Holocaust (1978)

In order to even considering making “Holocaust,” I would think that the powers behind it needed assurance themselves that this was going to be a first-rate project, something honorable, critic-proof and engaging to audiences who could easily have turned away in disgust.  After all, if they came up with a 7.5-hour mistake or even a mass of boredom, it would have been not only embarrassing, but culturally inept.  The Holocaust is certainly one event in history over which people cannot complain.  There are no two sides to the story.  The Germans do not get to defend it or their actions.  The miniseries thrives on these events (WWII and The Civil War as the two best examples) because good and bad are so clearly defined before the credits even roll. 

But, “Holocaust” is, very nearly, the perfect miniseries, at least as attention-grabbing historical pieces that were such a force of the genre in its first decade.  There is one plot flaw that stands out to me, but it’s handled nobly and without fuss, but otherwise, I do not have too many complaints to lob at it.  At this point, it’s become known as a Meryl Streep property, but that’s because of who Meryl became in the years since 1978.  There is no denying that she is utterly brilliant here, as always, but I think the centerpiece of the movie is Rosemary Harris.  Dignified and elegant, it’s her character that gives the piece its moral strength and the most character arc.  She starts as someone almost alarmingly unaware of the world around her and comes to be the most calm and accepting of her fate.  In essence, her character is the world at the time: first blissfully unconcerned, then purposely naive, then knocked down peg by peg until there is no escaping what is really going on.  To play such a role requires the talents very few actresses posses and luckily Rosemary Harris (who has never given a bad performance that I’m aware of) is one of them.  This is not a showy performance, mind you.  It’s serene and intelligent.

The movie starts in 1935 with the marriage of Jewish James Woods and shiksa Meryl Streep.  James’ proud father Fritz Weaver proposes a toast to his new in-laws, his Polish brother Sam Wanamaker, his in-laws, etc.  On Meryl’s side, there are some definite Jew haters.  Rosemary Harris’ father was in the first World War, which he thinks bonds him to Meryl’s family, in Hitler’s army.  James’ siblings Blanche Baker and Timothy Bottoms are typical young kids.  Politics are there only on the non-Jewish side, but not taken too seriously. 

Dr. Fritz Weaver treats a typical German couple, Michael Moriarty and his wife Deborah Norton, who has a slight heart murmur.  Nothing serious.  He’s an unemployed lawyer with no political bend at all.  She wants him to look into a government job, but he’s a baker’s son, what does he know of politics?  Off he goes to David Warner, who likes him immediately because of his honesty.  The guy just wants a job, rather than ingratiating himself with the party.  All he knows about the SS is that they are the police, though David Warner tries to get him to think more like the Nazis.  “What do you think of Jews?” “Neutral,” Michael says.  He gets the job and his wife immediately becomes the most calculating character.  She insists he wear his SS uniform (which scares his child) everywhere so they can get the best cuts of meat, etc. 

A few years pass and Michael returns to Fritz’s office to tell him it’s illegal for him to treat “Aryans” and to leave German.  Fritz is practicing against heavy odds, since most rights for Jewish doctors have been taken away.  “Don’t come to me for help,” Michael blandly spits out.  He just wants the Jews gone.  Fritz goes to Rosemary hoping that perhaps now she will want to move, but she is against it, unafraid.  She still believes that a country that produced Schiller can’t be all that bad.  But it is.  Timothy can barely play a game of soccer without being trounced, punched, unfairly treated and called harsh names.  With quotas set and Jews welcomed nowhere, Rosemary decides once again they will stay.  “Hitler has Czechoslovakia.  He has Austria.  What more does he want?”

When a high-ranking party member is killed, reprisals are needed.  It’s Michael who comes up with a solution that will not anger the press.  They can send the SS in without uniforms, a totally civilian operation.  So, dressed in mufti, the Germans go hog wild and tear up the Jewish quarter.  Rosemary’s father is severely beaten his store burned and he’s made to thump a drum wearing a sign saying he’s Jewish.  He’s stunned, but so is the whole neighborhood.  Rosemary again says they should do nothing, but Timothy and Blanche run out to save their grandfather and only because a relative of Meryl’s knows them, are they allowed to get to him.  Kristallnacht.

James wants to get out of the country, even leave Meryl because she is in no danger, but they are too much in love.  Then Meryl’s mother lets the Nazi’s in to arrest him, blaming Meryl for having brought Jews into the family.  Off they go with James, Meryl trailing behind.  Fritz has to put Mr. Lowy back together again after he’s beaten, since he’s still allowed to treat Jewish patients.  Rosemary’s parents are forced to move in with the family.  When Rosemary hears that James has been arrested, she finally breaks down.  “We are being punished for my pride.”  She’s made her first transition, at least realizing that there is a problem.  But, she quickly recovers herself, sends Fritz back to work and goes to help her parents get settled. 

Fritz does just what he was told not to do.  He goes to Michael to find out how he can get James freed.  Michael, having been promoted, refuses to help, long having been converted to party indoctrination and beginning to invent some of his own.  Deborah, as usual, insists that he boot Fritz to the curb.  “You can’t endanger your career.” 

James is sent to Buchenwald, beaten when he won’t answer the question, “name of the whore who gave birth to you?”  Fritz is ordered to leave Germany.  At Meryl’s church, the priest vows to help and pray for the Jews.  Michael is there to watch a steady stream of people leaving at such blasphemy, including Meryl’s parents.  She stays. 

Fritz is forced to leave for Poland, though with George Rose (Mr. Lowy) and his wife in tow.  Even now, though, they fight for some normalcy.  Blanche is to continue playing her piano.  “Love conquers all,” he says, very naively trying to be brave.

Because James is an artist, he is assigned to the Buchenwald tailor shop where he sews labels on uniforms, now wearing one himself.  He’s most horrified to learn about the label for people who are insane or handicapped.  Since they are useless, they are simply gassed. 

Rosemary and her family are forced to move from their house, going to live with Meryl’s family, not at all happen to have Jews there.  Rosemary believes the Germans when they say there will be reimbursement for taking her husband’s practice.  All she takes is his diploma, still proud.  Blanche has one last opportunity to play the piano since there is no room at their new place.  Worst of all, Rosemary’s parents kill themselves, wisely escaping the future.

In comparison, Michael is in glory.  He and the family are meeting with Eichmann himself at a park with a noisy carousel.  Deborah is starting to dress better. 

Fritz is dumped into Poland (Germany has not invaded yet), literally let go on the other side of the border.  His brother Sam Wanamaker is there to greet him, and takes in George and his wife too since they have no one.  Meryl is fighting with her family to keep her in-laws.  “I want that Jew bitch and her children out,” her father rails, but she holds firm.  Timothy decides he cannot stay and wait.  He leaves the family.

In Poland in 1939, a synagogue is burned with people inside and Michael Moriarty gleefully shows slides to David Warner of Jews killed in various forms.  What bothers Michael most is that there is no clean pattern to the killings.  It all needs to be more organized.  He takes Deborah to a party and she’s fully glamorous now, totally given over to the power of her husband’s position.  Also at the all is Michael’s Uncle Robert Stephens, who has a contract to build roads for the Nazis. 

Fritz is on the Jewish council in Warsaw, a canny idea by the Germans so that it looks like the Jews are making their own decisions.  He has the power of life and death, or at least has to take credit for those decisions.  Tony Haygarth, who has been anti-Jewish since Meryl’s wedding, pays lip service to Meryl when she tries to find out what has happened to James.  Once again, she refuses to abandon her Jewish family. 

Blanche has an hysterical scene where she rips into Rosemary, castigating her for being so upright and blind.  Nothing she says is wrong and she runs off, maybe to go like her brother.  She brazenly rips the yellow star from her coat on the way out and runs into the New Year’s celebration on the streets.  Deciding to return home, she encounters some drunk German soldiers and tries to hide from them.  She tries to run, but they catch her and rape her in a truly horrifying scene, especially since they are smiling while doing it. 

For fighting over a piece of bread, James and his friend are put on display for all to see what happens to rule breakers.  James’ spirit is broken and he hasn’t hear from Meryl in a year.  At the other end of the spectrum, Michael is thriving, having been sent to Poland to oversee the organizational plans there.  Uppermost in his plans is a wall built around the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, where thousands are shipped from all over occupied territories. 

Since the rape, Blanche does not speak and Meryl, being a non-Jew, can take her to a doctor, who arranges to get her to a sanitarium.  It all seems to make sense to Meryl, who has become a very tender sister to her, though she does wonder to the doctor as to whether she’s “doing the right thing.”  It’s all a cover.  Taken with the lame and retarded, she is immediately gassed.  If this scene doesn’t get you, well, it should!  Rosemary is sent a letter saying Blanche died of pneumonia.  Note her version is beating her chest as she reads the news.  Unlike the typical harsh thumping, she merely tabs her heart, handkerchief in hand, as she reads the letter.  She’s still trying to believe it’s all not happening.  It’s Meryl who breaks down. 

Timothy has made it to Prague, where Tovah Feldshuh runs a store and is a link to the rebels.  Timothy spots her and goes to follow her, but she intervenes.  She pretends he stole his backpack and the police leave him alone.  She wants to know why he’s run away and there are instant sparks of attraction between them, though it’s really more about Timothy having not seen a woman in a very long time.  They sleep together immediately (hey, we need a dash of sex even in the midst of World War II).  Timothy wants Tovah to come with him on the run. 

Rosemary is deported to Warsaw, reunited with her husband, but now that she is there, we can finally get a glimpse of the actual ghetto and its poverty.  We need this character of refinement in order to show the disparity.  She even tells Fritz that he can tell her the truth, that she fully understands everything now.  She tells him about Blanche, and as upset as he is, she’s now the comforting person.  Fritz says life is better than death.  “I’m not so sure anymore,” Rosemary says, making that arc I spoke of earlier. 

Meryl sets off for Buchenwald and Tony, who has summoned her.  His letter said he would arrange a meeting for Meryl and James, but now he’s going back on it, saying restrictions are making it tough to manage that.  Instead of showing her into a “visitor’s room,” Tony takes her to his bedroom, where Meryl immediately knows what will be required of her, though the scene plays out wonderfully slowly so give Meryl a chance to ponder how to maneuver this supremely evil man.  Tony claims he can get letters back and forth and even get James a job in the art studio rather than outside, taking off his clothes to show what he expects in return.  Though disgusted, she has to allow it.

Tovah is so serious about the resistance movement, she wears a beret, the international symbol of people series about the resistance movement.  They are caught in Hungary, but Timothy overpowers a guard and steals a gun.  Tovah wants to give up, but Timothy convinces her to keep going.  They end up in Soviet-occupied territory.  The leader wants to send them back to the Germans, but Timothy has Tovah tell him the Germans are turning on them and that her father was a good Communist (and he even has her kiss him).  They go off to Kiev in the back of a hay wagon. 

Tony is still playing go-between for Meryl and James, telling James that he receives payment, non-monetary, for his services.  James is aghast, swearing no more letters.  He’s as upset at Meryl as he is at Tony. 

Michael shows up on the Russian front to watch a demonstration killing.  He’s annoyed that there are Ukrainian civilians watching, that movie cameras and war correspondents are there, and that bullets are being wasted on “a carnival.”  He has no sympathy for the people being killed; he’s only interested in efficiency.  The officer he berates forces him to shoot some, to make him understand.  There’s a twinge of perhaps understanding, but he goes through with it, no worse for the experience. 

Even in Warsaw, Rosemary clings to what she knows, teaching the kids to sing French songs.  The class includes the ghetto’s best smuggler, who can get through the wall.  The Jewish council is told of what is happening in Eastern Europe, and that the only way to safety is to fight back, to smuggle in guns and ammo.  Fritz encounters an interesting character when one of his nurses is arrested: a Jew who converts from the faith to stay in good with the Nazis.  For the time being, no doubt his life is spared as he follows orders, but does he really think the Nazis won’t circle back and kill anyone born Jewish?  Sam decides to go with the Zionists and find ways to fight back. 

Very conveniently, Meryl’s soldier brother’s life is saved by Timothy and Tovah, and he tells them about Timothy’s various family members.  But, when it comes time to save their lives, the brother rats them out.  Don’t worry, he gets blown up by the Red Army seconds later.  They are marched to a work camp, but manage to escape on the way, only moments before the rest of the prisoners are gunned down en masse.  Michael is watching, amazed that no one fights back.  “That just proves they don’t deserve to live,” he’s told.  “Simply fantastic,” he bleats in amazement at how many people are about to die.  “Nobody will believe us.  They will say we lied,” Timothy says as he sees the shootings (and after Tovah’s inevitable “hold me”).  On his way back from the shooting, Michael encounters Uncle Robert.  Uncle Robert sees through the party lines Michael shows, giving Michael a chance to defend it, making him more evil than ever. 

Though Rosemary has no illusions anymore, she does keep photos of their family on the wall, as a way of hoping that somewhere someone might be safe.  In fact, she’s willing to give up the money she sewed into her coat to help the cause.  When a Jew slips into the ghetto telling of what’s really going on, the elders decide they have to get arms and fight back.  Rosemary hands over all of her cash after overhearing the meeting. 

It’s Christmas at Michael’s house, where Deborah is playing the Bechstein that once belonged to Rosemary and Fritz.  Uncle Robert once again starts to question where the piano really came from, and Michael’s son chirps that it came from Jews who “went away.”  The family is totally isolated from the truth of what Michael really does.  When they find pictures of the family, Michael coldly tells his daughter to get rid of them and she tosses them into the fire.  How prophetic. 

James is transferred to the art department where he is supposed to make propaganda posters.  He gets a letter from Meryl and he’s still very angry.  But, he’s being transferred to Theresienstadt, which is the ghetto the Germans show to the rest of the world, a model ghetto with parks and painted buildings, all of it a phony facade. 

Tovah is in a complaining mood, but Timothy finds raw potatoes, the two joking when they are surrounded by…resistance fighters! 

In Theresienstadt, the artists paint the truth, but hide it in the radiators when the place is checked.  This is something James can understand.  When the Swedes come through, the workshop looks idyllic, with pictures of happy children and people at cafes. 

Timothy is put on guard duty and Tovah follows him, and he asks if the rabbi will perform a wedding.  In the midst of everything, they actually hold a wedding, complete with a veil, a huppa and a few instruments.  It’s a welcome bit of happiness in the middle of such strive and tenuous life.  Unfortunately, as soon as the dancing starts, they find out the Nazis are coming and have to dash.

Himmler (Ian Holm) comes to pay a visit, watching executions with whole tables of food set up for a buffet.  Himmler doesn’t react well to the violence, insisting that they “find another way.”  Shooting is inefficient.  However, he praises his soldiers in a doozie of a speech that compares Jews to bedbugs, a strange little lapse in writing here.  But, he’s supposed to be a buffoon.  Other offices are tired of Michael’s high-handed behavior, so they decide to destroy him.  Unsigned letters arrive in Berlin about his Communist father and possible Jewish blood, none of which is true (the father was a socialist at best).  He needs to come up with an idea quickly.  He also knows who has been writing the letters, and he won’t hesitate to turn them in if they don’t come up with a mass murder solution quickly. 

Timothy and company stage an ambush and Timothy has to kill for the first time.  “I thought I was so tough,” he says.  But he is!  He’s managed to escape Berlin, Prague and every other center of horror in order to fight against the Germans.  Tovah wants desperately to go to Palestine and Timothy agrees, but even in a miniseries of stellar as “Holocaust,” the maxim holds: those who talk of the future rarely get to see it. 

Back in Warsaw, Sam and his urchin friend sneak through the wall in order to buy the first gun for their opposition movement.  They were expecting 12 guns, but there is only one.  The Zionist gives them a lesson in how to use it.  “Now all we need is ammunition,” Sam says.  “It’s a beginning.” 

The Nazis have decided that Auschwitz will be increased in size, their grandest jewel.  The man hired to run it is a devoted Nazi, taught to obey since childhood.  Michael, of course, will be his liaison between the Nazis and this new horror master.  Michael is at least realistic about the war, telling Deborah it was over for Germany the minute the US entered it.  “Someday, people will tell monstrous lies about what we did,” Michael says, crying that all he did was obey orders.  It’s his touch of conscience, but it’s way too late.  Any attempt to bring sympathy to this character has come too late.  And he’s not even telling the truth.  He’s done more active than passive work.  David Warner is almost assassinated and all Deborah can worry about is that it might be a promotion for him.  Michael comes across Zyklon B, the gas agent that will revolutionize mass murder, and it’s cheap too, always a benefit. 

We haven’t seen Meryl in a while, but she’s on her way to church, with Tony following her.  He confesses his love for her, but she wants to be left alone.  She’s looking for the kindly priest who talked about the Jews, but he’s been taken away to Dachau.  Here comes the plot point that bothers me.  Meryl ASKS to go to the concentration camp to be with her husband.  It makes her the ultimate Christian martyr, and gives her a lot to play, but there has to be a better way to get her inside than simply asking to be sent!

The sketches that have been made in secret by James and his cohorts are in Nazi hands.  But, one fool in the studio sold them for cigarettes and marmalade.  But, it doesn’t stop James and the others from painting their grim truths.  Meryl arrives in the studio, having gotten her way, now part of the camp.  He hasn’t forgiven her for the way she made the letters happen, but she justifies her actions, hating him the whole time.  She does not back down.  She loves him that much. 

The Nazis insists of the Warsaw elders that 6000 people per day be transported to “work camps” in Russia.  But, it turns out it’s really Treblinka and this is the first time the people in Warsaw hear of the mass gassing with proof.  Even the BBC radio says something bad is happening in Poland, but nothing specific about gas chambers or the ghettos.  They desperately need guns, and Fritz has an idea for saving at least a handful every day by setting up a clinic at the rail station.  It’s a good cover, but it can only save a few a day. 

All of James’ paintings have made it to the big cheeses.  Michael intends to crush them, but he’s worried about his own position since this happened on his watch.  The artists are brought in to see Michael and Eichmann.  The questioning doesn’t get very far, and Michael targets James as the link he can break, talking “Berliner to Berliner.”  “That’s the problem with you people, you can’t forget the past,” Michael tells him, but James does not crack.  The artists are taken for a more severe questioning, as Meryl goes for the gold yelling in the street running after the truck bearing her husband.  The three artists are taken for torture, suffering severe beatings in the most grizzly scene so far.  As James is suffering a beating, Meryl is helping to smuggle out the pictures.  

Deborah finds out the truth about Michael’s work, and can’t understand why he has any reservations about it.  This makes her easily one of the top ten most frightful women in television history.  Michael and the Nazis are awful, of course, but here is a character who has no reason to be involved or hate, but she’s more interested than the Nazis themselves!  Perhaps this is a way to help humanize Michael’s character, but it doesn’t work.  That cannot possibly happen at this point, but she sure as hell does top him now.

Michael brings a hygiene expert to Auschwitz, where a band of prisoners, in costume, play classical music at this “family camp.”  Michael is clearly sickened by what he sees, but his career is such a concern, he has to make sure no one suspects.  Again, it’s too late to make us care about him or sympathize.  A “demonstration” is put on for the visiting expert.  He’s thrilled to look through the viewing hole as people howl for their lives. 

The fake clinic scam is figured out and everyone involved with it is ordered on the next train.  Rosemary is teaching the kids the “Kadima” when she is arrested, putting up a pretense for the kids that she will be back the next day and they should finish out their day with Shakespeare.  Now she’s come around to knowing and even accepting the full truth, but comforting those around her.  She’s still the earth mother, still the calming presence, but this time completely in the know.  She and Fritz, with George and his wife, are sent to Auschwitz.

It’s been a while since we checked in with our resistance friends.  Timothy dresses up in a German military outfit and kills two guards so the others can go in and raid a beer hall where the officers are having a party.  It’s a complete success.  They shoot nearly everyone there and take heaps of ammunition.  Timothy get shot in the leg, but it’s not fatal.. 

As the final episode begins, Timothy is having a bullet pulled out of his leg, with Tovah a supportive, if over-protective, wife.  She has her going-for-the-Emmy speech, and her speech is right: they can kill a few Germans here or there, but they will most likely die themselves. 

James’ friends have died from the beatings, but he’s still alive, his hands destroyed so he can never paint again.  He is being sent to Auschwitz, though he’s allowed 30 minutes to say goodbye to his wife, who is pregnant.  He wants her to get rid of the baby, but she insists, not on her Catholic beliefs, but on the words of the rabbis, that she will not and before he leaves, he tells her to show the child all the pictures they have drawn.

In the Warsaw ghetto, plans are still afoot for an uprising.  Three hundred thousand have been taken from the ghetto and only 50,000 remain, but the Nazis are suspicious, going from house to house checking for contraband.  Sam gets his first chance to kill and he does not hesitate.  Even the smuggling boy knocks a few off.  “There is a God after all.  Jews fighting back!” Sam declares.  After killing a slew of Nazis, the latter retreat.  They are even brave enough to take off their arm bands. 

At Auschwitz, Rosemary still clings to her family pictures.  Fritz is able to sneak into her barracks.  Fritz thinks there is still a chance they will survive, but Rosemary is now the more realistic one.  She knows the truth.  A young girl is given to the care of Rosemary who is like her own daughter, mute after shock.  It’s then that the guards come in and take everyone away.  She leaves the pictures and takes the mute girl.  To the last, Rosemary holds the girl with her. 

Then comes the moment that, for me, defines the whole movie: Rosemary is led into the gas chamber and it’s James who comes in to collect the clothes of those just sent in.  It’s utterly heartbreaking, more so because the characters have no idea. 

Fritz and George are part of the road crew, but Fritz is having breathing trouble due to the tar.  Uncle Robert is running the crew and takes pity on him, having him tend the fire rather than pave the road.  At this very moment, Michael shows up.  They are feet away from his old doctor, Fritz, and Michael does not see him.  He and Uncle Robert have a frank discussion, with Michael clinging to his beliefs.  “I should strangle you as a favor to your father,” Uncle Robert snaps before tossing Michael out of his little hut. 

Fritz and George find out their wives are dead from the Jewish woman who led them to the gas chamber, though she barks the now stomach-turningly familiar, “I was just following orders,” the excuse of an entire nation.  Fritz at least finds Rosemary’s pictures and her sheet music (that she took all over the place?).

Sam has turned into a gun-toting realist.  It’s Passover and Himmler has promised Hitler to liquidate the ghetto for his birthday.  The Nazis send a truck in with Passover wishes, but they shoot the truck back.  Unfortunately, the Nazis have a big force to send in.  That posse flees in an instant.  The Nazis return in full force as the Seder is going on.  Okay, I admit, the dichotomy is being laid on awfully thick, but it’s impossible not to be swept up in the moment.  A big battle ensues, and the Nazis retreat, but that leaves the Warsaw Jews have no food or medicine as the weeks wear on.  They print up leaflets and the smuggler kid helps the guy take them out.  Now they are even out of paper.  The guy with the leaflets is shot right as he gets through the wall, but the papers are strewn around so people can see them.  The Nazis bomb with gas and some of the warriors have cyanide tablets.  Others try to run for it.  Those who left the buildings are found by the Nazis and shot up against a wall. 

Michael makes one last attempt to save his career by turning in Uncle Robert’s Jewish work detail (Jews are marked for death, not work).  So, that means Fritz and George are taken off the road and send for “delousing.” 

Timothy and company have planned to blow up a convoy, but they Nazis somehow know and chase the fighters through the woods.  Tovah is killed by a bullet and the survivors end up in Sobibor, where an escape plan is in full swing.

Himmler wants the camps dismantled because he knows the war is lost.  But, Michael, now so crazed by doctrine that he’s pretty much insane, says the camps should remain as monuments to what they have done, which was pre-destined in European history.  It’s a rah rah speech that a few years earlier would have had him promoted up the ranks, but with the war nearly over, it just seems pathetic. 

James finds out his parents were killed in the same camp, but his friend from Buchenwald thinks they will be saved as the Americans and Soviets are advancing.

At Sobibor, Timothy is a major part of the escape, which works.  He and the Russian soldiers flee the camp.  They Russians go east and Timothy decides to go west to search for his family.  There won’t be anyone to find, as James has died doing one last drawing before the Nazis went on a killing rampage.  Michael is hauled in by the Americans to explain his acts and does his best to stick to the party line, as always.  Though he winces or swallows now and then, he refuses to tell the truth.  After one last look through his beloved pictures of the atrocities, he swallows his poison tablet, a coward to the end. 

Deborah gets a letter saying her husband died a hero, and Uncle Robert says it’s untrue.  He tells her the real story of his death, but she and her kids will not listen to what he has to say.  He refuses to back down, feeling guilty that he stood by and watched.  “I won’t be silent,” he says as he goes to leave.  One can only hope the final suffering goes to Deborah when she finally admits the truth.

Timothy is still alive and has made it to the great ghetto where he finds Meryl and her son, having stayed on once the camps are all liberated.  They are the only ones left, having not seen each other for seven years.  She still has the drawings as well.  “I’m a kind of blank.  No hate, no love, like the living dead walking through the camps,” he says, unable to place any blame. 

The film ends almost where it began, with Timothy playing soccer with kids.  It will be his job to teach the next generation.  He is offered a job helping get Jews to Palestine. 

So it ends, with a note of hope, but a mind full of heartbreaking memories.  “Holocaust” is brave and honest, as brave and honest as the lead characters it shows us over 7.5 supremely memorable hours.  In the annals of historical miniseries, this ranks as one of the greatest history lessons ever, gritty and unyielding, but true through and through.

Categories: Historical Miniseries

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