"It really is," says the marketing man. "But we have got a couple of survivors, they're actually here right now and the lady from the Jewish Chronicle, and that's not bad." A flustered young woman rushes over. "Kerri wants to do some photos with the Holocaust survivors," she announces breathlessly, "and Channel 1 wants to film it. Shall I let them?"
"Well," says the BSkyB man, "I suppose so."
This is the party to celebrate the launch of the BSkyB Schindler's List exhibition at the Imperial War Museum: an "exact replica" of the permanent Schindler exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, although I assume that the Washington exhibit isn't covered in Sky TV logos, or little earnest reminders of when, exactly, Sky will be showing Schindler's List on the Movie Channel. "BSkyB has sponsored the exhibition," announces the display, solemnly, "to promote understanding of the events portrayed in the film Schindler's List, receiving its British TV premiere on Sky on 11 February 1996." It then goes on to proclaim, soberly, that there will be "further opportunities to see this prize-winning film during the following months".
Goodness, I always thought that Sky's rather annoying proclivity to milk their hit film acquisitions by constantly repeating them was a result of having no cash, rather than a serious philanthropic desire to educate their viewers in Holocaust history. Well, the scales have certainly been lifted from my eyes.
A TV news crew is on hand to document this momentous event. They film the genuine Plaszow survivor looking at the photograph of Amon Goeth. And then, in the wink of an eye, the BSkyB head of programming sidles effortlessly up to his side and announces, solemnly: "Hello. I'm David."
The survivor nods, and David holds out his hand to be shook, which he dutifully does. They continue to shake hands, while the TV news crew barges through the crowd to get a sombre close-up of the hand-shaking. Later, I ask a soundman which TV station they're from. "Sky News," he replies.
The centre piece of the exhibit is the Schindler chronology:
1941. Germans establish a Jewish ghetto in Krakow.
1962. Schindler is named "Righteous Amongst the Nations" by Yad Vashem, Israel.
1996. Schindler's List receives its satellite TV premiere on the Movie Channel.
Not really, I made the last one up. But the fact remains: the old phrase, "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." Sounds less like a philosophy today and more like a marketing strategy. And then we're herded into the cinema to watch some forthcoming Sky clips: the "best bits" of Schindler's List, including much carnage, and some of the "genocide edition" of The World at War, which will be repeated to coincide with their forthcoming Holocaust season. Back at the exhibits, situated next to some bombs and old First World War aircraft, a bunch of school children are listening to a taped explanation of aircraft diameters. "The Sopwith Camel 2FI has a wing span of 26ft 11ins, and was credited with the destruction of 1,200 enemy aircraft."
One little boy turns to another, and says, excitedly: "Wow."Reuse content