Thursday, 20th September 2018
Social media Waterford Today on Twitter Waterford Today on Facebook

THE LAST WITNESS

This film tells the story of how the history of the Katyn Forest massacre became known, something which is far murkier than you might ever have thought.

The Katyn Massacre happened when both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland and divided up the country between them.

The Soviets took the eastern portion of the country and as part of their tactics to quell any nascent revolt they targeted intellectuals, journalists and academics and murdered them. But they went one step further when it came to the Polish army. Here they knew that any potential threat to their rule would most likely come from so they took out the entire officer class of the Polish army and murdered them.

It all happened in the Katyn forest and it is estimated that over 30,000 men were killed and dumped in mass graves.

Naturally it was all kept as quiet as possible and when the Soviets eventually joined the Allies on their side against the Nazis it was never mentioned at all even though the Germans themselves tried to raise an international war crimes commission to look into the event.

The allies were too concerned about appeasing Stalin to ever even think of mentioning the Katyn massacre. But of course things have a way of leaking out and after the war the first intimations of what had happened began slowly to be known.

In Britain it happened with a journalist on a local paper who became interested in some suicides in a Polish refugee camp. Bit by bit he began to dig up information about the Katyn massacre.

Then he came across a man who not only turned out to be a Russian pretending to be a Pole but someone who was actually at the kill site all those years ago in Katyn.

The journalist got his story but little did he know that he was being spied on and the person who gave him up was his lover. In the end both the journalist and Russian were killed by the British secret service.

But the journalist had given his notes to someone else and the news leaked in America where they weren't so concerned about the threat of the Soviets. Even though Gorbachev officially apologised to the Polish people to this day the Katyn massacre has never officially been recognised or acknowledged by any British Government.

This movie is a fascinating insight to the workings of a Government willing to do anything to appease a foreign dictator including covering up his war crimes including the murder of tens of thousands of innocent men.

It is also a timely tale about how the truth will always out no matter what the circumstances.

VERSAILLES

This is the third series of the programme that focuses on the life and the court of the Sun King Louis XIV. The show is as lavish as ever and it is wonderful to be able to take in the splendour of Versailles as well as the way that people lived their life at the court. However this season things are not going well for the King. His Queen nearly sided with his enemies and is now confined to the palace, his moralising mistress turns out to have had a scandalous past and has taken herself off to a convent and the people of Paris are revolting due to the high taxes that the King is levying on them so that he can glory as the King of an empire. It seems that there is very little that the King can do that does not cause him some distress.

His personal life is in ruins and it appears that his people hate him. His brother Phillipe is trying to unravel his own mystery about a man in an iron mask that was being kept in the Bastille but everyone denies knowing anything about. Even the King his brother who is also obviously lying.

Although the show keeps your interest like never before there is one thing missing and that are the small historical vignettes at the end of each programme that explain the historical context of what you see in each programme.

It's a real pity that they are no longer there as they really rounded out what you had just seen.

YOUNG SHELDON

A spin off from The Big Bang Theory centered on the early years of Sheldon Cooper in his small home town in Texas this is a comedy that might occasionally raise a smile but never an outright laugh.

The acting is fine, the voice overs from Jim Parsons who plays grown up Sheldon are good and the situations are sometimes interesting but it doesn't make you laugh.

It might pass half an hour but that's it.

Facebook

Letters to the Editor

  • Waiting can be bad for your He...

    When the latest statistic that waiting times for patients had risen to their highest level yet, there can't have been too many people that were surprised.There are now over 700.000 people on waiting lists with over 50.000 of them children. That so many people are waiting for treatment in one of the most developed economies in the world is truly frightening. Of course you can take into account the underfunding of the health sector during the economic downturn but it still wouldn't fully explain why so ma …

    read more »

Weekly Poll