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BBC news-reader in tears on TV programme tracing her Holocaust-survivor ancestors with horrific details



Kaplinsky breaks down in tears when told how her family were murdered by Nazi's

As the granddaughter of a Polish Jew, Natasha Kaplinsky had always feared that her background would hold some harrowing truths.

But when she learned what had happened to her family in the Holocaust, the BBC newsreader was unable to retain her usual on-screen composure.

She broke down in tears as, visiting the small town of Slonim in Belarus, she learned of child murder, suicide and the massacre of thousands of Jews.

Her discovery came during filming for the BBC1 family history series Who Do You Think You Are?

During the war Slonim was part of Poland, and it was where Miss Kaplinsky's grandfather Morris grew up.

Morris emigrated to South Africa in 1929. But members of the family who stayed behind fell foul of the Nazis, who invaded in 1941 and bundled the Jewish population into ghettos.

Miss Kaplinsky, 34, learned that her great-uncle Abraham killed himself in 1942, days after the Nazis murdered his two-year-old daughter.

A month after his suicide, Abraham's wife and another daughter aged nine were executed.

The little girls were killed by hand because, as Miss Kaplinsky explained, "the Nazi murder squads wouldn't waste a bullet on a child...I just couldn't process that. I couldn't handle it."

Her great-uncle Isaac, a Paristrained doctor, and his wife were rounded up along with thousands of Jews in the town square in May 1942.

Because Isaac was wearing an armband to show he was a doctor, his life was spared.

But 2,524 Jews were shot dead and buried in a mass grave in the forest.

Isaac went on to enlist with the Polish resistance, helping to build an extraordinary subterranean "village" where hundreds of Jewish people hid.

Miss Kaplinsky's greatgrandparents, Raphael and Melka, are believed to have been burned alive when the Nazis torched a synagogue.

The newsreader, who met up with Isaac's son Benny for the trip, said her time there was "the bleakest four days of my life".

She told today's Radio Times that making the programme had taken an emotional toll.

"It's funny, when you say you're doing Who Do You Think You Are? people ask, 'Did you find any skeletons?' Well, I literally found skeletons.

"I found the saddest information you could possibly imagine. And it will be with me for ever.

"When I came back from Belarus, I was in shock. I came back into the newsroom and people asked, 'How did the filming go?'

"I didn't know how to tell them that it was absolutely horrific, that I cried on camera.

"I've never cried in such a public way before. As a journalist, my job is to be dispassionate.

"Suddenly to be the centre of a story and to be crying, it made me feel very insecure."

Miss Kaplinsky also learned more about the courage of her father Raphael, now an economics professor in Sussex but 40 years ago a vocal anti-apartheid activist in his native South Africa.

He was forced to flee the country after leading a student sit-in at Cape Town University when the whites-only government attempted to block the appointment of a black lecturer.


SOURCE

Daily Mail, "Kaplinsky breaks down in tears when told how her family were murdered by Nazi's", 28 August 2007.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=478085&in_page_id=1770

"The Insider" mailing list article, 28 August 2007.

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Tags: Natasha Kaplinsky, Holocaust, survivors, Jewish, newsreader, Polish, Jew, TV, tears, cried, Protocols of Zion, Jewish, media, , conspiracy theories.

 
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