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Impact of ‘holocaust’ on Tv Viewers

May 22, 1978
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Three out of every five viewers of the recent NBC-TV series “Holocaust” feel they understand better what happened to the Jews under Hitler as a result of the program. The impact of the series, based an a nationwide viewer poll, was made public here yesterday by Milton Himmelfarb, director of the American Jewish Committee’s information and research services, at a news conference in connection with the Committee’s 72nd annual meeting. The poll, commissioned by the Committee, was compiled by the professional polling firm Response Analysis, of Princeton, N.J.

In reporting on the educational effect of the series, Himmelfarb pointed out that 59 percent of those polled said that they understood better after seeing the programs what the Nazi persecution of the Jews was all about. Further, he declared, 85 percent of the viewers thought it a good idea to remind Americans of the Nazi persecutions and 72 percent thought it sensible to teach children about the Holocaust.Seventy-six percent of the viewers expressed the opinion that the programs gave an accurate picture of the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews.

Himmelfarb pointed to the replies to a number of questions as “indicating a humane, sensitive and realistic attitude on the part of most Americans on what had happened to the Jews in Germany, and on the possibilities of similar occurrences happening elsewhere in the world today.”

He reported that 56 percent of the respondents believed there were countries in the world today that were similar to Nazi Germany. Only one percent of viewers and two percent of non-viewers thought that the Jews in Germany were mostly responsible for what had happened to them there, with the overwhelming majority seeing that the fault lay rather with Nazi cruelty. In reply to a third related question, most of those polled expressed the view that very few Americans would think it all right to persecute Jews here. Some 120 million were reported to have viewed the 9 1/2-hour series during the four days it was televised in April.

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