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through unprotected sex.
Now on BBC News, it's
time for Witness.
Welcome to Witness. I'm here at the
British library to guide you through
another five extraordinary moments
from the recent past. We'll meet a
man who was caught up in written's
worst ever nuclear accident. A woman
who was taken hostage along with
hundreds of others when Chechen
rebels seized a theatre in Moscow.
And a man who helped thousands of
Hungarian Jews escape the Nazis.
First, on the ninth of October,
1967, Marxist revolutionary Banesto
Guevara was killed in Bolivia. A CIA
agent helped the Bolivian army
tracked him down.
I put my hand
around him before the picture was
taken. You can see a man who was so
powerful at one point in Cuba and to
see the way he was at that point, he
looked like a beggar, he was in
rags, he was filthy and a completely
different image from white people
perceived of him in the world. In
1967 there was an interest to
provide the Bolivian government with
capabilities against the gorillas
arriving there. I was to provide
information about Che Guevara and
advise them on how to either capture
or kill him. Che Guevara was in
Bolivia to take over the country and
if he was able to be successful that
way he would be able to support a
revolution to fight different
neighbouring countries that they
have boundaries with. The
instruction that we specifically got
from the CIA was if Che Guevara was
captured alive to be able to keep
him alive at all costs. We received
information from the field that he
had been captured. I was anxious to
meet this individual, so on the
following day we arrived at the area
where he was. We all came into the
room. He was tied down on the floor.
In front of him was the dead bodies
of a couple of Cuban officers who
were killed during the operation.
Later on I came back to the room and
stood in front of him and said, Che,
I've come to talk to you. He looked
at me arrogantly and said, nobody
talks to me. At that point I looked
at him and said, Commander, I admire
you. I used to believe what you
believe, although I think your ideas
are mistaken. I just came here to
talk to you, not interrogate you.
Every time I tried to ask him a
question that was a tactical
interest to us he would smile and
say, I won't answer that. At times
he was talking and I wasn't paying
much attention and in my mind the
man I did remember from the news...
That arrogant man with the big coat,
now to see this man who was really
in very poor shape, that impacted me
tremendously. There was a phone call
from high Bolivian command and the
order was 500, 600. We had a simple
code. 500, Che Guevara, 600, kill
him, 700, keep him alive. I asked
for them to repeat it and they said
500, 600. I went to the room, I
stood in front of him and said,
Commander, I'm sorry. I tried my
best. He turned white like a piece
of paper and said, it's better this
way. I should have never been
captured alive. I said, is there
anything you want for your family,
if I can get the message through? He
said, tell my wife to remarry and
try to be happy. He approached me,
we shook hands, he stood back and
stood at attention thinking I would
be the one to shoot him and I left
the room. About 0120 I heard a first
and that's when he was dead. People
really don't know who Che Guevara
was. A lot of people saw the picture
of Che on T-shirts, they like it and
they have no idea who he was. To me,
he wasn't an assassin but an
adventurer. We really have no
respect whatsoever for human life.
Felix Rodriguez, in Miami. In
October 1957, a nuclear reactor in
the north of England caught fire.
John Harris was working at the
nuclear plant when things went badly
The old world ponders the
atom. Britain is aiding the peaceful
I joined in August of 1956
when there was a big boost of
recruitment into the not long form
the United Kingdom atomic energy
authority. There were dozens of us.
At least it felt like it. You very
much felt that this was the future.
Britain is making massive progress
in atomics. This is the first atomic
power station to be built anywhere
in the world.
Thursday, October ten,
57, I remember somebody saying,
look, and you could just see a
whisper of some light blue smoke.
Not much. Just a little drifts
coming up the top of one of them,
reactor number one. Someone said,
hey, look at that. That shouldn't be
The atomic energy authority
have announced that some Iranian
cartridges -- uranium cartridges
became overheated yesterday.
got to the gates we were flights
through and told to go straight to
our berries were faces and
laboratories and stay there. But
there was a fire in the reactor and
I was given a job to do. I was going
to go up onto the so-called reactor
top and take measurements up there.
Sitting up there on the top of the
reactor, it was quiet and I sat up
there all night long. I remember
that. The whole night.
The milk from
200 square miles of farmland is
condemned as radioactive. The
trouble arose when radioactive dust
from the overheated tile fell on the
Cumberland pastures. The farm is
much further away would have faced
not emergency but disaster. --
I remember the morning came.
Take was put up everywhere. Don't go
past this point. I wondered what had
happened on the night. What I
realised was they had finally
decided the only way to put this
fire out, they tried various ways,
they decided to pump water through
the reactor. That reactor was not
designed to have water in it at all.
At the time we took that decision,
the people concerned would have been
extremely worried to put it mildly,
but it worked.
Now the worst seems
to be over. This man helped to bring
the overheated reactor in control.
It was radioactive for four days and
he couldn't kiss his wife until he
was given permission. If it had gone
wrong the worst that would have
happened is we would have had a
That would have
destroyed the structure of the
reactor and see uranium would have
been shot out. Which would have
meant at least a temporary
evacuation of west Cumberland, at
Milk samples were found to
contain six times as much
radioactive iodide as international
health standards permit. So for the
time being down the drain it goes.
With atoms you can't be too careful.
And John Harrison went on to be a
lecturer in nuclear engineering,
specialising in system safety. In
October 2002, dozens of Chechen
rebels seized a theatre in central
Moscow and held hundreds of people
hostage for over two days. One
couple and their daughter were in
the audience when the rebels stormed
700 people, including many children,
are being held hostage in a theatre.
Gunmen armed with explosives raided
the building in the capital, Moscow.
TRANSLATION: On the 23rd of October,
we went to see a musical in evening,
the three of us. Me, Sacha, my
daughter, and Sandi, my fiance. The
second part of the show started with
the pilot's songs. After that we
heard some sort of noise. We saw a
man in military camouflage go up
onto the stage. To draw attention to
himself, he fired a gun.
And then I looked around to the left
and I saw that there was a crowd of
people in military uniform walking
along the aisle.
People reacted very differently.
Some were hysterical. Some people
seemed to turn to stone in shock.
Some people took it calmly.
The gunmen want Russia to stop a war
that's been raging for years.
Thousands of people have been killed
in the conflict and the gunmen have
given the government a week to
remove their soldiers from their
homeland. The two sides are
struggling for who gains control of
Chechnya, in the south of Russia.
A group captured the theatre and
seized 1000 people with great ease.
I don't think they had a plan about
what to do with us after that. Only
after the rebel leaders announcement
did I realise that we were really
being taken hostage. I didn't want
to believe this. Sandi was the
quickest to understand it and Sacha
was a child, 13 years of age. She
reacted as though she was in a film.
There was no real fear.
The last time I looked at my watch
it was just after three o'clock. I
have this feeling, a little bit
longer and we'll be freed. Sacha and
Sandi were asleep holding hands. I
thought, I need to falsely asleep
quicker so that the morning comes
sooner. -- fall asleep.
I came to in hospital. I didn't see
the storming of the theatre or gas,
because my sleep gradually turned
into a coma.
Within just one hour, hundreds of
the hostages were being carried out,
free at last after two-day ordeal.
Many were unconscious. It is special
forces had pumped gas into the
building to disable the Chechen
rebels, but it also affected the
On the 27th of October, I
heard on the radio that Sacha died.
On the 28th of October, the
presenter gives of the US embassy
told me that Sandy died.
Anne went on to help found survivors
group for those caught up in the
theatre siege. Remember, you can
watch Witness every month on the BBC
News Channel or you can catch up on
all of our films along with more
than a thousand radio programmes on
our online archive.
We turned out to 1944 hungry during
the brief but brutal occupation of
the Nazis. David was a young Jewish
man and part of an underground
organisation trying to assist
Hungarian Jews assist -- escape.
This job was to produce tens of
thousands of carefully forged
identification documents for those
trying to flee. TRANSLATION:
the Germans invaded Hungary I
changed my identification documents
to Arian. I left the flat I was
living in as a junior and began to
live with a different identity as a
Gentile. A few days later I met with
the leaders of the underground
Zionist youth movement who told me I
would be joining a team to forge
documents. I became part of the
biggest rescue operation during the
Holocaust run by Jewish people. I
was 18 at the time. A month or two
after the invasion, orders were sent
to all Hungarian provinces for
Jewish people to wear the yellow
star of David and to be concentrated
in ghettos. Any Jew who arrived at a
train station was arrested. They
were the first to be deported to our
fleets of -- Auschwitz. In our
workshop we prepare the documents
needed for everyday life. To rain a
flat um to prove your residency and,
later on, work permits. The most
difficult stands to forge with a
Hungarian government because their
emblem had so much detail. You had
to be very accurate. I was always
busy, thinking about how to secure
the safety of the workshop, how to
provide documents that would
withstand inspection, how to keep my
friend says by providing them with
the right documents. I felt
responsible for life-and-death. For
safety reasons, we often had to
change location, moving from place
to place around 15 times over a
period of nine months. On December
21, as the Russians were at the
gates of Budapest I was arrested
along with two of my workshop team.
We were taken to the Hungarian
fascist party headquarters where we
were interrogated. Later on, we were
beaten up. One of us, Nicki, died in
the early hours of that morning in
our rooms. I spent three days in the
prison in the hands of the fascists
until my friends managed to free us.
The police fled because Budapest was
under siege. They wanted to save
themselves. Only the civilian guards
were left. We couldn't save all the
Jews but at least through our work
we saved as many as we could. Tens
of thousands of Jews in Budapest
were saved thanks to the work of the
Dated now lives in Tel
Aviv with his wife, also a survivor
of the Nazi Holocaust. Finally, for
five years this woman and her family
lived on the frontline of the
Israeli occupation of the Gaza
Strip. In 2005 when Israel pulled
its troops and settlers out, she
finally regained possession of the
family home after years of
occupation by Israeli soldiers.
Israel has been in Gaza since the
six days in 1967 when it won a war.
The war shaped the modern Middle
East and the conflict that Israelis
and Palestinians have been fighting
ever since. Israel occupied land
including Gaza and the West Bank and
started moving its own people in.
Under occupation I lived in a very
serious situation. Two, it happened
yesterday. I am 25 years old. My
father was an English teacher. After
the few patient of the Jewish people
they started to build a settlement
in the Gaza Strip. Close to my home.
Because my home was a tall building
Israeli soldiers occupied my home
for five years. They put all my
family in one room and the rest of
the home was for the soldiers.
Soldiers were sleeping here and they
are so... I felt like it was not my
home. My grandmother told my father
please, leave the home. My father
said no. This is my place, from my
grandfather and I will die here. My
family really suffered at that time.
Five years. In 2004, the Israeli
Prime Minister announced an
agreement to withdraw from the Gaza
Strip. I could not believe that.
Because the settlement here, we have
the building in the school they
lived in. They lived a life as if
they were going to stay forever. But
I kept dreaming of the day they
would leave my home.
television tonight Prime Minister
Sharon said that holding Gaza for
ever was impossible. Over 1 million
Palestinians live there, he said,
and hatred is growing with no
prospect of peace. The soldiers
found out across the sand dunes of
this Mediterranean paradise. The
police took the beaches. The teams
moved in to negotiate with the
residents. They did not get far. How
can you be offering help, she
shouted. You are destroying
everything. And then the time for
talking was over.
The people in the
settlement who were Jewish, they
were upset and angry because they
have lived there and they do not
want to leave. If we hear the sound
of the people in the settlement
shouting now, don't leave. I used to
be positive, as my father taught me,
but you have to look at the reality
and the reality right now is quite
difficult. I wish that in the future
it will be Palestinian and Jewish
together. OK, but before that, give
me my rights.
That is all from
witness this month here at the
British library. We will be back
next month for another five accounts
of extraordinary moments in history.
For now, from me and the rest of the
witness team, goodbye.