THIRTEEN's Award-winning "Secrets of the Dead" Explores Iconic Moments in World History with Three New Episodes Airing May 1, 8 and 15 on PBS

Apr 11, 2013, 10:20 ET from WNET

Secret recordings of German POWs, the mysterious death of 57 Irish immigrants, and the discovery of cannibalized Neanderthal bones are among the extraordinary stories featured in Season 12

NEW YORK, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As one of PBS's ongoing limited primetime series, Secrets of the Dead is a perennial favorite among viewers, routinely ranking among the 10 most watched series on public television. Currently, in its 12th season, Secrets of the Dead continues its unique brand of archaeological sleuthing employing advances in investigative techniques, forensic science and historical scholarship to offer new evidence about forgotten mysteries.

Airing on three consecutive Wednesdays, May 1, 8 and 15, 2013, 10 pm ET on PBS (check local listings), Secrets of the Dead sheds new light on three compelling inquiries involving a bugging operation of 4,000 German POWs, the unexplained - until now - death of 57 Irish immigrants and the discovery of the first known evidence of cannibalism in Neanderthals.

Bugging Hitler's Soldiers Wednesday, May 1, 10-11 pm ET  (New)
Spied upon by MI19 in a bugging operation of unprecedented scale and cunning - microphones were embedded in walls, lamps, behind mirrors, in fireplaces, even outdoors in trees on the English country estates where these conversations between generals and soldiers were secretly recorded- 4,000 German prisoners of war revealed their inner thoughts about the Third Reich and let slip military secrets that helped the Allies win WWII. Based on groundbreaking research conducted by German historian Professor Sönke Nietzel, the film tells the story of how those conversations were recorded and how they now reveal, in more shocking detail than ever before, the hearts and minds of the German fighter at that time.

In total, more than 100,000 hours of these secret recordings were made. Only now have they all been declassified, researched and cross referenced. They represent a startling new body of evidence with which to revisit events of the war and they show the political divisions between those top generals who supported the Nazi ideology and those that did not. They also demonstrate the complicity of the rank-and-file soldiers in taking part in Nazi war crimes.

Now, 60 years later, the chilling and totally uncensored thoughts of the Nazi elite will be heard. The documentary includes intense, full-dialogue dramatic reconstructions that use the verbatim transcripts of these bugged conversations to reveal the dark heart of the Nazi regime. Hearing these shocking conversations will be like taking a time machine back into the psyche of Hitler's Germany. Bugging Hitler's Soldiers is an October Films Ltd. production for Channel 4 in association with THIRTEEN. Executive producer for October Films is Adam Bullmore. Executive in charge for WNET is Stephen Segaller. Executive producer for WNET is Steve Burns.  Coordinating producer for WNET is Stephanie Carter.

Death on the Railroad Wednesday, May 8, 10-11 pm ET (New)
This is a classic story involving foul play, cover-ups, a murder mystery and a voyage of discovery to understand what happened to a group of Irish men who came to America for a better life but found only misery. In 1832, railroad contractor, Philip Duffy, hired 57 Irish immigrants to lay railroad tracks in West Chester, Pennsylvania. But, less than two months after their arrival, all 57 were dead. Did they all die - as was widely believed - due to a cholera pandemic? Or, were some of them murdered?

In 2003, twin brothers discovered a secret file among their grandfather's papers that led them to investigate the deaths of these men and find the location of their final resting place in a valley now known as Duffy's Cut. Using the latest forensic and scientific investigative techniques, DNA, forensic analysis, facial reconstruction and historical detective work in Ireland and the United States, modern detectives and experts will unravel this extraordinary story. Death on the Railroad is a Tile Films Ltd. and THIRTEEN co-production in association with WNET. Executive producer for Tile Films Ltd. is Stephen Rooke. Executive in charge for WNET is Stephen Segaller. Executive producer for WNET is Steve Burns.  Coordinating producer for WNET is Stephanie Carter.

Caveman Cold Case Wednesday, May 15, 10-11 pm ET (New)
A tomb of 49,000 year-old Neanderthal bones discovered in El Sidron, a remote, mountainous region of Northern Spain, leads to a compelling investigation to solve a double mystery: How did this group of Neanderthals die? And, could the fate of this group help explain Neanderthal extinction? Scientists examine the bones-buried over 65 feet below ground-and discover signs that tell a shocking story of how this group of six adults, three teenagers, two children and a baby may have met their death.

Some bones have deep cuts, long bones are cracked and skulls crushed-distinct signs of cannibalism. Was it a result of ritual or hunger? Neanderthal experts are adamant that they were not bloodthirsty brutes. Will this investigation challenge their views? What happened here 49,000 years ago will take us on a much bigger journey-from El Sidron to the other end of the Iberian Peninsula where scientists are excavating in caves and beneath the seas off Gibraltar in search of Neanderthal sites. Scientists working here had theories-but no proof-for why Neanderthals went extinct. El Sidron may change this. Caveman Cold Case is a Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH production in association with THIRTEEN. Executive producers for Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH are Andrea Gastgeb and Sabine Holzer. Executive in charge for WNET is Stephen Segaller. Executive producer for WNET is Steve Burns. Coordinating producer for WNET is Stephanie Carter.

For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

These programs are among the full-length episodes that will be available for viewing after broadcast on Secrets of the Dead Online ( Along with the extensive online video catalog, the series web site provides resources for educators with lesson plans for middle school and high school teachers.

Secrets of the Dead has received 10 CINE Golden Eagle Awards and six Emmy nominations, among numerous other awards.

About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.

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Secrets of the Dead episodes online at