8-hour Nbc-tv Drama on the Holocaust Due for Viewing in April

An eight-hour drama on the Holocaust will be televised nationwide by NBC-TV in April. While the exact dates for the four-part series have not yet been announced, it is tentatively scheduled for the latter part of April, around the Passover holiday.

According to an announcement by NBC-TV. the drama, titled “Holocaust,” is an original dramatization “of one of the most monstrous crimes the world has ever witnessed–the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.” The series will cover the decade between 1935 and 1945 when the genocidal atrocities occurred.

NBC-TV described “Holocaust” as “the saga of a gentle and compassionate physician and his family, all of whom are in different ways buffeted by the fury of Nazi bestiality that was unleashed upon the Jews. Paralleling the tragedy of this family is the story of an ambitious young German lawyer who, prodded by his even more ambitious wife, joins the SS and becomes an aide and the chief planner of the annihilation of the Jews.”

There is, the NBC-TV description continues, “a curious, tenuous relationship between the two families. Years earlier, the lawyer and his parents were patients of the doctor who treated them with the same kindness he bestowed on all his patients. Now, the Nazi technician of death finds himself involved in the systematic annihilation of these innocent people–and six million others.”

According to NBC-TV, an impressive cast, including award-winning performers from the stage, television and motion pictures, will play the major roles. It will be based on actual records, featuring an original story and screenplay by novelist Gerald Green (“The Last Angry Man”). Emmy Award winner Herbert Brodkin and Robert Berger (“The Defenders”) are the producers. Marvin Chomsky, who directed six hours of “Roots,” will direct “Holocaust.” NBC-TV projects that it will be viewed by 35-50 million people in its prime time slot.

DESCRIBED AS EXTRAORDINARILY MOVING

Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, national interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, who was invited to see the rushes of the first three hours of “Holocaust” and will be viewing the final rushes later this week, said his preliminary impression was that “it is thus for an extraordinarily moving and magnificently acted production. This dramatization translates the trauma, the unspeakable horrors, as well as the heroism of Jews that cannot but help reach the conscience of millions of Americans, non-Jews as well as Jews.”

Tanenbaum, who served as the American Jewish consultant to NBC-TV’s special on “Jesus of Nazareth,” and was invited to serve in a similar capacity for “Holocaust” and at the network’s request prepared a detailed critique of Green’s script which became the basis of script revisions, added: “Recent efforts to whitewash the Nazi massacre of Jews make this program all the more necessary and compelling.”

The rabbi reported that a group of major Jewish education, synagogual and community centers specialists have been brought together by the National Jewish Welfare Board to prepare cooperatively study and discussion guides for use by Jewish youth and adult groups who will be viewing “Holocaust.” The AJCommittee, he added, is cooperating with them and will join in disseminating those materials when they are available.

In addition, Tanenboum said, the AJCommittee has been in active communication with the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) to help prepare “Christian Study Guides” for use by their churches on all age levels and to alert them to the significance of “Holocaust.” The NCC, NCCB and AJCommittee are also preparing an “Interreligious Study and Discussion Guide” for use by interreligious dialogue and study groups in every major city in the country, Tanenbaum said.

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