BONN (Jan. 24)
Shack, surprise and disbelief, along with skepticism and hostility were among the reactions of West Germans after the broadcast Monday night of the first segment of “Holocaust” — the American-made TV series depicting the rise of Nazism and the brutal liquidation of European Jewry.
Officials of the TV stations that broadcast the film — the WDR regional network in Cologne — reported yesterday that thou sands of German viewers called after the broadcast with at least two-thirds responding positively and approving of the broadcast. The other callers complained that “Holocaust” only opens “old wounds” and “We should forget all this. It is enough time already.” The TV officials said the responses to the program were unprecedented.
The channel airing “Holocaust” is a regional one and Its programs usually attract only five percent of German viewers. However, the German producers of the series said they hoped for 15 percent of the audience for “Holocaust.” No official estimates on the size of “Holocaust” viewers were available today, but officials said the program is having a wider viewership than expected.
Press reports pointed out that the German viewers got a more effective broadcast of “Holocaust” mainly because of two reasons: unlike the American broadcast of “Holocaust” the German telecast is not interrupted by commercials and the sound track is dubbed in German which, as one reporter noted, makes the Nazis more believable when speaking their own language.
SCHMIDT COMMENDS TV SERIES
Meanwhile, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, speaking in Parliament today, commended “Holocaust” and said the film was a “must” in connection with the current controversy over extending the legal time limit under which Nazi war criminals can be prosecuted. Injecting his remarks into a major speech on the national budget for 1979, Schmidt said “Some parts may be false but much in the film is right. It compels one to critical and moral reflection. For historical reasons, he added, people should be aware of the power of totalitarianism on both the right and the left.