NEW YORK (Sep. 5)
The NBC-TV series “Holocaust,” which stirred the conscience of millions of people throughout the Western world, will be repeated next week, it was announced here by NBC. The viewing time in New York City (check local time listings in other areas) will be Monday, Sept. 10 from 8-11 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 11 and 12, from 9-11 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 13, from 8-10:30 p.m.
A spokesman for NBC-TV said that after the series was telecast last year many viewers expressed the feeling that a discussion about the Holocaust would have been appropriate either before the series began or following it. In line with this expression, NBC decided to conduct a discussion preceding the first segment and to follow the last segment with a documentary on the Holocaust.
The preceding discussion will be telecast Sunday, Sept. 9 at, 6:30 p.m. New York time (check for local time). Titled “Echoes Without End: The Holocaust,” the program will emphasize the world’s continuing disregard for human life, even 40 years after the tragedy of the Hitler period.
Participants in the program will be Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, National Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, who has served as a consultant to NBC on the series since its planning stages; Bishop Paul Moore Jr: of the Episcopal Diocese of New York; and Dr. Claire Randall, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. Fritz Weaver, who played the part of Dr. Weiss in the series, will serve as moderator.
In addition, there will be a taped interview with Vice President Walter Mondale and scenes of Pope John Paul 11 visiting Auschwitz. At the end of the series there will be a news documentary on the Holocaust and its worldwide impact.
AN APPALLING REALITY
In preparation for the rebroadcast, NBC sought out a Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leader to write a commentary on the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust — both as a historical event and a television drama.
Rev Billy Graham. the noted evangelist in his commentary wrote: “About a year ago I visited the infamous Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Words can never express the revulsion and horror I felt there. Even now, almost a generation after the terror of the Holocaust, the appalling reality of what happened during those dark days is still beyond comprehension.
“The Holocaust was an enormous tragedy, but it would be an even greater tragedy if we failed to learn the lessons it can teach us. it would be blind optimism to declare it could never happen again. Whatever the lessons of that terrible period may be, they must be learned and relearned in each generation if a second holocaust–or a third or fourth– is to be avoided.”
Graham concluded by observing: “We also have to ask if there are new holocausts which threaten our world today, Yes, I believe there are. Whenever any group suffers injustice and oppression the potential for a new holocaust exists.” Among the many potential holocausts, he listed “the tragedy of the boat people–the starvation of millions in many parts of the world–the discrimination against racial or religious groups–the appalling threat of a nuclear holocaust.
CHRISTIANS MUST DEFEND JEWS
Msgr. George Higgins, Secretary for Special Concerns of the U.S. Catholic Conference and National Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote that partly because so little was being said or taught about the Holocaust in Germany prior to the NBC series “a historical vacuum had been created and the climate seemed ripe for a resurgence of the most vicious type of neo-Nazism directed at the pitifully small remnant of Jews still residing” in Germany. But “Holocaust,” shown throughout Europe, “has helped to change that,” Higgins noted.
Continuing, he stated: “Even here in the United States–with the latest upsurge in Ku Klux Klan activity and similar movements–there are troubling signs, much too serious to be ignored or taken lightly, that the kind of psychopathic-anti-Semitism which prepared the way for the Holocaust is on the rise again….Hitler would undoubtedly be delighted to learn that his diabolical and tragically successful attempt to exterminate Jews of Europe had been so quickly forgotten, or is being taken so lightly…
“The lesson of the Holocaust and of the television program is that it is never too soon for Christians to come to the defense of Jews who are being threatened by any form of anti-Semitism. Indeed the Holocaust might never have happened if a sufficient number of Christians had learned this lesson in Europe before the rise of Nazism.”
AN EPIDEMIC OF DEHUMANIZATION
Tanenbaum, in his commentary, observed that there has been “a pervasive evasion or willful amnesia to avoid facing the horror of the Nazi destruction. The historic legacy of that evasion is an epidemic of dehumanization in the world today.
“And that would which became inured to genocide against the Jews continued with similar indifference to the massive massacre of 2 to 3 million Cambodians, not 30 years ago but during the past 18 months; stood by in the silence of the cemetery while some 300,000 Black Christians were killed by Idi Amin in Uganda; accommodated peacefully to the daily murder of innocent Catholic and Protestant children in Ireland.” The lesson of the Holocaust. “is no longer a ‘Jewish lesson.’ It is a lesson which mankind must perforce learn and live out in daily actions if the human family is to survive,” Tanenbaum concluded.
The “Holocaust” series was first broadcast by NBC in the United States from April 16 through April 19, 1978. It was seen by an audience of 107 million viewers, according to NBC.