Robert Rinder fronts an emotional two-part BBC One series about the Holocaust - here's all you need to know.
The show follows Robert Rinder as he helps the second and third generations of three families who have experienced the Holocaust to retrace their relatives’ footsteps and discover the full truth about what happened to them.
Robert also explores further his own family’s Holocaust stories, on both his mum’s and his dad’s sides.
My Family, The Holocaust And Me with Robert Rinder starts on Monday, 9 November at 9PM On BBC One. The next episode airs next Monday, 16 November at 9PM. You can also watch online via the BBC iPlayer.
The BBC say of the series: "Six million Jews died in the Holocaust, but as this horrific chapter of history moves further away in time the number of those who survived is dwindling and the exact detail of what happened becomes obscured.
"The shadow of this trauma continues to impact subsequent generations, and this series reveals what it means to be the children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims and survivors and explores the legacy of suffering they often experience. But despite the darkness, contained within these stories is strength, courage and defiance."
In the first episode, Bernie Graham remembers when he was a child his grandfather pointing to his missing eye saying “Nazis” but doesn’t know what happened to him. Bernie has heard that his grandmother was sent to Auschwitz but survived until after the liberation. Bernie travels for the first time in his life to Germany, where his family were living before the Second World War.
In an anguished scene Bernie discovers the horrific story behind his grandfather’s injuries, and that his grandmother was forced to pay for her own transportation to Sobibor, an extermination camp in Poland, where she was murdered.
Meanwhile, sisters Natalie and Louisa Clein know that their Dutch Jewish grandparents survived but they have also been told that their grandmother’s sister Els “died in the War”.
The trail takes them to a former Nazi transit camp, Westerbork, where Els was held, possibly for refusing the identifying star the Nazis decreed all Jewish people should wear. At Westerbork they discover the cruel twist of fate that thwarted Els’ chance of survival and led to her being murdered in Sobibor. For both sisters their pain is mixed with pride at Els’ extraordinary talent and character.
Finally, Robert also embarks on his own journey of discovery. Visiting his paternal grandfather, Robert learns the name of the town his family came from in Lithuania. Travelling there, Robert finds out that his three-times great-grandfather and his two-times great-grandfather’s brother were living in the town when the Nazis invaded in 1941. First forced to live in a ghetto, Robert’s family were then sent to a nearby town called Voranava, in what is now Belarus.
In Voranava Robert speaks to an elderly eyewitness who reveals that the Jewish families were shot and buried in a mass grave on the edge of the town. Visiting the site Robert is visibly angry at what he has discovered, calling it “the most articulate expression of human evil I’ve ever come close to”.
In Episode 2, Robert Rinder continues his journey, meeting Noemie Lopian, whose French mother was arrested as a child by the Nazis. Noemie wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps to understand what happened and how her mother survived. In an extraordinary scene she meets the grandson of the man who hid her mother and her mother’s siblings in a chicken shed in his garden during round-ups of Jews in the town of Saint-Junien. Noemie also learns of the incredible sacrifice and courage of a young female French Resistance fighter who saved her mother’s life.
Having discovered the fate of his grandparents in episode one, Bernie Graham is desperate to know what happened to his uncle Bernhard, after whom he is named, and who he believes committed suicide in Dachau concentration camp. To unravel what happened to his uncle, Bernie travels to Dachau, where he finds out that his uncle fell ill and died after a horrendous journey there. Despite the dark truths that Bernie uncovers, he hopes that we can learn from these terrible events.
Robert’s mother's family were also impacted by the Holocaust, and he knows that his Polish grandfather’s parents and siblings died in Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Robert travels with his mother to Treblinka to discover how her grandparents, aunts, uncle, great-aunts and great-uncle were murdered. They meet the last survivor of Treblinka, 92-year-old Leon Rytz, who tells his harrowing story. The three of them say Kaddish together, the Jewish prayer of remembrance for those who have died.
My Family, The Holocaust And Me with Robert Rinder airs Monday nights on BBC One and online via the BBC iPlayer.
Picture: BBC, Robert in front of the sign for the town of Voranava Belarus