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Our guest on 30.11.2008

Guido Knopp, Journalist and Historian


Guido Knopp is a well-known German TV journalist, publisher and historian who,has produced and presented several series focusing on Hitler and the Nazi era, such as "Hitler's Henchmen" or Hitler's Women".

He is the head of the contemporary history department at ZDF, one of Germany's public broadcasters and has covered a wide range of topics including German Reunification and recently an ambitious 10-part series on the advent of the German nation entitled simply "The Germans", asking the question: who are we? and where do we come from?

Guido Knopp is one of Germany's most famous historians, making a name for himself on German national TV with documentaries on Germany's recent past such as "Hitler's Henchmen" , aired in 1998, and "Hitler's Women" , also profiling leading Nazi military strategists such as Wilhem Keitel, Erich Manstein, Friedrich Paulus and Rommel.

His programmes have a far reach, making history accessible to audiences who would otherwise be uninterested. But he has also been the target of sharp criticism, with other renowned historians accusing him of trivialising his subject matter to boost TV ratings, although they mostly acknowledge his in-depth research. His detrators were especially unhappy with a six-part series analysing Hitler from diverse angles, which received ambivalent reviews in the German press.

Apart from his documentaries, Professor Knopp has also entered the realm of fictional historical drama in "The Third World War", projecting what might have happened if the popular uprisings that swept central and eastern Europe in the late 80s had not remained peaceful. Germany's post-war history has also been the subject of his work, highlighting German Chancellors and their achievements from 1949 to 1998.

Guido Knopp studied history, politics and journalism in Frankfurt, Würzburg and Amsterdam, working for several German newspapers before joining Germany's ZDF public broadcaster in 1978 and building up the TV channel's historical documentary division.

Guido Knopp's wife Gabriella is a Hungarian teacher who studied German and Slavic Languages in Moscow and Leipzig. He has four children, plays the cello and is fluent in English and Italian.

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