This National Geographic project is enough to wake the dead.
The cable channel best known for science documentaries and other brainy fare is promoting “Nazi War Diggers,” a new series for United Kingdom viewers that chronicles the adventures of four men visiting scenes of some of the most horrific battles of World War II’s Eastern Front. On the ground, they dig up the graves where “millions of German and Soviet soldiers and their weapons lie rotting under the battlefields where they fell.
“This is a race against time to get the history from the ground before it’s lost forever,” the channel boasts on its website.
Archaeologists and historians have a different take. They call it a “disgrace.”
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“This just looks like they’ve gone around digging up bodies, because TV likes a dead body,” Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University told the Mail Online.
The researchers were particularly incensed by a preview of the show – since removed from the National Geographic website – that showed the “Nazi War Diggers” team digging body parts out of the ground of a battlefield in Latvia. At one point, one of the men pulls the leg bone of a German soldier from the earth, compares it to his own limbs, and mistakes it for an arm bone.
Pollard was appalled at the amateurism.
“I have seen human remains brandished like trophies before but in dodgy YouTube videos,” he told the Mail. “The fact that this comes from a commissioned TV series is quite beyond belief.”
The show is due to debut in the UK in May. It has not been scheduled for release in the United States.
In a statement posted on the website, National Geographic said the clip was misleading — and that the show’s production was under close supervision.
“This series operates in direct conjunction with organizations officially licensed to excavate battlefield sites and adhered to their procedures,” the statement said.
Maybe. But it doesn’t help that the company commissioned to make the program, ClearStory, has a questionable history dealing with human-body issues. ClearStory was also behind the United Kingdom reality show “Sex Box,” which features couples in troubled relationships having sex in a sound-proof box, then talking about the experience with a panel of experts.
The “Sex Box” was a hit in the U.K. and WEtv has ordered a pilot version for the American market, according to the New York Post.
If Americans will dig “Sex Box,” can the “Nazi War Diggers” be far behind?
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