Who Do You Think You Are? - Holocaust Edition (cont.)  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , ,

Well, I did a little more soul searching and clear thinking and have a few more thoughts. I watched parts of the show again and read some other comments and blog posts and found a few things that were disturbing:

1. If you're going to touch the subject of the Holocaust and go into gory details of what happened in Ilya then you have to tell the whole truth. What I mean is that there is more than one side to this story. It's not as clear cut as the show makes you believe. There was a Jewish resistance. There were local Nazi collaborators. This happened in hundreds of villages around in Ilya. Some of the massacres weren't the Nazis themselves but were actually carried out by the non-Jewish population against their neighbors who lived side-by-sisde with them for centuries. There were a lot of unimaginable stories. But to make it sound like one day the Nazis showed up, gathered up the Jews and murdered them is not giving the audience the complete picture. And if the show decided to touch the subject, then tell the whole story.

2. I've read more than once that the show's producers (namely Lisa) had to fight with NBC to air what they eventually did. And that a lot of the show was edited down for the sake of "entertainment." I think that's the wrong way to do it. You can't edit history, because the result is that it fools a lot of people who don't know the truth and the real facts. If you want to read some of the comments on Facebook go here. You can see that most of the viewers 'liked' the show, but many missed the point.


3. I also read a comment about the research process of connecting with Yuri. I am sure that some research was done to make sure he was the right person, but it's too bad that none of it actually aired. Simple questions about the family connections would have solidified the relationship. Edited for time? Take out 2 minutes of re-caps and you have room to put that and lot more in.

4. Turns out that Lisa's great-grandmother came from the same town that my grandmother was from, Dolhinov, and was related to the Farberman family. I don't know who they were but I am not surprised, because all these villages were so close to each other. But that brings up the point that they could have done more research about the families before the Holocaust. Who were these people? What was their life like before it tragically ended? Instead of giving these ancestors a life, they are only remembered for how they died. The previous two shows (Sarah and Emmit) went further and deeper to try to understand how these people lived and what their lives were like. I think that was a big miss for the show on this episode.

5. One thing that struck me as odd (and I hope not to offend anyone with this view) is the story of the old woman in Ilya. I find it a little hard to believe that the one person alive from that period is the one who tried to help a little girl by hiding her under the bed. And that the girl was found and thrown in the fire, yet the woman survived to tell the tale. That's not how the Nazis operated.

Some of you reading this might be thinking that it's a one hour show and there is no room to give us more details, but here's a novel thought. Give us more footage online. It doesn't have to be edited like the on-air version. If they can do webisodes of The Office, why can't they give us more background from their research online? Why not start a WDYTYA? blog that gives more details, links and videos? That would not be hard to do, right?

Anyway, I am pretty upset about this episode in many ways. But I am done talking about it. I hope the show learns from it's mistakes and if it has a second season does it better.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9:53 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 comments

I also thought that thing about the child under her bed was not quite right. I had wondered if the woman made it up to make herself look good for television,

I too wonder what the real story was there.

It must have been a horrible place to be and a horrible time for sure.

Now you have me wondering about the stuff about the villages fighting with the other villages?

I think letting this stuff come to light is good.
I also agree, it should have gone back further. I suppose some records were lost?

March 24, 2010 at 8:11 AM

Hi Rootdigger.

As far as lost records, that should not be the case. The Nazis didn't destroy records because the records were not specifically of the Jews. There are many census and church records in Eastern Europe where Jews were required to register births and marriages.

I'm going to see what I can dig up :-)

March 24, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Yeah, that episode was pretty shoddy on past history of the family as to how they lived. I saw the WDYTYA from BBC that profiled Jerry Springer's ancestors' lives going back before WWI, and that was MUCH better than this. Dunno whether this is Lisa Kudrow's fault or NBC's fault, but it sounds like it's NBC's fault.

April 22, 2010 at 1:25 AM

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