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Wartime Crime

Wartime Crime

  • Premiered: 
    October 18, 2017
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: AHC
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Military/War
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Plot Synopsis

WARTIME CRIME is a one-hour documentary series that chronicles the street gangs, the looters, the crazed deserters, the sexual predators and the serial killers whose criminal instincts were unleashed by the conflict surrounding them during World War II. While the battlefields of WWII were a stage for remarkable acts of heroism, strategic cunning and horrific atrocities, conditions of the home front seemed more stable. Yet from bombed-out London to occupied France and even Nazi Germany itself, the war enabled one thing to flourish: crime. One episode focuses on William Charles Hill, the most powerful Kingpin in Britain's post-war underworld and a mentor to the famous Kray Twins, the criminal mastermind behind sensational, high-value postal robberies and bullion heists in the 1950s and '60s. But the secret behind Hill's rise, the most important event in the genesis of his empire is little known, and was World War II. During the war Hill became something of a celebrity. Having served a criminal apprenticeship as a housebreaker and small time hustler during the 1920s and '30s, the economics of a nation at war offered him limitless opportunities. Hill busily organised the black markets, smuggling rings and protection rackets of London, exploiting the chaos and fear of the blitz to amass his fortune and consolidate his power. Forged documents sold to deserting soldiers compromised the military and sapped morale, while his jewel heists and shadow markets undermined the already strained economy; but as Winston Churchill waved to swarming crowds in Whitehall on VE Day, Billy Hill emerged from the smoking ruins of London as the most formidable gangster that the country had ever known, the founding father of a new era in organised crime. A second episode documents the life of Dr. Marcel Petiot, wo had become a murderer even before the Germans successfully invaded France. Known for his dubious medical practices and shady financial deals while working in the city of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne as first a practitioner and then the mayor, in 1926 his partner Louise disappeared without a trace, witnesses reporting Petiot loading a heavy trunk into his car shortly after she vanished. In Paris a decade and a half later, however, the Nazi occupation liberated the doctor's murderous instincts, and enabled Petiot to embark on a shocking killing spree in which he claimed at least 23 victims. Preying on those desperate to escape the Germans and the Vichy government -- including Jews, partisans and criminals -- for three years the doctor posed as a Resistance sympathiser, convincing his victims that he could secure them safe passage to South America for an extortionate fee, only to take their money and then inject them with cyanide before dumping or incinerating their bodies. This programme tells the story of his gruesome crimes and his eventual arrest by the Gestapo.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Symettrica Entertainment