During World War II, a gang of merciless Latvians rampaged throughout their country on behalf of the Nazi's. Started by a junior police officer, Viktors Arajs, the Kommando were formed of students, builders and accountants. They were attracted by excellent wages and healthy rations including endless vodka. By war's end the Arajs Kommando were directly responsible for at least 26,000 murders. In the summer of 1942 the Arajs Kommando were the chief co-ordinators of the second largest single mass murder of Jews during the War. In a forest ten kilometres from the Latvian capital Riga, three vast pits were dug. Over the course of two days thousands of Jews from the Riga Ghetto were herded to the forest by the Arajs Kommando and executed. After the war many of the Kommando escaped justice. It took until 1975 for Viktors Arajs to surface and be tried for his crimes. This documentary contains many extraordinary interviews with those at the heart of the story as well as rare film footage.
Explore the life of the Yugoslav communist leader who battled Nazis in World War II and resisted Soviet efforts to control his country during the Cold War.
Pierre Laval was a French politician who held several cabinet posts including Foreign Minister and was Prime Minister in 1931-32 and 1935-36. After the Nazis occupied France in 1940, Laval developed a close relationship with Adolf Hitler and proposed that the two countries should collaborate. In 1943 Laval created the Milice. Within six months they were playing the leading role in capturing Jews and left-wing activists and deporting them to Germany. After Liberation (1945), he was arrested, found guilty of high treason, and executed by firing squad. This film tells the story of Laval's rise to power and his relationship with Hitler. He is still one of the most detested men in French history.
To some Chaim Rumkowski was a man of immense courage. To others he is simply a traitor; a Jew who worked with the Nazis and assisted them in the Final Solution. When the Nazis began herding Polish Jews into ghettos, the Jews faced a terrible reality. Rumkowski firmly believed that there was hope and felt he could turn the Lodz Ghetto into a haven of Jewish culture. It could, he thought, become a thriving community with businesses, factories, social services, even schools. He did a deal in which his people would provide labour to the Nazis in exchange for food and it worked. But inevitably there was a price. Rumkowski had to confiscate all property and coerce the able bodied into forced labour. Many grew to hate him. The result though was that the Lodz Ghetto lasted two years longer than had been expected. Undoubtedly some owe their lives to its prolonged existence.
At the start of 1933, Hitler is the chancellor of Germany but he does not have absolute power - there is still a democratic parliament beneath him, a head of state above him and the rule of law hanging over him. Hitler sets his sights on dismantling the German state. When Hitler calls a general election to increase Nazi representation in the Reichstag, Hermann Goring sees an opportunity to impress by taking out the left-wing opposition.
As the 20th century continues, America faces perhaps its most daunting challenges yet. The 1930s brings the greatest economic crisis in its history; FDR offers the troubled nation a New Deal, but there are clouds on the horizon; Pearl Harbor is a lightning bolt to the American soul, and in command of the allied invasion, General Dwight D Eisenhower; the US elects its youngest commander-in-chief, 46-year-old John F Kennedy; and on a bridge over the Alabama river, Martin Luther King's fight for equal rights will face its fiercest test. Then, on a bright September morning in 2001, America faces a new crisis: sudden, overwhelming and deadly.
Seventy-five years ago, the biggest murder trial in history began in Nuremberg, Germany. Twenty-one Nazi leaders appeared in court charged with crimes that caused the death of millions of innocent people during World War II. This bold documentary recounts the dramatic story of the Nuremberg Trials. Meticulously crafted using over a thousand archive clips, including digitised film footage from the courtroom, and without voice-over or any interviews in vision, this is a truly cinematic, immersive and impactful record of the most important trial in history - an event that not only represented the birth of human rights, and shaped international law forever, but serves as a stark reminder of the brutal consequences of oppression, division, and hate.
Monty travels to Rossano in Northern Italy, a gathering point for escaped POWs after the Italian armistice and the start of the Operation Galia exfiltration. His journey takes him over precipitous ridges of the Marble Mountains and through the formidable Gothic Line, following the route the SAS took after their successful mission.
Monty treks one of the toughest and most famous trails out of Nazi occupied France, taking him through the valleys and passes of the Pyrenees mountain range and into Spain. His route was part of an escape network that began in Paris and would have been fraught with danger - from German soldiers, the Vichy police, local informers, and the mountains themselves. We also meet Bob Frost, who, aged just 19, made the treacherous crossing, and hear remarkable stories of bravery and defiance from the local people, who used their knowledge of the mountains to lead thousands like Bob to safety.
This episode takes us into the corridors of power where Germany's top political mastermind sees an opportunity to use the sudden popularity of the Nazis for his own ends. This sets off a chain of miscalculations, backroom deals and power grabs that will propel Hitler from the fringes of political activism into the heart of government.
America is forged in the fires of adversity. These stories chart the challenges that helped shape a nation. In the mid-1800s, America faces its darkest hour yet. Abraham Lincoln is elected President of a US on the brink of Civil War; the nation that emerges now creates great wealth - but not for everyone; Teddy Roosevelt steps forward, bringing fierce leadership on behalf of the working man - his aim: to hold the nation together.
Profile of the communist dictator believed to be responsible for the murders of 2 million Cambodians in the mid-1970s.
In the catalogue of common beliefs about World War II, the idea that Hitler was a military genius has endured. He is believed to have conquered and subjected to his authority nearly all of Continental Europe. However, this is, in fact, a myth.
Monty tells an incredible story of evasion and escape through unknown, hostile territory in central Italy. He follows the route taken by prisoner of war Len Harley, who spent months on the run before braving snow, ice, and Nazi patrols to escape over the mountains of the Majella.
Monty heads to Slovenia to retrace one of the most daring, yet unknown, mass escapes of Allied prisoners during World War II, made possible only with the help and kindness of ordinary people. He's joined by Neil Churches, whose father Ralph escaped the Stalag 18D prison camp with a few friends, aided by local partisans. They returned just hours later and rescued over 80 fellow prisoners who had been left behind. The group traveled 150 miles through rough terrain - facing the elements, German patrols, ambush, and betrayal.
From the very beginning, America is a nation shaped by adversity. These are the stories of the challenges that helped shape a nation. How their forebears survive the 'starving time' of the first colonies; battle their mother country for independence; head out to the frontier and west into the unknown; and spark a resistance to slavery that brings the US to the brink of civil war.
A social history documentary series featuring stories of human interest from 1940, exploring the courage and resilience of the human spirit during the Battle for Britain. People from all over the globe who joined the Royal Air Force explain what it was like to live through this fundamental conflict. The RAF had won the battle for aerial supremacy by day. But by night, the outcome was far from certain. We look at the German development of bombing by night - Night Blitzes. We argue that this was still a part of the Battle for Britain, which continued until May 1941 - six months after the official end of the Battle. With CGI effects, we'll recall the terror of a Night Blitz raid (September 7, 1940) where 1200 German aircraft bombed the City and hear about civilians' experiences.
Exploring the courage and resilience of the human spirit during the Battle of Britain. People from all over the globe who joined the Royal Air Force explain what it was like to live through this conflict.
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