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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Erik Dorf complains to the other S.S. leaders that the executions of the Jews are not being efficiently done. An order is placed by Erik for Zyklon B (a lethal gas) for use at Auschwitz and other camps. Inga asks Muller to denounce her and have her sent to Karl at Theresienstadt. Felscher sells four of the secret drawings done by him, Frey and Karl, which depict the brutal conditions at Theresienstadt, to a Czech gendarme, which the S.S. get a hold of. Felscher, Frey and Karl are called in for questioning and then tortured, where Karl is the only one who survives and is told he is being sent to Auschwitz. He sees Inga one last time, where she tells him she is carrying his child. Karl dies the day Auschwitz is liberated. In Warsaw, Josef is caught for setting up the clinic to act as a front to keep people from getting on the train headed to Treblinka, and him and Berta with Mr. and Mrs. Lowy are sent to Auschwitz, where soon after they are sent to the gas chambers. Moses joins the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto and they are successful in holding back 7,000 German soldiers over a three-week period, until they are forced out via a gas bomb and are shot. In the Ukraine, Uncle Sasha’s unit attempts to shoot up a convoy, but Helena is shot and killed and Rudi is knocked unconscious. Rudi wakes up in the Sobibor camp, where he learns of a breakout being planned by the other prisoners and joins with them. He survives to the end of the war and is reunited with Inga in Theresienstadt, where he learns that Inga has given birth to a son, who is two years old named Josef, after Karl’s father. Rudi is asked to lead a group of Greek orphans into Palestine. Erik Dorf is placed in custody by the Americans and after a brief questioning commits suicide via a cyanide pill hidden in the hem of his pants. Uncle Kurt Dorf visits Marta, Peter and Laura Dorf and tells them what really happened to Erik, despite an unsigned letter Marta is reading commending Erik’s service to the Reich. He then tells them what Erik and the other SS men really were – mechanical killers. In response, Marta tells Uncle Kurt they never want to see him again. Uncle Kurt says he will not be silent about the truth.
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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