Originally broadcast in the United States in 1978, Holocaust weaves a fictional story of the Weiss family whilst at the same time running a parallel story about the Dorf family. Both families are German, but each family throws light on two distinctly different perspectives of the Holocaust. The Weiss are a Jewish family and as such undergo the persecution; internment and ultimately some are killed. The Dorf family on the other hand are proud Germans and Eric Dorf is a rising member of the Nazi party who becomes a ruthless killer and proponent of the ultimate solution.
Despite being made in 1978, it’s sweeping tale of Germany’s attempt rid the world of Jews is as relevant now as it was 30 years ago. Where the miniseries might be lacking in special effects and acting, it more than makes up for showing the various aspects of the Nazi tyranny. Of course, any attempt to tell the story of the Holocaust from beginning to end will have to overlook many details and possibly simplify the who affair, but what Holocaust does so well is to give some indication of what it was like on both sides.
It’s shocking to see the transformation of Eric Dorf from a brow beaten husband to a maniacal killer who wholeheartedly believed in what he was doing, along with the indoctrination of his children by their mother. And as always, it’s unbelievable (with our luxury of hindsight) how willing and passive the Jews were when it came to accepting everything the Germans did to them, including willingly stripping before being murdered.
It’s funny to see such a young James Woods and Meryl Streep, and whilst their acting was ok, I think they have both come along way since this was filmed.
When it comes to the subject of the Holocaust in film or television, it’s always difficult to call it entertaining. But if by being entertained you mean that the story is captivating, believable and plays with you emotion, then yes, Holocaust is ‘entertaining’. However, if you think of entertainment as something to take lightly and have a laugh, then Holocaust is not.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Medium Level Violence.
Duration: 464 mins.
Genre: Television Drama.
Director: Marvin J. Chomsky.
Actors: James Woods, Meryl Streep, Michael Moriarty, David Warner, Sam Wanamaker, Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris, Joseph Bottoms, Marius Goring, Sean Arnold , Deborah Norton.
Release Date: Available now.