On Monday and Tuesday (22 and 23 January), West German television audiences had their first chance to see the beginning of the American TV series "Holocaust".
CU TV screen showing title and credits of Holocaust.
GV & CU EXTERIOR Old People's Home in the jewish community in Frankfurt. (2 SHOTS)
CU Head of the home Herr Dachmann facing camera with arms showing tattooed concentration camp number. (2 SHOTS)
CU Herr Dachmann speaking in German.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: On Monday and Tuesday (22 and 23 January), West German television audiences had their first chance to see the beginning of the American TV series "Holocaust". The epic series deals in four instalments with the lives of a Jewish and a German family between the years 1933 and 1945. "Holocaust", which was by no means uncontroversial when it was screened in the United States and Britain, has inflamed German feelings about the country's past. Two bombs exploded last Thursday (18 January) at regional transmission installations when the introductory programme to the series was shown. Armed police and helicopters guarded television stations and Jewish buildings on Monday and Tuesday to prevent further attacks.
SYNOPSIS: But reactions were peaceful. Over twelve-thousand viewers rang a number which was superimposed on the TV screen inviting comments. Another two-thousand viewers participated in a discussion on the points raised by callers, which was transmitted after the programme. The majority of the audience expressed favourable reactions - opinions shared by Herr Dachmann, the head of a Jewish old people's home in Frankfurt.
He survived his interment in Auschwitz, a concentration camp which features in "Holocaust". West German Television spent one million marks (500,000 dollars) on the purchase of the series.
In Herr Dachmann's opinion, the drama series has come too late, but for most Germans the horrors surrounding the extermination of six million Jews are not forgotten. The State of Bavaria originally opposed the Screening of "Holocaust" on Germany's main network, but agreed to show it on a minority channel. And ratings show that over thirty-percent of TV sets were tuned to it.
Herr Dachmann said that young people in Germany may find it difficult to appreciate fully the horrors of the holocaust, and that the series although not entirely portraying the Jews' plight, is valuable in this respect. Reuters news agency reported that most young Germans found the programme deeply disturbing, and although they'd seen documentaries on the theme, were shocked and horrified.