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Chelsea Handler wipes away tears researching family's Nazi Germany roots

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Aug 12, 2013 | 2:10pm EDT

Comedienne Chelsea Handler broke down in tears while researching her family's roots in Nazi Germany for genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? after reading about her grandparents' struggle to feed their kids. The This Means War actress, who is half-Jewish, recently headed to Germany for the U.S. version of the programme and learned all about her maternal grandfather's background as a member of Adolf Hitler's military, a part of his life that was never discussed with Handler and her five older siblings. Speaking on the show, which aired in the U.S. on Sunday (11Aug13), she said, "My grandfather served in the Second World War as a soldier. Whether or not he agreed with Hitler, he was serving in the Germany army... "He was taken as a prisoner of war at some point to America, where he stayed for several years... When he went back to Germany he was very eager to come and take his family and move them back to the United States." The research trip grew particularly emotional for Handler as she had her grandmother's diary translated from German into English, and learned just how poor they had been after their country's defeat in the First World War. Wiping away tears, Handler said, "My German grandma definitely spoke about her life during the war way more than my grandfather did. He never spoke about it... "I remember my grandmother totally telling us how there was no food. That must've been really hard to be a parent." The series' executive producer, Lisa Kudrow, recently revealed Handler's episode had become a favourite among staff at the TLC network, which airs the programme, adding, "It couldn't have been an easy show to do."

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