‘Hunting Hitler,’ don’t follow this trail
This hokum-filled History series argues for a huge coverup
November 10, 2015
Usually, there’s no explanation for why the government would do this.
History’s new eight-episode documentary series “Finding Hitler,” which assumes that the U.S. government helped spread the story that Adolph Hitler died in 1945, at least provides an explanation of why the government would do that.
The head investigator, a former CIA man named Bob Baer, says that if people are scared by the truth, they won’t be able to sleep at night, and if they can’t sleep at night, they’ll vote you out of office.
With that finally settled, we can judge the case that “Finding Hitler” is making, at least in the one episode that was provided for review: It’s weak.
The episode is also overdramatized and underdramatic. The Hitler hunters may eventually find their target, but viewers will find little worthy of their time.
In the premiere episode, airing tonight at 10, a team of presumed experts assembles. Bob Baer, who is said to be the model for the character played by George Clooney in “Syriana,” tells the camera the reasons to believe Hitler may have escaped the bunker where he supposedly shot himself.
This episode mainly concerns itself with 700 pages of FBI documents that were declassified in 2014 and that mention supposed sightings of Hitler after the war. One document, shown over and over again, reports that Hitler might have been sheltered in Argentina in an underground bunker that could hold “hundreds of Nazis.”
“It’s now time to put boots on the ground,” says Baer.
Three other team members — Tim Kennedy, an Army Special Forces veteran who says he has hunted high-profile targets; Gerrard Williams, a journalist who has studied Nazis in the Americas; and Steven Rambam, a Nazi hunter — go to rural Argentina to investigate.
They drive to a small town that had a significant German population in the 20th century and find a local historian whose book contains a photo of citizens giving the Nazi salute.
The historian says that he knows of a home nearby with a large basement in which weapons, banner and documents were found, but he hesitates to give directions. Rambam, who prides himself on his interrogation techniques, tells the man that they will keep this confidential. Rambam says this while they’re on camera.
Kennedy tells us that the possible bunker and the network of potential accomplices are similar to things that would have been crucial in Osama bin Laden’s post-9/11 disappearance. Whether he has any inside knowledge of bin Laden is left vague.
The house indeed has a basement, which has concrete walls. As old documentary footage plays, the narrator says that innovations in underground construction flourished during the Third Reich. So people with strong basements might want to check downstairs for hidden Nazis.
The team then goes to a business owned by a man who was a known Nazi agent in Argentina. Using ground-penetrating radar, they find evidence that something unusual lies beneath the property, but they say they don’t have permission to dig.
The shaggy-dog action could be funny, but no one on screen is cracking a smile.
Most reality shows have little recaps after commercial breaks to bring channel flippers up to speed, but the recaps on this show are particularly repetitive and long.
One gets the impression that “Hunting Hitler” will continue to spin its wheels for the duration. But even if it unearths evidence of Hitler’s survival, there’s no way the government would let that information out.
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