Czech Television’s Nazi Era Reality Show Accused of Insensitivity

LONDON — Criticism is mounting of a reality show on air on public broadcaster Czech Television that purports to recreate life under the Nazis in a mountainous region in the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia from 1939 to 1945.

Holiday in the Protectorate,” which runs over eight episodes until June 13, takes ordinary Czech folk and asks them to play the part of a three-generation family living in a farm during the Nazi occupation. The family, which will receive 1 million Czech Koruna ($40,000) for their two-month “holiday,” have to contend with such challenges as intimidation from Nazi soldiers, interrogation by the Gestapo, fear of informers and blackmailers, food shortages and Allied bombing raids.

To ensure authenticity, the program-makers employed historians and a psychologist to advise on the recreation of events.

The show’s director Zora Cejnkova told the CTK news agency: “The authors are aware that it is controversial to return to so turbulent a period. However, we believe that it is a correct attempt to present it, providing that certain ethical rules and historical reality are observed.”

Cejnkova added: “When starting the project, we knew that it may provoke a discussion on how far such a genre may go. I tried to show that period with utter seriousness and with respect for its tragic character.”

However, Cejnkova may not have expected the strength of opposition to the show.

A Times of Israel a columnist wrote: “Fortunately for the family, they will not be treated like the 82,309 Jews who lived in the protectorate and were deported by the Nazis to concentration and death camps or were killed by Czech collaborators.”

“What are they going to do next? ‘Big Brother Auschwitz’?,” one critic of the show asked.

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