Who Do You Think You Are (Matt Lucas) – BBC 1

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  This was a fascinating episode.  How incredible for Matt Lucas to find out that his grandmother’s first cousin had been Anne Frank’s family’s lodger, and was actually mentioned in her diary.   Anne had remarked that this man was rather irritating and hung around even when the family had dropped heavy hints that they wanted some privacy.   That’s very Anne!   I once read an article which said that lessons about the Holocaust should focus on accounts of the horrors of the concentration camps, rather than a teenage girl’s witterings about how annoying adults were and whether or not she fancied Peter van Daan; but, as I said in an online discussion at the time, the point of reading Anne’s diary is to be reminded that she was just an ordinary girl, not some kind of “other”.  An ordinary girl who had the misfortune to be born into a group of people whom another, evil, group of people classified as “other”, but who was just like any other ordinary girl from any other sort of background.

Tragically, Matt learnt that his grandmother’s two aunts and most of her cousins had been murdered in the concentration camps.   She’d been able to escape to Britain from Berlin, where her family lived before most of them moved to Amsterdam in the sadly mistaken belief that the Netherlands would be a safe place, and it was poignant to see Ukrainian flags flying over many of the public buildings in Berlin during his visit there.   We know that Vladimir Putin’s family suffered terribly during the Siege of Leningrad, and yet he’s putting millions of Ukrainians through the same sort of hell.

This really was very moving.  There’ve been other episodes in which celebs have found out that members of their family died during the Holocaust, and they’ve all been moving; but for Matt to find out that he had a family connection to Anne Frank, whose story, as he said, is the one Holocaust story that everyone knows, was really something.

 

Sherwood – BBC 1

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I thought that the first episode of this was excellent, even though having someone in Nottinghamshire shot dead with a bow and arrow by someone living in a forest was a bit cheesy.  Speaking of forests, I gather that the good people of Nottinghamshire are rather narked that a character referred to “Notts Forest”, which is the equivalent of a character from Manchester referring to United as “Man U” –  i.e. just plain wrong!   But, that aside, this was really very good.

It’s set in a Nottinghamshire mining community (everything’s a “community” these days, rather than a city, town, village or suburb), and the murder victim, Gary, is a former miner who’d never got past the wounds left by the Miners’ Strike of 1984.   And we’re talking about the divisions within the community.  Just as Civil War books tend to focus on the clash between Cavaliers and Roundheads, and ignore the divisions between different groups on the Roundhead side, the narrative of the Miners’ Strike is generally that of the authorities, led by Margaret Thatcher, versus the miners, led by Arthur Scargill.   But it wasn’t that simple.

I live quite near the site of the old Agecroft Colliery, where most miners carried on working during rhe 1984 strike and flying pickets from Yorkshire gathered outside to try to stop them.   In the Ashfield area, where this is set, some miners did continue working, others went on strike, and, again, flying pickets from Yorkshire came in.  We see that Gary still, in 2022, referred to those who carried on working as “scabs”, shouting abuse at them even as they tried to enjoy a quiet drink, and that there were divisions even within his own family because his brother-in-law was one of the “scabs”.

In early 1985, whilst the strike was still going on, there was a storyline in Coronation Street in which Hilda Ogden’s lodger was discovered to have broken a strike.  His life was made a misery even though he explained that he’d felt he had to work due to family circumstances.   The view at the time was that no-one liked a scab, blackleg, strikebreaker, whatever term you want to use; but the problem with the miners’ strike was that a national strike was called without there being a national ballot.   Also, as Joanne Froggatt’s character, Sarah, pointed out, people had the right to choose what they felt was right.  The whole thing was messy.  And the memories of what happened die hard.

A lot was going on in this programme.  There was the general issue of generation gaps, as Gary’s wife Julie kept saying “There’s somebody at the door” in the Rod Hull/Emu/Grotbags way, and her grandchildren had no idea what she was talking about.  There was the fall of the red wall, with Sarah standing for the council elections as a Conservative.  At the time of the last general election, we heard a lot about former mining constituencies such as Leigh, Sedgefield and Ashfield itself voting Conservative: it really showed how much things had moved on.  But, for Gary, nothing had moved on.

There was the return to the community of a local man now a senior police officer, and the distrust of the police nearly 40 years after Orgreave and everything else that went on in 1984.  It was all brilliantly written and brilliantly acted, and I’m looking forward to the five episodes still to come.

 

Who Do You Think You Are (Sue Perkins) – BBC 1

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I’ve vaguely known about the Baltic Germans ever since I was a little girl, because, for some reason, they get a brief mention at the end of The Chalet School in Exile, when we’re told that Austrian characters living in Italy feared that they would be ordered to relocate “as he [Hitler] has ordered the Baltic Germans”.  However, although I’ve read quite a bit about the experiences of the Volga Germans during the Second World War, I’ve never come across much in detail about those of the Baltic Germans.  So it was very interesting to hear about Sue’s Lithuanian-German ancestors, and their sad story.

The resettlement of the “Volkdeutsche” is something which affected ethnic Germans living in many areas, including the parts of Tyrol ceded to Italy after the First World War, and parts of Ukraine and Moldova which had also been part of Austria-Hungary before the First World War.  We all know about the Sudetenland, but the presence of large ethnic German populations in other areas, and what happened to them, is rarely mentioned.

The Second World War, and, more particularly, the Nazi atrocities, remain a very difficult and sensitive topic, but one of which most people are well aware.  However, the story of the Baltic Germans isn’t well-known.  Germans began settling in the eastern Baltic as early as the 12th century, and formed the ruling class in what’s now Latvia and Estonia, losing their privileged position only after the First World War.  In Lithuania, which of course was united with Poland from 1385 (or 1569, depending on how you look at it!) until the Polish partitions, the situation was different, but there were significant numbers of Germans living in the areas closest to East Prussia.  We learnt that Sue’s ancestors were prosperous farmers.  Why her great-grandmother chose to leave a well-to-do home and move to England was unfortunately never explained.

Then, come the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the Baltic Germans were deported to Germany.  They weren’t just resettled.  Instead, people like Sue’s relatives were subjected to pseudo-scientific tests measuring their heads, their noses, the shapes of their heads and so on, and placed into one of four categories, ranging from Aryan/above average to “unacceptable”.   The misuse of science in terms of “classifying” human beings really was one of the most horrifying aspects of 20th century history.  Sue learnt that some members of the family had been executed, classed as “unacceptable” due to physical and mental disabilities.  We know that the Nazis murdered disabled people, but, as Sue said, hearing it through the prism of her family history made it particularly horrific.

It’s not something which is often spoken of, that those ethnic Germans living in other countries, who were “repatriated”, were treated like this, and that many of them met the same fate as non-Germans deemed subhuman in the countries occupied by the Nazis.

As Sue said, with wars and politics, there are always so many ordinary people whirled into a nightmare which is none of their making.  And on it goes, on and on.   It was a rather horrific start to the new series, but it was grimly fascinating, and a chilling reminder of just how badly some people can treat others, just for being deemed to be different.

 

Gentleman Jack (series 2) – BBC 1

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Hooray!   Finally, we’re back to having some decent “period drama” to watch on a Sunday evening.  Other than sport, Sunday evening TV has been dire for weeks.  So welcome back, Anne Lister and Ann Walker, and Shibden Hall.

This must be an extremely demanding role for Suranne Jones, because Anne Lister is in practically every scene.  And she spends half those scenes striding about very energetically, in between corresponding with her ex, dealing with her business affairs, managing her household, catching up with her relatives, dealing with Ann’s relatives and actually spending some time with Ann!

Even when she’s taking time out from all of that, she’s addressing the viewer.  That’s a reminder that this is an adaptation of Anne Lister’s diaries – and another result of that is that some of the other characters sometimes seem a bit caricatured, because we’re seeing them through Anne’s eyes, not in a more balanced, rounded way.  Having said that, a lot of Dickensian characters and even some of Austen’s characters are deliberately caricatured, so it’s something that doesn’t seem out of place in a drama set in the 19th century.

It would have been nice to see more about Ann Walker, though.  Anne Lister seemed to be very comfortable in her own skin, even if other people weren’t always very comfortable with her personality and behaviour, but Ann Walker suffered badly from depression and anxiety.   It’s thought that that was partly because, unlike Anne Lister, she found it a struggle to reconcile her faith and her sexuality, and that’s something which it might have been interesting for the series to explore, especially with all the talk at the moment about the upset caused by conversion therapy.

However, it’s just great to have a decent period drama in the Sunday 9pm slot again, at last, and particularly great that it’s a northern drama – OK, it’s Yorkshire and not Lancashire or the Lakes 🙂 , but Rievaulx Abbey looked mighty fine in the scenes set there, and it’s always good to see the hard-working, world-leading 19th century industrial north on screen – and that it’s female-led.   And there’ve even been stories of people saying that the first series helped them to accept themselves.  No-one’s even making a huge big deal of the fact that this is a series about a same sex relationship: the comments mainly seem to be about Anne’s constant striding (she really does do a lot of striding!) and the locations used for filming.

It’s not exactly relaxing watching, because Anne is on the go practically all the time!   Even the Rievaulx Abbey sketching party scene was a bit hectic, because Anne was striding about whilst the others were sketching!   But I wasn’t bored for a single moment, and nothing about it was unconvincing either.  A really good hour’s TV.  Welcome back, Gentleman Jack!

Goodbye, Holby City

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  Well, goodbye Holby City.  It’s been 23 years, and over 1,000 episodes … and I’ve watched pretty much all of them.  It was nice to see some old faces making cameo appearances in the final few episodes, although there were so many others whom I’d like to have seen – Chrissie Williams, Nick Jordan and Anton Meyer, to name but a few, and it might have been appropriate to have seen Frieda Petrenko, whom I *think* is the only Ukrainian character ever to have a long-running part in a British drama series.  A lot of characters have come and gone over the years.  So many of them have been killed off that it’s a wonder that anyone applies to work at Holby City Hospital!   To be fair, the scriptwriters did acknowledge that, by showing the junior doctors being horrified at how few of the previous winners of the Junior Doctor Award were still alive!

It was sad to see Jac Naylor killed off in the final episode, but the media have been quick to point out that this was all highly symbolic, killing off such a central character as the series itself was killed off.   And at least some of the other characters were given happy endings, and the final episode concluded with a bit of a verbal love letter to the NHS.

The story is that Holby City‘s been axed as part of a “levelling up” programme.  Well, normally I’d be delighted to see anything in the north – Waterloo Road‘s coming back, and it’s back being filmed in Rochdale – being given priority over anything filmed in London, but Holby City isn’t really a London thing.  Holby’s based on Bristol, after all.  And it doesn’t really identify with any one community.  Characters come from all over the UK and sometimes beyond – it’s amazing the range of accents you seem to find in the hospital on any one day!   And it’s always included characters representing different communities, without making a big virtue-signalling deal of it.

And it’s never really “jumped the shark”.  I think there was plenty of life left in it.  It’s covered all sorts of storylines over the years, both in terms of medical storylines and in terms of the characters’ personal lives, but it was still coming out with fresh plots, and I’m very sorry that the BBC’s decided to axe it … especially as it’s being replaced in the schedules by Masterchef, which, with all due respect to it, is hardly high-quality drama.  But anyway.  Goodbye, Holby City.  Thanks for the memories, and you will be missed.

Around The World In 80 Days – BBC 1

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What on earth is this rubbish?   It’s supposed to be a great adventure and a celebration of technological progress, even if it’s rather silly to imagine that Fogg genuinely didn’t realise that he’d gained a day.  Yes, all right, Jules Verne wasn’t very politically correct by 21st century standards, with Fogg rescuing an Indian widow about to commit suttee and then being kidnapped by Sioux and all the rest of it, but he was writing a century and a half ago and, if the BBC didn’t want to deal with that, then they should have chosen a different book to adapt.  This adaptation is just nonsense.  Who remembers Around The World With Willy Fog?  That was 80 million times better than this.  Shame that they didn’t just repeat that instead.

Fogg has been turned into a sort of Blackadder figure, bumbling along uselessly whilst his manservant is the clever one.  I have no objection to the colour blind casting of a black actor as Passepartout, but why on earth have his family been turned into communards?  Half the first episode involved his brother trying to assassinate the president of France.

Where did that come from?  Fix, the man who thought Fogg was a bank robber, has been removed from the story entirely, and been replaced by Abigail Fix, a feisty female journalist.  Yes, I know about Nellie Bly, but this isn’t supposed to be her story: it’s supposed to be an adaptation of Jules Verne’s book.  She and Passepartout are the ones responsible for all the derring-do, whilst the upper class white bloke has been relegated to the status of a total prat.

Seriously, BBC, get over yourself.   If you didn’t approve of Jules Verne’s book, then why did you bother dramatising it at all?   It’s a mid-Victorian book, not a 21st century book.  If you couldn’t accept that, then you should have gone for something else.  Not impressed one little bit.

 

Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency – BBC 1

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*Trigger warning – mental health issues.*

There’s a lot of talk in the media about mental health issues these days, but, sadly, the number of suicides remains high, especially amongst young men.  Roman Kemp (and the fact that Martin Kemp and Shirlie Holliman’s son is 28 makes me feel extremely old) made this programme about mental health and suicide after his close friend, Capital Radio producer Joe Lyons, took his own life.  Roman said he lives only three minutes from Joe, and would have rushed straight round if Joe had felt able to ask him for help.  Tragically, he didn’t: neither Roman, nor anyone else in their friendship group, nor Joe’s loving family, were aware of how badly Joe was struggling.

People here in Greater Manchester may be aware of the Shining a Light on Suicide project being championed by Sir Alex Ferguson, Mark Hughes and Andy Burnham.  One of the things it suggests is making a safety plan of what to do and whom to contact if you feel that you’re at risk of harming yourself, and this was also something that was mentioned in Roman’s programme.

No-one really feels very comfortable talking about this sort of thing, but we need to be.  Roman also talked about his own struggles with depression, and the fact that he’s been on medication for it for many years – and the fact that some people, especially young males, don’t feel able to talk about it.  I think women and girls do talk about it more, but it’s still not spoken about openly in the way that physical illnesses now are.  Roman said that more than three quarters of young men feel unable to confide in their friends and relatives about their issues, and that was borne out by the discussions he had with people who’d lost a friend or relative to suicide.

One of the lads he spoke to, who’d attempted suicide himself, said that he wasn’t even sure that he wanted to end his life – he just wanted to get away from everything in his head.  He just wanted it to stop, and it wouldn’t.  A lot of people will have been there.  Everything going round and round in your head.  Maybe other people driving you mad.  Maybe feeling trapped in an uncaring workplace, or a difficult domestic situation.  But, if those safety plans are in place, maybe people’ll be able to see another way out.

It’s been said over and over again that mental health problems need to be destigmatised, but it still seems to be something that many people feel unable to talk about, and it continues to be a particular problem amongst young men.  Please, please, if you’re struggling, ask for help.

 

Nadiya’s American Adventure – BBC 1

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This is historical and cultural, OK: it’s not just an excuse for me to talk about food!   I have to admit that the first thing I did, on arrival in New Orleans in 2014, was go to the Cafe du Monde for a beignet.  I did go and look at the historical sights, and have a ride on a Mississippi steamboat, after that; but, when it comes to New Orleans, it’s food first!  Nadiya Hussain looked as if she was having a wonderful time, making and eating food from different New Orleans traditions.  And what a refreshing change to see a BBC documentary in which everyone was just being nice to each other.  No-one was pushing an agenda, making nasty remarks, or making accusations against anyone.  Everyone was pleasant, cheerful, enthusiastic and positive.  What a lovely, lovely hour’s TV!  When we can travel again, could Nadiya be given her own series, please?  Let’s all be nice to each other and eat cake.

Sadly, there weren’t any beignets in this programme.  I was rather put out about that!   But we did start with Mardi Gras … I’m assuming that this was Mardi Gras 2019.  And King Cake – this is what we would know better as Twelfth Night cake (always reminds me of the disastrous picnic in Katherine L Oldmeadow’s Princess Prunella!), complete with a small figurine hidden inside, brought to New Orleans by French and Spanish settlers and now associated with Carnival rather than Christmas.  In New Orleans, they get through the most enormous amounts of it, and we saw it all being made by hand.  And we heard the bakers talking about what an amazing time of year Mardi Gras is, everyone feeling the love and sharing the love.  I can’t see it happening in 2021, but fingers crossed for 2022.

Also in the French quarter, we got to see, and Nadiya got to make, the famous po’boy sandwiches.  No-one’s 100% sure how they originated!  But they’re very nice.  And usually very big!

But, as we were reminded, New Orleans isn’t all about the French Quarter, and we then saw Nadiya visiting an African-American neighbourhood which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  There, she met a family trying to revive their local community with a restaurant serving soul food, the traditional African-American cuisine of New Orleans … although the actual term “soul food” only dates back as far as the 1960s.

And then it was out of the city and into the bayous, on a boat with a couple and their young daughter.  Or should that be “bayoux”?  There, she met five generations of a Cajun family, and was treated to gumbo and jambalaya, and a discussion about Cajun history.  Now, certain BBC presenters – Simon Reeve’s travel programmes are now virtually unwatchable – would have done the whole “Evangeline” thing, used it as an excuse to make abusive remarks about Britain, then made abusive remarks about America, and then probably said that Nadiya was guilty of “cultural appropriation” for trying on a Vietnamese hat later on in the programme!  Not in this.  Everyone, Nadiya herself and all the people she met, was friendly and welcoming and genuinely interested in what each other had to say.  This is the sort of programme we need!  More of this, please!

Next up came a children’s jazz band, and rocky road for the kids!  And then, finally, we were treated to members of the New Orleans Vietnamese community combining Creole crawfish dishes with traditional Vietnamese food to create something new – a melting pot, in fact.  And, yes, Nadiya tried on a Vietnamese hat.  And, no, no-one found that in the slightest bit offensive.  They were interested in her, and she was interested in them.

This was just wonderful.  Bravo, Nadiya, and bravo, all the people of New Orleans who made her so welcome!

My Family, the Holocaust and Me, episode 2 – BBC 1

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I think part of the idea behind this series was to show that the events of the Holocaust, whilst they were 75/80 years ago, are still having a big impact on perfectly ordinary British people leading perfectly ordinary lives; and it got that across very well.  The lady whose family were arrested by the Nazis only a few hundred yards from the safety of the Swiss border, near the ironically idyllic setting of Annecy – it sounded like a story from a book or a film, but it was real life – spent her teenage years in Manchester and went to my old school, so that was certainly pretty close to home for me.  We also saw Bernie Graham, who featured in the first episode, and Robert Rinder’s mum Angela Cohen saying memorial prayers for uncles and aunties who’d been killed in concentration camps, and being overcome with emotion: these were immediate relatives whom they should have known and loved and who should have played a big part in their lives.  

And we saw Robert and Angela meeting Leon Ritz, the last survivor of Treblinka, and hear him saying that anger wouldn’t do any good and that you had to look to the future.  Finally, we heard Robert say that he’d feared Treblinka would rob him of his optimism, but that he was still able to feel hopeful.   

These two programmes really were very well done.  Personal history programmes can sometimes be more effective than ordinary documentaries, and these were a prime example of that.

We learnt last week that Bernie had always been told that his young uncle had taken his own life in Dachau.  This week, we learnt that that wasn’t the case: he’d died in the terrible conditions there.  At that point, the ashes of Dachau victims were being sent to their friends and relatives, and so there was a grave for Bernie to visit, in Frankfurt where his uncle had come from.  He was able to say the Kaddish, the Jewish memorial prayer, there, as Angela was for her aunts and uncles at Treblinka, and it clearly meant a lot to both of them and to Robert … but so, so distressing.

The mum of Noemie Lopian, the lady from Manchester, who’s still alive and whom we met later on in the programme, had been a young child in France during the war.  She and her siblings had been sent away by their desperate parents, in the hope that the Resistance could get them into Switzerland.  They’d been part of a group of 32 children accompanied by young Jewish French Resistance member Marianne Cohn.  Only a few hundred yards from the border, they were arrested and imprisoned in the border town of Annemasse.  We saw Noemie actually visit the prison where they’d been held.

Marianne, who’d already saved the lives of many children by getting them into Switzerland, was raped, tortured and murdered.   The children were eventually freed, due to the intervention of the local mayor, and were helped to escape to Switzerland.  Noemie’s grandparents survived in hiding, and were later reunited with their children.  So that was a positive story, but, as she said, her mum had been through a horrific ordeal, and she felt that hearing the detail and seeing where it had happened gave a new dimension to her feelings for her.  

It really was a very emotional programme, all in a very natural way about very unnatural events.  I don’t always have a lot of praise for the BBC these days, but well done to them and to Robert Rinder and everyone else involved.  These two programmes were superb.

 

My Family, the Holocaust and Me – BBC 1

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Family history programmes are becoming increasingly popular, and they do work very well: they personalise and humanise history in a way that text books and ordinary documentaries can’t do, especially when talking about the murder of millions of ordinary people.  Many Holocaust survivors, and Second World War veterans, went to their graves without talking about what had happened: there was so much that the people in this programme didn’t know about their own grandparents and great aunts/uncles.

A lot of Holocaust programmes only focus on the death camps.  That’s understandable, but it means that other aspects of what happened are overlooked.  This programme didn’t: we did hear about the horrors of the camps, but we also saw Robert “Judge” Rinder visiting the site of an Einsatzgruppen massacre on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, and we saw Louisa Clein (Maya in Emmerdale) and her sister Natalie looking into their grandmother’s involvement in the Dutch resistance, and how she gave her children up to foster parents for their own safety.  And it really was very well done.

The mass grave where hundreds of people, including some of Robert Rinder’s relatives, were buried, some of them still alive, is still there.  There’s something particularly sad about those little villages.  I’ve been to Babi Yar/Babyn Yar, but so many of the Einsatzgruppen massacres took place in little villages, or in forests, and nobody goes to visit the sites: how many people go to visit small villages on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border?  And that way of life, going back to the Middle Ages, was wiped out for good: communities in cities were to some extent rebuilt, but not those in villages.

This is highly recommended, and there’s another episode next week, which I’ll certainly watch.

We had three family stories in this.  Robert Rinder himself was looking into the history of some relatives on his father’s side.  His maternal grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, but his paternal grandfather, who featured in the programme but sadly died with coronavirus earlier this year, was a Cockney born and bred.  However, some of his relatives died in … ah, the wonders of Eastern European moving borders.  It was part of Russian-ruled Lithuania, which was in Poland in the inter-war years, and was then split between Lithuania and Belarus, even though most of the surviving population’s Polish … so the village where they actually lived is now in Lithuania, and the village 20 miles or so away, where they were murdered, is in Belarus.  He was able to speak to an elderly lady who actually remembered the massacre, remembered hearing the screams.  She talked about how the ground was still moving as they covered it up: people were still alive.  And the grave’s there – and it’s huge.  So many people, just gunned down.

We also saw a man called Bernie Graham visit Frankfurt, where his grandparents had come from.  His grandfather had survived, and been reunited with Bernie’s mum, who’d come to England on the Kindertransport: his grandmother hadn’t.  He’d never been to Germany before, because he’d felt uncomfortable about it. There’d been some sort of family rumour that his grandmother had died after the liberation of Auschwitz, but she hadn’t: she’d died in Sobibor.  He heard her story, and he also heard about the brutality suffered by his grandfather.  His grandfather had lost an eye, and he’d often said about how that was down to the Nazis, but hadn’t talked any more about it.

Bernie, named after an uncle who’d taken his own life in Dachau, said that he felt that he’d been born into a state of bereavement: his friends would talk about their grandmas and aunties and uncles, and he didn’t have any.

And we saw Louisa Clein and her sister Natalie visiting Amsterdam, to learn about their grandmother, and her sister who hadn’t survived.  The grandmother’s story was not what you’d expect at all: she’d been involved with the Dutch resistance.  They knew that, because she’d received a certificate from Eisenhower after the war, but they didn’t know the detail, and they heard about how she’d helped Allied airmen to escape, which was fascinating.  And she’d given her children up to foster parents, and that saved their lives.

But her sister had died.  She’d been taken to a transit camp in Westerbork after refusing to wear an “S” symbol, and then deported to Sobibor, where she’d been killed.  They were able to speak to a man whose father had been this great-aunt’s boyfriend, and had actually gone to Germany to try to find her after she’d been deported.  There was a system whereby some Dutch Jews were sent to another place in the Netherlands, at Barveneld, where they were able to live relatively normal lives and she’d have stood a good chance of survival.  Having been a teacher, she was considered important enough to be put on this list – but the news came one day too late.  She’d been deported the day before.  You couldn’t make it up.  So sad.

They said that they’d known very little about her: their grandmother didn’t talk about her.  And that now they felt that at least they knew about her life, and what she was like.  And that was what this programme was really doing: it was taking individuals, it was humanising the worst period of human history.  This was their grandma’s sister, a teacher, a dancer, someone who was stubborn enough to refuse to wear an “S”, who had a boyfriend who was so devoted to her that he went into Nazi Germany to try to find her, and at least now they knew all that.  It was very powerful.

This really was an excellent hour’s TV.  Not everyone feels comfortable watching programmes like this, but they are very well worth watching.