Who do you think you are

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Chelsea Handler learning about her Grandfather’s time as a POW in Montana during WWII.

The Learning Channel, not what it used to be.  I think I used to watch great shows like Connections, Ancient Civilization Tuesdays and Desmond Morris documentaries on TLC.  Now it is Toddlers and Tiaras, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Obese and Pregnant,  which is fine if you want to enjoy something ironically.   But there is one show that’s good if you are into genealogy and that is Who do you Think You are?  I really haven’t watched this show before I watched the Chelsea Handler episode, but I had seen the Henry Louise Gates similar show on PBS called Finding your Roots.  The Gates show is a bit better but both are sensationalistic.  However that is what makes great television!

The Handler episode is interesting because she was raised Jewish but her maternal grandfather served in the German Army during the war but also awkward because she makes some bad jokes.  Being in the German Army during the war certainly doesn’t make someone a Nazi but it doesn’t make them an objector either,  so as is most things  in life the answers she finds are neither good nor bad.  He was just a man who lived in Germany during WWII and did what millions of other German men had to do to survive.

I was interested in watching the show because I visited the Dachau concentration camp and my mother’s maiden name of Baer was on the list of SS prison guards.  Seeing that made me uneasy, even though there would be no recent connection to my family.  Also there was a patron here last week looking for more information on Dachau because his mother was held in the camp during the war.  He said that she was a prisoner due to her mother being French.

Watch the episode here.

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2 thoughts on “Who do you think you are

  1. I agree about the low level of television shows. The History Channel which I use to watch, has lowered the quality of it’s programs. I watch Who Do You Think You are and Finding your Roots. I enjoy both. They both have a different slant on how they go about gathering information on their guest. Regarding the connection camps my father was involved in the liberation of some camps.

  2. I think they stopped calling it “The Learning Channel” in the late 90’s.

    Chelsea Handler’s episode was interesting, mostly towards the end. I thought her obsession with “was he a Nazi enthusiast?!” a little annoying since she lacked the greater context of that time period, but she came around at the end.

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