ash and pash of the letter and he didn't want it shown.

1:05:481:05:52

There are things that are difficult and dark.

1:05:521:05:55

-Exactly.

-How do I go to my uncle...

1:05:551:05:57

-Exactly.

-..and say, "Hold on.

1:05:571:06:00

"My half-sister was looking for my mum and you kind of sent her away?"

1:06:011:06:06

That's pretty awkward.

1:06:061:06:08

Well, I mean...

1:06:101:06:11

Erm...

1:06:131:06:15

Were you...?

1:06:151:06:17

I'm just trying to think - where to begin, where to begin,

1:06:171:06:20

where to begin...? Um...

1:06:201:06:22

When Mum got the Salvation Army letter, what was it like?

1:06:221:06:25

-Manny got a letter at the same time.

-I got a letter as well, you see.

1:06:251:06:28

-There were two letters.

-I had a letter as well

1:06:281:06:32

and I hung onto my letter for a while because I thought,

1:06:321:06:37

Lillian being in the state she's in,

1:06:371:06:39

if I suddenly produce this letter,

1:06:391:06:42

what's it going to do to her?

1:06:421:06:44

And that's why I sat on it. I make no bones about it.

1:06:461:06:49

Um, could this have been the last straw?

1:06:501:06:55

Huh!

1:06:551:06:56

Do you know, I can remember, you put it back in the envelope.

1:06:581:07:01

What was the period of time between you getting the letter and then

1:07:011:07:04

finding out that Mum had got a letter?

1:07:041:07:06

Oh, it could have been up to a year.

1:07:071:07:11

-Oh, really?

-It could have been, it could have been.

1:07:111:07:14

It was certainly months rather than weeks.

1:07:141:07:17

Right.

1:07:171:07:18

And so you didn't think at...

1:07:201:07:23

You were just going to...? You weren't going to...?

1:07:251:07:27

I'd put it to one side.

1:07:271:07:29

What I would have subsequently done, I don't know.

1:07:291:07:31

Fortunately, Betty dealt with the letter,

1:07:331:07:36

opened that up, and then from that moment on,

1:07:361:07:40

I don't think I've even let on until now that we also had a letter.

1:07:401:07:45

Well, that must have been quite a lot of pressure, sitting on that letter.

1:07:491:07:53

It gave...

1:07:541:07:55

..you a lot to think about.

1:07:571:07:59

A lot to think about.

1:07:591:08:00

When I heard that Lillian had been found,

1:08:121:08:16

I really thought it was a miracle.

1:08:161:08:18

I was so excited and so happy and, of course,

1:08:201:08:24

we couldn't connect right away,

1:08:241:08:26

we had to write a letter and get permission.

1:08:261:08:30

Then we just started writing all the time and calling,

1:08:301:08:33

and after a very short time,

1:08:331:08:35

I told Lillian that I would like to come and visit her in London.

1:08:351:08:39

-Hello?

-Hi, Lillian.

1:08:391:08:42

I wanted her to come...

1:08:421:08:43

..and I wanted to see her, but I had no idea what she would be like.

1:08:451:08:50

I mean, she could have been one of these bitter,

1:08:501:08:53

screwed-up girls that wanted to come and give me...

1:08:531:08:56

..if you know what I mean.

1:08:561:08:58

And I say to Ira...

1:08:581:09:00

"Ira, you've got to go and meet her at the airport

1:09:011:09:04

"cos I can't handle that."

1:09:041:09:06

I went to Heathrow to pick her up without knowing who she was or what

1:09:081:09:12

she looked like, and as soon as she came through arrivals, I knew

1:09:121:09:15

immediately she was my half-sister because there was a resemblance.

1:09:151:09:19

When Ira picked me up, I was in a daze, not because of jet lag

1:09:191:09:23

or anything, but just because it felt so surreal

1:09:231:09:26

that Lillian's daughter was picking me up.

1:09:261:09:29

It wasn't tears or anything for me, cos I had no emotional bond.

1:09:291:09:32

I knew she was my sister, but I didn't know...

1:09:321:09:35

I've never met this person before.

1:09:351:09:37

She brings Michelle here, we embrace, we both cry, as women do...

1:09:521:09:59

..and we just clicked immediately.

1:10:011:10:04

There was no, "Why, who, where?"

1:10:041:10:08

And then I just saw Lillian standing there in her apron

1:10:151:10:19

and just holding me

1:10:191:10:21

and nothing else mattered after that.

1:10:211:10:24

Suddenly, this beautiful, charming young woman was my little girl.

1:10:261:10:32

After Michelle came to London,

1:10:371:10:40

I then went to visit Andrew in America.

1:10:401:10:44

When Raymond took Michelle away, she was 18 months.

1:10:471:10:52

I had Andrew for a much longer time.

1:10:521:10:55

I don't know that the loss of him was more painful,

1:10:561:11:01

but he had such an unfortunate time.

1:11:011:11:06

What, and you think Michelle had less of an unfortunate time?

1:11:061:11:08

I think so.

1:11:081:11:10

Because when Raymond met another woman...

1:11:101:11:13

..and took Andrew away - this was Rosa, he married her, I think...

1:11:151:11:21

She said that Andrew would get up in the night and sort of be

1:11:221:11:28

looking for me.

1:11:281:11:29

Have you ever told Andrew your side of the story before?

1:11:351:11:38

I don't think so.

1:11:381:11:39

-Really?

-Uh-huh.

-So what have you discussed with him?

1:11:391:11:43

To tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure.

1:11:431:11:45

-You never had that conversation with Andrew?

-No.

1:11:451:11:48

You've had lots of these conversations with Michelle.

1:11:501:11:53

-Yes.

-So surely you've got to have at least one with Andrew?

1:11:531:11:56

Yes. That's what I've got to do.

1:11:561:11:59

Oh, God.

1:11:591:12:00

-Hello!

-Hello, Lillian!

1:12:091:12:11

No-one in our family was going to miss out on Mum's big trip to LA.

1:12:131:12:17

You look good, David.

1:12:181:12:19

Thank you. Thank you, so do you, you look beautiful.

1:12:191:12:22

As always. As always.

1:12:221:12:24

These Persian men always go for me in a big way!

1:12:241:12:26

LAUGHTER

1:12:261:12:28

This is the Beverly Hills Soup Kitchen we're in right now.

1:12:281:12:31

That people over there, they're my family.

1:12:321:12:35

I married into them.

1:12:351:12:36

WHISPERS: They're mad.

1:12:381:12:40

It's so good to see you, Michelle.

1:12:401:12:43

It's so good to see you.

1:12:431:12:45

I doubt if you'll be able to do it here, Mich.

1:12:541:12:57

Mm! You did it. Well done. I'll puff.

1:12:591:13:01

Michelle, what do you think of my shoes?

1:13:041:13:07

-They're nice.

-Aren't they the business?

1:13:071:13:11

I bought these for our party.

1:13:111:13:14

-I went shopping...

-And are you comfortable in them?

1:13:141:13:17

Oh, yes!

1:13:171:13:19

Do you know, I love palm trees.

1:13:201:13:22

They're very, very thin.

1:13:221:13:23

From a distance, it would look like the wind would break it.

1:13:231:13:26

-Yeah.

-But, um...

1:13:261:13:28

Are they the ones that grow the dates?

1:13:291:13:32

Yes.

1:13:321:13:33

Do you know how painful it is when your child is no longer there

1:13:521:13:56

-and you have their toys?

-How do you know that?

1:13:561:13:59

Because I look at my grandson's toys and...

1:13:591:14:01

..I've given them away.

1:14:021:14:04

The same thing that happened to my grandmother has happened to me.

1:14:071:14:11

After my son's separation from his partner,

1:14:111:14:16

she and my grandson,

1:14:161:14:19

they moved to Europe.

1:14:191:14:20

-So your son has no idea where his son is?

-Nothing. Nothing.

1:14:211:14:24

Listen, I'm his grandmother and I am...

1:14:261:14:29

..thinking about him...

1:14:301:14:31

'My baby.' ..all the time.

1:14:311:14:34

That's why I moved Bubbe's picture up,

1:14:341:14:36

because I don't want my story to be the same as...

1:14:361:14:41

-Oh, yeah?

-Yeah, I don't want...

1:14:411:14:42

I put it away, I said, "This is not going to happen."

1:14:421:14:45

There's Miranda, Andrew's daughter.

1:14:461:14:49

That's his daughter from his first marriage?

1:14:491:14:51

-Yeah.

-Where's she now?

1:14:511:14:53

Who knows? She came,

1:14:531:14:55

we had such a good time and then she just disappeared.

1:14:551:14:59

So, what, he got divorced?

1:14:591:15:00

Yes. He came home and they were gone.

1:15:001:15:03

You didn't know? Yeah.

1:15:051:15:07

One day, Andrew comes home and he says...

1:15:071:15:08

He sees that everything is packed and gone, money's gone.

1:15:081:15:13

-And she's left.

-His wife and daughter, just gone?

1:15:131:15:16

Yes. The child was just a baby.

1:15:161:15:19

-ANSWERING MACHINE:

-At the tone, please record your message.

1:15:261:15:30

Hey, Andrew, it's Danny.

1:15:301:15:31

We're on our way, we'll be at you more like 11.30,

1:15:311:15:34

but could you just text me, please, your address?

1:15:341:15:36

Thanks very much. Cheers, bye.

1:15:361:15:38

So, I think it's important today if you could tell him your...

1:15:401:15:43

-..your story about your perspective.

-And what would be even better

1:15:451:15:48

is if I had remembered to bring my Ativan with me.

1:15:481:15:50

There's Andrew's truck.

1:15:591:16:01

What, Kettle Chips?

1:16:011:16:03

Yeah, look, "Distributed by..."

1:16:031:16:04

Why I put tights on, I don't know.

1:16:131:16:16

I can't tell you.

1:16:161:16:19

Hello, hello!

1:16:191:16:21

Hello, Andrew, hello!

1:16:211:16:24

So, it's only me and you today.

1:16:241:16:25

-Nobody else here.

-Where is Diane?

1:16:271:16:30

Hospital and the doctor's.

1:16:301:16:32

And David's at school.

1:16:321:16:34

-Oh.

-So, how are you?

1:16:341:16:36

I'm all right. Are you?

1:16:361:16:38

I'm good. Just go and sit down, I'm going to put the...

1:16:381:16:40

..the light.

1:16:401:16:42

Isn't that lovely?

1:16:421:16:44

It brings you back memories?

1:16:451:16:46

-Yeah?

-Yes, it does, Andrew.

1:16:481:16:50

Yes, it does.

1:16:501:16:52

But...

1:16:521:16:53

What can you do? There's nothing clever to say, Andrew.

1:16:551:16:59

Because you had each other, you were not alone.

1:16:591:17:02

-No.

-If you had been an only child, it would have been worse.

1:17:021:17:08

At least you had each other.

1:17:081:17:10

So, Andrew, in this family saga,

1:17:101:17:13

I've found out from Michelle that you've lost contact

1:17:131:17:15

with your own daughter.

1:17:151:17:17

I wasn't close to Miranda.

1:17:171:17:19

How old is she now?

1:17:191:17:21

She must be 30.

1:17:211:17:23

So are you not in contact?

1:17:231:17:24

No, I don't have contact.

1:17:241:17:26

I would say, the door is open.

1:17:261:17:28

You know, I haven't moved all these years.

1:17:281:17:30

My telephone number is the same number after all these years.

1:17:301:17:34

So if she ever wants to get in touch, you know, it's easy to find me.

1:17:341:17:37

-The door is open.

-Yeah, the door is open.

1:17:371:17:39

-I'm dying for a cup of tea, Andrew.

-OK.

1:17:401:17:43

You've never really told Andrew...

1:17:571:17:59

..your experience of what happened on that day.

1:18:001:18:03

So I don't know if you're interested, Andrew, but I thought...

1:18:031:18:07

If you want, it's no big deal, Andrew.

1:18:071:18:10

It's just I was living with my mother, it wasn't easy...

1:18:101:18:14

..and your father came and we lived near a very nice park,

1:18:151:18:21

and your father came and he said to me he wanted to take the children to

1:18:211:18:25

the park. And I never thought anything, and I said, "Fine."

1:18:251:18:31

And he never brought you back.

1:18:311:18:33

I think this is something that...

1:18:331:18:35

..the way that my father thinks,

1:18:391:18:42

this is something that I think it is possible.

1:18:421:18:44

This film is going to get me into trouble, but I don't care.

1:18:461:18:49

Somebody has to tell the truth.

1:18:491:18:50

Everybody's kissing up to my father's rear end because they think...

1:18:501:18:54

Here's what I think. They think when he sells his property in Iran or

1:18:541:18:58

something that he has left, that they get a share of it.

1:18:581:19:01

I don't care about my share.

1:19:021:19:03

If he wants to give it, give it, he's never given it when I needed it.

1:19:051:19:08

Has anyone said to you that you shouldn't do the film?

1:19:091:19:13

If they said, I don't... Bullshit!

1:19:131:19:15

You know, Danny, when I got the cancer...

1:19:151:19:18

-Yeah.

-When I got the cancer...

-Yeah.

1:19:181:19:19

..nobody fucking in my family helped me. Nobody!

1:19:201:19:24

SHE TUTS

1:19:281:19:30

Isn't it terrible?

1:19:321:19:33

DANNY SIGHS

1:19:411:19:43

I just need to relax a bit.

1:19:441:19:45

When I first got diagnosed with this cancer...

1:19:491:19:52

..I couldn't get insurance.

1:19:551:19:57

Nobody helped me one penny, not one penny, till, thank God,

1:19:571:20:02

Obama came and changed the insurance thing,

1:20:021:20:04

the insurance for pre-existing conditions,

1:20:041:20:07

that I was able to get out of that hospital.

1:20:071:20:09

As soon as I got into that hospital, the first thing the doctor

1:20:091:20:12

came and told me - "You've got six months to live."

1:20:121:20:14

-Oh!

-First thing.

1:20:141:20:15

That's the first thing she came into my room and told me.

1:20:151:20:18

And instead of giving you hope, come and tell you you've got six months

1:20:181:20:21

to live and you're going to die, and you've got a young kid at home...

1:20:211:20:24

Yeah. And this is with my family.

1:20:261:20:27

So I know my family.

1:20:271:20:29

I think Uncle Manny did more for me than my father.

1:20:291:20:34

-In what way?

-I don't want to mention,

1:20:341:20:35

but I'm just going to say this... But he helped me.

1:20:351:20:38

Really, I didn't know that.

1:20:381:20:41

So, how come your uncle that you haven't seen for all these years

1:20:411:20:44

helps you and nobody else helps you?

1:20:441:20:46

I didn't know, I didn't know.

1:20:481:20:50

You know, Andrew, I'm sitting here...

1:20:521:20:54

..and when I think of what I've gone through,

1:20:551:20:59

it's absolutely nothing

1:20:591:21:02

in comparison to what you've gone through.

1:21:021:21:04

It's quite a story.

1:21:161:21:18

But, Andrew, we live to tell the tale, that's the only thing to say.

1:21:211:21:24

Sure. Yeah.

1:21:241:21:26

Don't film me in my bikini.

1:21:551:21:58

You finished the only...

1:21:581:22:00

That's what he wanted to do and he did it...

1:22:021:22:04

He's filming you. Have you got the top part on?

1:22:041:22:07

-Right, we play them on Saturday.

-Yeah.

1:22:101:22:13

However far you go on the road, there's still a long way to go.

1:22:171:22:22

That's right.

1:22:221:22:23

We are waiting for Danny?

1:22:341:22:35

We're waiting for Danny?

1:22:371:22:38

-Yeah.

-He's going to ring?

-Yeah, yeah.

1:22:381:22:40

RINGING

1:22:431:22:46

Did you...?

1:22:551:22:57

Did you ever love Mum? Lillian?

1:22:571:22:59

Did you ever love her?

1:22:591:23:01

Of course I loved her, otherwise I wouldn't...

1:23:011:23:04

I wouldn't marry her!

1:23:041:23:05

I loved all the women I've been with.

1:23:051:23:09

This is the truth. I loved her.

1:23:091:23:11

And I loved many women.

1:23:111:23:13

No, but what I'm asking is whether you loved her as a person.

1:23:141:23:19

You know, this was someone you wanted to spend the rest of your life with.

1:23:191:23:22

What you ask about love and this sort of thing...

1:23:221:23:25

..you have to talk to...

1:23:261:23:28

..a writer.

1:23:291:23:30

I'm not a writer.

1:23:311:23:33

Look, Danny, what happened in the past is the past.

1:23:361:23:41

You cannot bring the past back.

1:23:411:23:44

It's not just the history of what happened on that day,

1:23:441:23:48

but the consequences that people are living with today.

1:23:481:23:54

I understand what you're saying.

1:23:541:23:55

What can we do?

1:24:011:24:02

What can we do?!

1:24:041:24:05

What do you want to do?

1:24:061:24:08

If you could do it all over again,

1:24:101:24:12

is there anything you would want to say to Mum?

1:24:121:24:16

Can I change it?

1:24:161:24:17

No.

1:24:181:24:19

Danny, how is your mother?

1:24:271:24:28

Um...

1:24:301:24:32

She's all right.

1:24:321:24:34

OK.

1:24:341:24:35

Danny, it was a pleasure to talk to you.

1:24:391:24:42

I'm sorry for the hard life you had...

1:24:421:24:45

..with your mother.

1:24:471:24:48

If you see Lily...

1:24:501:24:51

..give her my regards...

1:24:531:24:54

..and say, "Lily.

1:24:551:24:57

"You're not a bad girl.

1:24:581:25:00

"You're all right."

1:25:011:25:02

Do you have any recollections...?

1:25:301:25:33

What have we got?

1:25:331:25:34

Let me go and just have a look, excuse me a second.

1:25:351:25:37

We're almost done, Mum, we've got, like, two tiny little things to do.

1:25:371:25:41

Don't worry. Don't worry! Anything else is of no relevance.

1:25:411:25:45

OK. I'll just keep going.

1:25:451:25:47

This is true.

1:25:471:25:48

Hi, sorry, is something... a machine on?

1:25:491:25:53

-I think yes.

-OK, do you mind turning it off, please?

1:25:531:25:56

-Impossible.

-You must turn it off.

1:25:561:25:58

LILLIAN SOBS

1:25:581:26:00

Thank you very much.

1:26:011:26:03

-CREW:

-It's going to be reset.

-OK.

1:26:121:26:14

My problem is, I never know what I'm letting myself in for.

1:26:141:26:19

You say, "Mum, I want to do a doc..."

1:26:191:26:21

Do I think? Do I want to do it?

1:26:211:26:24

No, my first response is, "Yes."

1:26:241:26:27

And before everybody sees this, I want to see it myself.

1:26:271:26:31

I wish I could have done more, but, you know,

1:26:351:26:39

I've just got this feeling of Bubbe looking down on us.

1:26:391:26:43

Yeah.

1:26:431:26:45

But Bubbe would be very happy, Mum.

1:26:451:26:47

-Do you think so?

-Of course she would be!

1:26:471:26:50

What happened here was the Holocaust by bullets.

1:27:241:27:28

They gathered the Jews up,

1:27:291:27:31

brought them somewhere into the local forest,

1:27:311:27:34

and killed them there.

1:27:341:27:36

What happened is what happened to our family, our great-grandparents.

1:27:371:27:41

PRAYER IS SAID

1:28:011:28:03

PRAYER CONTINUES

1:28:071:28:10

An eccentric Jewish family is thrown into turmoil when two stolen children reappear after 40 years.


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