From January to April this year I worked as an Associate Producer on the new 5-part WW2 documentary series Heroes of War: Poland made by Sky Vision.
I was very pleased over the opportunity to work on this series and to be able to share a few of these remarkable Polish WW2 stories with an audience, not only in Poland – but also in the UK and the rest of Europe.
From the bold adventures of special agent Krystyna Skarbek… to the brilliance of the mathematicians breaking the Enigma code in 1932:
1. Captain Witold Pilecki – ‘Volunteer for Auschwitz’
2. Cichociemni – ‘The Dark and Silent’ (WW2 Special Ops. paratroops)
3. Enigma – The Polish mathematicians who broke the code
4. Code name: Żegota – Polish Council to Aid Jews
5. Krystyna Skarbek / Christine Granville – WW2 Special Agent
The series was filmed and structured in a traditional way – with many interesting first hand accounts, excellent historians and expert contributors, amongst them:
Władysław Bartoszewski – historian, politician, Polish underground activist, resistance fighter and former Auschwitz concentration camp prisoner.
Halik Kochanski – historian, author of “The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War”.
Clare Mulley – author of “The Spy Who Loved”. A biography of Krystyna Skarbek / Christine Granville – Britain’s first female special agent of WW2.
My work as an AP on this series was primarily focused on two of the episodes: ‘Enigma’ and ‘Żegota’ – on which I worked from research / pre-production through shooting and post-production. I did the majority of all the interviews (Polish contributors) as well as translations / transcripts and fact checking of scripts. I also advised on some of the archive material across the whole series and did two of the interviews for the ‘Skarbek’ episode.
Each story and hero is different – yet most of them, if they did survive the war, met with heartbreaking and unjust fates in the post-war years of communism.
And it may be worth to mention here , that whilst communism fell sometime ago – it has not meant, that outside of Poland, the history that for years had been suppressed suddenly became instantly known. Today, many of the lives and endeavors of Polish WW2 Heroes, still await long overdue respect and recognition.
I will be posting some of my thoughts and highlights from the production on this blog; with a more in-depth look at ‘my’ episodes as well as the research and reenactment for this production.
’Heroes of War’ will air on the History channel in Europe and on History’s sister channel H2 in the UK later this year.