I spent quite a lot of time thinking about committing this and have ultimately decided to do so.
My Community Waypoints for the week is the BBC Radio 4 podcast series Intrigue: The Ratline. It’s ten episodes of about 20-30 minutes each dedicated to the story of a Nazi governor, Otto Wachter, who escaped justice at Nuremberg but was killed in 1949 while attempting to escape through the so-called ‘ratline’ set up to help Nazi war criminals escape Europe after the Second World War.
It’s a fascinating series for a few different reasons. I’m about seven episodes in. The principal relationship in the series is between the presenter, Phillipe Sands (a barrister and writer whose grandfather’s family suffered greatly in the Holocaust), and Otto Wachter’s son (now a septuagenerian, who continues to believe his father was innocent. That relationship makes for an uncomfortable first episode in some ways, as you try to get a handle on what this series is trying to go for.
I think it manages to come down in a way that works out for the series and I do think it is a good educational tool, particularly for those folks who don’t know that much about the post-Second World War epoch. Time is put into explaining, for example, the interactions between Nazism and the Catholic Church (which is important in the story). It does a good job of illustrating some worth-discussing elements of German history, particularly about how people lived with the transition away from Nazism – and how that was, in some ways, deeply limited.
(Will just put a content note up that Stephen Fry ‘plays’ the English translations of Otto Wachter.)