• (From left) History experts Dr Efraim Zuroff, Dr Deborah Gare, Professor Hong-zen Wang and Alina Marincean. (SBS)Source: SBS
A Nazi hunter, a genealogist and award-winning historians help Australians uncover family truths.
By
Jim Mitchell

20 Jun 2019 - 3:47 PM  UPDATED 23 Sep 2020 - 8:44 AM

They are the missing pieces of family history puzzles sought by six Australians that will ultimately reshape their identities in SBS’s new documentary series Every Family Has A Secret. But to find them, they’ll need the aid of eminent local and international experts who use their fact-finding prowess, passion and compassion to unveil some surprising and confronting secrets. 

Dr Efraim Zuroff: World’s leading Nazi hunter

Chief Nazi hunter and Holocaust historian at the Israel branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr Efraim Zuroff has helped prosecute almost 40 Nazis over the past 30 years. His research has helped identify thousands of escaped Nazi war criminals, some who fled to countries like Australia, Britain and Canada after WW2.

Efraim studied an MA in Holocaust Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in 1980 began a six-year tenure as the Israel researcher of Nazi war crimes for the US Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, in an effort to prosecute Nazis living in the United States.

The New York-born Nazi hunter has been instrumental in the Operation: Last Chance initiative that has offered financial rewards for information to help bring Nazi war criminals around the world to justice. 

In Every Family Has A Secret, Efraim helps Angela Hamilton uncover her father, Pál Rozsy’s association with Nazi operations during WW2.

Dr Deborah Gare: Historian

Historian Dr Deborah Gare specialises in Western Australian history and meets Michelle White at the site of the Fairbridge Farm School in Pinjarra to shine a light on her grandfather George Driscoll’s time there as a youth.

Deborah leads the history program and is a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle where the award-winning teacher has been based for over 20 years. She has a PhD in Australian History from the University of Western Australia.

Professor Phillip Deery: Expert in US/Cuba relations

As Lance Innes explores whether his father Al Gorcey was indeed a spy, Professor Phillip Deery shows him recently declassified FBI documents which reveal the extent to which the Bureau was investigating him for possible ties to Cuba during the Cold War. 

Phillip, an Emeritus Professor of History at the Victoria University’s College of Arts and Education, keynote speaker and media commentator, is a Cold War historian specialising in how communism, anti-communism and espionage affected the United States, Australia and Britain.

An award-winning researcher and teacher, also a research associate with the London School of Economics and Political Science Ideas Cold War Studies Program, Phillip has written over 100 publications including research on intelligence and national security.

Alina Marincean: Jewish expert

Alina Marincean is the curator of the Jewish Cultural Museum at the Elie Wiesel Memorial House in Sighet, Romania, and has a BA in Jewish Studies from Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania.

She is also the program coordinator for the Jewish history education organisation, the Tarbut Foundation, and a professional tourist guide with a focus on Jewish Roots Journeys.

In one of Every Family Has A Secret’s most moving sequences, Alina reveals Angela’s father’s role in the persecution of Jews during WW2, before an emotional embrace.

Professor Hong-zen Wang: Sociology professor

Sociology professor Hong-zen Wang is instrumental in delving into Li Ying Andrews’ lost childhood to provide some much-needed answers as she and daughter Olivia visit her birth country of Taiwan.

Hong-zen, a professor at the Department of Sociology at the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan and an international speaker, studied sociology at the National Taiwan University, and at the Australian National University. He specialises in researching migration issues between Taiwan and Vietnam.

Brad Argent: Professional genealogist, Ancestry

 

A professional genealogist and DNA expert with genealogy site Ancestry, with a Graduate Diploma, Counselling, from the Australian College of Applied Psychology, Brad Argent plays an important role in the series, researching and revealing the family history of actor David Field and journalist Marie-Anne Keeffe. 

Brad’s own journey to discover his family roots began over 20 years ago.

“I wanted to understand what accident of history led to us being where we are. I got hooked on this whole idea of trying to understand, ‘Why was I born in Australia’ … and I’ve been doing family history ever since,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s a joy and a privilege to be part of the process,” he said of helping people discover their genealogy.

Dr Meredith Burgmann: ASIO expert

Dr Meredith Burgmann has researched Australia’s national intelligence agency ASIO for years and edited the historical expose Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO Files, published in 2014.

She provides Lance with photographic evidence and documentation detailing the surveillance carried out by ASIO on his father as intelligence agencies went on high alert during the Cold War.

A high-profile figure in the social activism and political spheres, Meredith is a former NSW Labor MP and holds an MA in Foreign Policy from Sydney University, and a PhD in Industrial Relations from Macquarie University where she was also a long-time academic.

The prominent feminist is the founder of the Ernie Awards for sexist remarks by public figures, a columnist and author.

Every Family Has A Secret season 2 premieres on Tuesday 22 September at 7.30pm on SBS. Episodes will also screen as an encore on SBS VICELAND Thursdays at 11pm.

Watch the trailer here:

Every Family Has A Secret will be subtitled in Simplified Chinese and Arabic and added to the subtitled collection at SBS On Demand, available same time as broadcast. Watch episode 1 now:

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