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BBC2 trains spotlight on Auschwitz docu

Program features first-time interviews with camp guards

LONDON — A six-part documentary, “Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution,” co-produced with Los Angeles PBS station KCET, is one of the linchpins of BBC2’s winter season launched Thursday.

Made by producer Laurence Rees, the program took three years of research and features more than 100 interviews, including several with Auschwitz guards. It is believed to be the first time these men have been interviewed.

Extraordinarily, they show no remorse for their actions.

It is estimated that 1 million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz during the Second World War. But despite Hollywood pics on the subject, including “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist,” 45% of the U.K.’s adult population has never heard of Auschwitz, according to a BBC survey. Among women and those under 35, the figure is 60%.

“We were amazed by the results of our audience research,” said Rees. “It’s easy to presume that the horrors of Auschwitz are engrained in the nation’s collective memory but obviously this is not the case.”

The program has been sold to France’s TF1, and a sale to a German broadcaster is close to being sealed.

Other shows lined up for the winter by BBC2, the pubcaster’s second most watched terrestrial web, are a British version of reality skein “The Apprentice” and a film version of the high-profile West End smash “Jerry Springer the Opera.”

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