300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC Podcasts

    • Personal Journals

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History as told by the people who were there.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    The lost Czech scrolls

    The lost Czech scrolls

    On 7 February 1964, an unusual delivery was made to a synagogue in London.
    More than 1,500 Torah scrolls, lost since the end of World War Two, were arriving from Czechoslovakia.
    The sacred Jewish texts had belonged to communities destroyed by the Nazis.
    Alex Strangwayes-Booth talks to 91-year-old Philippa Bernard about the emotional charge of that day.
    A CTVC production for the BBC World Service.
    (Photo: Philippa beside the scrolls in Westminster Synagogue. Credit: BBC)

    • 9 min
    Crimea's Soviet holiday camp

    Crimea's Soviet holiday camp

    Artek, on the shores of the Black Sea in Crimea, was a hugely popular Soviet holiday camp.
    Maria Kim Espeland was one of the thousands of children who visited every year.
    In 2014, she told Lucy Burns about life in the camp in the 1980s.
    (Photo: A group of children attending Artek. Credit: Irina Vlasova)

    • 9 min
    Russia annexes Crimea

    Russia annexes Crimea

    In 2014, Russia annexed the strategic Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, a move seen by Kyiv and many other countries as illegal.
    The crisis it caused was so acute the world seemed on the brink of a new cold war.
    In 2022, one Crimean woman told Louise Hidalgo what it was like to live through.
    (Photo: A soldier outside the Crimean parliament in 2014. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 9 min
    Whistler: Creating one of the world’s biggest ski resorts

    Whistler: Creating one of the world’s biggest ski resorts

    In 2003, Whistler Blackcomb won its bid to host the Winter Olympic Games for the first time.
    It was sixth time lucky for the Canadian ski resort which had been opened to the public in 1966.
    The mountain – which is named after the high-pitched whistle of the native marmot – has been through a lot of iterations and one man has been there to see nearly all of them.
    Hugh Smythe, known as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Whistler, has been sharing his memories of the mountain with Matt Pintus.
    (Photo: Whistler mountain. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 9 min
    Columbus Lighthouse

    Columbus Lighthouse

    In 1992, Columbus Lighthouse opened in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
    It was designed to house the ashes of explorer, Christopher Columbus.
    The huge memorial is built in the form of a horizontal cross and has 157 searchlight beams that when turned on project a gigantic cross into the sky. The light is so powerful it can be seen from over 300km away in Puerto Rico.
    Tour guide and historian, Samuel Bisono tells Gill Kearsley about the struggle to get the monument built.
    (Photo: Columbus Lighthouse. Credit: Gill Kearsley)

    • 10 min
    Trans murder in Honduras

    Trans murder in Honduras

    In June 2009, transgender sex worker and activist Vicky Hernandez was murdered in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
    The killers were never identified or punished, but in 2021 the Inter-American Human Rights Court found the Honduran state responsible for the crime. It ordered the government to enact new laws to prevent discrimination and violence against LGBT people.
    Mike Lanchin hears from Claudia Spelman, a trans activist and friend of Vicky, and the American human rights lawyer Angelita Baeyens.
    A CTVC production for the BBC World Service.
    (Photo: A protestor holds a sign saying “Late Justice is not Justice”. Credit: Wendell Escoto/AFP/Getty Images)

    • 9 min

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