Earlier, I was pointing out how hard it is actually to bring something new to the table when producing a documentary about WWII. Well, History Channel proposes now some Hunting Hitler series, titled season 1 (how long could it go?).

Where does that even come from? Apparently, it started with recently declassified US Intelligence reports of Hitler being exiled in Argentina, instead of being dead in a bunker in Berlin. We remember that the Red Army entered Berlin so we can assume we don’t know anything for sure. And now we’re shown some official documents about Hitler being spotted somewhere in south america or about how he could have escaped.

It studies what is possible, what was of obvious interest for Intelligence services, and then it concludes it’s plausible, which is a bit too much.

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If you remove this bit too much, I guess you dont have enough to make a full series, you’be just adding hypothesis one after the other. I haven’t watched the whole series right now, only half: but I haven’t watched or heard one sure thing.

Worse, these wild hypothesis sometimes are backed by flawed deductions. For instance, they state there is no tracks of the death of Hitler in the bunker (only DNA sample available is not his, etc) and that would be a proof that he is not dead. If we admit this (lack of proofs) as true, I can nonetheless think of a dozen of possibilities as to why there would be none. For years, Hitler was made into a cult, how does it not make sense, if he were to die for sure, and definitely not in some glorious way, to intentionally cast some shadow, nacht und nebel, around it?

Beside from the declassified reports, we are also told that revolutionary new software contributes to new leads. How? We are for instance presented this “NIAD Nazi Interrogation Archiv Datenbank. It’s my understanding that it slurps massive amount of data, archives/declassified documents, and suggests some connections otherwise missed.

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The interface of this software is all eye-candy, with no practical use or meaning. So maybe they devoted time -money- in software development to get a shiny modern eye-candy useless graphical layout; maybe they made the layout up just for the benefit of the show, which would be confusing for a show supposed to shed some light on History. Both options are kind of lame.

Deep down, their software must be an optical character recognition tool, storing sensible strings in database, then being able to do some smart grep in this database. None of this makes for an eye-candy user interface, the concern should  be about how to scan the data and how to pick and select sensible strings. If you want to get something out of all of it, you have to discriminate data, heavily so you limit the number of results.

But from what we watch  here, they can just type two words and get less than ten documents selected out of hundred or thousands. This is clearly unlikely – for once, it is not a matter of being plausible, that is not even possible. So I’d be really curious to see what is actually this NIAD.

I’m not saying that it is all horseshit. There might be such software. It is just not what we have on screen. And I don’t get the point of pretending to document History while making it obscure to make it more sexy.

To sum up, this series is worth being checked if you are curious about post-war nazis exiles, about how CIA documents such topics,  about seeing a bunch of guys travelling around asking question to old people or testing fancy gadget to find maybe some uncovered ruins. That is about all. A policeman shines a light upon my shoulder

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