A few weeks ago, Dr. Brian Crim, a history professor at the University of Lynchburg, got a call from the casting director at ATTN:, a Los Angeles-based media company. ATTN: had partnered with Amazon Prime on a short documentary to promote the series “Hunters,” which tells the fictional — albeit “ripped from the headlines” — story of Nazi hunters in the 1970s.
One of the series’ plots involves Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. after World War II to work for federal agencies like NASA. This really happened and was part of a secret U.S. government program called “Operation Paperclip” or “Project Paperclip.”
That’s where Crim — or more specifically, his 2017 book, “Our Germans: Project Paperclip and the National Security State” — came into play.
“The creator of ‘Hunters’ is David Weil and he was fascinated by [Project] Paperclip and uses it as a storyline in the show,” Crim said. “Much of [the series] is fictionalized, of course, but the truth is almost as good as the myth. My book was one of those consulted and that put me on the list of scholars to do the documentary.”
Prior to appearing in the documentary, Crim had talked about “Our Germans” on C-SPAN’s Book TV. On occasion, he’d also been interviewed on local news and radio. The documentary experience was something altogether new for him.
“They flew me to a studio space in Philadelphia, put me in a five-star hotel, gave me hair and makeup, and vegan catering,” Crim said. “I spoke for six hours and had to wait and wait and wait while the crew set up each shot. It was very ‘Hollywood.’
“The funniest part was having to stop and start sentences every few minutes because of street noise, car alarms, and doors slamming.”
You can watch the documentary here.