ČT sends family back to Nazi-era Protectorate

TV reality show aims at boosting Czechs’ knowledge of wartime period

Prague, May 7 (ČTK) — Public broadcaster Czech Television (ČT) will broadcast a new reality show named Holiday in the Protectorate (Dovolená v Protektorátu) that is to enhance people’s knowledge and awareness of the atmosphere in the then Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939–45, Lenka Poláková, from ČT, has told journalists.

The eight-episode series will be the first historical reality show offered by a Czech broadcaster. Its director Zora Cejnková found inspiration in a similar BBC program.

The program shows a three-generation family, chosen in a casting, who spent two months at an abandoned farmstead. Only upon their arrival there, in the show’s first episode, named “Welcome to Hell!” they learn about the times they “found themselves” in.

The first episode, to be broadcast on May 23, moves the family 76 years back in time, to March 15, 1939 when the Nazis occupied Bohemia and Moravia and declared the Protectorate.

“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,” Cejnková told CTK.

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

She said she is aware that the program’s name is provocative.

“This name has simply won. You know, show business is about attracting [the audience’s] attention, and this name will attract it,” Cejnková said.

For their successful completion of the reality show program, the Lustyk-Docekal family will receive rare coins worth 1 million Kč.

Before, however, its members had to endure the hard life in the countryside combined with specific difficulties linked to the wartime period such as various official directives, a shortage of food stamps and fear of the Gestapo and informers.

For example, they face pressure and intimidation from Nazi soldiers, a town mayor, a blackmailer and other figures played by actors.

The series was shot under the supervision of historians and an architect who saw to that the project corresponds to historical reality. The TV crew also included a psychologist.

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