"Outwitting Hitler" - A preview by Alan Hewitt.
Well, here in the UK at least, there has been a glut of programmes about the Nazis and World War II in general ("Science & The Swastika" and "Hitler's Henchmen" being but two of the most recent examples). Here, however, is a programme that tells a story from the "other side of the tracks" so to speak.
Marian Pretzel is a Jewish man who in his youth had the misfortune to live in Nazi occupied Poland. Using his skills as an artist and designer, he was able to help many of his compatriots, by using his talents to forge travel documents, identity cards, labour cards etc. What is truly amazing about this man's story is the lengths he went to in enabling these documents to reach the people who needed them most. Including, on occasions, travelling (under forged papers) on German troop trains passing himself off as a Polish war worker, and working right under the noses of the regime which was at the same time systematically trying to eradicate his people.
Told with care, and with an attention to detail which is rare these days, this project is also helped by the sympathetic soundtrack which was provided by our very own Steve Hackett. Drawing mainly from two of Steve's albums - "Defector" (singularly appropriate given the subject matter!) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" - the music, along with several new pieces which are more in the vein of Steve's recent "Darktown" album, always compliments but never overwhelms the story being told.
This is certainly a programme worth watching not only for its "local" interest to Genesis fans so to speak, but also because it is a fascinating story which will reinforce your faith in humanity.
My thanks to the producer for giving me the chance to see this thought provoking programme so far in advance. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in such a subject, and it is always nice to see our hero's name in the "credits"!
"Outwitting Hitler" will be broadcast on the Showtime Network at 7pm on April 22 in the USA, catch it if you can!