As a modern day teenager the last place you would think to be watching Jerry Springer is on the hit BBC 1 series Who Do You Think You Are? First broadcasting on 27 August 2008 and generating 6.71 million viewers. But as the notorious chat- show host most famously known for his controversial programmes invites us in to experience and learn with him his families past, it give both a refreshing and inspiring look onto life past and present.
Despite personally being a massive history nerd, I was moved by the historic content introduced to us from very early on. Learning that Springer 71, was born in England to Jewish Parents: his father being a well sought after shoe maker (and a middle class family) that barely escaped Nazis oppression. We quickly start to establish ties back to his roots of Germany and what is now Poland. With the main emphasis on understanding where he came from, this episode really digs into not only personal history but world history with many documents, files and records being uncovered for the audience to see and to get the real feel on how life was back in the early 1930s- 1940s.
However it is hard not to be moved when during the episode Springer visits the train station in which his grandmother once boarded a train from with the destination being the concentration camp in Poland. Taking another step we see him visit one of the extermination camps and frankly this creates a harrowing mood when we see Springer become very tearful when reciting a prayer dedicated to those 6 million Jews who lost their lives.
Although there is much sadness to Springer’s story when approaching the end of the episode we need a much brighter side, when with the help of a record expert in Germany, Springer is united with a long lost cousin from Israel, and learns he has more family. Saddened by the knowledge of his past but realising that he is just a link in the chain of a great family it is clear to see that knowing about where you came from and who you think you are is just as important as being who you are.