The Sky Cinema thriller depicts a little-known element of the well-documented bolstered Anglo-Germanic relations during the rise of Adolf Hitler. The Augusta-Victoria College for Girls was a private finishing school on Bexhill-on-Sea, where German girls were sent to learn English between 1932 and 1939. The film, which stars Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench, then takes a more fictional twist as it delves into an espionage thriller that sees Thomas Miller (Ms Izzard) unravel a plot by the Third Reich.
But in the Thirties, before the outbreak of World War 2, many in Britain saw Hitler’s Germany as a nation they could possibly ally with in the face of communism and an Anglo-German Fellowship was established to build up friendship.
But Rachel Johnson, sister of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, discovered while researching for her fictional book ‘Winter Games’ that this led many wealthy Britons to send their daughters to finishing school in Nazi Germany too.
She told Der Spiegel: “I did a radio documentary about the English girls in Germany before the war, but didn’t have enough for a non-fiction book.
“The English girls in Bavaria were fascinating nonetheless, so I decided to write a novel from their perspective.
“These girls were there just before the outbreak of war, and in some cases they were even close to the government, hanging out with Hitler and Hess.
“Sending your daughters to finishing school in Germany was the thing to do.”
She detailed how she uncovered different parts of Germany where these pupils ended up – as can be seen in the map put together by Express.co.uk.
Ms Johnson added: “Some moved to Berlin or Dresden, but Bavaria with its mountains, castles, museums and beer cellars was more attractive.
“Oberammergau was well known in England too.
“I met a dozen English women while researching my book who were in Germany between 1935 and 1938, most of them over 90 by the time I interviewed them.
Six Minutes to Midnight is directed by Andy Goddard from a screenplay worked on alongside Celyn Jones and Ms Izzard.
Ms Izzard, a transgender comedian, made her feature film debut by playing the main role.
Speaking about her experiences, she reflected on her new film role and admitted she would have been killed for being so open if she had lived in Germany through that time period.
She said: “I consider being trans a superhero thing – I wanted to put it in a very positive light with superheroes because some people are so negative about LGBT stuff.
“I’ve been out and open about it since 1985, it’s a long time… And if we go back to the Thirties, if I’ve been in Nazi Germany, I would have been murdered for saying I was trans.
“Gay people were put in concentration camps. That’s what this extreme right-wing thinking will do.”
You can watch her new film ‘Six Minutes to Midnight’ on Sky Cinema now.
Published at Fri, 26 Mar 2021 06:50:00 +0000