13 July 2011

Czas honoru/Time of honor WW2 tv series

Czas Honoru or "Time of honor" in English, is a Polish tv series that I stumbled upon just recently. The show is about Polish soldiers trained in England by Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), an organization specialized in sabotage and resistance in German occupied countries. Being airdropped back to Poland during the spring of 1941 these soldiers are join the underground resistance in Warsaw where they are needed in different lines of work.

Counterfeiting German documents, assassinations on German collaborators, sabotage, and gathering of information and general conspiracy which causes lots of paranoia on who they can trust. Members of the conspiracy have pseudonyms and use contact persons and drop boxes.

The show depicts all aspects of life in Warsaw, with the random German roundups and executions on the streets, German officers living among the civilian population, "Volksdeutsche" having special privileges, the Warsaw Ghetto, the amount of people involved in the resistance in all sorts of ways. Storylines don't only show the Polish side but we get to follow both the Abwehr (German army intelligence) and Gestapo as well, see the Gestapo prison from the inside and their interrogation methods and the friction between the Abwehr and Gestapo.

There is a great cast of characters in this show, beside the 5 main characters dropped in from England, over the 3 seasons we also get a nice lineup of German "baddies" with the Abwehr major Martin Halbe being the bright spot during season 1 and later joined by Gestapo SS-Obersturmbannführer Lars Reiner during season 2 and 3. Reiner is a fantastic character, having worked for Interpol before the war he is more of a intelligent policeman than brute and there is lots of interesting and at times hilarious scenes with him and Halbe as they work their way through the Polish resistance.

The show has 3 seasons, and originally ended 2009, the ending of 3rd season was really meant to be the last season and you can see that by most of the plotlines being resolved (with an ending that is like a less moronic but similar to the Inglorious Basterds ending). However, the show has been renewed for one last, 4th , season which will start broadcasting this September. The last season makes a jump in time to 1944, which leaves it open to suggestion that the Warsaw Uprising could be covered in one way or the other.

The show was surprisingly enjoyable and is a good mix of drama and adventure. If I have to leave a complaint there are 2 things.

The first, the CGI of the very first episode will make you cringe - more specifically there is a brief sequence on a British airfield during season 1 first episode where there is a lineup of obviously fake planes. Luckily this is the only time anything like this occurs during the 3 seasons, and the locations and action throughout the remaining episodes is free of such jarring imagery.

The second, since it is a Polish tv series - obviously everyone speaks Polish. Not so bad when 80% of the cast is supposed to be Polish but this unfortunately stretches to the German characters as well. Though they keep using German names and military grades. The only time Germans speak German is when the audience sees something from the point of view of a character who can't speak German to highlight this.

A short rundown of the main storyline of the 3 seasons so far:

1 Season, acquiring contact with the underground resistance cells and start preparing people for the work ahead. Main storyline is about a planned jailbreak from the Gestapo prison. We also get to see how much damage a single person working for the Germans can do by spreading false information while gathering information for the Gestapo.

2 Season, Gestapo and Abwehr change their tactics. They recruit ex criminals into Gestapo service and release them as double agents which increases the paranoia. The resistance movement also plan a heist on the Reichsbank in Warsaw. Life in the Ghetto deteriorates.

3 Season, The resistance cell made up of the main characters is infiltrated by the Germans in a very clever way. Operations start to go wrong and wrong people are accused of working with the Germans. The 3rd season also sees the appearance of communist cells in Warsaw adding to the enemies of the Polish resistance.

Each season is 13 episodes with each episode being 45-50 minutes long.

And of course I would not write about any of this unless you could get the TV show with English subtitles. Having checked it out, all seasons on DVD have Polish speech and English subtitles as an option.

Depending on where you get these seasons from you can get away very cheap. The cheapest way is to order the boxed sets directly from Poland. Each season goes for 50zloty and depending on the webbshop the postage is usually the same. I ordered 2 sets of the series for myself and my buddy Calle from the http://www.punkt44.pl/film.html store.

The http://www.punkt44.pl/film.html shop in Poland has it with English subtitles (and the store is in Polish / English as well).

TRAILER (may contain spoilers)


  1. You can get this series with english subtitles here:


    The shop in Poland has it with English subtitles (and the store is in Polish / English as well).

  2. Nice find. I didn't now it's already on DVD. And have you heard about "Tajemnica twierdzy szyfrow" - "Mystery of the Codes Stronghold"? It's pretty good as well based on Boguslaw's Woloszanski book. Highly recommended.

  3. Trailer with english subtitles added.

    @ rempage, no I have not - but I will check it out (checked the trailer and info on wikipedia). I'm lucky enough to understand Polish fluently so chances are I will have little problemm finding a copy of that show that I can watch :-)
    Thanks for the tip!

  4. can you please upload the english subtitles of the 1st 2 seasons . I have the series but not the subs

  5. Vineet, from what I know you can only get subs with the original DVD boxed sets. The episodes I downloaded to check out the series were in Polish only.

    If you get the show from the punkt44pl shop you will get the English subs. And you pretty much have to get the show from there as few other places have them with English subs at affordable prices.

  6. Anatoli , I have downloaded the episodes from the internet . All I need are the subs . Thnx anyways :)

  7. @Vineet, if I have some time off I'll try to work this out, although I am sure that Polish history fans are already doing their best to solve this problem.
    On the side: so often this kills Polish cinema: lack of PR and easily available copies with eng subs.

  8. I have checked out this website but can not find this series? Do you have another place to get this?

  9. Ok now I have registered here so you have my name instead of anonymous....I found this Series on Ebay here in the states, but was wondering if there are any other stores to get it from in Poland since this link you put does not have it, or at least I can not find it? The price you said sounded better that the eBay price I found. Thanks!

  10. Deborah, check this site http://www.punkt44.pl/film.html and then type in "Czas Honoru" which should make all the boxed sets appear. What you want are the "sezon X" boxes which contain all the episodes from eash season. They all have English subtitles. Hope this helps, there is an option to toggle the site from Polish to English to some extent up in the right corner as well.

  11. There allready is 4th season on dvd and 5th is filmig due in fall on polish tv. Entire searies is more or less true historicly. Characters are fictional but what they do acctualy happend, only it was several different squads of underground soldiers, most famous was Szare Szeregi - Gray Ranks, and series depicts some of theirs most known and daring jobs agains nazis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Ranks

  12. Another belated thanks for your review! My maternal grandmother and her siblings emigrated from Poland between the wars. My mom and I, and maybe even the rest of my siblings would be interested in watching this.

    1. I really liked the show, the 4th season was a bit weak - 5th picked up a bit and takes place during the Soviet occupation which too can be interesting to watch :-)

  13. Sorry for my english... If someone liked this series new season (6-th) begined 1-st september in polish TVP2 at 21.10 CET.

    1. They are actually doing a 6th season? Thought they intended to end it with the 5th, the way it ended.

    2. Yeah, it's strange that they decided to continue the series after the extremely disappointing 5th season finale. And they are already working on the script for the 7th season which will take place during the Warsaw Uprising, so they are going back in time. Hope it will work.

      BTW Have you seen this?:

      "Warsaw Rising" is the world's first feature film made entirely from documentary materials. It tells the story of the Warsaw Rising of 1944 through the eyes of two young reporters, witnesses to insurgent fighting. It uses authentic newsreels filmed in August of 1944. Applying modern technology methods of colorization and audio reconstruction and ensuring the cooperation of the best artists, the "Warsaw Rising" has no equal.


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