UK Actor Daniel Radcliffe Explores Jewish Roots on BBC Show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
“Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe examined some chilling truths about his Jewish ancestors Monday night on the BBC show “Who Do You Think You Are?”
The British actor, 30, discovered that his maternal family’s jewelry business in Hatton Garden, London suffered a robbery and police asserted there was not sufficient evident to suggest someone had broken in, so authorities instead made antisemitic accusations against the Jewish family, suggesting they were trying to made a fraudulent insurance claim.
“Jews are so frequently responsible for the bringing down of their own business premise,” read the police report, regarding which Radcliffe noted: “It’s very jarring to see being a Jew to be taken as a piece of evidence in itself.”
Radcliffe then cried while reading a suicide letter that his maternal great-grandfather, Samuel Gershon, wrote to his wife before taking his own life. Gershon committed suicide after the Hatton Garden jewelry business, inherited from his father, put him into major debt.
The actor also learned that his mother’s side of the family changed their name from Gershon to Gresham to move past the scandal of Samuel’s suicide at the age of 41.
“The way he says things is not dissimilar to some things I would say and things I might call people,” said Radcliffe between tears as he read over his great-grandfather’s suicide note.
The episode concluded with Radcliffe reflecting on what he had discovered about his family.
“A lot of very sad things have happened to various parts of my family but I can’t be sad about it because everyone was loved, and ultimately that means that, even if their time on Earth ended prematurely and sadly, it was worth having,” he said.
Watch an excerpt from the “Who Do You Think You Are?” episode featuring Radcliffe below: