På børnehjemmet Hjemmet befinder der sig 40 drenge, som er anbragte her af myndighederne. Året er 1961. Forstanderen på Hjemmet er Knud Bosse. Han vanrøgter drengene, han misbruger dem seksuelt, og han udøver vold mod dem. Ingen af drengene går fri.Tilværelsen på Hjemmet er mildest talt elendig. Der er knap nok skolegang, men til gengæld så er der masser af arbejde for drengene at udføre på forskellige værksteder. Drengen Dennis, 15 år, får en dag den utrolige idé at danne et band, et jazzband, sammen med sine kammerater. Dennis’ store idol er Duke Ellington. Dennis har lært at spille på klaver af sin fader, der var jazzmusiker.Ved en snedig plan lykkes det for Dennis og hans kammerater at smugle musikinstrumenter ind til de ni drenge, der er i bandet. Hele projektet er tophemmeligt – ligesom den gang drengene finder nedenunder en gammel lade på Hjemmet. Den hemmelige gang bliver af største betydning for drengene og deres band.
A raw and terrible tale of abuse and nightmare in a home for unwanted boys. This is their story.
Based on interviews with survivors of Godhavn (‘Safe Haven’) home for boys, this is a fictional account of the tragic times in just one of the European orphanages in nightmarish shape, after the second world war.
Dennis Skjold, 15 has been at the home 3 years and misses his late father who was a jazz pianist. Dennis also had played piano, and desperately needs music in his life again. He is suffering hard along with the other boys at the Home. They are the ‘unwanted’ children, as the sadistic headmaster constantly reminds them. They are abused, beaten, and must work from dawn to dusk in the fields. Life is not much more than an incomprehensible nightmare for the children.
Dennis admires Duke Ellington, who also had it tough. But the Duke succeeded in creating fine jazz regardless, and so, encouraged, he decides to form a jazzband at the Home. His determination, strong will and deep sense of goodness in the world, drives him on and his comrades, inspired by his leadership, eagerly follow. In the haybarn, a short distance from the Home, a basement and secret tunnel are discovered, and Dennis sees light at the end of this tunnel: a glorious light where there is music, joy and acceptance. Against all odds, he sets out to form a secret jazz band with his comrades.
In August 2019, prime minister Mette Frederiksen, publicly apologised.
“To all of you who were placed in orphanages in the post-war era and were so cruelly let down by the community that was supposed to look after you, I want to say this: there comes a day. Today is your day…. You lost the one childhood we have in our lives. What you have experienced is, in my eyes, one of the darkest chapters in our history, and contradicts all that Denmark stands for.
I cannot take the blame upon myself, but I can take responsibility…. on behalf of Denmark,
I am sorry.”
– Mette Frederiksen