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New season of SBS's award-winning documentary collection Australia Uncovered' features four extraordinary Australian stories that will entertain, inspire and fascinate

11/01/2024

New season of SBS's award-winning documentary collection Australia Uncovered' features four extraordinary Australian stories that will entertain, inspire and fascinate

11 January, 2024

Media releases

Premiering Thursday 8 February on SBS and SBS On Demand

Australia's most compelling documentary collection, Australia Uncovered, returns to SBS and SBS On Demand on Thursday 8 February from 8:40pm with a curated strand of four captivating stand-alone documentaries that explore incredible untold Australian stories and reveal new insights into some of the biggest issues facing Australian today.

Continuing weekly on Thursday evenings, the third season of the critically acclaimed collection investigates whether the story of a young Jewish boy who became Hitler's youngest soldier was in fact true - or a Holocaust Hoax - in Hitler's Jewish Soldier?; follows brave patients and brilliant scientists in nail-biting real time as they trial an elusive therapy that could be the key to humanity's survival in Last Chance to Save a Life;invites viewers on an epic road trip with six-generation travelling show family The Bells in The Carnival; and provides exclusive access to a world-first psychedelic trial that hopes to help change the course of the global mental health epidemic in Psychedelics: Stepping into the Unknown.

SBS Head of Unscripted Joseph Maxwell said: SBS is thrilled to showcase another brilliant season of Australia Uncovered. This strand of single documentaries is made by some of Australia's best filmmakers. The four individual films take us into diverse, revealing, emotional and life-changing stories that promise to surprise and captivate our audiences.

Screen Australia's Director of Content Grainne Brunsdon said: Screen Australia is delighted to support another compelling season of Australia Uncovered. This inspiring collection of documentaries explore and celebrate contemporary Australia in ambitious and engaging ways - shining a light on important and often untold stories from a diversity of voices.

Episode 1 - Hitler's Jewish Soldier? - Thursday 8 February on SBS and SBS On Demand from 8:40pm

Dubbed The Mascot, Hitler's youngest soldier was, remarkably, a Jewish boy who hid his secret in Australia for almost fifty years before embarking on a rollercoaster ride to uncover his true identity. This is the astonishing story of Alex Kurzem, revealed for the first time in full in Hitler's Jewish Soldier? - the gripping first instalment in the new season of Australia Uncovered.

As a young boy during the Second World War, Alex Kurzem says he recalls watching from a tree as his entire village, including his family, were murdered by an execution squad. Having escaped certain death by fleeing into the frozen woods of Belorussia, Alex says he survived for several months before being captured and taken in by a Latvian battalion that was later incorporated into the SS.

Instead of killing Alex, the battalion made him their child soldier, their Mascot.' They gave him a false name, fake birth date, adorned him with a pint-sized uniform and armed him with a shorn-off rifle. When the Russians invaded and the fighting was deemed to be too dangerous, Alex was removed from the Front and fostered by a Latvian chocolatier named Jekabs Dzenis. The Dzenis family migrated to Australia in 1949, taking Alex with them.

Building a new life in Melbourne, Alex married and had three children, working in the circus before becoming a TV repairman. He kept his secret for almost fifty years, until - facing a cancer scare - he told his children his survival story.

Hitler's Jewish Soldier? investigates whether Alex's incredible survival story - as well as the discovery of his long-lost Jewish family in the late 1990s - is in fact true. As Jewish journalist and director Dan Goldberg journeys across the globe in a bid to solve the mystery of The Mascot, what unfolds is an astounding true crime-esque investigation that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Dan Goldberg, Creative Director, Mint Pictures, said: This story crossed my desk in 2012 when I was a correspondent filing for Jewish newspapers in America, Canada, Europe, and Israel. Initially it struck me as a possible Holocaust hoax, and so I travelled from Sydney to Melbourne to interview this legendary Mascot,' then in his late 70s, in person. I filed several stories about this alleged hoax, which were syndicated around the world. Like most news, the story petered out and I went back to making documentaries.

Until mid-2020 when, out of the blue, I received a call from The Mascot. What he told me triggered a moral obligation to file a new story. It quickly became evident that this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story would make a ripping feature documentary. The end result is a staggering story that provokes bigger questions about secrets and lies, fact and fiction, family, and identity.

Hitler's Jewish Soldier? is a Mint Pictures production for SBS. Principal production funding from Screen Australia and SBS. Financed with support from Screen NSW.

Episode 2 - Last Chance to Save a Life -Thursday 15 February on SBS and SBS On Demand from 8:40pm

In a world threatened by deadly antibiotic-resistant infections, new hope emerges from the unlikeliest of sources: viruses.

From the Emmy award-winning team at Genepool Productions, Last Chance to Save a Life - the compelling, intimate second documentary in Australia Uncovered - follows patients, doctors, and scientists in nail-biting real time as they experience the extraordinary potential and challenges of phage therapy;' an elusive therapy that could hold the key to humanity's survival.

Consumed by the reality of untreatable superbugs and fuelled by an unwavering determination, teams of brilliant young scientists in Melbour
LINK: https://www.sbs.com.au/aboutus/2024/01/11/new-season-of-sbss-award-win...
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