CBS’ controversial Hitler miniseries has snagged an important vote of confidence from a leading Jewish organization.
The Anti-Defamation League, which had been vocal in its concerns about the upcoming mini, is preparing to issue a statement praising the effort. It’s a key show of support for the Eye, which has spent much of the last year battling the perception — based on interpretations of media coverage about the movie — that the Alliance Atlantis pic would somehow paint a sympathetic portrait of the Nazi kingpin.
Furor over the Fuhrer pic started almost immediately after word got out that the Eye and Alliance Atlantis were developing a young Hitler mini (Daily Variety, Jan. 22, 2002.) It grew more intense when the pic was greenlit in June 2002.
But ADL national director Abe Foxman told Daily Variety: “I’ve had an opportunity to see the miniseries now, and all of my previous concerns have been allayed.”
Indeed, Foxman actually had high praise for the four-hour event, which will air May 18 and 20 on CBS.
“It’s a powerful instrument, a powerful document about evil,” he said. “Television can touch millions of people in an instant. And just as NBC’s ‘Holocaust’ educated a generation about evil, I think this movie will be a vehicle for our generation. I’m very glad CBS is doing it.”
Foxman does not believe the ADL or other groups rushed to judgement in voicing worries over the production.
“Our concerns were based on statements and interviews with production people,” he said. “They were the ones telling the world what this was going to be, and we believed it would be trivializing Hitler and the Holocaust.”
Mini, which will air this month, isn’t the same one CBS and Alliance Atlantis first envisioned. Eye threw out the first script and brought in several Jewish scholars and advisors to ensure the pic didn’t go soft on Hitler; it even made charitable contributions to a Holocaust memorial and agreed to air anti-hate PSAs.