It had to happen. Sooner or later, “reality TV” had to go beyond the boundary of acceptability. Ice Road Truckers (which I did watch –after all it was based in my home town of Winnipeg, Canada) was one thing; Naked and Afraid (which I have no intention of watching) was quite something else. How is one to respond however to Holiday in the Protectorate, an eight-part series on Czech Public Television, where, in addition to dealing with the rigors of rustic life, the “stars” of the show must hide from Hitler and his war machine? Not only is food scarce and conditions deplorable, but those chosen for the eight-part series must deal with Nazi soldiers (played by real actors) kicking down the doors of their homes as well as local villagers turning them over to the Gestapo.
Hogan’s Heroes was bad enough. Yet, those who watched that mindless sitcom of the ‘60’s could at least find consolation in the fact that the Nazis were made to look like goons. What is one to make of contestants hoping to earn a cash prize of as much as $40,000 if they are able to survive the eight weeks of faux 1939 Moravia and Bohemia?
The ideal response to such a “reality show” would be for viewers not to watch it. Since Europeans as of late have shown great prowess when it comes to boycotting (as well as divesting and sanctioning) a Jewish country, surely with the slightest of effort, they ought to be able to boycott a show of Jewish content, however tangential that Jewish content may be. In all likelihood however, a boycott would be unrealistic. Call it quirk. Call it a foible. Call it a personality defect. Europeans…and others cannot get enough of seeing Jews as victims (provided Jews are not victims of Palestinian extremism. In that case, Jews are to be loathed, for creating such utter “despair” for a “displaced” people). Similarly, Europeans…and others are simply mesmerized when the Jew is the hunted, or at the very least, the underdog.
If Czechs are as infatuated with the Holocaust as they seem to be, then why not create a reality show, where every day, churchgoing Czech citizens of 1939-1945 (the year Hitler invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia) are faced with moral dilemmas of complicity with the Nazis or defiance of the Nazis. It doesn’t get more real than that! Furthermore, it’s entirely possible to create such a show without showing a single Jew. It doesn’t get more politically correct than that!
Finally, why choose Moravia and Bohemia? Wouldn’t Terezin make for a better choice? With Terezin, the so called Transit Camp, a mere hop, skip and jump from Prague, any Czech producer has over 35,000 ready-made stories just waiting for “reality TV”. A perfect name for such a “reality show” would be Tibor at Terezin. On second thought, the deaths of 35,000 innocents along with the suffering of so many more may not hold the interest of the viewer the same way Holiday in the Protectorate presumably does. Lest we forget when it comes to “reality TV” and Holocaust, it’s really no different than any other “reality TV”, in that it’s all about viewership.
With more than a hint of sarcasm, I would like to convey to the Czech people that I am a man of faith. I therefore firmly believe with my entire heart and soul, that with the right writers, a “reality show” such as Tibor at Terezin will find its niche among the irreverent (after all, it’s only a TV show) and gain an audience that any documentary of the Holocaust would have every right to be so very jealous of.