The television production “Holocaust,” which was shown on NBC-TV last Spring, had a significant educational effect, making its audience of 120 million viewers “more aware of, and perhaps more sensitive to, a catastrophe almost beyond comprehension.” This is the conclusion of a study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, the results of which have just been issued by the Committee in a 50-page pamphlet, “Americans Confront the Holocaust.”
The publication summarizes the results of a telephone survey conducted in the weeks following the program by the professional polling firm, Response Analysis, Inc., of Princeton, N.J. The booklet contains an analysis of the survey findings, written by Geraldine Rosenfield, of the AJCommittee’s Information and Research Services Department.
As an indication of the program’s effect on its audience, the poll determined that nearly half of the viewers found the four-part series “difficult or disturbing to watch.” Further, the analysis continues,” “majorities of both viewers and non-viewers (in the sample) approved the presentation of the program. Many respondents expressed the hope that if people knew of such things, they would not let them happen again, and a substantial majority wanted the schools to teach about the Holocaust.”
The analysis states also that the audience for Holocaust was even more self-selected than are television audiences in general: “Persons who were interested in the subject in the first place… were strongly represented among the viewers, while a sizeable proportion of non-viewers were ignorant of recent European history, indifferent to the possibility of future catastrophies similar to the Holocaust, and/or apathetic about events not Immediate to them in time or place.”
The analysis concludes that while the findings of the survey confirm that mast Americans condemn racism and Nazism, “they also indicate that a hardcore of racists and anti-Semites remains in the United States, and that a good many Americans, without being anti-Semitic, feel themselves quite remote from Jews and their concerns.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.