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Spying on Hitler’s Army: the Secret Recordings

Spying on Hitler’s Army: the Secret Recordings

Sun Jun 2, 8-9pm, C4

By Gabriel Tate
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Every now and again, a truly revelatory WWII doc surfaces among the endless rehashes of D-Day, the Battle of Britain and Dunkirk. This is one of those, and is all the more unusual in having reconstructions that bring the material to life rather than trivialise it.

Trent Park in Middlesex was the home for high-ranking German POWs, where the top brass were well treated and slackly guarded – but not without reason. The idea was to loosen their lips and sink a few ships, with their indiscretions caught on tape in an audacious surveillance operation. Initially, the strategy exposed divisions at the top of the German military and the strength of anti-Nazi feeling therein. But, as the tide turned and more prisoners arrived, conversations turned to the ongoing Holocaust…

The recently declassified transcripts tell a terrible tale, made worse by the fact that many of the listeners were Jewish refugees, one of whom movingly recounts their memories here. None of the inmates were charged with war crimes, in order to protect the operation for further use in the Cold War: a squalid postscript to a remarkable tale, compellingly told.
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