AMSTERDAM (Apr. 27)
The screening of the first part of the NBC-TV film “Holocaust” in Holland Monday night drew a generally negative reaction. Many viewers complained because their favorite programs had been pre-empted. Others suggested that the film would increase rather than diminish anti-Semitism and a few said they were emotionally disturbed and would rather not have seen it.
The Dutch broadcasting organization Tros reported about 500 telephone calls, fewer than had been expected. The screening lasted from 11 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. It was followed by a radio broadcast of a panel discussion by experts including Avraham Soetendorp of the Liberal Jewish Congregation, Johann Van Der Leeuw of The Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, a psychiatrist and a social worker.
Many callers complained that too much attention was being given to the persecution of Jews during the war which ended 34 years ago. Others criticized the emphasis on Jewish victims although Gypsies, homosexuals and other minorities suffered the same fate because of who they were A number of viewers thought it was unfair of concentrate on German atrocities in light of the atrocities committed by Americans in Vietnam and the Dutch in the East Indies.
One caller, an Englishman living in Holland, feared the series would spark anti-German feelings at a time when cooperation with West Germany was in Europe’s interest. But a woman caller said the film would increase anti-Semitism among the Dutch population and suggested that the series itself was “a cunning anti-Semitic plot.”
A 16-year-old boy said he and his classmates had been joking about the Holocaust, but after seeing the film he realized it was no joke. Tros reported that it received five bomb threats on the day of the broadcast and its studios were placed under police protection. A few persons cancelled their membership in the broadcasting organization.