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German TV boldly shows 'Nazi' Star Trek episode

Published: 04 Nov 2011 11:02 GMT+01:00

State broadcaster ZDFneo has evidently decided that German viewers are now ready for the episode “Patterns of Force,” 43 years after it was first broadcast in the United States in 1968.

The episode, part of the second season of the immensely popular science fiction franchise, sees the Starship Enterprise visit the planet Ekos in the M34 Alpha System to investigate the disappearance of John Gill, Federation historian and one of Kirk’s erstwhile professors at Starfleet Academy.

The Ekosians, at war with the nearby planet Zeon, are intent on wiping out all the Zeons living on their planet – and destroying Zeon itself - in what they call a “Final Solution.” The Ekosians refer to the Zeons as “Zeonist pigs.”

Kirk and Spock (played by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both Jewish) discover that the Ekosians have adopted all the features and institutions of Nazi Germany – including the salute, brown-shirted Stormtroopers, the SS, and the Gestapo, from their “Führer” – none other than John Gill.

Both Kirk and Spock then steal Nazi uniforms to infiltrate the regime and call Gill to account. At one point Spock comments that Kirk "should make a very convincing Nazi."

The episode was originally considered unfit for German audiences because it referred to Nazi Germany as “the most efficient society” ever created.

As a result, “Patterns of Force” was excised from the series when ZDF first broadcast the original Star Trek in the mid-1970s, and was also removed when private channel Sat 1 aired the show in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The episode was only dubbed into German in 1995 and was first shown on German pay TV in 1996.

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Your comments about this article

12:27 November 4, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
What next: "that" Faulty Towers episode?
12:28 November 4, 2011 by ron1amr
Imagine both Leonard Nimoy and Wiiliam Shatner were born in March 1931 There is four days between them. They are both 80 years old. They both have the same religion Judaism.
12:59 November 4, 2011 by n230099
It's always interesting when, after having the notion that Euros and Germans are advanced beyond calculation to the rest of the world crammed down out throats, that we're reminded once in a while that they're reduced to hand-wringing tittiebabies when confronted with this part of their past.
13:41 November 4, 2011 by tdog1964
It is good to see that Germany is not censoring this episode. Star Trek was ahead of it's time with the comments ithe stories made about society. In the end the Ekosians throw off their Nazi cloak for a more fairer society.
13:57 November 4, 2011 by freechoice
i see world war 2 documentaries of Germans in full Nazi uniforms all the time. why do they want to make this so special?
13:58 November 4, 2011 by vonSchwerin
I can't believe that it has taken the Germans over 40 years to have the "courage" to show this episode. ZDF may think this is a bold decision, but the episode really isn't so shocking today. On the other hand, it they had shown it in 1975, when the NS era was only 30 years behind, that would have been something.

By the way, Shatner and Nimoy are not just "of Jewish descent" (jüdischer Herkunft), as the Germans euphemistically say. They are Jews. Yes, actual Jews. The children and grandchildren of Thomas Mann and Katia Pringsheim are "of Jewish descent." The descendants of Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric are "of Jewish descent." Shatner and Nimoy are Jews and self-identify as such.
14:12 November 4, 2011 by flipinwotsit
@230099..

Are you sure it´s always interesting and not.............Fascinating?
14:14 November 4, 2011 by DOZ
Shatner was a windbag in Star Trek. Over acting is a Canadian Trait. The Romulans were the characters based on German society, while the Borg were based on the Canadians.
18:44 November 4, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
"Shatner was a windbag in Star Trek."

He still is. He will give the eulogy at his own funeral.

It's a pretty funny episode which I think will have most Germans laughing their asses off. "Zeonist Pigs", LOL....
19:46 November 4, 2011 by Englishted
Remember when this was made they were closer to the end of ww2 than we are to the show.
21:21 November 4, 2011 by Drewsky
Simon (#1), I think the 'Faulty Towers' episode might take a little more time ...
22:30 November 4, 2011 by PierceArrow
My all-time favorite Star Trek episode is the "City on the Edge of Forever" episode in which Kirk and Spock travel back to an American city in the 1930s. Kirk falls in love with a pretty peace activist, but he has to let her be hit by a truck, or else her peace movement would become so strong that America would not enter World War II in time to stop the Nazis from developing an atomic bomb and winning the war.

I think America would be better off if Jane Fonda had been hit by a truck.
00:27 November 5, 2011 by Californian
Watching this episode now on blu-ray. These never get old, do they?

City on the Edge of Forever, to me seemed like it could have been a stand alone movie.

Arguably the most complete episode, having co-writer Harlan Ellison doesn't hurt either.

Despite that probably being the best episode, my personal favorite has to be "Mirror, Mirror". Kirk's speech to the "evil" Spock as they are transporting back to their own parallel universe is surely one of the best in the entire series.
15:30 November 5, 2011 by strahlungsamt
Where are the comments telling Germany to "get over it" about their Nazi past and blaming Obama and Liberals for the Holocaust?
19:51 November 5, 2011 by Gustav Jung
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:21 November 6, 2011 by biker hotel harz
I honestly don't get this and cannot see what the problem is. Didn't 'Downfall' depict Nazis during the last days of WW11. I think it did didn't it?
13:50 November 6, 2011 by noleti
In my opinion, the episode was not shown originally because it depicted the Space Nazis as "the most efficient society" as stated in the article. German TV would not show anything positive about Nazis. It is not about denying germany's past, but controlling the way it is depicted.
18:41 November 6, 2011 by wxman
I remember this episode from the mid-60s when I was in high school. Even at the time I recall thinking that Spock would never have fooled anyone with that uniform. Here they are, infiltrating this alien regime, and Spock is dressed as ans SS private? Surely they would have portrayed officers, nicht war??
20:36 November 6, 2011 by jcbayley
@ DOZ…. "Over acting is a Canadian trait" ?? Come on…

http://www.canadiancontent.net/people/actors/ (partial list)

Agreed, William Shatner over-does it (but check out "Boston Legal" -- he's brilliant as Denny Crane and is very self-mocking for being over the top); also, Keanu Reeves (born in Lebanon, but widely regarded as being Canadian) is an over-actor. Other than these two, I think Canadians in general, produce some of the best acting talent in the world.
14:27 November 10, 2011 by v-mann
... and don't mention the war!
17:25 November 11, 2011 by radonrain
@PierceArrow STITCHING PEOPLE UP LIKE.... RAGDOLLS! Excellent episode.

@jcbayley Michael Hogan, who played Saul Tigh on Battlestar Galactica, is Canadian and very talented (imo)

@freechoice probably because of the difference between stating facts (documentary), since it is absolutely not forbidden to learn history, versus the fictionalization and perceived romanticized views this ST episode reflects, such as the pro-Nazi statement that it was the most efficient society ever created (which isn't true, but a point frequently used by modern neo nazis).
03:30 November 12, 2011 by Scottrocks9
I always hated this show and find Shatner such a phoney and Nimoy such a geek. Never thought about them as jews. Does that make me Racist? People should go and reread the Treaty of Versailles and think again about what happened and why. The truth is fighting its way to the surface.
04:06 November 12, 2011 by soros
Germany is still on its Nazi-obsessed trip, three generations after the end of the war. In Berlin they're putting up even more memorials to any and everyone who was ever maltreated or executed by the Baddies. I would like to see similar memorials to victims in other countries. Let's all take part in this self-flagellating obsession.
15:21 November 12, 2011 by DES_Toronto
"Over acting is a Canadian Trait." Ouch! Let me see, would you be thinking of Christopher Plummer, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Raymond Massey, Lorne Greene, Hume Cronyn, Raymond Burr, Megan Follows, Walter Pidgeon, Mary Pickford, Geneviève Bujold, Tantoo Cardinal, Brent Carver, Maury Chaykin, William Hutt, Lou Jacobi, Margot Kidder, Sandra Oh, Gordon Pinsent, Sarah Polley, and Kate Reid? I can't agree. But if you mean our comedians, I agree completely (praise be!).
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