Friday, March 18, 2011

TV Review: National Geographic Nazi Hunters: Assassin of Rome

You may or may not know this, but I am a huge history geek. I mean HUGE. I pride myself especially in my knowledge of the rise and fall of the Romanov dynasty in Russia, as well as late 19th and early 20th century Russian history. Over the past couple of years however, I have become more and more obsessed with WWII and theories surrounding the disappearances of a number of Nazi soldiers and officers. This documentary is about a 1994 story that ABC broke, where the crew went looking for one person, and ended up finding someone much more heinous.

Since the end of WWII there have been many rumors about what had happened to a number of high ranking Nazi officers. Did they flee? Were they killed? If so, where are they? In 1994, a producer from ABC went looking in a small town in the Andes in Argentina to take a look at some of the rumors that there was at least one former Nazi officer living in the small picturesque town.

The producer hired a translator who also became his eyes and ears of the town when he had to return stateside. As the translator became bored, she began to dig into some of the history of the small town and uncovered a possible link to a man who ordered the assassination of 335 civilians in Rome during Nazi occupation. The person she uncovered was not the original target.

Once the news team had enough evidence that pointed at these two being war criminals, Sam Donaldson flew down to Argentina to confront them . Both men admitted to who they were and what they had done, and thanks to the report, both men were tried as war criminals.

The story is especially amazing and heartbreaking when family members of some of the murdered civilians in Rome come forward to tell the story of what happened that day. Also, when the interpreter discusses how nervous and scared she was for her life while doing her research is completely intriguing.

If you're a history nerd, I highly recommend this documentary. Also, if you decide you really like it, there is an episode of MysteryQuest on The History Channel that discusses similar events, called The Rise of the Fourth Reich. It's pretty amazing.

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