His great-grandfather was accused to faking the robbery of his own store due to antisemitic sentiments
In a new episode of BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, actor Daniel Radcliffe confronts his family’s history — learning of the tragedy they faced when his great-grandfather’s jewelry store was robbed in 1936.
The show features various celebrities as they are presented with dramatic findings about their own families.
According to a report in The Sun, the Harry Potter star breaks down in the episode while reading his great-grandfather Samuel Gershon’s suicide note.
After Gershon’s store was robbed, the 42-year-old Jewish businessman filed an insurance claim, however the antisemitic climate prevalent at the time provoked police to allege that Radcliffe’s family had actually faked the robbery in order to scheme insurance fraud. Having worked so hard to build the business, his great-grandfather couldn’t face the bankruptcy and failure, committing suicide.
“You want to just reach into the past and just go, ‘Whatever you’re going through, you have so much to offer the people who are around you still… you have so much to give to them. And, they still would all have loved you,'” Radcliffe reportedly says in the episode, emotional after reading the note Gershon left before taking his own life.
Radcliffe also speaks about exploring the antisemitism his family had faced, calling the realization “jarring” when he read the official police report that claimed “Jews are so frequently responsible for the bringing down of their own business premises,” without any evidence of the supposed fake robbery.
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“There’s a lot to dig into in that one sentence,” he says, according to the outlet. “It’s very jarring to see being a Jew to be taken as a piece of evidence in itself.”
The episode of Who Do You Think You Are? premieres on July 22 — and Radcliffe is also currently working on his new thriller Escape from Pretoria, though no premiere date for the film has been released yet.