Holocaust (TV Mini-Series 1978– ) Poster

(1978– )

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Outstanding Miniseries
smwise37 February 2007
NBC's Holocaust is perhaps the finest miniseries I've seen on television. I purchased the two VHS set several years ago and watch it at least once a year over several nights. Holocaust features a large, excellent cast, which make up for emotion which they lack in depth. Sadly, the stories are all too familiar and have presented in one form or another, but what makes this series stand out is the fact that it was able to compress time and feature some of the best known events of the holocaust, such as Babi Yar, Sobibor and Warsaw Ghetto, seamlessly. The dual story lines tracking the Jewish Weiss family and the German Dorff family intertwine believably, and the graphic violence is appropriate for this production. Michael Moriarty was excellent as the meek lawyer who became a cold calculator and Rosemary Harris was memorable as the proud but stubborn Berta Weiss. Meryl Streep and James Woods also are noteworthy, and it's a delight to see both actors in early roles. I recall when Holocaust debuted it became a media event and school project, with study guides for classroom discussion. I wonder if some of the material was appropriate for some young audiences.
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Powerful educational tale of entire Holocaust
trpdean14 June 2003
If you were only to see one movie, one television series in your life about the Holocaust (and you should see more), this would be it.

It is the most wide-ranging, most thorough examination of what happened to central and eastern Europe's Jews between 1935 and 1945. The series focuses not on one camp: but on several (Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, Sobribor - and hear much of Maidenek, Dachau, and others). We see the creation and changes in the ghetto in Warsaw (and hear of the ghettos in Vilnius and elsewhere). We see the evolution in the methods of killing Jews - and why. We see what happened to those deemed defectives at yet another camp.

With two exceptions, I found the acting (by a truly stunning cast - from Nigel Hawthorne to Ian Holm, from James Woods to T.P. McKenna, from Meryl Streep to David Warner, from Rosemary Harris to Sam Wanamaker, from Fritz Weaver to Tovah Feldshuh, Robert Stephens to Deborah Norton, Michael Moriarty) superb - truly moving and powerful. The two exceptions were the daughter Anna and the son Rudy played by Joseph Bottoms. This may not be entirely their fault - their parts are so underwritten - conventional.

The fantastic aspect of this series is its scope - you really do have a grounding in the Holocaust that would serve you well reading any history, seeing any movies set in this time.

The downside is that as fine as the acting is, the series is split among the stories of six to eight people over the course of a decade - which inevitably limits how moved the audience is by the story of each. Thus, in contrast to say, Schindler's List or The Pianist, we are not living and breathing with one person and what happens to him - we do not know these characters THAT well.

I would also criticize the series as creating such one-sidedly virtuous characters in the victims. We are interested in a character in drama only to the extent that the person seems real and we can therefore wholly identify with this real breathing person. Although we do have some feeling of how James Woods' character is different from say, Joseph Bottoms', it isn't sufficient to move the drama to the greatest heights. Actors don't come better than those in this series - so I think it's really due to the nature of the series - the need to get it all in and move around all the different experiences. This better serves our education, but somewhat reduces the sense of having suffered with each individual.

This was a great and enormously expensive production. It is very worthwhile renting - and should be shown to everyone above say, the age of 12 (I'd say that a younger age is too susceptible to the horror). NBC is to be commended highly for having developed it. It's tremendous.
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"The first effective docu/drama about the Holocaust!"
Graham Watson15 January 2007
Holocaust was a typical made for TV mini series that were made back in the late 1970's. It followed on the back of the well acclaimed series ROOTS and was later was followed by the WINDS OF WAR and others. Having seen this recently although it's still effective and interesting Holocaust looks a bit wooden and dated by today standards. In addition in the 30 years since there have been a lot of documentaries, movies and other big screen stuff which has perhaps detailed the horrors in a more graphic way as well as providing an even more nightmarish and depressing insight into what Europe's Jews had to endure during Hitler's reign.

It's mostly an American and British cast, typically the Weiss family and the Jews are played by the American actors and the Brits play the Germans. Some of them were well known at the time i.e. Fritz Weaver, Sam Wanamaker and T.P. McKenna . Others such as Ian Holm, James Woods and Meryl Streep would soon become household names.

It follows the fait of the Weiss family and details on an individual basis how they all coped with the changing anti-Semitic conditions in Germany and their suffering until the war was over. Also a German called Erik Dorf was added to the story who was destined for a legal career but decided to join the SS. He moved through the ranks and became one of the most enthusiastic defenders of the final solution. To some extent they were trying to rationalize how well educated people became brain washed. He was played by Michael Moriarty and did not come across as evil, certainly not at the beginning. He never personally carried out killings but just gave orders and watched from the side lines. Watching the change in him as the episodes unfolded is chilling.

Over the years there have been numerous documentaries and movies made which show the hell of the Holocaust but what this series did was tell people things that weren't widely known back in 1978. Although it was well known that the Jews were gassed and put into concentration camps most of my knowledge about this period as well as the war as a whole was based on war films and the British documentary series THE WORLD AT WAR. HOLOCAUST depicts the events that unfolded and how the Jews found themselves in such a hopeless situation! By January 1942 there was to be a fully fledged war against the Jews. The methods of disposal were seemed to be too slow and crude. More efficient ways of extermination had to be found to accelerate the process and make the policy more efficient now that Hitlers initial objectives were unraveling on the eastern front.

When I first watched Holocaust I wondered why the Jews didn't put up more of a fight, why so many of them just went to their deaths? Now watching it today two things struck me. After being dehumanized, humiliated, starved and stripped of dignity, they were simply exhausted, frightened and resigned to their fait. Also, most of them were children, old men and women who up against armed soldiers had no chance. Also their predicament was difficult, where do you hide wearing striped pajamas or a star of David on your tunic? Many escapees were betrayed by neighbors and non-Jews. Indigenous governments either through fear of because of Nazi sympathy just capitulated and cooperated with German requests for the Jews to be deported. Events such as Sobibor where out of the 600 who initially escaped only 60 survived the war, not a great success rate. Also, the Warsaw uprising which was eventually crushed in 1944 only highlighted the futility of their position!

The other point and this arouses controversy is that more people died in the war itself, why concentrate on the holocaust? It's true that many others, political prisoners, and other ethnic groups were massacred too. Also, more money and lives were spent and lost during the war than the killing of the 6 ½ million Jews, why the distinction?

Firstly, the Jews were the largest ethnic group that were killed despite being dispersed all over Europe. Secondly their treatment started way back in the 1930's and of course accelerated up until and in some cases even after the German surrender. Jews were being Killed, massacred and forced on death marches right up until the end of the war. Thirdly, the Germans got the art of killing these none combatants down to a fine art, they industrialized death and suffering in such a way that I don't know if there is anything historically to compare with it? Every step of the way they took away hope and there was a cruel deception right the way down the line, all able bodied were concentrated and enslaved until no longer useful and the others were killed quickly or slowly, which ever suited . By the time they realized what was going on it was too late! They simply never believed the Germans would do such a thing!

It was cruelty towards an ethnic group, whole familys which included, the old, the sick and children were all tormented. The perpetrators of this policy and it's executioners took delight in what they were doing, – – – yes, a sense of delight is the right word. I watched a documentary a couple of years ago where a survivor of a camp a Dutch Jew, I think his name was Joseph Greenberg learned a year after the end of the war that his family were probably all killed on the same day they arrived at the death camp. It still haunted him all these years later. This is the enduring legacy of the perverse and twisted war against Europe's Jews. Well worth watching!
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Sterilized, American TV version of the Holocaust did raise awareness
doyle_cm26 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The only reason I rated this miniseries a 6 instead of a 5 is because it was a groundbreaking, envelope-pushing TV drama for its time. Considering the full frontal nudity, I'm wondering how it aired on broadcast television at all. However, the nudity was the most shocking thing about this sterilized treatment of the Holocaust.

Shot in standard 70's television fashion--too much lighting, no ambiance, tight shots, poor acting, complete with "happy" ending--this historical drama looked more like an episode of "Little House" than a feature film, like "Schindler's List." Cheesy production, opening credits and acting aside, it was an important moment in American television.

Consider that just two decades earlier, very few Americans even spoke of the horrors of the Holocaust. This was a turning point in the general American consciousness about the "Final Solution" mercilessly carried out by the Nazis.

For its flaws and triteness, the movie does attempt to be historically accurate and culturally relevant. It touches on the growing anti-Semitism in 1930's Germany as the Nazis rose to power. It shows a meeting of the Einsatzgruppen Death's Head Chiefs discussing the Russian campaign, then their "Special Action" Commandos carrying out the grueling mass murders in ditches and ravines. It touches on the gas van killings and the gradual intensification of gassing pogroms. It shows the SS-initiated Wansee Conference where the Final Solution was discussed in detail. It gives glimpses into the Zyklon-B gassing operations at Auschwitz, and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. None of it is shown as gruesome as it must have been.

Throughout the 5-part miniseries (it is 5 parts on the DVD release), neither the ghettos, camps or work details are realistically portrayed. The actors are never shown in overcrowded, lice and disease-infested quarters or bordering starvation. On the contrary, Dr. Weiss is a well dressed and coifed physician throughout his stay in the Warsaw ghetto. Even when he and Mrs. Weiss board the deportation train, they look like they are off to a medical convention instead of a death camp.

The worst part was the cheesy, feel-good ending with Rudy Weiss giving pointers to a group of Greek Jewish orphans playing soccer in a field. The expression on the actors face at the end smacks of "Mary Tyler Moore" and many other 70's sitcoms. This was NOT a situation comedy. It should have been darker, drearier and more realistic. Not once did it evoke any strong emotion. I understand it having to be sterilized for a mass Western audience, but it was way too cheerful.

I don't want to detract from it's cultural significance in 1978, but watching it in 2010, it just smacks of "Starsky and Hutch" cheesiness. I knew as soon as I saw the opening credits what I was in for. Did they simply burn one of the leftover houses from "Little House on the Prairie"?
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Holocaust **** Never to Forget
edwagreen19 November 2007
One of the most outstanding television mini-series that was ever made. Obviously, this won the Emmy for best mini-series and was truly well deserved.

The story deals with the Weiss Family of Germany. They thought that they were true Germans never believing that they would be caught up in the madness of Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Despite the warnings of Dr. Weiss's patient,Dorf, who quickly rises in the Nazi hierarchy, the Weiss Family remains in Germany as Hitler seized power and the nightmare for the Jewish people begins.

This series made stars of Michael Moriarty.(Dorf) He plays the character drawn into the Nazi party with a chilling unfeeling for humanity rarely seen in movies. Dorf would be the typical character who would have said that he was forced into doing what he did since he was caught up in this period of frenzy. His ambitious, evil wife also helped push him into this way of life. Meryl Streep and James Woods also became well known as a result of this masterpiece production.

Nothing was hidden in making this grand production. You see the kosher butcher stores fall victim to Kristallnacht-the night of breaking glass. You see victims being marched off to the gas chambers.

This was certainly movie making at its best. Even the mini-series of todays are lacking in contact, interest and boldness of production.
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Watch it for David Warner's chilling performance
heckles5 March 2000
Reinhart Heydrich is known by historians as having been a uniquely dangerous member of the Hitler's inner circle, as the man was not only far more intelligent than the usual Nazi thug, but completely amoral as well. Both sides are superbly bought out by David Warner as his Heydrich reveals his philosophy to Michael Moriarty's Captain Dorf - it was the high point of the miniseries. It marked Warner for me as a thinking man's villain.
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Very Moving Movie
peanut9244-17 April 2004
As a family member of one of the actors I cannot give a true statement.

It would be considered one sided and biased.

BUT as a person into WWII history I personally feel it was very well documented and was more realistic than one thinks.

This movie was to true to life in some areas that it makes one think of Shindlers List.

One gets the sense that the war was more personal with hitler than one think.

When the Captain finally realizes that hitler is not playing with all oars in the water is the part of the movie that really makes sense.
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Impressive but Flawed
carmi47-116 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Time has dulled the impact of this 1978 NBC blockbuster: we have had much more graphic depictions of the Holocaust. What remains intact are the parallel moral experiences of two families, one Aryan German,one Polish-German Jewish, the moral strength of the latter played off against the moral collapse of the former.

The problem with this juxtaposition is that the historical moral ambiguities involved were so profound that they cannot be satisfyingly analyzed, let alone brought to a sound conclusion, within a cinematic space. Schindler's List contains this problem by focusing primarily on Schindler himself. Charting 2 competing moral universes, and giving each one equal time (so to speak), inescapably makes Holocaust too diffuse.

If there is one overriding criticism, it's that too many characters, while portrayed by actors who went on to greater things, are only moral puppets. Few of them take fire as convincing individuals and too often that happens only with minor characters. The one towering exception is Fritz Weaver's utterly credible Josef Weiss, the Polish-born Jewish doctor who practices in Berlin where his family is one of the film's main foci. As his wife Bertha, Rosemary Harris is statically, even snobbishly, serene even walking into a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Meryl Streep's Inga, the Weiss' Christian daughter-in-law, is nobly devoted to her husband Karl but petulantly defiant with her parents, who resent the danger to which her marriage has exposed them.

Such improbabilities plague the film throughout. The final episode deals abruptly and simplistically with too many threads, as if the writers launched so much material that they had no time in the final episode to bring any of it to a believable conclusion. The worst is the final encounter between Rudi Weiss (Joseph Bottoms) and Inga. The 2 almost casually bump into each other at Terezin; they have not seen each other for 7 years, the family has been decimated and Rudi had never seen his nephew Josef, his only living relative. Yet Rudi and Inga chat for only a few minutes and take leave of each other as if they will meet for lunch next week; but the dialogue implies they may never see each other again. This does not ring true, given the heroic efforts by most camp survivors to find living relatives.

The writers dispose of Erik Dorf (Michael Moriarty), a once-idealistic lawyer corrupted by Nazi ideology, in a puzzlingly opaque manner. Dorf witnessed the death camps' operations and personally shot Jews; yet only in the office of a US Army interrogator, as Dorf looks in rather too detached a fashion at photographs of the camps and their victims, does he abruptly (and in that sense, inexplicably) realize what he has become. He pops a cyanide pill and leaves an ambitious, equally corrupt widow and deeply confused children to deal with his dark legacy as best they can.

Near-perfect sets, costumes and music can't quite compensate for the flawed achievement that is "Holocaust."
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Extraordinary scope, superb acting
ncgordon65129 June 2004
While the Holocaust has been treated in many excellent films and television shows, the 1978 TV mini-series "Holocaust" remains one of the finest. This was the second mini-series ever produced for television, and like it's predecessor, "Roots," the producers attempted to create something that would rival the best that Hollywood could produce for the movies, with the added ability of telling much more of the story by virtue of having much more time to do it in. Thus, the 1978 television mini series "Holocaust" is as well-produced, written and acted as Spielberg's extraordinary film "Schindler's List."

Particularly good performances are given by Meryl Streep as the aristocratic German wife to a Jewish artist, Karl Weiss, played by James Woods. (Did you know that Woods can be as good as a good-guy as he can as a bad-guy?) Karl Weiss is the eldest son of a prominent Berliner Jewish family. We follow him into the concentration camps, including Treblinka (the "show" camp) and eventually to Auschwitz (Oswiecim). Streep follows, sacrificing everything to try to stay with him, or at least near him, and to keep him alive.

Grandpa Weiss is a Jewish German patriot who fought for the Kaiser during WWI and is proud of it, and never can come to terms with the betrayal of his fellow patriots. Fritz Weaver is Papa Weiss, whose story takes us through the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto as he attempts to create some kind of order and safety in the midst of chaos and doom.

David Warner is remarkably sinister and urbane as Reinhard Heydrich, who came up with the legal gobbledygook to create the "Final Solution." Michael Moriarity plays Heinrich's assistant Erik Dorff, a former student and friend of the Weiss family. Moriarty chillingly portrays the seductive nature of National Socialism for the intellectual: He is given the choice of becoming a Nazi, and later Heinrich's assistant, or becoming cannon fodder on the Russian Front. He chooses the former, and goes about his task of carrying out the annihilation of the Jews, including his former good friends the Weiss', with cool logical efficiency. This may be Moriarty's finest hour as an actor.

Other actors of note include the actor's actor Ian Holm, former Brittish grand dame of the theater Rosemary Harris, Joseph Bottoms, Sam Wanamaker and Tovah Feldshuh.

This is entertaining history at its very best. Don't miss it.
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Great actors, not a great movie
CONNIE16 December 2003
There is only so much a great actor or actress can do when the writing and directing are lame. I couldn't make it even halfway through this movie. The writing was dreadful, and the directing lacked vigor. There are so many good actors and actress here, however; but still not worth viewing, especially when there are other choices available that are so outstanding on the subject.
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Watch it, and think how could this have happened?
jmb322220 July 2002
Hindsight's wonderful, and it easy now to criticise this series. I saw it first in Germany and the effect it had there was quite profound. It caused a national debate and, it could be argued, helped Germany face up to what occurred between 1933 and 1945, not so much from the extermination camps, but that they, a civilised people, could be led along that path.
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Outstanding Mini Series
bigdave1128 July 2005
Despite its length this still manages to hold attention throughout. The performances are excellent throughout, especially Meryll Streep as the 'good' German. The character of Eric Dorf very cleverly portrays the aridity of the Nazi mind and the fact that many of these monsters were terrifyingly 'ordinary' individuals who issued edicts condemning millions to their death as easily as they would order a change in traffic regulations. It has been many years since I first saw this on BBC TV and never forgot it. It is now available on DVD, though only it seems in France where a 4 disc set is available with a choice of English or French soundtrack. Highly recommended.
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rebelirish186231 December 2003
I am hoping to be a history teacher after college. As a history buff and a long time researcher on the Holocaust, I have to say the film Holocaust was one of the best movies on the subject I have ever seen. Even though the movie was 7.5 hours, it held my interest the whole way. Merryl Streep, James Woods, and the gentleman who played Doctor Josef Weiss (Fritz Weaver) were very good. Michael Moriarty who played Erik Dorf was very good at acting like the innocent just-out-of-college lawyer and then being a ruthless Nazi. Holocaust was an excellent movie and should be seen by all.
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Outstanding drama, horrifying story.
grendelkhan17 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
In the 1970's, the mini-series came into vogue on television. For a while, ABC was the king, with such dramas as "Rich Man, Poor Man"; and "Roots". Then NBC came along with "Holocaust." Like "Roots," it gives a personal tale of horrifying circumstances. We see the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis and their collaborators, through the eyes of the family Weiss.

Spoilers- At first we meet a fine, upstanding German family, the Weiss family: father Joseph, mother Berta, sons Rudi and Karl, and daughter Anna. Joseph is a doctor, Karl an artist, Berta a pianist. Berta's father was a decorated veteran of the German Army in World War I. Karl is married to Inga, a christian-born. The Weiss family is loving, prosperous, and doomed by their religion.

We also meet Erik Dorf, a lawyer with his own family: Wife Marta and a son and daughter. Dorf is out of work and downcast. He is the son of a baker who worked his way through law school. Marta is a patient of Dr. Weiss and an ambitious woman.

We watch as the restrictions on Jews grow. At first it is subtle, then things become more overt. Dr. Weiss is dismissed from the hospital, Karl has had no commissions and can find no other work. Meanwhile, Dorf has become a member of the SS and aide to Heydrich. Dorf is a master of using semantics and cold, twisted logic to justify oppression of Jews.

Eventually, Karl is arrested and sent to Buchenwald, while Dr. Weiss is deported to Poland. The grandfather is beaten and his shop destroyed during Kristallnacht. Rudi runs away and Anna is raped by a group of Nazis. She loses her tenuous grip on her sanity. She is taken to a "sanitarium" where she is suffocated via carbon monoxide poisoning.

Berta eventually joins her husband and his brother in Warsaw. Karl is transferred to another camp where he creates images of the horrors of the camps. His hands are broken and he is beaten severely. He is briefly reunited with his wife before being sent to Auschwitz, leaving her and their unborn child. He dies while creating a final piece of art.

Dr. Weiss and Berta end up in Auschwitz, after plotting to help some people escape from the trains, in Warsaw. Berta dies first, later followed by her husband.

Dr. Weiss' brother, Moses, helps lead the Warsaw uprising, but is shot by the Nazis.

Young Rudi escapes first to Czechoslovakia, where he meets a beautiful Jewish woman, Helena, and they escape into Russia. They eventually join with a group of Jewish Partisans, but, Helena is killed. Rudi is captured and taken to Sobibor. He takes part in an escape and eventually finds freedom.

Rudi is reunited with Inga and meets his nephew, Joseph; Karl's son. His family will live on in Joseph and Rudi. He is offered a job to help smuggle Greek Jewish children into Palestine.

This series was wonderfully written and is filled with great performances. Meryl Streep and James Woods were coming into their own as actors. Great character actors like Fritz Weaver, Sam Wannamaker, David Warner, Ian Holm, and so many others bring life to this production. Fans of "Spider-Man" will recognize actress Rosemary Harris (Aunt May) as Berta Weiss. Michael Moriarty's normal cold performance is especially chilling and effective here. He seems so lifeless as life is destroyed around him. Deborah Norton, as Marta, is even more horrifying, as she encourages her husband to be bold and seize his opportunities.

This series should be required viewing by students, along with "Schindler's List" and "Night and Fog." People everywhere should see it and remember the words, "Never again!"
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A 9 in 1979 and a 4 in 2010
RAY-13025 April 2010
This series is to be applauded for it's (then) groundbreaking story of the holocaust. However there are now several movies and miniseries that present a more accurate and believable history of the holocaust. It is a shame that the producers of Winds of War and Remembrance were not involved. The excellent cast was wasted on this underfunded effort which shows almost from minute one. Going from 1936 to 1940 in 30 seconds destroyed any credibility for this production. This story deserves a true Miniseries with adequate funding (and cast) to show the beginning of Jewish persecution starting around 1932 in Germany until 1940. After 1940 "Winds" and Schilnder have it covered.
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Excellent. Impressive. A must see!
Nocgirl7210 December 2002
This mini series can be found at some video stores and libraries. My boyfriend brought it home out of the blue thinking I might like it. He was right. Superbly made movie on one of the darkest times in History. 3 tapes with 2.5 hours on each for a total of 7.5 hours but each tape seems to go by so fast this drama is so well filmed and interesting. Its hard to push the Stop button. I've read Holocaust survivors mention this film and have commented on its accuracy and even though I wasn't a victim of it, everything in the movie seemed so real and life like. Very well planned and its obvious alot of research was done to mimic was actually happened as close as possible, down to the sharp SS uniforms and jew clothing, the start of anti-semitism, some historical facts, border crossings, train transports, concentration camp and labor camp life and hardships.

A wonderful breakthrough chilling performance by Michael Moriarty who plays the good Aryan lawyer boy "Dorf" turned bad when he joins the SS. We see this family man with 2 children evolve into a vicious monster.

The story of the Weiss family is followed. Dr Weiss, his wife and 3 children (Rudy,Karl and Anna)and how they struggle to survive as their family is torn apart and lives changed forever as a result of the Third Reich.

Wonderful early performances by Meryl Streep and James Woods. Woods plays Jewish Karl Weiss married to a beautiful Christian woman Inga played by Meryl Streep. Inga has to witness her husband and his whole family being taken away from her and hauled off to camps.

Nothing is sugar coated here. Some scenes such as beatings and executions are very hard to watch. There appears to be actual archive footage of disturbing photographs that the SS guards watch as slide shows.

By far one of the best movies on the Holocaust. Highly recommended. I believe it won 8 much deserved Emmy awards.

I rarely give a perfect 10 but this case I'll make an exception.

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You can forgive...
dbdumonteil19 October 2008
...but you must not forget.

Chomsky's "Holocaust" stands as the best mini-series ever made in my book .The performances are uniformly good,from Meryl Streep to Joseph Bottoms and from James Wood to David Warner.All have to be praised.

The actors were so involved Michael Moriarty (who portrays Erik Dorf) said that he cried after playing the Xmas party scene .Marta Dorf (Deborah Norton) epitomizes the Neo-Nazi we may encounter even today:she never believed that her husband was wrong "let's light a candle for his soul ,children" and she never will ,whereas Dorf perhaps understood his crimes when he saw the photographs in the American officer's office.

"Holocaust" is full of great scenes ,but I think it should be reserved for students over 12,because some moments are unbearable .It should be shown in every secondary school in the world.A deeply moving sequence shows Berta Weiss (the marvelous Rosemary Harris) saying goodbye to her pupils :she urges them to become educated persons ;she leaves them with sweet memories of "the taming of the shrew" and with a song she could not even sing one last time with them.

If you should see only one mini-series,it would have to be this one.A must.
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The impact of this movie has remained with me for 28 years
wandamfisher19 November 2006
I remember watching this mini-series back in 1978. My husband was working nights at the time and I watched it alone. I was spellbound night after night! I will never forget the impact this movie had on me. I have often wished for the chance to see it again. At the time we did not have a VCR player to make a copy of it. I told my husband every day how much I wished he could have been there to see it and I felt that every American should have the opportunity, along with the duty, to see the movie. We SHOULD NEVER FORGET or LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN! I wish the movie would be re-broadcast, even if on a satellite channel. High school and college students should be required to view the movie. They would have a better understanding of why history should not be repeated and hopefully they would appreciate what being an American means in terms of their freedom from this type of oppression.
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Watch It
ptlcan4 January 2004
I have read the other comments and was suprised to see a few people thought it was "boring" or not as good as Schindler's List. I actually watched this years ago as a young teen and recall being enthralled because of course other than history class it wasn't widely discussed. I knew more than most because my best friend's father lost his parents in the camps. Certainly it bogged down in parts but there were some superb performances and especially from Micheal Moriarty as a weak man molded by both his wife and his acceptance into the Nazi Party. It turns out oddly enough that Moriarty really is a bit loony. I don't think network TV would have the guts to attempt something as ambitious now and I am not sure that viewer's would be able to pay attention for such a long time. Yes it is flawed but I would implore anybody to watch it.
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Am incredible movie
domino100313 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*****Possible Spoilers!!!*****

Before "Schindler's List" pulled at my heartstrings, there was "Holocaust," the story of 2 families during the rule of Hitler: The Weiss family, who are practically destroyed by the Jewish massacre, and The Dorf family, whose father, Erik Dorf (Michael Moriarty) works with Heydrich (David Warner) to exterminate the Jewish population in Europe.

The film is incredibly painful because of how the family is systematically destroyed (The grandparents take their own lives, the baby sister that is raped and eventually gassed, the artist son that is imprisoned and tortured because of paintings depicting the Nazi crimes.) and how many people fought to survive the horrors. Kudos to a young Meryl Streep as Inga, the German woman that marries a Jew and does everything in her power (including sleeping with a sleazy friend of the family that works at the concentration camp that her husband is in) to hold onto him, James Woods as Karl the artist that, despite the horrors inflicted on him, refuses to surrender, Rosemary Harris as Berta, the strong willed wife of Dr. Josef Weiss (Fritz Weaver), whose refusal to believe in the growing horror that will destroy the family, and Joseph Bottoms as Rudi, the young son that runs away from home and, along with his Helena (Tovah Feldshuh), joins the resistance and witnesses the horror of the Nazi Army.

The film,even after 25 years since I first saw it, is still chilling. It makes you understand why many people did not leave when the nightmare first occurred. Who would believe that such horrors would happen?
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Two views and 'New' at the 1970ies
amikus200024 July 2000
This was the first bigger movie who showed nearly all aspects of extincted families. Also the Nazi side had been shown. It is not as perfect as perhaps Schindler's List, but it enables more social background and thought patterns of escaping families. Also the movie shows, how Nazis system could work. Not boring, but it could be longer showing more aspects of offenders. An interesting series.
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Fortuitous Error
Jonathan C10 September 2013
So one day in 1977, you have the brilliant idea of making a TV miniseries about a Berlin family that struggles to survive the holocaust. Several problems might occur to you when you do this: you will not be able to depict it realistically, because it is too horrifying for TV. You might get sucked into melodrama or soap opera, because this is the way TV goes. You might get overly ambitious, and kill the realism of the project again in a different way. You might be committing the ultimate tasteless act, because any project of this sort is going to fall short (except maybe Schindler's List). Then, for some inexplicable reason, you make the series anyway, throwing caution to the wind, and, lo and behold, you find just these criticisms launched at you by a future Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel. Does your project have any redeeming value?

Well, oddly enough, maybe. The reason is because, when the film is shown to audiences both in West Germany and the US, it creates an incredible impression because, for perhaps the first time, people in both countries get to see something resembling the holocaust come to life. It provokes an extraordinary culture-changing debate in West Germany, and helps mold late 20th-century Jewish identity elsewhere.

Does this make the film good? I don't know. I suspect the answer is no-- Wiesel is spot-on complaining that you just can't really do it right on TV--put the Holocaust on a 48-inch living room screen for real, and we would all be heading for the bathroom to throw up and cry for days. And yet, the performances and story are compelling, the issues are there for us to grapple with, and, at least in some measure, we see it. Maybe seeing it at least in some fashion might help us avoid it in the future- -anyone who visits even this sanitized version would never want anything to do the real thing.

And then again, maybe I'm wrong. Wiesel is smarter and wiser than me. Watch and decide, hopefully I have given you the parameters of the issue. I don't feel qualified to really judge this one.
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A valuable dramatization
kenbarr-ny22 October 2005
"Holocaust" is a valuable dramatization of the Holocaust and its effects on ordinary people. The Weiss family, a prosperous Jewish family living in Berlin when the Nazi's came to power, suffer greatly as one would expect. It is the Dorf family, led by Michael Moriarity as Erik, whose suffering may be of more interest to the viewer. They suffer from a collapse of morality, and as the mini-series shows, their horror takes longer to develop yet is terrible in its wrath. Excellent work by Frtiz Weaver, Sam Wanamaker, Meryl Streep, Rosemary Harris, Joseph Bottoms, and Robert Stephans. David Warner is positively chilling as Heydrich, a role he would reprise in other works about the period. The viewer should keep in mind that "Holocaust" was originally aired on TV and was constrained by the standards and practices of the 1970s. Yet, it helped pave the way for more depictions of this period of history, including the dramatizations of Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" and quite possibly helped create an audience for "Life is Beautiful," "Jakob the Liar" and the incomparable "Schindler's List."
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A drama that portrays the horror of World War 2
wbrax27 July 2000
This film is very graphic in portraying a Jewish and Nazi family in the early part of WW2 up to the end of the war. James Woods and Meryl Streeps portrayal of the young lovers was outstanding. I also read the book, and the mini series really bought home to me how much suffering went on. May it never happen again!
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One of the Best Mini-Series' Ever!!!
tom sawyer20 October 2003
Holocaust has to rank up there as one of the best mini-series' ever. It has to be up there with Roots and Band of Brothers as some of the best that t.v. has ever offered. Holocaust works because it puts the horror of Hitler's Third Reich in very personal terms in the way it was presented from two families' perspectives. The performances were done very well, the storyline was not only good but very entertaining. It kept me riveted to the t.v. when it was on. This didn't need to be graphic to get the story across on the horrors of naziism and what Jews went through. In fact being form one Jewish families perspective makes the holocaust itself that much more personal and up close. This was definitely must see t.v.
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