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Pact with the Devil 

In the stranglehold of the Passage trial


A six-part documentary series about the so far most extensive and longest-running liquidation case ever in the Netherlands: Passage. 

The precursor to the Marengo trial still raises many questions. 

Was the process fair? Or was the process "too big to fail" for the judiciary? Is the use of crown witnesses justified in dealing with serious crime? Pact with the Devil offers a unique insight into the deals made with the crown witnesses and what drove the government to engage with criminals. 


The "Passage trial" revolves around a total of seven murders, five attempted murders and 10 suspects and lasted 10 years: from 2007 to 2017.  The trial is characterized by fuss, quarrels and mistrust in the courtroom, the great impact the media has on the case, how the ghost of Willem Holleeder hangs over the trial, and doubts about whether the prosecution and judges are handling the trial fairly. 


Involved judges, lawyers, prosecutors, investigators, crime journalists, former criminals, criminal justice experts and outgoing Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yesilgöz will speak. The daughter of Dino Soerel, sentenced to life in prison, will also speak for the first time about the impact the conviction has had on her life.

Episode count: 6 

On-air period: March 2024 

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Groeten uit de doodskampen 

(Greetings from the death camps)


The documentary “Greetings from the death camps” is a unique journey that takes the viewer to the former concentration camp Buchenwald,  Mauthausen, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. What do these camps have in common? While the destruction and devastating images are imprinted in our brain and is still very present, there is a completely different similarity between these locations in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. 

A similarity that is inspiring as well since is shows the story of human resilience. Despite being surrounded by the most horrible and cruel elements of war everywhere art has been made by the prisoners; drawings, carvings, paintings and music. Sometimes by order of the Nazi’s, sometimes in the greatest secrecy, so illegal. Even in times where life was impossible the resilience of men is unbelievably impressive. 


This documentary, directed by Manfred van Eijk, is a testimonial about the human spirit despite the terrors of war.


©2023 MDR in cooperation with ARTE, ORF, ČT, Sarphati Media Producties 


Length 52 minutes

Language; English, German, Polish

On-air period: January 2023

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De nieuwe getuigen van Auschwitz

(‘The New Witnesses of Auschwitz’)

In the documentary we follow five young adults during their journey to Auschwitz: Bart (19), Rana (20), Douwe (22), Hendro (21) and Sterre (22). Before they go on their journey, Eddy meets the five young people. What do they know about World War II and Auschwitz? When they arrive in the former concentration camp, they spend a number of days gaining knowledge through workshops and guided tours. Once back in the Netherlands, the young people discuss their experiences with Eddy. What did they learn from the trip and what impressed them the most? And what did they find in the Auschwitz archives about Eddy's grandfather? One thing is certain: this journey will stay with them forever. May we never forget!
'The new witnesses of Auschwitz' is a co-production between Sarphati Media Productions and Broadcaster PowNed.

The program is based on an idea by Eddy Keur.

Direction and final editing: Erica Reijmerink.

On-air period: December 2022

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Wieder Gut?

(‘All Good Now?’)

Wieder Gut? (produced by broadcaster EO and coinciding with International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022) covers a road trip through Germany and the Netherlands, exploring how these countries have come to grips with the Holocaust in the past and present. In the documentary, the Dutch-German filmmaking pair Ruben Gischler and Tobias Müller investigate the memories of and lessons learned from the Holocaust in 2022. Travelling through the Netherlands and Germany, they interview residents, survivors and descendants to find out how they have come to terms with the past. What lessons have they learned, and how do they keep the memory of the Shoah alive? Their tour takes them along universities, memorial sites and local projects. The question they keep asking themselves and others is: ‘Have we really made peace with the past’?

Length: 55 minutes

On-air period: 2022

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Het geheugen van Auschwitz

(‘Auschwitz Remembers’)

Het geheugen van Auschwitz is a stirring documentary about the dilemmas, paradoxes and conflicting ideas regarding the preservation of the infrastructure of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.


A group of mostly younger conservators has been working tirelessly over the past five years to salvage the remnants of this haunted site, where more than one million individuals were exterminated between 1942 and 1945. This remarkable and thought-provoking documentary shows this is a complex challenge, as the idea is not to demolish and reconstruct, but rather to keep everything intact as much as possible. 

Length: 50 minutes

On-air period: 2020

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Echt en vals in de geest van Anton Heyboer

(‘Real and Counterfeit: in the spirit of Anton Heyboer’)

It has been called the biggest Dutch art forgery scandal of all time: a mega-scam involving millions of euros. When George Knubbe and Couzijn Simon, two certified dealers of works by Dutch artist Anton Heyboer, meet an enigmatic seller named Robbert de Bakker who turns out to own unique works by Heyboer, they can’t believe their luck. From 2004 onward, they purchase a total of 4,800 etches, receipts, doodles and seals from him over an eight-year period. However, since their acquisitions differ from other works by Heyboer, the art world grows suspicious. The drama reaches its first peak when the polygamous artist’s multiple widows file a lawsuit and the court rules that every single one of the works is forged. De Bakker was sentenced to one year in prison, but appealed the verdict. The documentary features interviews with a variety of collectors and experts, hoping to find an answer to the key question: is the work authentic? In De Geest Van Anton Heyboer shows fascinating interactions between people where the emotional stakes run high. Controversy aside, there’s one thing everything agrees on: Anton himself would have loved all the excitement and confusion


Length: 55 minutes

On-air period: 2016

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De keuken van Kamp Westerbork

(‘The Kitchen at Camp Westerbork’)

This documentary looks at the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands quite literally ‘through the kitchen window’. Food was at a premium in the camp due to scarcity, but it also had a different purpose. As Ruth David, daughter of the German-Jewish chef Ernst David, explains: “My father was a very important figure in the camp, because food brought the prisoners some measure of comfort. And since the meals they were given kept the people in the camp docile and somewhat in check, they always made sure there was just enough for everyone.” Ernst David was tasked with cooking for around 10,000 people, as well as bearing witness to the many injustices in the camp. Since virtually none of the survivors can remember eating meat even though historical records show that it was on the menu, it is likely that it was divided among the camp elite. De Keuken van Kamp Westerbork contains interviews with camp prisoners, descendants of camp personnel, and smugglers, teaching us about a hitherto neglected subject: the supply of food at Westerbork. This documentary is a story of intrigue, power, conflict, privileges and despair. 

Length: 50 minutes

On-air period: 2016

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Waterloo: Dagboek van een veteraan

(‘Waterloo: a Veteran's Journal’)

The epic Battle of Waterloo, which took place in Belgium on June 18, 1815, marked the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. Rather than simply retracing the event, Paul Rem draws on the personal journal left behind by his remote ancestor Jan Rem. The latter’s extremely detailed eyewitness report is a remarkable document, given that the vast majority of soldiers at that time were illiterate. Using the journal as a constant guide and reference, Paul Rem visits the sites where his ancestor fought the French army, interviewing experts and developing a feel for what conditions must have been like back then. The use of verbatim quotes lifted from the journal (chock-full of fascinating details) makes Rem and his audience feel like they’ve been transported back in time to the historic Battle of Waterloo.


Length: 51 minutes

On-air period: 2015



Retour Hemel I & II

(‘Returning to Heaven, Parts I & II’)

In September 2012, at age 46, broadcaster Mark Bos was diagnosed with prostate cancer, having been told that the disease had metastasized to bone. When he was urged by doctors to take an injection that was tantamount to chemical castration, Mark refused, marking the start of an unusual search for what his doctors told him was impossible: a cure. Armed with a camera, Mark set off on a world tour, even reaching the top of Africa’s highest mountain, the Kilimajaro (dressed in a pair of shorts). Retour Hemel is a poignant and deeply personal documentary that leads Mark Bos, who is shown to be hopeful and apprehensive in equal measure, along various practitioners of alternative medicine. In this warts-and-all portrait, the plain-spoken Mark shares both the highs and lows with his audience – as well as revealing the disastrous impact his illness has had on his relationship with his partner.


Mark died one day after delivering all his rough footage to Sarphati Media’s Erica Reijmerink, who went on to edit the production.Mark’s documentary gives voice to cancer patients and reveals the decisions and realities they are forced to navigate after receiving their diagnosis. The painful segue from Mark’s to Erica’s editing makes it impossible for viewers to look away and ignore the narrator’s tragic fate.

Length: 54-51 minutes

On-air period: 2015



Platina Blues

One year before his death in 2015, Dutch musician and lyricist Thé Lau composed a heartrending farewell to life called ‘Platina Blues’. As well as being a musical work in four parts, it is also the title of a film adapted from this work. The songs relate the story of a single night in room 10 of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, a dedicated cancer clinic: a night of morphine-induced fever dreams and hallucinations, as well as some harsh realities. Author, playwright and director Threes Anna (whose credits include Dogtroep) created a unique film that blends together several artforms. The film was produced in a single shot with a handheld camera: a masterful feat by cameraman Richard van Oosterhout. With great artistic skill, the audience is drawn into the hallucinatory night, which spans six hours (from 1am to 6am). Thé Lau’s ostinato and Threes Anna’s film share the same intensity, keeping the audience in a constant state of unease. Platina Blues, which premiered at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht in 2014, is the immensely moving, poignant legacy of a great and sorely missed talent. 


Length: 40 minutes

On-air period: 2014



Den Haag, Sporen van Oranje

(‘The Hague: Traces of the Monarchy’)

The Dutch royal family and the city of The Hague are inextricably linked, and this documentary reveals the extent of the family’s impact on the city over the centuries. During the bicentennial of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, art historian Paul Rem takes the viewer on a fascinating tour of official royal palaces such as Noordeinde, Kneuterdijk and Lange Voorhout, along with landmark buildings and other sites linked to the ancestors of current Dutch King Willem-Alexander. More than anyone else, it was the early-nineteenth century kings – King William I, II and III – who left their mark on The Hague. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was established on their return to the city in 1813, after 20 years of war, revolution, and French rule. Covering sites from Willemspark to Noordeinde Palace and from Scheveningen Road to the Ridderzaal (Great Hall), this documentary is the ultimate tribute to the city of The Hague and its close ties to the Dutch royals. 

Length: 53 minutes

On-air period: 2015



Tikotin: A life devoted to Japanese art

Tikotin tells the story of the fascinating and eventful life of the German-Jewish art dealer Felix Tikotin (1893-1986). Director Santje Kramer follows Tikotin’s grandson Jaron Borensztajn as he goes in search of his grandfather’s true identity. Tikotin gained fame as a dealer specializing in Japanese art. Having been the only member of his unit to survive World War I, he later made regular travels on the Trans-Siberian Express from Berlin to Japan to purchase prints. After World War II – which he survived by going into hiding with his family just outside of Amsterdam – he managed to build a worldwide imperium. Kramer and Borensztajn discovered that Tikotin led a life marked by battle, family drama and a strong will to survive. This documentary presents an intimate family portrait in which the human tragedies in Tikotin’s life play out against the backdrop of some of the twentieth century’s most significant events.


Tikotin: A Life Devoted to Japanese Art won the Hearts, Minds and Souls Grand Prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.


Length: 59 minutes

On-air period: 2013



Soldier on the Roof/ Kolonisten van Hebron

This award-winning documentary (screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) is set in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. Although it may be a mere dot on the world map, Hebron has been the site of many violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Young Israeli-Dutch filmmaker Esther Hertog regularly travelled to this holy site (where the Tomb of the Patriarchs has been located for many centuries) over a three-year period. Within Hebron's oldest neighbourhood, 800 Israeli settlers live in a Jewish enclave, surrounded by more than 120,000 Palestinian residents.  The settlers are protected 24/7 by Israeli soldiers (with the latter sometimes even outnumbering the former). Hertog succeeds in presenting personal portraits of the settlers, whose daily lives are an onslaught of conflict situations and harassment, asking the fundamental question: who actually owns this territory? The fascinating depiction of a point in time shows disconcerting images of the lives of soldiers, intransigent settlers, and their children, playing amid the pandemonium.


Soldier on the Roof won two IDFA awards in 2012 (‘Best Dutch Documentary’ and ‘First Appearance’) and was nominated for a Golden Calf Award (Best Long Documentary, 2013).

Length: 80 minutes

On-air period: 2012


© 2020 Sarphati Media

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