Sunday, April 9, 2017


BBC RADIO 4 Witness series

Romania’s Orphans

After the fall of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, camera crews were allowed inside Romania's state-run orphanages and children's homes for the first time. The appalling conditions shocked the world and a wave of charity workers and volunteers streamed into the country to help improve children's lives. Hundreds of children were adopted by western families. Izidor Ruckel grew up in a Romanian home for 'irrecoverable' children.

The End of Apartheid

In February 1990 the President of South Africa, FW de Klerk, began to dismantle apartheid - the system of segregation which had denied the black population basic human rights for over 40 years. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Adriaan Vlok, who was FW de Klerk's law and order minister, about the end of apartheid and about coming to terms with the crimes that had been committed in apartheid's name.

Eichmann in Argentina

In 1960 the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, was abducted in Argentina and smuggled to Israel to face trial. He had been living in Buenos Aires under an assumed name. During his time in Argentina, he had spent hours talking to Willem Sassen a Dutch journalist and Nazi sympathiser. His daughter, Saskia Sassen, remembers.

Jailed for Speaking his Mind in China

In 1957 the Chinese Communist leader Chairman Mao made a speech encouraging criticism of the Communist system, saying 'Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend'. But when one student, Harry Wu, made his views known, he ended up in prison for nearly twenty years.

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