View the Second World War through a child's eyes and the result isn't hard to predict: a loss-of-innocence tale. Winter in Wartime is the boilerplate version, with the already dramatic facts of the era ramped up to melodramatic levels.
Koolhoven is able to strip away both visually and mentally our idealized cinematic notions of how the resistance fighters lived. It's a lonely existence. It's stark and it's scary. And it makes for a compelling movie.