Heroes of War – WW2 TV Series

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.

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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.

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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’ Series starts Sunday 9th February 2014 at 21:00 on the History channel in Poland.

The series is planned to show in 40+ countries across the world, including Germany and Scandinavia.

In the UK, the series is planned to air on History’s sister channel H2 in 2014. 

The series was also shown on the History channel in Australia and New Zealand in November – December 2013. See website with clips from the series here.


Addition 21.09.14

The ‘Enigma’ programme , which I Associate Produced, was screened at Gdynia Film Festival 2014 (Festiwal Filmowy w Gdyni 2014) along with a panel discussion on Polish history made for the screen.



4 comments on “Heroes of War – WW2 TV Series

  1. Kate says:

    Wonderful news! I see the series is planned to show in Europe. What about US?

    • I don’t know about US. The series was originally commissioned by History UK for some territories in Europe.
      Should I get further info I will post on my blog / twitter. Meanwhile, it might be worth contacting History channel in US.

      Kind regards,


  2. Great series, Marianna, thanks! I particularly enjoyed the Enigma part, in my opinion, the first popular documentary that deals with the subject correctly. Fully exposing the critical significance of polish involvement in cracking the Enigma. Being involved in documentary films productions myself, I have one “cosmetic” complaint. For every protagonist mentioned in the narration, the accompanying face shown, should have the person’s name edited in the portrait photo, to graphically match the voiceover. Perhaps, it is still possible to remedy this omission, although I doubt it. Best Regards!

    • Hi Mirek Goldberg,
      Thank you for taking the time to write – and I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the ENIGMA programme!
      I was very happy to have the opportunity to Associate Produce it as it is a subject that I care about very much.
      In regards to your point about text graphics on screen; this TV series was produced for an international market and broadcast in over 40+ countries across the world. Attempting to match Voice Over / Narration with captions on screen is difficult when done in so many different language versions (time and grammar/word placement differs greatly) nor a cost effective use of a tight budget. It is simply one of many compromises that need to be made when making factual / history programmes for a world wide audience.
      Kind regards,

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