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Witness History: Witness Archive 2015

BBC World Service

History as told by the people who were there. All the programmes from 2015.



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Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 31, 2015 BBC World Service
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There was a frenzy of celebrations on New Year's Eve 1999. But amid the partying, there was also some anxiety over the effects of a potential global computer meltdown, the so-called Millennium Bug - or Y2K. (Photo: The White House Y2K Crisis Centre in Washington in 1999. Credit : AP)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 30, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1935, Alexei Stakhanov, a coal miner, became a Soviet celebrity. He invented a more efficient coal production method and started a movement to encourage innovation amongst Soviet workers. His daughter, Violetta Stakhanova, tells Dina Newman about her father's achievements and his eventual downfall. Photo: Alexei Stakhanov at work, 1935. Credit: Stakhanov family
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 29, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1916, the infamous mystic, Grigori Rasputin, was murdered by Russian aristocrats. Rasputin, a Siberian peasant and wandering holy man, had become a powerful figure at the Russian Imperial court. The Czar and his wife believed Rasputin had special powers that could heal their son, who was suffering from haemophilia. Using written accounts and archive recordings of those who had met Rasputin, we tell the story of the 'Mad Monk'. (Photo: Grigori Rasputin, Russian monk and courtesan....
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 28, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1846, a group of pioneers were trying to reach California by wagon train when they were trapped by snow over the winter - and some were forced to eat each other to survive. Their gruesome story has become a legend of the American West. PHOTO: The slopes of Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada range, near Lone Pine, California, USA. 20/04/2008.
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 25, 2015 BBC World Service
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On Christmas Day 2003, an unmanned British space craft called Beagle 2 was due to touch down on Mars and begin searching for evidence of life. The mastermind of the mission, Professor Colin Pillinger, had helped to generate huge public interest in Beagle 2. But the lander failed to communicate and was presumed lost. It was discovered on the surface of Mars in January 2015, less than a year after Professor Pillinger’s death. Rob Walker has been delving into the BBC’s archives to hear...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 24, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1946, the classic Christmas film "It's a Wonderful Life" had its premiere in Hollywood. Starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie's message of hope and redemption is loved by millions. Simon Watts talks to former child star, Karolyn Grimes, who played six-year-old Zuzu Bailey. PHOTO: Karolyn Grimes with Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" (Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 23, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1982 the world's best selling album was released. Thriller included hits such as Beat It, Billie Jean and Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' as well as the title track. Witness speaks to Anthony Marinelli who worked on the seminal album. (Photo: Michael Jackson and assorted zombies in the video for Thriller in 1983, publicity handout)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 22, 2015 BBC World Service
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One of the 20th century's most scandalous books was published in 1955. Lolita, by Russian émigré Vladimir Nabokov, tells the story of the relationship between middle-aged Humbert Humbert and teenager Dolores Haze - known as Lolita. (Photo: Visitors look over a poster of Lolita by Stanley Kubrick during the 'Palazzo delle Esposizioni' exhibition in Rome, 2004. Credit: Vincenzo Pinton/AFP/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 21, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1945, one of America's most famous miltary commanders, General George S Patton, died from injuries sustained in a car crash, just months after the end of the Second World War. Witness talks to his grandson, George Patton Waters, about his memories of this colourful and often unorthodox man. Photo: General George Patton in Paris in August 1945 to celebrate the first anniversary of the city's liberation. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 18, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1995, the first disability rights legislation was passed by India's parliament. An estimated 60 million people, almost six percent of India's population, are affected by physical or mental disabilities. Witness been speaking to Javed Abidi who led the campaign to change the law. Photo: Disability rights campaigners protest in Delhi, December 19th 1995. Credit: Javed Abidi)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 17, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the mid-1970s, English classical actor Anthony Daniels was asked to audition for a role as a droid in a new science fiction film by a little-known Hollywood director. The film turned out to be Star Wars and the director, George Lucas. Star Wars went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of all time; while Anthony Daniels turned C3PO into one of the most famous robots in cinema history. (Photo: Anthony Daniels with C3PO. Credit: Associated Press)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 16, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1974, a Hungarian architect, Ernő Rubik invented his best selling puzzle. Over the next forty years, more than 350 million Rubik's Cubes were sold all over the world. Mr Rubik tells Dina Newman how he came up with the idea and how it became a global phenomenon. Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 15, 2015 BBC World Service
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When Bangladesh fought for independence from Pakistan, thousands of Pakistani troops were sent to fight in what was then called East Pakistan. Shujaat Latif was sent to the town of Jassore where he fought, and then surrendered. He spent two and a half years as a prisoner-of-war. Hear his story. Photo: Indian army soldiers fire on Pakistani positions, December 15th 1971. Credit: AFP/Getty Images.
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 14, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1960, while the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, was out of the country, his Imperial Bodyguard took over the capital Addis Ababa and proclaimed his son the new emperor. We speak to Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate, the grand nephew of Haile Selassie, about the coup. Dr Asfa-Wossen is the author of King of Kings, a new history of Haile Selassie's rule. Photo: Emperor Haile Selassie in the Royal Palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, circa 1960. (Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 11, 2015 BBC World Service
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On December 11th 1965, seminal alternative rock band the Velvet Underground played their first gig at a high school in New Jersey. Rob Norris was there. Picture credit: Getty Images - c1968 - Lou REED and John CALE and VELVET UNDERGROUND (photo by Charlie Gillett Collection/Redferns)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 10, 2015 BBC World Service
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In December 1965, three members of the Ku Klux Klan were found guilty over the murder of white civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo, in one of the first successful prosecutions of its kind in the United States. Viola Liuzzo was killed on the final day of the Selma to Montgomery march, when thousands of civil rights activists marched to demand that blacks be allowed to register to vote. Witness talks to one of the lawyers involved in the landmark case. Photo: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Beaufort,...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 9, 2015 BBC World Service
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After the Taliban fell from power in Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, the hunt for Osama bin Laden began in earnest. One American in particular led the search. He was CIA commander, Gary Berntsen, who had been tracking the al-Qaeda leader for years. In December 2001 he ordered a small group of special forces soldiers and Afghan fighters into the White Mountains close to Pakistan in the hope of cornering bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora. (Photo: Afghan fighters look out over a smoking...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 8, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1915, an Anglo-Indian attempt to capture Baghdad from the Ottoman empire ended in disaster. Thousands of British and Indian troops spent five months besieged in the small town of Kut, south of Baghdad, until they were forced to surrender to Ottoman forces. Only half of those taken prisoner survived their captivity. Hear archive recordings of those who took part in Britain's Mesopotamia campaign. (Photo: Troops of the Ottoman Empire on their way to Kut, Mesopotamia, September 1915. Credit:...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 7, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1984 a group of lesbians and gay men organised a benefit concert to support striking coal-miners. They sent the money they raised to a mining village in Wales. The miners' strike was the biggest industrial dispute in British history. Hear from Mike Jackson one of the gay men inspired by the miners' struggle. Photo: Campaign activists on the 1985 Lesbian & Gay Pride march. Credit: Colin Clews
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 4, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the 1980s Angola was a front line in the Cold War between communism and the West. In 1987 tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers were sent to the Southern African country to support the Marxist government in its fight against UNITA rebels who were backed by South Africa and the USA. Alberto Lahens was a young special forces officer who was flown from Cuba to Africa to take part in the fighting. (Photo: Cuban fighters in Angola. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 3, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 3 December 1967, two brothers carried out the world's first heart transplant operation. Christiaan and Marius Barnard were both working as surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa. Christiaan Barnard led the team which carried out the transplant. In 2009 Marius Barnard spoke to Witness about the operation, and about his relationship with his older brother. (Photo: Leader of the heart transplant team Christiaan Barnard. Credit: Press Association)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 2, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 7 December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Thousands of American servicemen died in a raid which brought their country into World War Two. Former Navy mechanic, Adolph Kuhn, tells Witness how he survived. (Photo: The USS Arizona sinking at Pearl Harbor. Credit: Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Dec 1, 2015 BBC World Service
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How a devastating air raid on the Italian port of Bari during World War Two led to the deadly release of mustard gas. Winston Churchill ordered the incident to be kept secret for years. We hear from Peter Bickmore BEM, who was injured during the raid. (Photo: Seventeen Allied ships go up in flames in Bari, Italy, after a raid by German bombers on 2 December 1943. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 30, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1984 General Muhammadu Buhari's military regime launched an unusual campaign to clean up Nigeria. Under the policy, Nigerians were forced to queue, be punctual and obey traffic laws. The punishments for infractions could be brutal. Veteran Nigerian journalist Sola Odunfa recalls the reaction in Lagos to the War Against Indiscipline. Photo: The Oshodi district of Lagos, 2008 (AFP/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 26, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the 1940s the Royal Navy intercepted dozens of Jewish refugee ships trying to reach British-controlled Palestine. It was part of British government policy to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine. Witness hears from Alan Tyler who served as an officer onboard HMS Chevron, patrolling the Mediterranean sea. (Photo: The ship 'Jewish State' docking at Haifa in October 1947. The Jewish refugees on board were sent to Cyprus by the British authorities. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 26, 2015 BBC World Service
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In November 1938, the SS commander Heinrich Himmler ordered the construction in Nazi Germany of the only concentration camp built specifically for women. It would be called Ravensbruck. Selma van der Perre tells Witness about the horrors of life in Ravensbruck, including experiments on women and children, and how she survived. Photograph: women at Ravensbruck concentration camp (Credit: Das Bundesarchiv)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 25, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the 1990s the Cuban economy came close to collapse after the fall of the Soviet Union. The end of the millions of dollars in Soviet aid meant power cuts and severe food shortages on the Caribbean island. Some of the first private businesses started up under communism. We hear from Juan Carlos Montes, who opened a small restaurant at home to make ends meet, but was arrested by the communist authorities. (Photo: Due to severe fuel shortages in the 1990s, a Cuban peasant is forced to use oxen...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 23, 2015 BBC World Service
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In November 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a plane flying from the US city of Portland to nearby Seattle. He demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. ‘Cooper’ later jumped from the aircraft and has never been seen again. The case remains one of America's biggest criminal mysteries. We hear from the co-pilot on the flight, Bill Rataczak. (Photo: Artist sketches of D.B. Cooper. Credit: FBI)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 20, 2015 BBC World Service
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In late November 1979, a mob inspired by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini set fire to the US Embassy in Islamabad. Those inside fled to the steel lined safe-room to await rescue, which took several hours to come. We hear from Marcia Gauger, an American reporter who was trapped inside. Photo: Pakistani troops resting outside the burnt out US Embassy in Islamabad 1979 (BBC)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 19, 2015 BBC World Service
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In autumn 1953, a new literary magazine was launched in London that would become the magazine of choice of the English-speaking liberal intelligentsia. The magazine was called Encounter. And fourteen years later, it would emerge, it had been funded by the CIA as part of a cultural Cold War. Photograph: British poet Sir Stephen Spender, co-editor of Encounter, a year after he resigned when it became clear the magazine had received CIA funding (credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 18, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1973, Erica Jong, a young feminist author from New York, wrote a groundbreaking novel about female sexuality, called Fear of Flying. Photo courtesy of Erica Jong
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 17, 2015 BBC World Service
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Indian film star Shabana Azmi remembers playing a lesbian in the controversial Bollywood film, Fire, in 1998. (Photo: Shabana Azmi. Credit: AFP)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 16, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1986, dozens of Kenyans were detained and accused of belonging to an underground opposition movement called Mwakenya. They were taken to Nyayo House - a government building in the centre of Nairobi - and secretly tortured. Many more were arrested by President Moi’s government in the years that followed. But it was not until he left office that the full details of Kenya’s torture chambers emerged. Witness speaks to Wachira Waheire one of the former detainees. (Photo: Wachira Waheire...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 13, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 13 November 2001, the Taliban administration collapsed in Afghanistan. Northern Alliance fighters, aided by American air strikes, had driven the Islamic fundamentalists from power. Monica Whitlock has been speaking to Afghan writer, Aziz Hakimi about life under Taliban rule. (Photo: Residents of Kabul listening to music on the radio in November 2001. Credti: Associated Press)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 12, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 12 November 1991, Indonesian troops opened fire on independence activists in East Timor's capital, Dili. British cameraman Max Stahl filmed the attack on unarmed demonstrators in the Santa Cruz graveyard. (Photo: East Timorese activists preparing for the demonstration. Copyright: Max Stahl)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 11, 2015 BBC World Service
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Romany of the BBC was a pioneer naturalist broadcaster of Roma Gypsy origin. His programmes were popular in the UK in the 1930s and 40s. Dina Newman explores his life and his work. Photo: Romany and his spaniel Raq. From the family archive
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 10, 2015 BBC World Service
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Following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, India was gripped by anti-Sikh riots. Thousands of people were killed. One Delhi suburb, Trilokpuri, saw the worst of the bloodshed. Hear from survivor, Mohan Singh, and Rahul Bedi, one of the first journalists to reach the affected area. PHOTO: Mohan Singh in his home in Delhi (Credit :BBC)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 9, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 9 November 2005, three hotels in Jordan's capital were targeted by suicide bombers. Nearly 60 people were killed in the country's worst terror attack. BBC journalist Caroline Hawley was in one of the bombed hotels and she has returned to Jordan on the 10th anniversary of the bombings to speak to a couple whose wedding celebration was torn apart by a suicide bomber. (Photo: Nadia al-Alami and Ashraf al-Akhras on their wedding day, before the attack. Courtesy of the family)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 6, 2015 BBC World Service
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In November 1975, a huge crowd of Moroccans marched into the desert colony of Spanish Sahara to claim it from Madrid. About 350,000 people took part in the Green March, which is now considered one of the key events in the history of Morocco and the wider region. Seddik Maâninou covered the Green March for Moroccan TV. (Photo: The Green March. Credit: Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 6, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 7 November 1917 Lenin and his Bolshevik party overthrew the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky. Dina Newman presents Kerensky's comments from the BBC archive. (Photo: Demonstrators gather in front of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, formerly St Petersburg, during the 1917 Russian Revolution. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 5, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October and November 1942, the Allies fought a famous battle against German and Italian troops close to the small Egyptian village of El Alamein. General Bernard Montgomery, the British commander, knew that victory was crucial. But his offensive was in danger of stalling almost as soon as it began. Witness speaks to Len Burritt who was then a 24 year old wireless operator with the British Seventh Armoured Division. (Photo: A German tank is knocked out and British troops rush up with fixed...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 3, 2015 BBC World Service
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Using archive recordings we tell the story of Britain's most famous hangman. During the 1940s and 50s, he was responsible for the execution of some of Britain's most notorious murderers and was sent to Germany to hang more than 200 Nazi war criminals after WW2. He said he was always determined to treat prisoners with dignity and respect whatever their crime. He initially appeared to support the abolition of the death penalty. Photo: Albert Pierrepoint at home, 1973 (Credit: Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Nov 2, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the 1930s, many parts of Britain were suffering the effects of the Great Depression. But conditions were particularly harsh in the town of Jarrow, in the north-east of England. In 1936, two hundred men marched the 300 miles from Jarrow to London to protest against mass unemployment and to demand that new industries be established in their town. They called it the Jarrow Crusade. Witness delves into the BBC archives to hear the voices of the marchers. (Photo: Marchers on the Jarrow Crusade....
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 30, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1930, the USSR created a Jewish Autonomous Region in Siberia, as a homeland for Soviet Jews. Dina Newman talks to someone who grew up there. Photo: Birobidzhan, the Jewish capital. Courtesy of Birobidzhan Regional Museum
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 29, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1929, Wall Street crashed and the greatest depression the world had ever seen began. Harry Leslie Smith tells Witness his story of growing up in extreme poverty in the north of England, and how his sister died of TB in a workhouse infirmary, too poor for proper medical care. Photo: unemployed men queue for work at a dockyard during the Great Depression (Credit:Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 28, 2015 BBC World Service
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World-famous prima ballerina Alicia Alonso talks to Witness about her long and successful career on the stage, and how in 1959 she founded the prestigious Cuban National Ballet. (Photo: Alicia Alonso courtesy of A. Alonso)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 27, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1945 the English physicist was exposed as a nuclear spy for the Soviet Union. Alan Nunn May had been working on Britain's top-secret nuclear project during WW2. Witness hears from his step-son, Paul Broda. (Photo: Alan Nunn May. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 24, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1945, countries ratified the founding charter of a new organsation, the United Nations, that it was hoped would ensure there was never a world war again. Earlier that year thousands of delegates from around the world had met in San Francisco to hammer out the charter. Witness talks to two people who worked for the UN that year; and to historian Stephen Schlesinger. Photo: a delegate from Saudi Arabia addresses the UN's founding conference in San Francisco (Credit: the UN)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 23, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1975, 90% of all women in Iceland took part in a nationwide protest over inequality. Vigdis Finnbogadottir, later Iceland's first female president, talks about that momentous day. (Photo Credit: The Icelandic Women's History Archives)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 22, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1995 during Sri Lanka's brutal civil war Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a remote Sinhalese village. Witness hears from a survivor and from journalist, Amal Jayasinghe. Some listeners might find parts of the programme disturbing. (Photo: Villagers flee Kotiyagala in Sri Lanka's southeast. Credit: Sena VIDANAGAM/AFP/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 21, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1990, Professor Denys Brunsden of King's College, London, was one of the first Western scientists to confirm the shrinking of the Aral Sea. Dina Newman spoke to Prof Brunsden. (Photo: Abandoned Ship in Aralsk, Kazakhstan. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 20, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1923 the entire cast of a Yiddish play was arrested in New York and charged with staging an immoral performance. Written by the celebrated Polish-Jewish writer Sholem Asch, 'God of Vengeance' is set in a brothel and deals with themes such as prostitution, religion and corruption. David Mazower, the playwright's great-grandson, speaks about the controversy. (Photo: Sholem Asch, left, with Russian playwright Maxim Gorky,1920s. Courtesy of David Mazower)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 19, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1968, US troops in South Vietnam discovered the victims of a Communist offensive in the old imperial capital, Hue. Much of the city had been overrun by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong guerillas during the Tet offensive. During the occupation, hundreds, possibly thousands, linked to the South Vietnamese regime were executed. We hear from Phil Gioia, from the 82nd Airborne Division, who discovered one of the first graves. (Photo: A South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 16, 2015 BBC World Service
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When French-speaking separatists in the Canadian province of Quebec turned violent, Canada's government called the army onto the streets. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau suspended basic civil rights and a stand-off ensued. (Photo: A soldier guarding a street corner in Montreal in October 1970. Credit: Associated Press)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 15, 2015 BBC World Service
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Bengali film director Satyajit Ray has been described as one of the most influential directors in world cinema, with acclaimed US director Martin Scorsese among those crediting him as an inspiration. Early on in his career, Satyajit Ray released the Apu trilogy. The series followed the life of a man Apu from his childhood growing up in rural Bengal to adulthood. The films garnered critical acclaim, winning many awards worldwide. Soumitra Chatterjee, the actor who played the title character in...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 14, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1943, at the height of World War Two, most of the Jews in Denmark evaded Nazi plans to send them to death camps. They were warned about a planned round-up by a German diplomat. Hear the story of Bent Melchior who was 14 years old when his family made the journey to safety in neutral Sweden. (Photo: Bent Melchior, aged 15 and living in Sweden)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 13, 2015 BBC World Service
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A Russian refugee, Olga Rossi-Hawkes, speaks to Dina Newman about life in Shanghai after her family fled the Russian revolution in 1917. (Photo: Avenue Edward VII in Shanghai in 1930s. Credit: AP)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 12, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 12 October 1915 a British nurse was executed by German troops during World War One. Her death made her a propaganda icon for Britain and its allies. (Photo: Edith Cavell in 1890. Credit:Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 9, 2015 BBC World Service
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in 1965, Britain was shocked by a series of child murders. The children had been killed by a young couple, Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley. They buried their victims in remote moorland in the north of England. Photo: Police and volunteers search for bodies on Saddleworth Moor in October 1965. (AP Photo)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 8, 2015 BBC World Service
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On 8 October 2005 a massive earthquake hit Pakistani-administered Kashmir. It left 87,000 people dead and more than four million homeless. Tariq Naqqash is a journalist based in Muzaffarabad, the city worst affected by the quake. (Photo: Collapsed houses in Muzaffarabad. Credit: Associated Press)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 7, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1981, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was assassinated as he attended a military parade in Cairo. His widow Jehan, who was there, remembers that day; and tells Witness that she always knew he would be killed for being the first Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Photograph: President Anwar Sadat (right) and his then deputy, Hosni Mubarak, at the military parade where moments later Sadat was gunned down by four army officers. (Credit: AFP PHOTO/AFP/GettyImages)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 6, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1985 government scientists discovered anti-freeze in bottles of fine Austrian wine. No one died, or fell ill from drinking the poisoned wine, but the country's reputation as a wine-producing nation was seriously dented. We hear from Heidi Schroek, a young Austrian wine-maker at the time. (Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 5, 2015 BBC World Service
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Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans were captured by pirates known as the Barbary corsairs. Many spent the rest of their lives in slavery in North Africa. We hear the account of one English boy, Thomas Pellow, who was a slave of the Moroccan Sultan, Moulay Ismail, for 23 years. (Photo: Corsairs attack a ship off the Barbary Coast of North Africa, circa 1700. A lithograph by Collette. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 2, 2015 BBC World Service
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In October 1985 the Hollywood superstar became the most high profile celebrity to acknowledge he was suffering from Aids. Fellow actor Angie Dickinson remembers her friend. (Photo: Rock Hudson at the BBC)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Oct 1, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the autumn of 2005 a Danish newspaper published 12 images of the Prophet Muhammad. The pictures shocked local muslims, and went on to cause outrage around the world. Hear from Danish journalist Flemming Rose who published them, and Imran Shah a spokesman for the Danish Islamic Society. (Photo: Pakistani protestors burn a Danish flag in Multan, Pakistan. Credit: AP)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 30, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1996 a group of veteran musicians made an album that changed the image of Cuban music for ever. Some of the artists had come out of retirement for the occasion. Laoud-player, Barbarito Torres, remembers that ground-breaking recording session in Havana and his excitement at playing on the very first Buena Vista Social Club album, which went on to sell millions of copies around the world. (Photo: Members of the Buena Vista Social Club outside Carnegie Hall, July 1998. Credit: Donata Wenders)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 29, 2015 BBC World Service
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Daisuke Inoue was playing in a band in Kobe Japan in 1971 when he invented the Karaoke machine. He came up with the idea for a customer who wanted to impress business clients by singing along to his favourite songs. (Photo: Heather from Eastenders sings karaoke)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 28, 2015 BBC World Service
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The area which had housed Afghanistan's traditional musicians for generations was destroyed during factional fighting in 1992. Ustad Ghulam Hossain, master of the rubab instrument, had to flee the city with his family. Monica Whitlock has spoken to him about the music and the traditions which have been lost in the rubble. With thanks to Mirwaiss Sidiqi. Photo: Ghulam Hossain with his rubab.
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 25, 2015 BBC World Service
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In the 1970s, the psychedelic Czech rock band played an unexpected role in the resistance to communist rule. Their imprisonment by the authorities prompted playwright, Václav Havel, to form the human rights group, Charter 77. The organisation was at the forefront of the Velvet Revolution which led to the downfall of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989. (Photo: Vratislav Brabenec (centre) and the Plastic People of the Universe in the 1970s. Credit: Redferns)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 24, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1966 the Belgian singer-songwriter suddenly announced on stage that he was going to stop performing. At the time, he was world famous, having sold tens of millions of records around the globe. The song Ne Me Quitte Pas was among his many hits. We hear from his daughter, France Brel. (Photo: Jacques Brel in Paris in October 1966. Credit: AFP)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 22, 2015 BBC World Service
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In 1973 a Bronx DJ, known as Kool Herc, held a block party which would help change American music for ever. Hear DJ Kool Herc's story of that first all-nighter, and what happened next. Photo: DJ Kool Herc. Credit: Getty Images.
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 21, 2015 BBC World Service
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Jamaica’s musicians have had a profound impact on modern music. It’s best known for Reggae, but before that came Ska. Many of the early Ska stars came from an orphanage in Kingston, The Alpha Boys school. It was run by nuns who were keen to teach the children music, but they couldn’t have known that so many of the Alpha old boys would end up on the world’s stage. (Photo: Eddie 'Tan Tan' Thornton playing in London. Credit: Howard Denner/Photoshot/Getty Images)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 18, 2015 BBC World Service
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In an act of defiance during World War Two, starving musicians in the besieged city of Leningrad performed Shostakovich's new Seventh Symphony. The piece was composed especially for the city, which had been cut off and surrounded by invading Nazi troops. During the siege an estimated one million civilians died from starvation, exposure, and the bombardment by German forces. Hear archive recordings of Ksenia Matus who played the oboe in the orchestra, and hear from Sarah Quigley, the author of a...
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 17, 2015 BBC World Service
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We hear from farmer Michael Eavis, who began the Glastonbury music festival in 1970 and whose family still runs it today. (Photo: The first Glastonbury festival on Worthy Farm in 1970)
Witness History: Witness Archive 2015
Sep 16, 2015 BBC World Service
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In September 1978 in the heat of Iran's revolution, the country's top musicians decided to join the popular uprising. After the massacre of demonstrators by the Shah's armed forces in Jaleh Square, state employed musicians went underground and started recording revolutionary songs. These songs became some of the most iconic in recent Iranian history. Bijan Kamkar remembers how the group secretly produced music in a basement. (Photo: Bijan Kamkar, on the far left, with a group of Iranian...