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Family History - Paraguay

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 18 September 2010

Sandi Toksvig meets two people who travelled to research their family histories. Television executive Martin Davidson knew his German grandfather must have fought in the Second World War but was shocked when he discovered him to have been a member of the SS. He went to Berlin, Prague and Prussia to try and understand what had driven him to become such an enthusiastic and unrepentant Nazi. Sports presenter Rob Curling's father was also a soldier but served with the Gurkhas during the emergency in Malaya in the fifties. He was drawn to travel to modern day Malaysia to discover more about that period of his parents' life and the country where he himself was born.

Sandi also talks to theologian and 'freelance missionary' Margaret Hebblethwaite about why she started a hotel in southern Paraguay and how she came to write the first and only English guide book dedicated to this little known country.

Producer: Harry Parker.

  • Rob Curling

    is a presenter for ITN News, BBC and Sky Sports; He’s also well known to national TV audiences as the quiz-master for BBC 1 daytime show Turnabout. Rob was born in Kuala Lumpur just after the signing of Malayan independence. The family left Malaya at the end of the Emergency in 1960. Rob recently began to be more and more curious about his early years decided to take his mother back to Malaysia to find out about his father, his life with the Ghurkhas and Malaya in those days and to put the family photographs and stories into context.

    Find out more about Rob Curling
  • Martin Davidson

    is the BBC Commissioning Editor for History and Business Programming. As a child Martin and his family would occasionally travel to Berlin to visit his maternal grandfather who, as far as he was knew, was a retired dentist. Later Martin discovered that his grandfather had been a member of the SS before and during the war. He wrote the story in a new book entitled The Perfect Nazi.

    The Perfect Nazi. Uncovering my SS grandfather’s secret past and how Hitler seduced a generation.
    Publisher: Viking
    ISBN-10: 0670916161
    ISBN-13: 978-0670916160

    Find out more about Martin Davidson
  • Margaret Hebblethwaite

    has written many books of theology for a general readership. She is the founder of a charity called the Santa María Education Fund based in a small southern town of Paraguay where she has lived for the last ten years. She has also opened a hotel there and is the author of the newly published Bradt Guide to Paraguay.

    Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
    ISBN-10: 1841623156
    ISBN-13: 978-1841623153

    Find out more about Margaret Hebblethwaite
  • Music played in the programme

    La Nochera - Zamba (side 1, band 5)
    Performer: Luis Bordón
    LP title: Harpa Paraguaia EM 3D
    Label: Chantecler CMG 2292

    Find out more about Luis Bordón


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