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Photo: Czech Television
Photo: Czech Television

New Reality Show Puts Czech Family Under Nazi Rule

Dovolená v Protektorátu (Holiday in the Protectorate) draws criticism for WWII insensitivity

Photo: Czech Television
Photo: Czech Television

New Reality Show Puts Czech Family Under Nazi Rule

Dovolená v Protektorátu (Holiday in the Protectorate) draws criticism for WWII insensitivity

Published 19.05.2015
Last updated 19.05.2015

Has reality television gone too far? 

It might have in the Czech Republic, where a new reality show produced by Czech Television will dial the clock back to 1939 to follow a real-life contemporary family as they are placed in a re-creation of WWII conditions in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

The program, set to premiere this weekend, was filmed in the summer of 2014 as a rural farmland was transformed into a WWII-era homestead. 

The real-life family – selected through a process of “rigorous audition” – was subjected to the stress of life under Nazi rule, with rationing of food and basic necessities. Actors in costume played German soldiers and Gestapo guards. 

While the family won’t be subjected to the actual horrors that victims of WWII faced, they’ll win a valuable prize if they can survive the two-month ordeal.

Expectedly, Dovolená v Protektorátu (Holiday in the Protectorate) has drawn heavy criticism before it has even made the airwaves. 

In the Czech Republic, where mandatory license fees for TV owners fund state-run Czech Television, viewers are voicing their outrage over internet message boards. 

“What’s next? Big Brother Auschwitz?” writes one infuriated viewer, reported by Blesk

“This is a perversion,” writes another. “It’s an insult to those who really suffered through it.”

In the same article, series creator Zora Cejnková defends the program. “The entire production team is aware of the controversy about returning to such a precarious period,” she says. 

“However, we think that while maintaining specific ethical rules and historical accuracy, this is an appropriate way of presenting the period.”

The series has already made international headlines, with The Telegraph reporting on the controversy the show has stirred

Dovolená v Protektorátu is set to premiere on May 23, 2015. More information about the program is available on the Czech Television website (in Czech).

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Comment from: joey .spagh Published: 05:05:35 28.05.2015
as opposed to now
Comment from: John.Barnse Published: 10:23:20 27.05.2015
Complaints seem to have a bit of "Outraged of Tunbridge Wells" about it or whatever the Czech equivalent is, Rozlobeni z Pardubic or something. Watched an episode of it, seems very similar what David Jones says 1940's house, or something on the BBC Yesterday channel about rationing even bringing up the still alive old lady from the Food Ministry who devised recipes with dried eggs and the like during the war. I found the show quite sombre.
John Karpiscak(Guest) Published: 03:42:04 27.05.2015
After one episode, one can hardly call this trivialization of the period. Some of my relatives lived through this while others had emigrated to America in the 1920s and 1930s. It was interesting to see the look of dread on the faces of Grandmother and Grandfather after the radio announcement of the protectorate and the posting of the propaganda bills on their home, so I suspect that bad memories of that time are still strong in them. It will only be with time that we see how modern people can cope with with conditions of the period (as best as can be simulated for TV). This show may provide some insights as to how people of the period coped with occupation. Again, time will tell, and I'm willing to see how this all plays out, reserving my judgement on its value for the end.
R. Toma(Guest) Published: 04:35:21 26.05.2015
You claim that the show has drawn heavy critisism based on few critics written on internet forums (one of them reported by Blesk - a famous tabloid newspaper)?
David Jones(Guest) Published: 06:54:55 22.05.2015
Heavy Critiscism? 10 negative emails is heavy? Reality show Not like big brother- more like BBC 1940s house. Watch the programme 1st THEN make a comment If you havent seen it why speculate?