Matt Lucas speaks to Brian May about his weight loss
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The comedian, 48, explored his family’s past during the BBC genealogy series. He travelled to Amsterdam to learn more about his Jewish descendants who lived in Germany as the Nazis rose to power. At one point, the Great British Bake Off host was shocked when he looked through old documents and found out his relatives had a significant connection to the famous young diarist, Anne Frank.
In the episode, which airs on Thursday evening, Matt was amazed to find a relative of his, Werner Goldschmidt, had lodged with the Frank family before they were captured.
He even had a mention in the teenager’s famous diary, which Matt himself had read and never known.
“So my ancestor would have known Anne Frank? The writer of one of the most important books ever written,” Matt remarked.
He added: “It’s the one story everyone knows. If you know no other story about what happened to the Jews in World War Two, you know the story of the Frank family.”
He found out the house his relative had stayed at with the Frank family still existed, stating: “I should go there.”
Later, he met with an Anne Frank expert, who wanted to show the actor the only existing footage of Anne, shot at her home where his grandmother’s cousin was a lodger.
“Wow,” he commented as he watched Anne leaning out of a window to watch a wedding taking place below.
They stepped inside the building where the video was filmed to see the room his relative had stayed in.
“It actually feels quite nice here,” he remarked. “80 years ago, this is probably nicer than how a lot of people would have lived.”
The TV and theatre star asked the expert about Werner’s time at the house, and he produced a photograph.
“Gosh, that’s my grandma’s first cousin,” Matt commented.
It was then Matt discovered Werner had been mentioned in the globally famous diary.
He read a segment aloud about Anne’s houseguest, who had been living with them at the time Anne and her family fled.
Anne had stated Werner had hung around while the family made “polite hints” about wanting to be alone.
“Oh dear, he wasn’t a very good house guest!” Matt commented.
He went on: “I would have read this and at the time, I never realise she was talking about a relative of mine.”
It turned out Werner had joined the household the night before the family fled to escape the Nazis.
“He doesn’t necessarily know that they’re about to go into hiding,” Matt clarified.
“So he’s sort of lurking around, slightly unwelcome, the night before they’re going.
“They’re feeling very anxious and pensive and also probably thinking, ‘Have we got everything we need?’
“He wasn’t to know that this momentous event was taking place.”
Werner had remained at the flat for a while after the Franks left, as he had family in the area.
Who Do You Think You Are? continues on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.
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