The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 9

Deaths-Head Revisited

Aired Unknown Nov 10, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

In the small Bavarian town of Dachau, a man claiming to be a Mr. Schmidt checks in at the inn. He asks the innkeeper about the fact there was a concentration camp in the area. He decides to go to the camp out of a sense of nostalgia: "Schmidt" is Captain Gunther Lutze, a Nazi SS officer and camp commandant.

Lutze walks around the camp and fondly remembers how he ordered the prisoners about, forcing them to exercise in freezing weather. He hears a door bang open and sees a caretaker, dressed in prison uniform. The man recognizes Lutze and says "they" have been waiting. The gates close and lock on their own, and Lutze recognizes the caretaker as Alfred Becker. Lutze notes he hasn't changed despite the fact it's been 17 years since they last met. The captain hears a howling noise but dismisses it as the wind. Becker notes that Lutze was never a soldier, he was a sadist. Lutze claims that the war is in the past and they shouldn't dwell on the past, he was just following orders. Becker dismisses his apology and wonders what brought him back from South America where he was safe. Lutze hoped that people would forget the "little mistakes" of the past. Becker derides him, saying there can be no forgiveness, and says that time is short. It is time for Lutze's trial, for crimes against humanity. Lutze insists that Becker is insane, and remembers how he used to string him up over a hot pipe and fed him salt water while burning him with cigarettes. Lutze tries to run… only to find himself in the barracks surrounded by the faces of the prisoners he tortured.

Lutze demands to be released but the door is sealed. Becker reads the charges, that he executed 1,700 human beings and tortured and mutilated thousands more. Lutze collapses in hysterics while the screams of his victims echo around him. He wakes up to find only Becker remaining, and believes he dreamed the entire thing. Becker assures him it was no dream and that he couldn't eliminate all traces of what those he killed. Lutze demands to know who Becker is, and Becker explains that he is the caretaker and the trial is over. Lutze laughs at the thought of Becker executing him and dismisses the ex-prisoner as insane. But then he remembers… that he killed Becker 17 years ago, the night that the Americans came close to the camp. Lutze tries to strangle him… and finds himself outside at the scaffold. Becker passes sentence, ordering that Lutze will be driven insane as he suffers the agony of every prisoner that he tortured and killed. Lutze collapses, screaming in agony, while Becker says that it is only the beginning and his final judgment will come from God.

Later, the local law officers bring a doctor, who has Lutze taken away. He notes that there isn't a mark on him, but somehow something drove him insane in only two hours. The doctor looks around the camp… and wonders why they still leave it standing.