tv Focus on Europe PBS December 24, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
on europe." i'm damien mcguinness. thanks very much for joining us. today's show is all about individual people, who stand out in the crowd, by standing up for what they believe in. at the age of 82, poland's oldest model proves that age is no barrier to being beautiful. her modelling career has taken off, and she says, "i want to give older people hope, that they can still follow their dreams, when they're as old as i am." >> when i was working in moscow about 5 years ago, anti-government street protests were gathering steam. i can remember chatting to all sorts of people, who accused
vladimir putin's government of lies and corruption. but today the opposition has pretty much dwindled away. that's partly because when fighting broke out in eastern ukraine, a lot of russians patriotically rallied behind the kremlin. and today putin is more popular than ever with voters. but there are still some examples where ordinary people take to the street to show their dissatisfaction with the authorities. >> it's a sunday ritual almost as regular as a church service. >> citizens, your activities of not an approved by the authorities. >> can't i walk to the park to go shopping? do i have to get authorization? >> live here. white we have to put up with this. >> it's a disgrace and >> the bone of contention is a wooden cross set up to mark the spot where a church is soon to be
built, and a symbol of its power. about a dozen of the new churches future congregation have been lobbying for some time. just a few meters away, some local residents strike a note road test and try to drown out hymns. >> i pray for these nonbelievers. i pray and confessed. this is a dispute between mother russia and those who destroy the state. >> those people there aren't true christians. true christians don't act like that. we live here. we take walks here, singer songs, our children play in the park. where else can they do that?
>> the residence point out there are many other new churches in the area. one plant here could cost them large piece of their park. in moscow, parks are few and far between while there are more than enough churches. they also criticize the church, saint gaining more power in russia. its power crumbs from the state, altered by the police in the media. pro-kremlin broadcaster described the residence as dangerous sectarians, the state's right to act against them. security forces arrested about 20 people out of their homes, alleging suspicion of terrorist activities. he brushes off the allegations is ridiculous. his apartment and his mothers were both searched with nomura witnesses. it was entirely illegal. >> i don't sleep well, i have a
bad heart. that morning, i had just managed to follow sleep of the doorbell rang. it was the police at 6:00 a.m. i counted seven men. >> the aim of these acts was to intimidate the people opposing this church. >> the church itself insist that the cross and the park is a symbol of christianity and that anybody who opposes it opposes the state religion. russia has no state legend. the church leaders say they're looking for a solution, but more is at stake. >> in our world, it is very important to secure the very pillar of christian scintillation here it -- civilization. russian society has gone through the time when old, traditional values have been suppressed
during the soviet union. we are trying to restore the understanding of tradition, the values of traditional families something that is very traditional here in russia. >> the protesters say it's not about traditional family values, it's about civil liberties. they have to stay vigilant, even at night during they keep watch just in case the bulldozers move in to start instruction. >> what are you accused of? >> they also have to defend the fellow protester. he was arrested during the day. the activists are stunned. othey are learning high price must be paid for civil disobedience in russia. >> we often think we know what happened in the holocaust.
it can be very difficult to find the exact details of the crimes committed. this means it's often impossible for relatives to know where or how their loved ones died. that's because the nazis were about destroy the evidence of their crimes. our reporter recently stumbled across a previously undiscovered stash of photos in hamburg. they revealed that more than he had expected. >> it all started a few months ago with an incredible find. i was in hamburg conducting research into the mass murders perpetrated by germans in eastern europe. at the archives, one of the world's most renowned holocaust experts showed me a hunting photo series. >> in the eyes of the third reich, these pictures should never have existed because they didn't want to leave behind any traces, any proof of the murder
of the european jews. >> they were taken on a single day, october 16, 1941. they show how almost 1900 jews were sent to their deaths. jews from ukrainian village were told they were to be resettled. in the photos, the german police officers overseeing the operation look as if their minds are elsewhere. at first, the jews don't seem concerned either. then we run across a photo of a mother and her young daughter. stylish, blonde, self-confident, she looks like she be -- could be my neighbor. at first, they look relaxed. then they arrive at the collection point where more and more of their belongings are taken from them. at some point, the mother realizes what's happening. she breaks down entirely.
after that, there are no more pictures. photographing executions were strictly forbidden. i am determined to find out what happened next. the only way to do that is to go to ukraine. then we drive eastwards, just as german police units did in the early 1940's. we travel from village to village. with the help of a paris-based organization, we searched the last remaining witnesses to the mass maters -- murders which took like 75 years ago. it doesn't take long to find people who witnessed such crimes. mass graves can be found in many villages here. i come to realize that the trail of blood stretches across ukraine, and it leads us to hear. the place with a mother and daughter in the picture were killed.
here we meet nikolai. he knows why we've come and leads us to the spot of the photos were taken. she was 10 at the time. he was tending cattle grazing on the meadow next to the road. he watched what happened to the jews. 75 years on, he remembers it like it was yesterday. >> the cows were grazing there and the road was here. and we saw everything. there's -- there was a pile of shoes here. >> nikolai remembers that some neighbors were standing next to the jews and asked if they could have some of their possessions. some took shoes, codes, and hats. he took a baby carriage for his little brother.
he was proud, but he did not understand what was happening. >> i brought the baby carriage home and my mother scolded me. she cried and said they just shot a child there, that was his old is your brother. take the thing away right now. she started crying again. >> meanwhile, the jews must realize they don't have long to live. the executions were taking place a few kilometers away and the sound of the shots could be heard for miles around. here, the mother and daughter took their final steps. it's almost imagine -- impossible to imagine the fear they felt it the guards now had their guns leveled during in the end, the jews barely had a stitch of clothes on them.
>> they had to remove their tops. the little girl also had to take off her coat. >> and then they were killed. these photos, taken in secret, show another message fusion. the massacre was no different. mother and daughter from the photo series tied the same way. i'm glad there are no photos of their demise. their memory still lives on, a memorial commemorates their lives and those of 1863 jews who perished here. >> it's tragic to take so many holocaust systems don't even have a grave. let me know what you think about that or any of the stories on the show. their job is to save lives because they are firemen in spain. earlier this year when they saw how migrants were drowning in the mediterranean, data center
to help. it was a heroic act. the problem is the authorities don't think so. >> somewhere between glasgow's and the turkish coast, refugees try to cross by boat. many don't make it. volunteers like manuel do with a can to save lives. he and other firefighters came here after they saw images of drowning refugees on television. >> the first thing we did when we arrived was to report to the local authorities. we said we're spanish firefighters. this is our information and address and we have a boat. if you need us, we are here as a nongovernmental organization that can offer qualified health. >> after a rescue operation in january, the greek coast guard arrested them for three days. the charges included illegal
transport of persons and illegal possession of firearms. >> would actually been given an assignment from the greek coast guard two days before they arrested us. they called and told see about a vote that had not changed position at the four hours. >> now, firefighters josé and julio can hardly believe they may be facing 10 years in prison. at the station, they practice dealing with a chemical spill. they are seasoned professionals, well-versed in the skills they need. how could such etiquette lifesavers be confused with smugglers? >> i am no criminal. i'm not and nobody says i am. it must be a mistake. we are hoping this case can be cleared up as fast as possible. >> a spanish attorney is one of
the defense lawyers in greece during the charges resulted from a 2002 eu directive aimed at bringing people smugglers to justice. >> the intention of this direct to is actually to combat all the smugglers, mafias, and organized crime that make a lot of money and profit from this ongoing crisis. that's good. what's going on is without a doubt very tragic. the problem is, you can't throw everyone who deals with migrants into one pot. >> this appears to be just what the greek courts are doing, with encouragement from acids. -- athens. >> are laws provide for harsh
penalties, especially when someone is seeking financial gain for professional people smuggling. cases where transport has taken place for other reasons are also rest in. >> but the penalties are all out of proportion, especially in the case of the spanish firefighters. >> when we got home, we started asking our families if she would go back -- we should go back. i had videos of the people we rescued. i turned the screen so everyone could see. my wife start to cry and she said if you want, go back there. and that was even after they held us in jail for three days. >> manuel, josé, and julio have no doubt whatsoever that what they did was right. >> two friends with very different local viewpoints, both in the same class of school.
in the recent austrian presidential elections, one voted for the green party candidate who narrowly won the vote, the other for the far right anti-migrant candid. she's one of many young people who chose the far right here in our correspondent to meet them both to find out why. >> they are glad to have a meeting place, even if not much is happening. an old shed next to a train station that close down long ago, that's all they have to offer young people as far as recreation is concerned. the city is broke. >> it's a dying city. more and more people are leaving. no one moves here either. >> it's the site of the mine which boasts our street is largest iron on deserves. for centuries, the city loved -- lived from mining and lived well. then came the crisis in the steel industry.
today, there are just 4000 inhabitants and their numbers are dwindling rapidly. only the old remain. no other city in austria has a higher percentage of people. the future looks bleak for youths like sabrina. >> it's a nice city and it's a nice place to live. we need jobs and there simply aren't any. if there were work, i laterally stay. >> something needs to change. that's why she voted for the right-wing populist. >> his argument is good, that they should carry out more checks on refugees coming to us. greater focus should be one of us, on austrians. >> most people think likewise. the city has belonged to the social democrats, but this time it went to the freedom party. he lost the presidential election, but only narrowly.
she thinks globally and post yields on all kinds of post -- topics on youtube. she has viewers in chile and thinks that's cool. she has no idea how to explain austrians political dividto the. >> the problem is one of opinions. opinions are dividing people, but that's hard to talk about. >> sabrina and michelle are friends. they sit together in their class on politics. the teacher talks about the cultural societies, about tolerance and mutual respect. his words fail to reach sabrina. this generation of young voters is influenced by the internet. at 16, austria has the youngest voting age in your area turnout is high among young voters in
many cast their ballots for far right candidates. their teacher believes they do it protest and to express their lack of confidence in traditional parties and in increasingly clinically uncertain times. >> it's interesting. last your students asked me to you think world war iii is coming? i had never given much thought to questions like that area a decade ago, when he would think of asking such a question. it shows that up certain pessimism is spreading, a feeling of uncertainty about what the future will bring. >> the world has grown more complex. even those in the most remote places can follow events in real time to the internet. sabrina is considering enlisting as a soldier. order and security are important to her. >> a nice house, a family, a dog. hopefully no money troubles
worries about work. that would be nice. >> she longs for an idyllic hair and ice, to escape world in turmoil. >> it's interesting that right-wing populist ernie's seem to be gaining strength the liver your. some people feel it is a reaction to an uncertain world. the question is whether voting for the far right will make the world more stable. she was originally a polish actor. she started a new career as a model. nothing unusual about that, except she is 82 years old and she was born before the second world war and has lived both through fiddler and stalin. she was a pension when common-ism in eastern europe collapsed. today she is working hard, and join a new career as one of the world's most -- oldest models,
proving you don't have to be young to be beautiful. >> it looks like a typical ad campaign featuring beautiful young women. she's also beautiful, but she's not young. to be exact, helena is 82 years old. she's one of the most sought after models in poland. a fashion designer selected her. he designs fashions for celebrities and he created this dress specifically for helena. it was a risky decision, but one that's paid off handsomely. >> the risk was worth it. we were worried. we didn't know what the reaction to the campaign would be. helena was also concerned about how she'd look compared to a young top model. the end result is so enchanting, delightful, and surprising that we are all happy with the campaign.
>> this is helena meeting with her friend eva. she has so much to tell her. her career began so late and suddenly, she's now swamped with offers did >> -- offers. lex -- you look completely different here. >> what's it like to pose alongside much younger colleagues? only once i thought i used to look like that. but then i thought, they should be thinking my god one day i'm going to look like helena. so we're even. >> with younger models, you see their ambition, not her wisdom. >> their spring and i'm the colorful autumn.
>> this music video shows that in the autumn of their lives still have much to offer. helena is really an actress and has one -- been one all her life. she is currently playing a countess in a play "the boys." it's about rebellion in a seniors home. sometimes the cast talks offstage about aging. helena remains still and focused as her makeup supplied, like a true professional. she has gone through hard times, like when she was forced into retirement by the managers at her former theater.
>> when i was 70, my last losses set i was too old for the theater. and your colleagues were wanting their turn on stage, their chance to play those roles. >> for a decade it, no one showed any interest in hiring her. then came the phone call that launched her second career at age 80. i look at it this way. i give third agers hope, even at an advanced age. you can still live the way you want to. >> she's living proof someone in their 80's can be stylish and cool. injections has led to people all
looking much the same, like they're made of plastic. fashion requires character, people who stay true to themselves and or special somehow. >> she's physically fit. she's not happy with the shot. the light is wrong, so she changes position. and then we see what else 82-year-old helena can do. >> what an amazing woman. well that's all for this week. thanks very much for watching. remember do drop me a line on twitter or email or visit our new facebook page dw stories. always great to hear from you. but for now it's goodbye from me, and the whole team here. and do join us next week for more personal stories from all over europe.