Actress Helena Bonham Carter. Photo: Sbclick via Flickr.
Actress Helena Bonham Carter discovered that her grandfather helped thousands of French Jews escape the Holocaust in a new TV series starting next week in the United Kingdom.
“My Grandparents’ War,” a four-part series, has Hollywood stars “undertake a fascinating journey into their family’s past by retracing the footsteps of their grandparents” during World War II, according to the show’s synopsis.
The show, produced by British indie Wild Pictures, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.
In one episode, Carter, 53, who is Jewish on her mother’s side, learns that her maternal grandfather, Eduardo Propper de Callejon, was a Spanish diplomat who went against his government and helped Jews escape the Holocaust during the Nazi invasion of France, reported Jewish News. The actress also finds out that her British paternal grandmother, a mother of four and liberal politician, fought anti-Semitism as a volunteer air-raid warden.
She said about the discoveries she made that “part of me feels like this was just the beginning because this whole thing was a gift for me.”
“For me, my family is extraordinary,” she added. “I was born too late, and they died too soon, so for me it was like I met them properly and had a conversation with them, and I also want to carry on conversing with my mum. The conversations that I’ve started, I feel like there’s a lot more. I’m almost evangelical in saying that it’s one of the most important things I’ve done.”
During the episode, Bonham Carter also interviews her maternal grandmother and states for the record, “We should have all our children and grandchildren talk to [our] parents, and there should be this handing down. What also struck me is that there is all this silence around trauma, so it needs time for people to make sense of it. It’s the time for people to speak and for us to find out.”