An original TV dramatization of one of the most monstrous crimes in world history ? the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis. Dramatically and definitively, the story covers an entire decade, the eventful years from 19... more »35 to 1945. HOLOCAUST focuses on the tragedy and triumph of a single family ? the Weiss family. Their story is told in counter-poise to that of another fictional family, that of Erik Dorf, who portrays a Nazi aide to Germany?s infamous Heydrich. Starring a brilliant international cast and filmed on location in Berlin and Vienna.« less
Marianna S. (Angeloudi) from HOLIDAY, FL Reviewed on 2/13/2011...
I just finished watching Holocaust for the first time and have been haunted by bad dreams for 2 days now. The plot is ably covered in other reviews, so I will just talk about onea character in the DVD. The most unforgettable character is the chillingly cold-blooded German, Erik Dorf, played by Michael Moriarty. His soul-less blue eyes will haunt you long after the story is finished. One of Heydrich's SS hacks, Dorf is the master of the euphemism- calling the Nazi Final Solution for the annihilation of millions of Jews "special handling", calling the death camps "Family Camps", justifying his cruel acts as "just following orders", the way so many Nazis tried to justify their barbarous deeds. The scenes of the higher echelon Nazi officers reviewing the slides of the various methods of efficiently killing Jews are unfathomable in their coldness and snide comments.
One particularly unforgettable scene is when various cripples, mental defectives, and psychiatric patients arrive at Haldamar, a "sanitarium", who willingly enter a long room where they are summarily gassed to death by carbon monoxide exhaust from a truck engine. This was one of the early methods of purifying the Aryan race from undesirables. The question has been asked, "How was it humanly possible?" There will never be an adequate answer, yet we must never forget!
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
One of the best depictions of the Holocaust on screen!
z hayes | TX | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I used to teach Holocaust history for about 8 years at the high school level, and have not only read many books on the subject but also watched numerous films on the genre. This 1978 mini-series is in my opinion, one of the best depictions of the Holocaust on screen.
The series is set in Germany right about the time Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party are in power [the period covered is about 1935-45]. The series focusses on the trials of the Weiss family, a prominent Jewish family with the patriarch being a decorated war veteran, a grandmother, two sons, Dr Josef Weiss [Fritz Weaver] and his wife Berta [Rosemary Harris], a pharmacist Moses Weiss [Sam Wanamaker], and three grandchildren, an artist Karl [James Woods], a rebel Rudi [Joseph Bottoms], and young Anna.
The series begins with the celebration of the marriage between Karl [James Woods] and his Aryan wife Inga [Meryl Streep]. The Weiss portray the assimilated Jewish family, they are not particularly religious yet proud to be Jewish, and are at ease with their Gentile friends. Yet, dark clouds are starting to gather over them and the rest of Germany's Jews as the Nazi party's anti-semitic policies are about to be put into action. It begins with little things like Dr Josef Weiss not being able to treat his Aryan patients anymore and things get worse from that point on. Kristallnacht [Night of the Broken Glass] sees the destruction of Jewish property and businesses and worse is to come.
The series tries to portray the gradual persecution of the Jews before the escalation into the horror that became the Shoah. Dr Weiss is deported to Poland, where he ends up with his brother Moses in the Warsaw Ghetto. The other members of the family are also to suffer as Karl the artist is sent off to a concentration camp, leaving his wife Inga desperate to hear news of him. Rudi leaves home to join the partisans, and his mother and sister are left to fend for themselves.
There are some truly horrifying scenes in this series and may not be suitable for younger viewers. Mass murder, such as Jews being burned alive, the Babi Yar Massacre in the Ukraine, and of course the gassings are all portrayed with a high degree of realism that makes one flinch and grieve at the same time for all the innocent lives lost.
The series not only focusses on the Weiss family, for there is a parallel storyline involving a German named Erik Dorff [Michael Moriarty], an unemployed lawyer who at the behest of his wife decides to join the infamous SS, reporting directly to Reinhard Heydrich[ David Warner], the blond beast who was responsible for implementing many of Hitler's sadistic policies against the Jews. We see how Erik keeps justifying the murder of innocents ["We must keep killing them, don't you see? If we stop it's an admission of guilt!], and how he turns out to be such a cold-blooded human with no feelings whatsoever [a brief attack of conscience is soon forgotten]. This is very reminiscent of many of the high-ranking SS officers in history, as Rudolf Hoss, the Commandant of Auschwitz himself remained unrepentant till the end.
I am very glad that this amazing series of such important historic significance is to be finally made available on DVD and i hope that it will portray the series in its entirety with preferably added features such as interviews with the cast etc. A must-have for anyone interested in the Holocaust!
UPDATE: The DVD set contains 3 discs, and is NR. It runs approx. 7 hrs and 29 mins.When I compared my much worn out VHS version with the DVD set, I did notice some missing scenes. I'm not sure why this is so. Another customer actually commented that up to an hour of the original show is missing [?]. Once again, I'm not sure as to the justification for this. Also, there are no bonus features which is a disappointment considering this is the 30 year Anniversary edition. It would have been nice to have some interviews with cast members, the director, producer , even a Making Of segment.The quality of the picture transfer is average. However, despite these flaws, and considering the fact that it has taken 3 decades for this epic mini-series to be released on DVD, I would still recommend "Holocaust" as a must-watch for those interested in the genre."
GLAD IT'S ON DVD... BUT COULD BE BETTER
Charles W. Marshall | NEW YORK CITY | 05/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I PRE-ORDERED THIS SET AS SOON AS IT WAS ANNOUNCED.I SAW THIS MINISERIES BACK IN 1978 WHEN IT AIRED ON NBC OVER 4 NIGHTS.THE AMAZON PRICE FOR THIS ITEM IS GREAT AT ONLY $19.95 - BUT THE CONTENT IS NOT SO GREAT.PICTURE AND SOUND IS O.K.-NO MORE.PRINTED IN SMALL LETTERS ON THE BACK OF THE BOX IS THE DISCLAIMER "MAY BE EDITED FROM THE ORIGINAL NETWORK BROADCAST" MAYBE IS RIGHT..THIS SET CLOCKS IN AT ABOUT 449 MINUTES WHICH IS 26-34 MINUTES LESS THE FULL RUNNING TIME.WHATS MORE THERE ARE NO FEATURES ON THIS 3 DISC SET-NOT A SINGLE ONE.CBS VIDEO AND PARAMOUNT SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES..THE 30 YEAR "ANNIVERSARY EDITION" OF THIS MINISERIES WHICH WAS TRULY A TELEVISION LANDMARK DESERVED MUCH,MUCH BETTER.."
Please make this available!
Charles Dickens | Boston, MA (USA) | 05/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the reviewers who have lamented the fact that this excellent mini-series is not yet available on DVD. It is a profound, deeply moving presentation, with outstanding performances, including those by Meryl Streep, Fritz Weaver as the Jewish Doctor and Michael Murphy is superb at the Nazi. I highly recommend this series, and I do hope that it will be available soon."
Great mini series
Joel A. Mann | 04/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot believe that this mini series has not been released on DVD. This is the best holocaust movie ever made. It shows the holocaust not only from the perspective of the Jews but of the germans also. Please bring it out on DVD so I can buy it."
Cobz | London , United Kingdom | 07/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*(If anyone knows when this DVD will be released please say so i would very much like to know)I have only recently come across this mini-series after renting it from my videostore and only even heard of this when researching more on Meryl Streep after viewing her incredible performnce in "Sophie's Choice".Admirers of Ms.Streep won't be dissapointed in her performance nor will they with the rest.Spanning over a decade (1935-1945), "Holocaust" focuses on the Weiss Family of Berlin and all the terror that each individual faces during their darkest days.The characters are endearing and audiences will easily empathise with the strife they face.This docu-drama is an accurate and on several occasions, highly disturbing account of man's inhumanity to mankind.It's won 8 out of 16 emmy awards (1 Emmy which Meryl Streep won) and deserves each one.I believe that every jewish man and woman should see this film and anyone else who is interested in History's blackest decade."