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The 30th anniversary edition of Holocaust marks the first time this remarkable, nine-and-a-half-hour television miniseries has been released on DVD. Originally broadcast on NBC as part of an ongoing TV phenomenon in the 1970s called "The Big Event," Holocaust was an original story written by Gerald Green, who later scripted Kent State and Wallenberg: A Hero's Story, the latter another Holocaust-era tale. Holocaust narrowed the enormous story of the Nazis' systematic destruction of Jews by focusing on one family living in Berlin. Fritz Weaver plays Dr. Josef Weiss, a Pole with a longtime family practice. Weiss debates with his wife, Berta (Rosemary Harris), the wisdom of moving out of Germany with their family. She insists they should not be chased away by Hitler, and by the time she thinks otherwise, it's too late for her, her parents, Josef, and the three Weiss children: Karl (James Woods), Rudi (Joseph Bottoms), and Anna (Blanche Baker). Holocaust begins with the marriage of Karl to Inga (Meryl Streep), a Christian, an arrangement already frowned upon by the rising Nazi regime in 1935. In time, Karl, a harmless artist, is dragged off to the concentration camp at Buchenwald, leaving Inga vulnerable to a predatory camp officer who passes notes between the husband and wife. Poor young Anna meets a grim fate that reveals something of the way Hitler was determined to eliminate the mentally ill along with Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and other groups of people. The rebellious Rudi ends up fighting the Germans from a different front, while Josef is deported to Warsaw, eventually joined by Berta. There, Holocaust details the plight of the walled-in, so-called Warsaw ghetto, and the despair of the people within. Meanwhile, the destiny of another important character, a rather effete lawyer named Erik Dorf (Michael Moriarty), offers a peek into the internal workings of the Holocaust machinery. Dorf takes a much-needed job as an aide to Reinhard Heydrich (David Warner), Gestapo head and chair of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, which finalized plans for the extermination of European Jews. Holocaust was criticized at the time of its broadcast for allegedly cheapening genocide by shrinking the dimensions of the Nazis' organized evil for commercial television. But as a story free to extend into different aspects of the war on Jews, Holocaust is a real eye-opener. Tom Bell, Ian Holm, Robert Stephens, and Sam Wanamaker are also featured in the cast.

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PA622064 Holocaust DVD (1978/Meryl Streep) $29.95 $26.99