Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Deaths Head Revisited

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Episode no.  Season 3 Episode 9
Written by  Rod Serling
Production code  4804
Directed by  Don Medford
Featured music  Stock
Original air date  November 10, 1961

"Deaths-Head Revisited" is episode 74 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The story was later adapted for The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas starring H.M. Wynant. The title is a play on the Evelyn Waugh novel Brideshead Revisited.



Gunther Lutze, a former SS captain, checks into a hotel in Dachau, Bavaria, under the name "Schmidt". The receptionist seems to recognize him, but he deflects suspicion by claiming to have spent the war serving on the Eastern Front. After harassing the woman by forcing her to explain what the Nazis were doing in Dachau, he returns to the ruins of Dachau concentration camp to recall his time as its commandant during World War II. As he strolls around the camp, he revels in the recollections of the torment he inflicted on the inmates.

Lutze is surprised to see Alfred Becker, one of the camp's former inmates and a particular victim of Lutze's cruelty. Lutze supposes that Becker is now the caretaker of the camp, to which Becker replies "In a manner of speaking." As they talk, Becker relentlessly dogs Lutze with the reality of his grossly inhumane treatment of the inmates, while Lutze insists that he was only carrying out his orders. Lutze tries to leave, but finds the gate locked. In one of the camp buildings, Becker and several other inmates put Lutze on trial for crimes against humanity and find him guilty. Becker is about to pronounce the sentence when Lutze remembers that he killed Becker 17 years ago on the night American troops came close to Dachau. As punishment, Lutze is made to undergo the same horrors he had imposed on the inmates in the form of tactile illusions. He screams in agony and collapses. Before departing, Becker's ghost informs him, "This is not hatred. This is retribution. This is not revenge. This is justice. But this is only the beginning, Captain. Only the beginning. Your final judgment will come from God."

Lutze is found and taken to a mental institution for the criminally insane, since he continues to experience and react to his illusionary sufferings. His finders wonder how a man who was perfectly calm two hours before could have gone insane. The doctor looks around and asks, "Dachau. Why does it still stand? Why do we keep it standing?"

Critical response

Gordon F. Sander, excerpt from Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man:

Serling meted out nightmarish justice of a worse kind in "Deaths-Head Revisited" (directed by Don Medford), Serling's statement on the Holocaust, written in reaction to the then-ongoing Eichmann trial, in which a former Nazi, played by Oscar Beregi, on a nostalgic visit to Dachau, is haunted and ultimately driven insane by the ghosts of inmates he had killed there during the war.


Deaths-Head Revisited Wikipedia