Holocaust - The History of the Weiss Family

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German title Holocaust - The History of the Weiss Family
Original title holocaust
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1978
length about 7800 meters, 444 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Marvin J. Chomsky
script Gerald Green
production Robert Berger
Herbert Brodkin
music Morton Gould
camera Brian West
cut Alan Heim
Craig McKay
Robert M. Reitano
Stephen A. Rotter
Brian Smedley-Aston

Holocaust - The Story of the Weiss Family is a four-part American television mini-series from 1978 directed by Marvin J. Chomsky . It tells the fictional story of the Jewish Weiss doctor family in Berlin at the time of National Socialism . The series was also broadcast in the Federal Republic of Germany in January 1979 , reached a large audience and sparked a broad discussion about the National Socialist past. In March 1979 it was broadcast on the Austrian ORF . Thereafter, the term Holocaust for the genocide of the European Jews also became common in German . In January 2019, the series was broadcast again 40 years after its first broadcast in the programs of WDR , NDR , SWR and One . So far, only a shortened version has been distributed in German-language broadcasts and German publications on optical storage media.


The four parts have the following titles and deal with the following years:

No. title Original title Years length US
1. The falling darkness The Gathering Darkness 1935-1940 135 minutes April 16, 1978 January 22, 1979
2. The road to Babi Yar The Road to Babi Yar 1941-1942 094 minutes April 17, 1978 January 23, 1979
3. The final solution The final solution 1942-1944 089 minutes April 18, 1978 January 25, 1979
4th The survivors The Saving Remnant 1944-1945 101 minutes April 19, 1978 January 26, 1979


Part 1: "The falling darkness"

Berlin in 1935: painter Karl Weiss and Inga Helms get married. Both are German citizens, but the National Socialists considered the connection to be “ mixed marriage ” after the Nuremberg Race Laws came into force , since Weiss' parents - Josef and Berta Weiss - are of Jewish origin . Berta's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Palitz, are also present at the wedding. Berta's father Heinrich met Heinz Müller, a trained locksmith and NSDAP member.

The lawyer Erik Dorf is the son of a baker and social democrat who, impoverished by inflation , took his own life. Erik Dorf joined the SS in 1935, not out of conviction, but because of his unemployment and at the insistence of his wife , where he rose to become Heydrich's personal advisor in 1938 , whom he also advised politically. On the advice of Dorf, the November pogroms were initiated and the Jews were now subjected to systematic persecution. Before that, Dorf visits Josef Weiss, who has often given him and his family medical treatment free of charge, and urgently advises him to leave Germany. However, Weiss does not want to abandon his Jewish patients and believes that things couldn't get worse for the Jews in Germany. Nevertheless, he discusses the question with his wife, who speaks out in favor of staying in Germany.

Dorf warned Bernhard Lichtenberg - priest of St. Hedwig - several times for his critical sermons and reminded him of the Reich Concordat with Pope Pius XII. according to which the Vatican regards the German Empire as the "last bastion between the Christian West and Bolshevism ". The priest dies while being transported to the Dachau concentration camp. During the “Reichskristallnacht” , Berta Weiss' father's bookstore is also demolished. After that, her parents move in with their daughter because they have lost everything.

Karl Weiss is deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp . He is assumed to be a “Jewish communist ” and to draw caricatures for Bolshevik propaganda as a “Jewish smear” . Because he also designed fabric samples, he is first placed in the tailoring shop. When he was fighting over a piece of rye bread with the Jewish Kapo Melnick, he and fellow inmate Weinberg were hung on the stake . Weinberg sees the point of survival in torture as being “a holy witness”.

Josef Weiss campaigns with Erik Dorf for Karl Weiss to be released, but Dorf rejects him. The next day, Josef Weiss received a visit from the immigration police and was deported to Poland . At the train station, he says goodbye to his wife and implores her that their mutual love will survive all adversities - amor vincit omnia . After the doctor's practice and the Weiss family's apartment were closed, Berta Weiss's parents took their own lives with poison. Berta moves in with the Helms family with their children Rudi and Anna. After Rudi left the family, his 16-year-old sister Anna was raped on the street by three SA men . She suffers a severe shock and is taken to the Nazi killing center in Hadamar , where she becomes a victim of " euthanasia " in the gas chamber .

Rudi Weiss comes to Czechoslovakia , where he meets Helena Slomová in Prague and falls in love with her. Because her father wanted to emigrate to Palestine , he was considered a “ Zionist agent” and was deported to Poland with his wife. Although Helena Slomová first wants to emigrate to Palestine, she finally decides to follow the example of the biblical Ruth - "Wherever you go, I want to go too."

Part 2: "The Road to Babi Yar"

In 1941 the German troops occupied large parts of Eastern Europe and set up concentration camps there. Karl Weiss, who is still imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp, is transferred to the quarry as punishment after the fight . Inga Weiss would like to contact her husband by letter. However, this is only possible if she sleeps beforehand with Heinz Müller, who has offered himself to be the "postman". Müller brags to Karl that he slept with his wife. When Karl Weiss then wanted to stop correspondence with his wife, Müller threatened him with becoming one of Commandant Engelmann's pleasure boys , who kept a “private harem of young men”. Finally, Karl Weiss was transferred to the “artist department” of the camp as a painter and compared this to prostitution - “what whores they make of us”.

Josef Weiss, a member of the Judenrat , is dependent on the Hasidic Rabbi Korsch, who takes care of a desperate young mother who was deported on the train to Warsaw in the interests of social welfare . She does not want to give her baby away, even though the child died on the way. He works as a doctor on the children's ward of the Jewish hospital in the Warsaw ghetto , which he looks after together with the nurse Sarah Olnich. Olnich is executed by the Jewish ghetto police for smuggling food into the ghetto for the sick children. During the execution of the Jews pray for them, the Kaddish . Josef Weiss picks up his wife Berta at the Warsaw train station; she tells him about the death of her daughter Anna. Hiding the truth, she reports that Anna suddenly fell ill in the apartment and, due to lack of medicine, died of pneumonia in her sleep . Berta Weiss becomes a music teacher in the school in the ghetto and teaches here, among other things, the 13-year-old Aaron Feldmann, who lives in the ghetto and, like Olnich, also works as a smuggler.

Rudi Weiss and Helena Slomová cross the border into Hungary and get to Russia . They pretend to be Jewish communists with a Soviet commandant. After Helena gave the commandant the socialist brotherly kiss as proof , he allowed the couple to go to Kiev . But after the Germans marched into the Soviet Union, they are no longer safe there either. In Kiev they save the life of Hans Helms, who is buried under rubble after a detonation , dig him up and bring him to his comrades. Helms reveals the couple's Jewish origins. They are then taken to the Babyn Yar ravine with the other Jews of Kiev , but are able to escape on the way. You will witness the Babyn Yar massacre . Erik Dorf, meanwhile, supervises the massacre together with SS leader Paul Blobel . The lack of resistance by the Jews of Kiev to the massacre is seen by Blobel as proof that they “have no right to live”. Dorf does not contradict. Rudi Weiss is convinced that later no one will believe the reports about the massacre: "Lie ... because people don't do that to people." While the couple later discussed the problems of establishing a future state of Israel in a hiding place , members of the Jewish partisan group found by Zhitomir .

Meanwhile, Dorf is on the Eastern Front to document the mass murder . He is involved in the planning of the mass murder of European Jews and develops methods of how the murder can be systematically implemented. At the Wannsee Conference , the “ final solution to the Jewish question ” is resolved, and Dorf's importance as an advisor to Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler grows.

Part 3: "The Final Solution"

The United States entered World War II . Karl Weiss is deported from the Buchenwald concentration camp to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and records the conditions there in drawings. Inga Weiss asks Müller to be taken to the concentration camp. Karl Weiss despises his wife because of her relationship with Müller. She explains that he “is different from the others” and that only love gives him the strength to survive. He forgives his wife and admits that he would not have survived the concentration camp without a sign from her - the way of transmission is unimportant. She tells of Josef Weiss' conviction that mutual love can withstand all adversities - "amor vincit omnia". When his pictures are discovered, Karl is tortured - his hands are broken.

Rudi Weiss and Helena Slomová arrive at the Jewish partisan camp where the surviving Jews from Shitomir , Berditschew and Koritz live and where the couple get married. The partisans are like family to the couple; while Nadja gives the bride the wedding ring of her murdered sister, Uncle Sascha advises the groom on family planning questions like a father. The secular Rabbi Samuel also calls for armed resistance and quotes a passage from the 1st book of Samuel , in which David commands his people to gird themselves with their swords. Rudi and other partisans take part in attacks on the Ukrainian militia, among others , but after the attack he doubts the sense of killing. Helena Weiss sees the sense in a future common life in Palestine and believes that their love is predetermined and the fate of their survival is therefore secured. "We will not die" in an attack on the German SS headquarters in the Reich Commissariat Ukraine in Rudi Weiss is shot when the partisans pillage the ammunition depot. His wife speaks out against further actions by the partisans because she fears for his life. However, since she has since lost faith in survival, she finally decides to accompany her husband in future attacks.

Various events give Berta and Josef Weiss an opportunity to discuss the lives of their two sons Karl and Rudi. When they read the leaflet of the Jewish resistance fighters in the Warsaw ghetto, they inadvertently compare the bravery of the writers with that of their son Rudi. They have confidence in him because he refuses and resists "with real zeal". In view of the hunger and hardship in the Warsaw ghetto, Berta Weiss repeatedly expresses her concern for the lives of her sons. Josef Weiss expressed his conviction that his son Karl could survive as a trained painter because he had learned a trade. Berta Weiss supports the Zionist resistance fighter Mordechaj Anielewicz financially against her husband's will . The Zionist, who condemns the opportunism - "courtesy and hat-pulling" - of the Warsaw Jewish Council and speaks of the "final solution" is supposed to buy weapons for the resistance with Berta Weiss' money. The money sewn into their coat lining was originally intended for the starving children in the hospital. Berta Weiss came to this conclusion after learning from the courier Kovel of the destruction of the Vilna ghetto and the impending destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. Her change to a Zionist outlook can also be seen in her music lessons: If she first plays the French children's song “ Sur le pont d'Avignon ” on the piano , it is finally the Israeli national anthem “ HaTikwa ”.

Berta Weiss' brother-in-law Moses and Aaron Feldmann also take part in the resistance. As Jewish arms smugglers, they obtain weapons from the Polish Christian Anton. The old pharmacist Moses entrusts his life to the 13-year-old Aaron, who is known as the “sewer rat” and “king of smugglers” - “Is there a better couple than Moses and Aaron ... My friend [Aaron] is a specialist”. Although Anton took advantage of the Jewish smugglers, working with the Polish resistance fighters was more important to Moses than business. So they would have the same enemy and could help each other to fight against the German occupiers.

In the Warsaw ghetto it is known that the Jews are being deported to the Treblinka concentration camp . Although they broadcast the radio report of the murder of the Jews to the BBC , they do not broadcast it. Josef Weiss then pretends to open an infirmary at the train station and pretends to treat travelers who are suspected of typhus or cholera . In truth, he wants to save old people and children from deportation .

Heydrich dies in 1942 as a result of an assassination attempt. His successor is Ernst Kaltenbrunner , who is now in charge of the mass murder of European Jews. Although Erik Dorf played a key role in the introduction of Zyklon B in the Auschwitz gas chambers, he fell out of favor with Kaltenbrunner. In view of the impending defeat and the possible spread of “terrible lies” about the events in Poland and Russia, Dorf is desperate, weeps and criticizes the motto “believe and carry out orders”. He emphasized to his wife that he only wanted to "serve" Germany and that he had followed orders from the top leadership.

Part 4: "The survivors"

After Martha Dorf heard of Erik Dorf's suggestion of “terrible lies”, she found in his documents the order to dig up and burn the bodies buried in Babyn Yar. She says his whole behavior shows that he is ashamed of his duties in Babyn Yar. Erik Dorf is surprised that his wife is not angry about the murder of women and children, but that he is "not particularly proud of it". She implores him to do his duty to the final victory . That would convince people that he was doing the right thing. Erik Dorf follows his wife's advice while she is now afraid “that we will be punished. We all."

April 1943: The Warsaw Ghetto uprising begins; Aaron, Zalman, Eva and Joseph's brother Moses are involved in it. Through the armed resistance, Moses felt himself to be a Jew for the first time and that he was carrying the blood of King David, and this is proven by the fight between young David and the overpowering Philistine Goliath : "We have beaten the Philistines on the head." Large parts of the ghetto were devastated for 20 days, and the remaining resistance fighters, including Moses, holed up in the cellars of the buildings without wanting to give up. You are ready to die for something that has a purpose. Only when gas was piped into the cellar did Mordechaj Anielewicz announce the resignation of the resistance, and people had the choice between suicide with poison or escape. The fugitives sing HaTikwa as they walk through the cellars , but the SS are waiting for them on the other side. They are praying the Shema of Israel when they are shot.

Kaltenbrunner entrusts the village with the " special treatment " of the Jews in the camps in the east. During a visit, Prof. Pfannenstiel from the University of Marburg, Department of Hygiene , admires the efficiency of the gas chambers and compares the death of Jews with the work of Dante'sInferno ”. Although the Reichsführer is considering demolishing the concentration camps, Dorf is able to convince him to preserve them "as monuments of the service they have done for humanity". The Auschwitz concentration camp was to become a " precedent on the international level". There should be no repentance, admission of guilt or self-accusation because of the murder of the Jews, they were forced to act in this way for " moral and racial reasons".

Josef and Berta Weiss are deported to Auschwitz together with Mr. and Mrs. Levy after they tried in Warsaw to protect Jews from the ghetto from deportation. Josef Weiss compares the camp with hell and takes the view that the desire to survive in the camp is a form of resistance. Now the change of attitude at Josef Weiss towards the roots of Zionism is becoming clear: To be persecuted is the proof that there is a Jewish people. Here, too, the life of the sons is now discussed in terms of the historical roots of Zionism. So the surviving part of the married couple is supposed to find and support the sons - "not only because we are a family, but because we are Jews". Until the very end, Josef and Berta Weiss give other prisoners - such as Mr Levy and Sofia Alatri - comfort and support in the hour of death. Kurt Dorf, Erik Dorf's uncle, who is responsible for road construction in Auschwitz, tries to protect Josef Weiss and other Jews as well as possible. But his nephew's intervention prevents this. During a heated argument in this matter, Kurt says to Erik Dorf that he is glad that his father no longer has to experience what has become of his son. Berta and Josef Weiss are murdered in quick succession in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

In Ukraine, the partisan group is planning an attack on a German troop transport. In addition to Rudi, Helena Weiss is also involved. The attack fails. She is shot while trying to escape and he is captured. He was deported to the Sobibor extermination camp , from which he finally managed to escape with a group of Red Army soldiers from the 51st Division led by the Russian Barsky. Rudi Weiss separates from the partisans and sets off for Germany.

At the end of the war, Captain John Cassidy indicts Erik Dorf, who has been imprisoned as a war criminal . He was the superintendent of gassings in Auschwitz and other camps and was responsible for mass shootings of Russians and Poles. Both states now demanded his extradition. He himself would prefer to hand him over to the Jews, especially the parents of the murdered children. Erik Dorf then kills himself with poison. Kurt Dorf speaks to Ms. Dorf and her children Peter and Laura about a collective guilt - they were all complicit because they all watched, kept silent and did nothing. But the wife and children remain unapologetic, stuck in the National Socialist convictions and see the dead Erik Dorf as heroes.

(The end of the original version is not included in the German dubbed version, but has been supplemented with subtitles since the broadcasts in 2019) Rudi Weiss finally reaches the now liberated Theresienstadt ghetto , where he meets his sister-in-law with her little son, whom she named after her grandfather " Josef "calls. Inga Weiss had been moved to the Theresienstadt ghetto and became pregnant there by her husband. Rudi Weiss learns that Karl Weiss was tortured in the Theresienstadt ghetto for critical drawings, and was ultimately deported to Auschwitz and died there. Inga Weiss asks him whether he had heard of the fate of his parents in Auschwitz. He knows that and he mentions: … The murder of people like that, and millions of others. Inga Weiss answers: You can hate me ... for being one of them. Rudi Weiss is recruited by an employee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to smuggle surviving Jewish children from Thessaloniki to Palestine, and so becomes one of the helpers in the establishment of the state of Israel.


The film was shot in Germany and Austria . The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, for example, formed the backdrop for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp , although the two camps have little in common in terms of their layout. The scene in Hadamar, however, was shot at the original location. The scenes that take place in the Theresienstadt ghetto were recorded in the small town of Freistadt in Upper Austria .

Vienna served as a filming location for locations in Berlin, Prague and Kiev.

  • Danube Canal (small park-like area in the north of Leopoldstadt, on the other side of the Danube Canal you can see the Rossauer Lände tram station): In the first episode, a conversation between the couple takes place there in Berlin
  • Rahlstiege in Mariahilf: In the first part, Rudi Weiss rushes up the stairs, later Anna Weiss goes down there and hides (both scenes take place in Berlin). In the original version, a recording of the stairs serves as the introduction to the sequence “Berlin 1935”. This was replaced by a different shot in the German dubbed version.
  • Wurstelprater in Vienna Leopoldstadt: As part of the visit of the Dorf family in pre-war Vienna (first part), photos of the amusement park and the Vienna Ferris wheel with the wagons of the post-war period can be seen.
  • Mölker Steig in downtown Vienna: The scene set in Prague in 1940, in which Rudi has to do with two soldiers and then meets Helena, was filmed on Mölkersteig. The university building in Vienna can also be seen in one shot.
  • Fights in Kiev (second part of the series): Some of the settings were made in 1150 Vienna Sperrgasse / Viktoriagasse.

Scenes cut from the German dubbed version

The series was shot in 1977 on 35 mm film for television (speed 24 fps, intended aspect ratio 4: 3). Run times are up to 475 minutes. The original version and the French dubbed version with a running time of around 444 minutes are easy to find. The German-language television broadcasts since 2019, which also contain the final sequence shortened by WDR in 1978, last about 422 minutes (at 25fps, 439 minutes at 24fps). German-language publications on DVD and BR are all based on the shortened version from WDR.

Cut points (selection):

  • The opening credits of the original version with naming the actors are missing in all parts. Substitute is a short opening credits in German, which names the film title, screenwriter and director. The end credits have been replaced by a German-speaking one.
  • In the second part of the series, the Dorf family also sings before the presents are presented.
  • The shooting of women in the Warsaw Ghetto (second part) has been shortened, in particular all shots in which law enforcement officers can be seen in Polish uniforms are missing.
  • In 1979, the end sequence in which Rudi meets his sister-in-law in Theresienstadt was also missing. This has been included with subtitles since the broadcasts in 2019 and is included on BR as a bonus. In the original, the film ends with Rudi Weiss helping to found the state of Israel and thus ends with a hopeful ending.

Günter Rohrbach was responsible for the German version from 1979 , then head of the TV game department at WDR , who advocated the broadcast: “I cut out the last eight minutes.” “The US ending was too soft for me. The German viewers shouldn't shirk their responsibility, because in the end there will be peace on the screen. They should get the finish they deserve. "


At the end of the 1970s and in the 1980s, the US series represented a significant step in the confrontation with the Nazi past: For the first time, large sections of Germans and Austrians (as well as other nations) voluntarily saw the suffering that the National Socialists caused To Jews.

Although the main characters are fictional, their fate is representative of the real victims. As a result, almost every relevant event of the Holocaust is presented using the example of individual family members. Josef and Moses Weiss experienced the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, Karl and Inga the dual function of the Theresienstadt ghetto (both transit camps and the pretense of the "humane" treatment of Jews by the National Socialists) and Rudi (with Helena) both the mass execution in Babyn Yar also the fights of the partisans in the Ukrainian resistance movement and the escape from the Sobibór camp .

The model for the fictional character of the painter Karl Weiss was the German draftsman Leo Haas .

The film was shot in Germany and Austria . The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, for example, formed the backdrop for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp , although the two camps have little in common in terms of their layout. The scene in Hadamar, however, was shot at the original location. The scenes that take place in the Theresienstadt ghetto were recorded in the small town of Freistadt in Upper Austria .

For the character actors James Woods and Meryl Streep , who were still little known at the time , the series marked the breakthrough to international recognition. The actors Rosemary Harris ( Spider-Man 1-3 ), David Warner ( Time Bandits , Tron , Titanic ) and Ian Holm ( Alien , The Lord of the Rings ) also gained popularity .


The purchase of the series by Westdeutscher Rundfunk was already highly controversial. Other broadcasters of the ARD opposed the broadcast in the main program. As a compromise, the four episodes were broadcast within five days on the third program of all ARD regional stations.

In the run-up there were bomb attacks by right-wing extremist terrorists. To prevent the introductory documentary “ Final Solution ” from being broadcast, Peter Naumann , now a politician of the NPD , and two accomplices blew up two broadcasting masts of the ARD: the Koblenz broadcasting station and the Longinusturm at the Nottuln broadcasting station . Around one hundred thousand televisions were affected. Both actions were among the first right-wing terrorist bomb attacks in post-war Germany .

Twenty million viewers, around half of the adult population, saw at least one “Holocaust” episode on the four days of broadcast. In contrast to many documentaries about National Socialist Germany, “Holocaust” became a media event that initiated a heated public discussion about the events depicted. Following the individual episodes, “open-end discussions” were broadcast, in which the audience could speak up over the phone. The editorial team was contacted over 23,000 times.

The television series is referred to as a "media and memory history turning point". It is also said to have contributed to the fact that the Bundestag in 1979 lifted the statute of limitations for murder. In the corresponding Bundestag debate, speakers from several parties referred to TV production. The Federal Agency for Civic Education printed hundreds of thousands of brochures on the subjects of nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Political scientist Peter Reichel also describes the broadcast of the television series as a milestone in the history of mentality in the Federal Republic; it marks “the beginning of the willingness of a mass audience to deal with the Nazi past in general”.

It was only with the broadcast of "Holocaust" that the use of the term Holocaust, which many regarded as inappropriate, for the annihilation of the Jews, which the National Socialists described as the final solution, established itself in Germany . Before that there was talk of the “genocide of the Jews”. The term Holocaust from the Judeo-Christian tradition means “burnt offering”.

In Austria, which until then had seen itself collectively as the innocent victim of German National Socialism, the question was raised as to whether they were jointly responsible for the Nazi crimes. The series was not shown on television in the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union .

Following the episodes, a longer television discussion was broadcast live under the direction of WDR program director Heinz Werner Hübner . a. with contemporary witnesses like Eugen Kogon . Spectators could join in with questions. The visual participation was up to 30%. That was also important for the social debate at the time.


Holocaust - The history of the Weiss family sparked the discussion, especially in Germany, as to whether it was legitimate to fictionally stage the unrepresentable horrors of the industrial murder of the Jews. A fictional representation of the Holocaust that relies less on education than on rousing emotions leads to a trivialization of history, it said.

The writer Elie Wiesel complained that the film was a soap opera produced for commercial reasons and "an insult to those who perished and to those who survived". In the Federal Republic of Germany, aesthetic and anti-commercial reservations initially predominated in publications. There were concerns about the unrealistically constructed plot, which linked historical facts with fabricated set pieces and relied on emotions. Some figures were ascribed an active resistance behavior that accommodated the emotional state and the wishful thinking of Jewish viewers.

After the broadcast of the series, the positive voices outweighed this “history mediation”, which had managed without any fundamental falsification and without collective guilt against all Germans.


Voice actor

actor Voice actor role
Fritz Weaver Herbert Stass Dr. Josef Weiss
Rosemary Harris Bettina Schön Berta Palitz Weiss
James Woods Ralf Schermuly Karl Weiss
Joseph Bottoms Markus Boysen Rudi Weiss
Meryl Streep Elisabeth Schwarz Inga Helms Weiss
Sam Wanamaker Klaus Miedel Moses Weiss
Blanche Baker Irina Wanka Anna Weiss
Michael Moriarty Ernst Jacobi Erik village
David Warner Uwe Friedrichsen Reinhard Heydrich
Ian Holm Wolf Euba Heinrich Himmler
Tovah Feldshuh Marion Marlon Helena Slomova
Tom Bell Peter Fröhlich Adolf Eichmann
Hans Meyer Martin Hirthe Ernst Kaltenbrunner
David Daker Joachim Kemmer Rudolf Höss
John Rees Fred Maire Arthur Nebe
John Bailey Hans Müller-Trenck Hans Frank
Tony Haygarth Peter Thom Heinz Müller
Lee Montague Wolfgang Hess Uncle Sascha
Robert Stephens Hans-Michael Rehberg Uncle Kurt Dorf
George Rose Willy Semmelrogge Franz Lewy


The series received 15 Emmy nominations and earned eight Emmys.



watch TV

The WDR was to broadcast the English version with the German Critics' Prize awarded.

DVD release

The German dubbed version of the television series has been available on optical storage media since 2008, and all of these publications have been shortened. US, British and French pressings are presumably unabridged.


  • Susanne Brandt: Little vision? The broadcast of the film “Holocaust” on West German television (1978/79). In: Christoph Cornelißen u. a. (Ed.): Cultures of memory. Germany, Italy and Japan since 1945. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15219-4 (television policy, changed closing sequence, survey results, effect).
  • Anton Kaes : 1979: The American television series "Holocaust" is shown in West Germany. In: Sander L. Gilman , Jack Zipes (Ed.): Yale companion to Jewish writing and thought in German culture 1096 - 1996. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven 1997, pp. 783-789.
  • Friedrich Knilli , Siegfried Zielinski : Holocaust for entertainment. Anatomy of an international bestseller; Facts, photos, research reports. Elefanten Press, Berlin, 1982, ISBN 3-88290-012-1 .
  • Friedrich Knilli (Ed.): Subject: Holocaust. Viewers write to the WDR; a project report. (with Siegfried Zielinski, Erwin Gundelsheimer, Frank Ostermann and Heino Mass). Volker Spiess Verlag, Berlin, 1985, ISBN 3-88435-082-X .
  • Dietrich Leder : Every 40 years: On the repetition of the US television series “Holocaust” , in: Medienkorrespondenz from March 15, 2019.
  • Peter Märthesheimer (Ed.): In the cross fire: The television film Holocaust. A nation is affected. Frankfurt am Main 1979.
  • Harald Schmid : The “Hour of Truth” and its requirements. For historical cultural action context of "Holocaust" , in: Historical Social Rese-arch / Historical Social Research 30 (2005) 4, p.18 - 28th
  • Marcus Stiglegger : Auschwitz TV - Reflections on the Holocaust in TV series. Springer Verlag, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-658-05876-0 .
  • Matthias Weiß: Sensual memory. The films “Holocaust” and “Schindler's List” in the West German visualization of the Nazi era. In: Norbert Frei , Sybille Steinbacher (eds.): Silence and confession. The German post-war society and the Holocaust [= Dachau Symposia on Contemporary History, Vol. 1]. Göttingen 2001, pp. 71-102.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jens Müller-Bauseneik: The US television series 'Holocaust' in the mirror of the German press (January - March 1979). A documentation. ( Memento from September 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) In: Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung (HSR), 30, 2005, No. 4.
  2. ^ Sandra Schulz: Film and television as media for social visualization of the Holocaust. The German first broadcast of the US television series Holocaust in 1979. ( Memento from September 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) In: Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung (HSR), 32, 2007, No. 1.
  3. Lukas Wieselberg: "Holocaust": Milestone of Remembrance on orf.at of December 4, 2016, accessed on January 17, 2019.
  4. Holocaust (1/4): The history of the Weiss family 1935 - 1940. In: Mediathek von One . Retrieved January 29, 2019 .
  5. Ralf Balke: Confrontation with the past. In: Jüdische Allgemeine . January 7, 2019, accessed January 8, 2019 .
  6. Simply Streep: Holocaust (→ US title and first broadcast)
  7. Rudi meets the survivors of his family in the original English version ( Memento from June 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Nora Bruckmüller: When Meryl Streep played for "Holocaust" in Freistadt , nachrichten.at from January 25, 2019, accessed on January 28, 2019.
  9. Schnittberichte.com (all four episodes)
  10. See Susanne Brandt: Little view? The broadcast of the film “Holocaust” on West German television (1978/79). In: Christoph Cornelißen u. a. (Ed.): Cultures of memory. Germany, Italy and Japan since 1945. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt / M. 2003, ISBN 3-596-15219-4 , p. 258.
  11. US end of the film ( Memento from June 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  12. THE TV EVENT THAT SHOCKED THE NATION: Why the Holocaust Series Has a New End . Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  13. Wolf H. Wagner: Escaped from hell. Stations of a life. A biography of the painter and graphic artist Leo Haas. Henschel Verlag, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-362-00147-5 , p. 81: “When the American author Gerald Green was doing research for his book on the painters of the ghetto in the 1970s, he came across the 'affair'. He also questioned Leo Haas and used his story for the person of Karl Weiß in his novel 'Holocaust' and in the script for the film of the same name. "
  14. Nora Bruckmüller: When Meryl Streep played for "Holocaust" in Freistadt , nachrichten.at from January 25, 2019, accessed on January 28, 2019.
  15. Article about " Peter Naumann " in the dictionary of right-wing extremism by Belltower.News , accessed on January 12, 2012.
  16. Holocaust: The Past Comes Back . In: Der Spiegel . No. 5 , 1979, pp. 18 ( online ).
  17. Armin Pfahl-Traughber : History of right-wing terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany. An analysis of development, groups and comparison . In: Insights and Perspectives . No. 1 , 2012 ( History of right-wing terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany. An analysis of development, groups and comparison ( Memento from December 26, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )). History of right-wing terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany. An analysis of development, groups and comparison ( memento of the original from December 26, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. January 22, 1979 to January 26, 1979: Third television programs broadcast »Holocaust«. In: Chronicle of the ARD. ARD, accessed on January 8, 2019 .
  19. ^ Frank Bösch: Film, Nazi Past and History . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 54 (2007), p. 2 ( PDF ).
  20. a b c d Frank Bösch: Turn of the Times 1979 When the world of today began . 1st edition. CH Beck, Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-73308-6 (512 pages).
  21. Peter Reichel: Invented memory ... p. 261.
  22. ^ Heinz Werner Huebner: Holocaust & TV. That was a psychological shock. Interview by Jan Freitag with Heinz-Werner Hübner, freitagsmedien.com, January 15, 2015
  23. Quotation from Peter Reichel: Invented memory - World war and the murder of Jews in film and theater. Fi-Tb 16805, Frankfurt / M. 2007, ISBN 3-596-16760-4 , p. 253.
  24. Peter Reichel: Invented memory ... p. 258/259.
  25. German synchronous index | Series | Holocaust - The History of the Weiss Family. Retrieved June 23, 2019 .
  26. ^ Holocaust - The story of the Weiss family in the online film database