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20 Million People View ‘holocaust’

March 9, 1979
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Nearly half of France’s population over 20 million people, watched the fourth and last episode of the NBC-TV series “Holocaust” Tuesday night. In a country whose television viewers traditionally switch off by 11 p.m. at the latest, four of every five sets remained on until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning to watch the panel debate which followed the final “Holocaust” installment.

Yesterday morning, President Volery Giscard d’Estaing extended official congratulations to Health Minister Simone Veil, one of the panel’s participants, and herself a former Auschwitz deportee for “having said what all Frenchmen felt on this subject.” Mrs. Veil, whose mother and sister died in deportation, spoke without hatred and with no passion. “The worst was not what was inflicted on us but what we became– animals thinking only about our own survival, animals who seemed to have lost all sense of humanity,” she said.

France watched with fascination as this elegant, well groomed and attractive woman recalled the squalor and the hunger which she had endured. “We were dressed in tatters, bare-tooted or wearing over-size shoes, dirty, hungry and sick.” Mrs. Veil who spoke in a calm and low voice said the film “fails to show the real horror of what we had endured. The worst actually was what happened within ourselves.”

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