The saga of a Jewish family’s struggle to survive the horror of Nazi Germany’s systematic marginalization and extermination of their community.
“Holocaust” follows each member of the Jewish Family Weiss throughout Hitler’s reign in Germany. One by one, the family members suffer the horrible fate of extermination under Anti-Semetic Nazi Law until only one son remains at the end of World War II.
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Part I: The Gathering Darkness
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.
Dr. Josef Weiss, a Polish émigré, is a successful general practitioner in 1935 Berlin where he lives with his wife Berta, her parents, and their three children. When his oldest son Karl marries Aryan German Inga, he is confronted by Anti-Semitism but rationalizes it and the family makes the decision not to leave the country. Erik Dorf, husband of one of the doctor’s German patients, is a struggling lawyer who seeks employment and social mobility by joining the nascent but powerful Nazi Party. Within three years things have changed drastically in Germany. The doctor initially is forbidden to treat Aryan patients, and ultimately his office is closed down and his practice co-opted by an ethnic German. His home, including Berta’s beloved piano, is confiscated, and son Karl is arrested. Although he pleads with Dorf to help him get his son released, he is turned down and ultimately deported to Poland to be reunited with his brother Moses. Berta, along with daughter Anna and son Rudy, is forced to live in a single room on the charity of Inga’s family. Frustrated, Rudy leaves to somehow resist Nazi oppression. Daughter Anna is raped by German soldiers and sinks into a depressive, uncommunicative state. She is institutionalized and, in accordance with Nazi policy, is euthanized with other “mental defectives.” Ultimately Berta is sent to Auschwich to be reunited with her husband. Meanwhile Erik, utilizing his skill with semantics and euphemistic terminology continues to rise in the Nazi hierarchy as the protégé of war criminal Reynhard Heidrich. He distances himself emotionally from the horrors of ethnic cleansing as the Nazis move inexorably toward solving the “Jewish Problem” with the “Ultimate Solution.”
Cast and Crew:
James Woods, Michael Moriarty, Meryl Streep, Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh and Rosemary Harris
Date Release: 1978
Additional details in:
Holocaust episodes in IMDB | Holocaust tv series in wikipedia.com
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