Revisiting the Holocaust

One of the most memorable films of the 1990s is finally getting its small-screen debut. Steven Spielberg's masterwork, "Schindler's List," winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993, comes out on DVD on Tuesday.

There are many reasons to own this DVD - from fine acting by Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Kingsley, to the quietly powerful story about a German businessman who saved more than 1,100 Jews during World War II.

But while many films, especially popular titles, arrive on DVD padded with endless hours of vacuous "extras" that would bore even diehard devotees, this spare, single disc offers only a few, almost none related to the actual making of the film. You won't get the typical deleted scenes or director's commentary.

Instead in one, Spielberg talks about the Shoah Foundation, the oral history project he founded after working making "Schindler's List," another featurette details an anti-bias project for children, produced by the Shoah Foundation.

But without question, the pièce de résistance, and perhaps the real reason to own this DVD, is the 77 minutes of testimony from the real Schindler's List survivors.

During the hour-plus documentary, key survivors from the film, such as Helen Hirsch, walk us through the same story told in the film, this time in their own words.

Seeing the actual people and hearing them recount the events of those days in simple, everyday language is in some ways more powerful than the film itself.

It's easy to feel that the small-screen experience diminishes a vast story such as this one, but in fact, seeing these survivors in your own home serves to underline the power of the Holocaust story. The story of their narrow escape is that much more powerful because of that intimate connection.

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