A World War Two documentary that unlocks the story of a family of conscientious objectors in Oxfordshire has been nominated for two awards.

The film, Unknown Ravens, has been nominated for Best Oxfordshire Film and the Audience Choice Award for the ceremony this Saturday.

This comes after it was voted best film in its category by the festival audience at Oxford International Short Film Festival (OXISFF).

Film Director, Sema Basharan, 35 lives in Yorkshire and she is the granddaughter of Molly Kjeldsen, a conscientious objector from Cholsey near Wallingford.

The Kjeldsen family befriended German prisoners of war based at POW camps around Oxford directly after World War Two.

Oxford Mail:

The documentary Unknown Ravens, tells the unheard story of their friendship with the German prisoners including a prisoner called Wilhelm Heider, which remains strong to this day with letters exchanged every Christmas and Easter.

Ms Basharan said: “In 2018 I came across a photo book in my parents’ house with the title ‘The Kjeldsen Family, 1940-1947’. Recognising my grandmother in her youth, I was fascinated by the images of my family with German prisoners of war – part of our family history I had never known.”

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She added: “I knew instantly that this was a story I wanted to bring to the screen because it’s a side of the war that I just don’t hear talked about.”

The Kjeldsen family believed that war was wrong and objected to taking part based on their Christian faith which teaches not to kill.

Oxford Mail:

They lived on a farm where many POWs worked the land after the war before they returned home. The prisoners got to know them and joined for Sunday lunch and picnics in Cholsey and later the family sent food packages to their staving families in Germany.

Wilhelm Heider, a German prisoner captured by Allied forces on D-Day, came to the farm in 1946 while he was based at a POW camp in Oxford.

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Ms Basharan said: “It was such a pleasure to be able to meet Willie Heider’s family in Germany last year and show them the film. I had been in touch with them throughout the production and they helped me piece his story together.

"My hope for Unknown Ravens is that it will fill in a missing part of a story that has been neglected and that people will find hope in the small acts of kindness by an ordinary family.”

Oxford Mail:

In the documentary the film director used her grandmother’s documents and letters and her two Great Aunts, who were also conscientious objectors, narrate the story.

The film has screened in the UK, Europe and Japan and Cyprus and is available to view free until 31 July 2020, at vimeo.com/285284344 as part of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.