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When there were Nazis in my neighbourhood

The amazing antics of a local house

by Carol Muskoron

I went to an exclusive event on the weekend. It was called 'The Secret Listeners' and it was about the goings-on in a beautiful country house in some parkland near where I live.

I have known for some time that Nazi officers had been held prisoner at the Trent Park mansion in London's Cockfosters - and I had always thought it was a bit odd that they should have been kept in a beautiful house that was formerly the home of millionaire Philip Sassoon in the early 1900s. Now, I know why Nazi officers were imprisoned there in the lap of luxury. The entire time they were being spied on by a troup of German refugees, mainly Jews, in the cellars below them - and 'The Secret Listeners' tour of the house explained just how it worked. Big microphones were hidden all over the house -sometimes in plant pots - and while the German officers relaxed in their library or watched films, they talked... and talked...

They revealed vital facts that Churchill might not have known otherwise until the end of the war. They heard confirmation for the first time that an incredible estimated five million might have been killed in war crimes. They heard about the gassings. And, perhaps most surprisingly of all, they heard misgivings about Hitler.

Yes, during this fascinating experience, which incorporated the dramatic talent of the Pascal Theatre Company (acting out the parts of German officers and war refugees) against the backdrop of actual recordings from the listeners, the most startling revelation to me was the voices of German officers who regretted what was going on. There were two groups among the prisoners - those who were with Hitler and those who were not. And those who were not spoke up, wondering how humanity was going to forgive them for the terrible acts of which their nation was guilty. It was a relief to hear their horror.

The Pascal Theatre Company is currently engaged in more research and is interviewing more refugees and people associated with Trent Park at the time. Their findings will feed into a new performance at The Jewish Museum in London. And a permanent record of the project will be available at the Jewish Military Museum.

Look out for more performance wonders from The Pascal Theatre Company which specialises in plays which explore cultural identity and exile. And check out this video about the making of The Secret Listeners.

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Alice  Jones

Alice Jones

Alice Jones is intern on All About You; she has an obsession for all things fashion and beauty related.

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Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Nola  Ojomu

Nola Ojomu

Freelance contributor to All About You. Mission - to have the perfect eyebrows

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Harriet  Edgar

Harriet Edgar

All About You intern; likes fashion, jogging, blogging and EastEnders

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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Rachael  Ashley

Rachael Ashley

SHE's deputy editor and single mum of two embodies the SHE motto 'Busy and loving it!'

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Kate Gilbert

Kate Gilbert

Lifestyle Co-ordinator Good Housekeeping; believes in style,substance and big girl shoes.

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Marie  Campbell

Marie Campbell

Marie Campbell is assistant to the editor at SHE and also writes for the lifestyle pages.

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Natalie  Glock

Natalie Glock

Editorial assistant on All About You; a Parisian in training and amateur baker.

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Ruth  Chandler

Ruth Chandler

Assistant features editor on Country Living, Ruth lives on a smallholding in rural Essex.

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Julia  Goodwin

Julia Goodwin

Editor of House Beautiful since 2006, Julia has been a journalist for over 30 years.

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Josa Young

Josa Young

Josa Young is a writer, cook and internet content consultant.

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