The Heart of Europe

The Heart of Europe

As European democracy comes under pressure once again, this series explores the histories that have shaped present culture and conflict across the continent. Tracing lines across the map and through time, novelists, historians and politicians examine subjects from the Ottoman empire, to the Soviet era, the East-West divide, and culture in thriving hubs today.

 

Jonathan Freedland: The Man Who Escaped Auschwitz

Saturday 13 August 13:00 - 14:00

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  • Captioned
Imagine trying to escape from Auschwitz as a teenager, hiding for three days, while 3,000 SS and their bloodhounds search for you. This is the story of Rudolf Vrba, whose report on the atrocity of Auschwitz reached Roosevelt, Churchill and the Pope,...
 

Rupert Thomson: Homage to Catalonia

Monday 15 August 10:15 - 11:15

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The New Statesman observed, ‘when someone writes as well as Thomson does, it makes you wonder why other people bother’. Barcelona Dreaming uncovers the surreal underbelly of the Ciudad Condal in three linked novellas. Thomson has lived in a number...
 

Iain MacGregor: Stalingrad Revisited

Tuesday 16 August 20:15 - 21:15

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In his acclaimed Checkpoint Charlie, Iain MacGregor sheds new light on the Cold War. Now, in The Lighthouse of Stalingrad, MacGregor unearths vital eyewitness testimonies about the battle that shaped the outcome of the Second World War. Built on...
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The Russian invasion is one of many devastating episodes for Ukraine over the past century. Serhii Plokhy is Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard and the author of The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. Today, he explores how precursors such as...
 

Kirsty Bell: If Berlin Walls Could Talk

Wednesday 17 August 12:15 - 13:15

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When her marriage ended, art critic Kirsty Bell set out to write a portrait of Berlin from an unexpected vantage point: her house on the city's Landwehr Canal. The Undercurrents spirals out into a new way of mapping the city, taking in stories of past...
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Parisian writer Jakuta Alikavazovic’s familial connection to the 1990s war in Yugoslavia once felt remote, but she now realises ‘I too have been shaped by the war’. Her novel, Night as It Falls, explores how traumas of the past can haunt young...
 

Marc David Baer: The World Was Theirs

Saturday 20 August 10:15 - 11:15

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At the height of their power, the Ottoman sultans governed almost a quarter of Europe’s land mass. During the Renaissance they were Europe’s biggest trading partner and even Henry VIII liked to dress in Ottoman styles. Find out how the Eastern...
 

Chitra Ramaswamy: Homelands

Sunday 21 August 13:00 - 14:00

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One of three major performances this year looking at today’s Scotland. Homelands is the new memoir by Chitra Ramaswamy and tells the story of the author’s friendship with Henry Wuga, who arrived in 1939 with the Kindertransport fleeing Nazi Germany....
 

Simon Parkin: A Prison of Luminaries

Monday 22 August 13:00 - 14:00

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In 1940, the British government ordered the internment of all German refugees in a camp on the Isle of Man. Behind the barbed wire were large numbers of talented experts and artists, who soon transformed the camp into a centre of creative endeavour....