Gunther Lutze, a former captain in Hitler's SS, decides to return to the area that contains the remnants of Dachau concentration camp. As he revels in the memories of the days when he had tortured prisoners, prisoner Alfred Becker appears before his eyes. What he does not realize is Becker is an ghostly apparition, and plans to put Lutze on "trial" for crimes against humanity for the torture and killing of the prisoners that were held in the camp. It is one trial Lutze may regret. Written by
The storyline states that the Nazis killed 10 million people in its war of terror, which is even more accurate than the number that people use. Most people use an erroneous number; and focus on the 6 million Jews but neglect the total number of lives taken. The chief number of forgotten people included political prisoners, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and anyone who had a less than "ideal" physical specimen. The total amount in human lives was 13 million, not just the 6 million Jews. See more »
This episode was set in 1962, 17 years after the end of the war and Dachau is shown as abandoned. However, after the war it remained open, first as a prison and then as a refugee camp until the mid-1960s. See more »
An arrogant SS captain returns years later to the extermination camp over which he formerly presided.
Perhaps this episode reveals something about the nature of drama. There should at least be some element of conflict or moral ambiguity if a story is to generate anything like the dramatic tension that will either entertain, provoke, or instruct. The trouble with this entry-- well-meaning though it is-- is that it lacks both conflict or any hint of moral ambiguity in its characters and plotting. Instead, it takes the easy way out and we get a dressed-up half-hour lecture on the fact that sin (genocide) is bad. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the message lacks merit. Quite the contrary. I'm saying it has so much merit, that the issue of genocide shouldn't be reduced to a one-dimensional cardboard Nazi monster that the audience can easily disassociate from. A more entertaining and instructive approach would soften the evil captain with a few recognizably human traits that would force the audience to ask the right kind of questions that can't be easily disassociated from. Again, I'm not questioning the morality of the message; I'm assessing the artistic value of the episode itself. And the fact that it has very little undercuts the instructive value. If ever a half-hour needed a big dose of TZ imagination, this is it. Too bad that Serling fell back on the facile and formulaic. The subject matter deserves better.
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