SheViews – Medicine Woman

February 27, 2018

If you are looking for something different to watch on TV tonight you can again turn to the kings of documentaries SBS at 7.30 and watch another in their latest series of Who Do You Think You Are?

The subject?  Jane Seymour, the British actress probably best known as Bond girl Solitaire (in 1973’s Live and Let Die) and as the star of the US TV series Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg (Her manager gave her the name Jane Seymour), her mother was Dutch, while on her father’s side of the family she has Polish-Jewish roots.

As so often with this series, Jane Seymour found memories, but heartbreaking ones, unlike EastEnders actor Danny Dyer who a few weeks back was shown tracking the  history of his tough working-class family in the East End of London back through an extraordinary lineage stretching to the Norman conquest with at least one king.

Jane, who now  lives in a villa in Malibu said she really cared about memories, adding she was interested in the women of her family and chose to follow the stories of two Jewish great aunts, Jadwiga and Michaela, and their experiences of Nazi occupation.

This required a journey to Warsaw for a meeting with local experts who were able to pinpoint her great aunts’ lives with remarkable accuracy.

As usual with this series, while the subject is going on a family journey, viewers get fascinating peeks into the details of history: the section on the Warsaw courthouse, for example, with one door into the Jewish ghetto and another onto the Aryan side – through which Jadwiga made an amazing escape – was fascinating.

Despite fleeing the Nazis, Jadwiga lost her husband and family and, after joining up with Michaela in Switzerland, committed suicide.

Jane went to the woodland spot where her great-aunt’s body was found. “If there’s any consolation, she picked one of the most beautiful spots … We can only hope she found peace in the end,”she said.

As so often with this series, she had found memories, but heartbreaking ones.

 

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