“Holiday in the Protectorate” asks one three-generation family to live as if it were 1939 to 1945. The family was selected from among 200 candidates after a “rigorous audition,” show officials said.
Their struggles will range from normal tasks, such as harvesting crops and milking cows, to specifically wartime demands -- sewing blackout curtains, fortifying a basement air-raid shelter, and dealing with food rationing and frequent hunger. The family will also live through "simulated air-raids, intimidation by Nazi informants and interrogations by the Gestapo," shows officials said.
Eight one hour-long episodes of "Holiday in the Protectorate" will air from May 23 to June 13.
The show was shot under the supervision of a “war cabinet” composed of two historians, two psychologists and an architect who saw that everything about the show seems authentic to historical reality.
“I was inspired by the horrific wartime stories of my maternal grandparents, who lived in a small town in the highlands of Bohemia. I wanted people to see what hardships ordinary people had to go through to survive Nazi occupation,” Zora Cejnkova, the show's director, told ABC News from Prague. “It was interesting to see how people make decisions under such psychological pressure, in front of TV cameras.”
But Czech Television, the show’s producer, has drawn criticism, for trivializing the real tragedies of WWII. Critics wonder what audiences would be entertained by watching people being intimidated by Nazi soldiers and their informers.
“I tried to show that period with seriousness and with utter respect for its tragic character," Cejnkova told ABC News.
"Of course we cannot completely recreate the real danger, but the aim is to show life as it was, and," she said, "if people re-live those times, perhaps future conflicts can be prevented."
“The point about the World War II period is that there was always a possibility of violent death for everyone, something that is impossible to replicate artificially," said Jan Kral, a car designer. "'Holiday in the Protectorate' recreated some inconveniences of the Nazi occupation, but the real fear was death. The show replicates wartime living the way a Formula One computer game replicates being Michael Shumacher -- you get everything except the risk."
And that, Kral said, "is essential."