Popular opinion

Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, popular interest in Nazi crimes and the camps intensified. High-profile court cases, such as the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel, played a major part. Equally important were books, plays and films – such as the American TV series Holocaust, which found a large audience in West Germany in 1979.

119 – Letter to a German TV station after the 1979 screening of the Holocaust miniseries

I am writing to express my thanks to you for showing such an extraordinary film, but I would also like to ask you to show it again in a few years’ time because by then there will be more young people who will find the film as interesting and informative as I did. […].

​ I am ashamed

Regarding the extermination of the Jews I would just like to say this: I was born on 18 August 1944 and heard about the persecution of the Jews from my parents, teachers and from former combatants. What I did not know was what swine and sadists the SS were, sending innocent people in such a disgusting manner to their deaths, whether by shooting them or by gassing them and then burning their bodies. I now understand more than ever why the Germans are still hated in some countries.

I am ashamed of being a German citizen. I am ashamed in the face of the many nations who know about the persecution of the Jews and the Jewish people who escaped this mass murder or whose relatives died in it.

Source: H. Lichtenstein, M. Schmid-Ospach (eds), Holocaust (Wuppertal, 1982), p. 40

Translation: Lesley Sharpe and Jeremy Noakes