Holocaust: Season 1, Episode 1

Part I: The Gathering Darkness (16 Apr. 1978)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Romance, War
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 64 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 5 critic

In 1935 Berlin, the Weisses celebrate son Karl's marriage to Inga Helms. When Erik Dorf is unable to find work as a lawyer, wife Marta urges him to apply for a Nazi government job. Erik ... See full summary »



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Title: Part I: The Gathering Darkness (16 Apr 1978)

Part I: The Gathering Darkness (16 Apr 1978) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Slomova
Marius Goring ...
Berta Palitz Weiss
Heinz Muller (as Anthony Haygarth)
Deborah Norton ...
Marta Dorf
George Rose ...


In 1935 Berlin, the Weisses celebrate son Karl's marriage to Inga Helms. When Erik Dorf is unable to find work as a lawyer, wife Marta urges him to apply for a Nazi government job. Erik Dorf warns Dr. Weiss he should leave Germany. Karl is arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, and Dr. Weiss is deported to Poland. Erik Dorf continues to advance in the Nazi hierarchy. Written by mama.sylvia

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Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

16 April 1978 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1935 the family is talking about Hindenburg as if he was alive at the time. In fact, Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934. See more »


Laura Dorf: [to Erik] Daddy, why does everybody hate the Jews?
Peter Dorf: Caus' they killed Christ. Didn't you learn that in Sunday school?
See more »


References Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Have some Kleenex ready for this one....
28 September 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I was a little surprised as I watched this episode that it begins in 1935--two years after Hitler's ascent to national power. This isn't a complaint--just an observation. The Weiss and Helms family are at a wedding banquet. The Weiss family is Jewish and the Helms are Germans. Despite this wedding between different faiths, there are signs at this celebration of what is in the offing, as the Helms family is quite content with the current Nazi government. Over time, the Helms family pulls further and further away from the Weiss family and become willing accomplices with the Nazi propaganda machine--even participating in Kristalnacht. This is not the only plot line involving a 'good German family' falling in with the Nazis and their evil policies. There is another plot involving the Dorf family. As the show begins, they are close to Dr. Weiss, but as the show progresses, this changes because nice Mr. Dorf joins the SS--and slowly rises up the ranks.

The theme is the gradual elimination of Jewish civil rights and the lack of public outcry at these injustices. It's all very well crafted, well acted and quite sad--particularly the fate that occurs with Dr. Weiss' in-laws. It also didn't hurt that such wonderful actors as Fritz Weaver, Meryl Streep, Sam Wanamaker, Michael Moriarty and many others star in this show. Episode one pulls few punches and sets the stage for the horrors of parts 2, 3 and, especially, 4.

Interestingly, parts of this show have strong parallels to the plots in "The Winds of War"--another great made for TV mini-series that you really should watch.

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