Wednesday 30 September 2015

Clearstory Statement on "Nazi War Diggers"

Screenshot: Metal detectorist getting
in the role, donning ground dug
Nazi hlmet
This is an undated statement by the production company of "Nazi War Diggers" now apparently retitled "Battlefield Recovery" (Hat tip Andy Brockman for the link):
Battlefield Recovery is a 4 x 1hr history series that throws light on less well-known and well-documented battlefields of World War Two’s bloody Eastern Front. Unfortunately, following the marketing launch of the series by the commissioning network, misinformed speculation was spread about the series on the web. The production team, cast and the local organizations they worked with made these films for a positive purpose – to recover battlefield artifacts, hand over excavated items to authorities for safe keeping and bury the dead with honour. The series contains a strong editorial line AGAINST unlicensed battlefield looting and gives the fallen of World War Two proper and due respect. The series was signed off by the original network’s Standards and Practices and the network has stated that it is not aware of any shortcomings in the production’s performance or compliance. The network has apologized to the production team and cast for what happened. We hope you enjoy the series when it is eventually broadcast.
There was no "uniformed speculation", the comments that were made were on the basis of fragments of the filmed material that were released as trailers, and the content of the promotional website - both of which were withdrawn within days of the comments made referring to them. They depicted the diggers as doing quite the opposite of 'showing proper and due respect' to the remains hoiked from their burial site. In addition material on collectors forums submitted by members of the 'cast' suggested that artefacts were brought home, like a ground dug helmet from Latvia. One of the cast members falsely accuses me of making death threats to him ('"Nazi war Digger": Statement').

I have been watching the broadcast of episodes of this series which have been dubbed into Polish and put out here under the title "Searchers for Treasures (sic) of the War" and will be sharing my views on what I see just as soon as they get to the episode filmed in Poland. Basically what I see changes nothing at all in my assessment of the programme, indeed, it is worse than I expected.  It also has attracted some derision of these 'Angols' on their forums from Polish artefact hunters. There are added subtitles claiming that what the films show is not what in fact happened, which rather begs the question why it was filmed in a way which (negatively) distorts reality - and suggests that the 'purpose' of the programme is not to depict the responsible recovery of battlefield evidence and locate any remains so they could be 'buried with honour' but to make television and nothing else. It is a shame it was made in that format, and a great pity that it was broadcast with only a few cosmetic changes (the sequence with waving the bone around which we saw in the first trailer was edited slightly - but not enough).

UPDATE 1st October 2015
 I see that Andy Brockman has a sharply-worded post on the topic of a possible British broadcast of this dreadful stuff with its damaging depiction of irresponsible battlefield artefact hunting:  "Nazi War Diggers" in Zombie Resurrection', The pipeline October 1, 2015. The production company and people connected with this project need to address the questions he raises.

He's found a few clips in a promotional film on You Tube, including metal detectorist Kris Rodgers guffawing as he shoots a Maschinenpistole 40 (where?), another Steve Taylor wearing an M1942 Nazi helmet with boys' toy explosive trophy display and big bangs interspersed with wildlife clips and British 'Peasant TV'. That's the level of entertainment the programme exhibits.

1 comment:

David "Taff" Simon said...

I am really disgusted that this show has been resurrected. I had really hoped - and absolutely no pun intended - dead and buried.

Perhaps some good will come of it though - showing these clowns to the world for what they are.

I am also very keen to discover what happened to their finds. On the episode that you have seen, what evidence is there of any sort of recording system? Where finds being zapped in with a TST - or at least with a GPS? Or is it really, as I fear, just a case of digging up Stahlhelm and feldflasche with no interest or attempt at actually trying to record the circumstances in which they lay?

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