tv Focus on Europe PBS June 11, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
♪ michelle henery: hello and welcome to "focus on europe." here, we give you an insight into the place where countries, the people who live there, and their destinies, intersect. i'm michelle henery. thank you for joining us. coming up on the program today -- the netherlands -- where the sale of church relics is big business. underage refugees become victims of human trafficking in italy. and, in switzerland, a man's home is his caravan. there is a small but driving jewish community in croatia here
they once formed part of yugoslavia. for centuries, it has played an important role in society, culture, and economy. the community has a cam -- accused croatia's new right-wing government of denying the crimes during world war two. tens of thousands died in the death camps known as the croatian shorts. here, we meet mr. goldstein:, -- slavko goldstein, who lost some of his family there and is fearful of the past been forgotten. >> there is not much left. slavko goldstein shows us around the memorial site at the former concentration camp. mr. goldstein: you can see some of the freight wagons, the prisoner transports. right over there. they executed people over there
on the other side. i lost my grandmother, grandfather, uncle, two cousins. one was 11 years old. the other was nine. a group of men approach. it makes slavko a little nervous. mr. goldstein: it is a provocation. >> slavko calls the security guard. things could get out of hand. mr. goldstein: they might beat someone up, or even kill somebody, god forbid. >> slavko recognizes right-wing radicals in the group. >> he is a historian. he's been to two universities right, slavko? >> film goldstein, not us!
mr. goldstein: it is awful. but there's a cop here -- and they won't do anything really bad while he is really here. x one of the men waves. to right-wingers, it means: -- this train is headed for auschwitz. the confrontation leaves slavko shaken. he is indeed a historian, and has worked to identify all those who were killed at the camp between 1941 and 1945 -- including serbs, jews, roma, and croat communists. the camp was set up and run by the croatian government, an ally of nazi germany. mr. goldstein: there were a total of 83,415 victims. this is just part of the list of the victims whose names have been registered. >> some nationalists gather in front of the opera house in the
croatian capital zagreb. the square here is named for josip broz tito, yugoslavia's first president. the protesters want the name changed. some of them play down the crimes that took place at jasenovac. others defend the wartime croatian nationalist organization, the ustae. igor vukic: it wasn't a fascist regime. it was an authoritarian and nationalist regime and they , tried to create a national state. >> croatia's jewish community opposes any attempt to minimize the crimes of the ustae. this ceremony commemorates the victims of the holocaust. the federal labor minister is here. one of her colleagues recently said that jasenovac was just a labor camp. some of the victims' names are read out.
>> lipot zora, murdered at jasenovac. >> the jewish community has been an important part of croatian society for centuries. they're outraged at attempts to water down croatia's wartime history. they've been boycotting government-sponsored memorial events. the minister's presence is unwelcome. ognjen kraus: we want the government to make the first move. we haven't had any contact with them since they came to power." -- power. >> back at tito square, some of the opera house cast and crew organize a counter-demonstration.
mr. goldstein: pure provocation. >> the counter-demonstration is shut down. slavko is pleased that some people are standing up to the nationalists. he says they're bad for croatia's image. mr. goldstein: it is getting to the point where we won't stand for it or where europe will no , longer tolerate croatia. >> he'll continue working to document and preserve the memories of the victims of jasenovac. he believes that the croatian government should do the same. michelle: church attendance in europe has been dropping over the years, with the decline especially sharp in the netherlands. a recent study found that more than 42% of dutch people have no religious affiliation. so, it's no wonder churches there are increasingly being sold off along with their , contents, which are in high
demand. we met dutch father-and-son collectors who show that despite the church dying, trade in its relics is thriving. >> the dutch village of horssen is home to fluminalis, a store like no other. here jesus figures, altars and thousands of other religious objects are awaiting new owners. harald peters: some of our nicest items include this angel with tobias, made from wood. and we bought this huge altar from a cloister here in holland. >> today customers have come from spain, to find items for a new american tv series. it takes place in the 17th century and the set dressers are searching for some suitable saints. >> nice that we can use it for our film sets. because it's very difficult to them in a church.
>> it's true. it is very -- in spain we have a lot of these, but it's very unusual to be able to -- >> to film in a church. >> and to rent it. >> replenishing his stock is easy for harald peters, as many dutch have turned their backs on religion. harald peters: we are cleaning out a church. we're starting to empty it. it's a lot of work -- about a week's worth with 5 or 6 people helping. >> over the last four decades, peters and his family have cleared out 51 monasteries, 26 cathedrals, and 81 chapels. in 2016 ad, churches are a dying breed. like many others, this abbey church had to close its doors for financial reasons. dealers can often acquire the contents of these houses of worship for a song.
harald peters: it hurts to remove the confessionals, because they really belong here. but if they have to go, they have to go. if we don't buy them, someone else will. >> but not everyone agrees. >> it's a national monument, a listed building. i can't do that. >> meanwhile, the film crew is still looking for props. harald peters and his father joannes try to fulfill their wishes. >> this black madonna was an option. >> it is an option. >> as what? you would repaint the statue? we will repaint the statue and will -- >> give her another face? >> give her another face. joannes peters: of course i'd
like an original statue to be left as is. but, in this world, some things are beyond our control. >> after hours of negotiations, the antique dealers and the film crew reach an agreement. producers often spend tens of thousands of euros to give their films a truly authentic look. for some buyers, jesus and mary are nothing more than status symbols. >> you could hang get over the bed. [laughter] >> when other people come to my house and see something like this, it's nice. >> it's nothing to do with faith here at >> oh, no, no. just luxury. yeah. their trade in religious artifacts has turned into a million-euro business. the peters process up to 400 e-mails a day. joannes peters today, we
received e-mail from japan, south africa and the philippines -- from all corners of the globe. it's incredible. >> some of their best customers come from countries in which religion was once dismissed as "the opiate of the masses". joannes peters: here is an example. this is a reliquary for a bone. these are sought after by russians, the byzantine orthodox community, who hunt down old saints who died before 500 ad. those are the real saints in their eyes, so they're willing to shell out lots for them. >> so every day more religious , relics, statues and other objects leave the netherlands and find new owners around the globe. michelle: is it wrong that items once considered sacred and holy are now up for commercial sale? let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories by getting in touch on facebook,
e-mail, or twitter. when refugees flee persecution, work or devastation, they are , full of hope when they finally arrive in europe. after all, europe is supposed to represent security, stability , and opportunity -- the opposite of what they left behind. unfortunately for thousands of , young people travelling on their own, something else entirely different awaits them. some end up as the victims of criminal gangs and are forced into illegal activities such as prostitution or selling drugs. our reporter went to italy, to see what is being done to help them. >> nice to see you. >> we're meeting mohamed from gambia. he won't give us his real name or show his face on camera. he's going to help us look for some of the child refugees who disappear every day in italy. with a hidden camera, we make our way to the edge of rome where there's said to be a road populated by child prostitutes.
mohamed spots a young woman. he asks where she's from and how old she is but she doesn't want , to talk. many of the girls here are between 14 and 16, even though they look older. that's according to federica gaspari, a psychologist who works with girls who manage to escape prostitution. federica gaspari: there's an increasing number of minors being drawn in because they are easier to manipulate. a young girl who's still growing up is easier to influence and there's also a market for these girls. the demand determines the supply. and many customers want young young -- girls. the younger, the better. >> mohammed tries to talk to another girl from nigeria, but
she's pretty gruff with him. get out of here, she says. she tells him she only sells her body to white men. she charges 100 euros. ms. gaspari: there are men who accompany the girls to the streetwalker district and then watch them to make sure they don't leave. and also to make sure they don't spend too long with one customer. they want to earn lots of money in as short a time as possible. >> the girls dreamed of a life in freedom and safety and woke up to a life of hell, controlled by a pimp. quick -- >> our next stop is the central train station in rome -- a key location for drug dealers. the place seems full of young men from egypt. it's clear they know each other. mohamed engages them in conversation.
they tell him they're 16 years old and stranded in rome. they act cool, all with the aim of getting him to buy some hashish. these young dealers should really be in school. the italian government says more than child migrants have 6000 disappeared, now involved in a criminal underworld. viviana valastro from the save the children association says her organization is helping to look after unaccompanied child refugees in rome. but she doesn't want to take us to see them. she says they feel ashamed and might run away. she says they're in desperate need of help. viviana valastro: if you're talking about young guys from egypt, they are mainly exploited in rome as cheap labor. they tell us they're working to pay off their debts. that's their primary goal and the thing they -- agonize over.
>> they were sent to -- from egypt alone, and now find themselves abandoned in italy. many tell their parents how great life is in europe, because they feel too ashamed of what they are forced to do to survive. michelle: poland's staunchly conservative ruling party, the law and justice party, is strengthening ties with the country's powerful catholic church. the two groups have long been labeled as being in bed together particularly since priests , openly called for worshippers to vote for them. in return, politicians frequently endorse church-supported proposals such , as a recent plan for a total abortion ban which led to , thousands of people otesting in the street. the church played a major role in the fall of communism in poland in the but afterward, its
1990's, influence waned. until now. but not everyone supports their new role. we met a priest, whose beliefs strongly differ from the governments. >> when pawel gyzynski walks through the city of lodz, he sees impressive buildings, people who are successful, but also people with problems. guzynski is a priest, and passionate about his role. he sees himself not primarily as a servant of the church but as a servant of the people. and his opinions often don't toe the church line. he opposes strict laws against abortion. in fact he's against any regulations on personal issues, including contraception. pawel guzynski: i don't think a pharmacist should say: i'm not going to sell condoms or other contraceptives. i think each customer needs to decide for themselves, as they
alone are affected by the decision. >> today pawel guzynski is on kitchen duty. he's part of a monastery that belongs to the dominican order. he says monks can do without many things, but not everything. pawel guzynski things get difficult when it comes to food. if the food isn't good, that can jeopardize harmony inside the monastery. men like food. as long as there's good food, everything is ok. >> one subject often discussed at the dinner table is pawel's public activities. he's become quite a celebrity thanks to his controversial views which he publishes on his online video blog. here he's reprimanding men who worship the virgin mary with great passion but then go home and beat their wives. he's often on tv chat shows. here he's supporting the pope's call for every parish to take in refugees in direct opposition to the polish government. pawel guzynski: i jumped for joy
when i heard it. hearing an appeal like that from the pope made me glad to be nationalist and practising catholic says letting in migrants would lead to a rise in violent crime. he says they only come for the welfare benefits and he accuses the priest of being naiive. guzynski is used to being criticized, he often upsets others especially within the , church. pawel guzynski: some would like to stop me speaking out in public completely. they don't understand how important it is to engage in public debate. and because they often have a different opinion to mine, they get angry. >> when he leads mass the church is full. he's very popular. he says if he were a normal priest, the church would have long since disciplined him. but as aember of the dominican order, he's protected. guzynski is also critical of the church's close relations with the government. pawel guzynski: we are now a
free country and so i think civil society should rule itself. without the church. but many priests don't want that, they want to have two powerful swords in their hand and not just one. >> that puts him at odds with the church in poland, which enjo good relations with the government. polish president andrzej duda is very open about his catholic faith, the church is getting more public funding, and many priests urged voters to support the law and justice party that's now in government. guzynski's recipe seems quite complex today much like his relations with the , church. he's serving up a vegetable stew with shrimp and pasta. all mixed up together, just as he likes it. his fellow monks and guests also appreciate his unconventional style. magdalena lapienis: i don't like people who just parrot off formulas.
he's completely different. he even gets upset at times, or laughs heartily. and above all he leads us to god in a very special way. >> he serves up the food but isn't going to eat himself yet. the main thing for him is that the others enjoy it. the controversial priest is happy to have them by his side. michelle: the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel has officially opened in switzerland. the new gotthard tunnel promises increased freight capacity and shorter travel times, but it comes at a cost. six workers died and several houses were demolished during construction. a pensioneer in airstfeld in the kanton uri refused to leave his lifelong home until the bulldozers came. but the 84-year-old has simply moved to a spartan caravan nearby on the side of a , motorway. >> the new tunnel has changed his life.
10 years ago, he still worked as a farmer. now he sits on a plastic chair, watching -- now he spends most of his time sitting on a plastic chair with a cigarillo, watching the traffic go by. the 84-year-old has come to terms with his lot. in any case, he says grumbling is not his thing. werner walker: there are lots of trucks that honk and wave." >> does he wave back? mr. walker: yes. >> he's a man of few words. he lives alone in his caravan, surviving on canned vegetables, lemonade and tea. there's no television, no internet or telephone. , the folk music on the radio is quite sufficient he says. he doesn't feel lonely, but he is having difficulty walking now. mr. walker: health is what counts. i don't need anything else... -- anything else.
nothing else matters it's no use having money if you are sick. >> possessions mean nothing to him. perhaps that's how he was able tobear losing everything he held dear for the first 75 years of his life. his house in rynacht was bulldozed to make way for the tunnel. it was where he grew up and worked as a farmer. he had eight cows and worked hard to eke out a living. but he was happy. it was only when the diggers moved in that he finally left his home and bought the caravan. now, 10 years after his house was torn down, he's come back for the first time to see his former property. there's an information center there a soulless building from , the alptransit company that built the tunnel. it's clearly not easy for werner walker. there are so many memories attached to this place. but he won't say anything
negative about the tunnel. complaining is pointless, he says. you can't turn the clock back. did he know this was here? mr. walker: yes. what does he think? mr. walker: it is ok. >> doesn't it make him emotional to be back here? mr. walker: it is forgotten. >> pushed away? mr. walker: yeah. >> less than a hundred metres way, trains will soon be thundering into the world's longest railway tunnel at record speeds. the journey from zurich to lugano will take two hours . that's a reduction of 45 minutes. up to 65 passenger trains and 260 freight trains will pass through here daily. twenty minutes later, the passengers then emerge in the south. it's the start of a new railway age that's quite foreign to werner walker. all his life he's never left the canton of uri.
he doesn't feel like celebrating, even though the eyes of the world are on the local town of erstfeld because of the opening of the tunnel. all he wants is to get back to his caravan. mr. walker i can't live in a : village with all the people, i need to be out in nature. >> even if that nature is sliced through by a busy highway. still, walker has got quite used to it all and despite , everything, perhaps he is indeed happy with his lot in his old age. michelle: vairner valker certainly proves that you can take away a mans house, but you cant take away his home. until next time it's goodbye , from me and the whole team. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]