Harvard Viewers Discuss 'Holocaust', Opinions Vary From Praise to Disgust

Harvard students and Faculty yesterday expressed both praise and criticism for "Holocaust," the television series dramatizing Nazi repression during World War II.

Stephen A. Rhodes '78, a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Zionist Alliance, said yesterday the series has been "very good" despite "minor historical mistakes" because it gives "non-Jews a better understanding" of World War II atrocities.

Nausea

Stanley H. Hoffmann, professor of Government and director of the Center for European Studies, said yesterday he was "nauseated" by "Holocaust" because the series is "badly acted, mechanical and entirely cliched." He added it is a "collection of stereotypes."

Applause

Richard M. Hunt, senior lecturer on Social Studies and the instructor of Social Sciences 162, "Moral Dilemmas in a Repressive Society--Nazi Germany," applauded the series for its "sensitive, moving performances," although he questioned the "exaggerated passivity of the Jews." Most of his students reacted favorably to the show, Hunt said.

For many others, the show is a painful reminder of a tragic era. Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, a survivor of one of the World War II concentration camps, said yesterday he could not watch the series. Gold criticized the media for too often identifying Jews with the holocaust. "These are not our roots; this is a tragedy in our history," he said.

Michael A. Weiss '78, a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Society, said yesterday the show fails because it concentrates on an "assimilated German-Jewish family," and omits "the irreplaceably lost Yiddish culture of Eastern Europe."

Mitchell K. Ross '78, another Hillel member, said yesterday the series has "a lot of educational value," although it is "hard to depict on a television screen what that world was like."