In episode 8 of the TV adaption of The Man In The High Castle, Obergruppenführer Smith is informed that his son has something the doctor refers to as "Landouzy-Dejurine syndrome."

It appears from the dialogue that the illness is so debilitating that the son will have to be killed. (Apparently due to some policy of the Greater Nazi Reich.) Smith clearly goes through some emotional turmoil because of this, but the issue is then ignored due to other dramatic events.

What happened to Smith's son?

Smith is very high rank. There is talk of Smith having a special relationship with Hitler. In the final episode he

apprehends the main plotter to assassinate Hitler, and then reports to Hitler. Thus, he presumably strengthens his relationship to Hitler.

Did he attempt to use his power and connections to save his son? Or was his son killed?

I don't remember any answer to this in the TV series. Does the book offer any?

  • 3
    If anyone is interested, the book bears only a superficial resemblance to the TV show. I think Obergruppenfuhrer Smith was not in the book.
    – Paul
    Jun 18, 2016 at 2:42

3 Answers 3


He suffers from Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy:

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHMD, FSHD or FSH)—originally named Landouzy-Dejerine2—is a usually autosomal dominant inherited form of muscular dystrophy (MD)3 that initially affects the skeletal muscles of the face (facio), scapula (scapulo) and upper arms (humeral). FSHD is the third most common genetic disease of skeletal muscle. Orpha.net lists the prevalence as 4/100,0004 while a 2014 population-based study in the Netherlands reported a significantly higher prevalence of 12 in 100,000.[5] Symptoms may develop in early childhood and are usually noticeable in the teenage years with 95% of affected individuals manifesting disease by age 20 years. A progressive skeletal muscle weakness usually develops in other areas of the body as well; often the weakness is asymmetrical. Life expectancy can be threatened by respiratory insufficiency and up to 20% of affected individuals become severely disabled requiring use of a wheel chair or mobility scooter.

As we saw in the pilot (as described in this review), when Joe was stopped by the cop,

Ash falls from the sky, peppering the two men. “What is that?” Blake asks. “Oh, it’s the hospital.” “Hospital?” “Yeah,” the cop says. “On Tuesdays they burn cripples … the terminally ill. Drag on the state.”

Clearly the policy is that people with such conditions are to be euthanized.

His condition appears to have not been completely resolved as of the end of Season 1, however the actor playing Thomas Smith, Quinn Lord,

was cast in several episodes of Season 2, according to IMDB, and it was a dilemma that hadn't entirely been resolved yet, given that Smith was last seen being given the chance to do the euthanasia personally, at home, and the Nazi regime (or members within it, like the Doctor charged with reporting it) might just be sympathetic enough to give a few weeks or months of "saying goodbye time" before pushing the issue.

Updated: In season two of the show, it is revealed...

that the doctor who examined him was indeed holding off reporting the issue to anyone else out of respect for Smith, but that wouldn't keep up for long. This triggered one of the major plotlines involving Smith in season two.


Tom Smith seems to have turned himself in to medical services at the end of Season Two, out of a feeling of duty to the principles of the Reich, meaning his death is likely, although it is still not yet absolutely confirmed and last-minute attempts to save him could still be the subject of machinations in season three.

  • 1
    Yes, as I said in OP, they talk about that he's going to be killed. But I was wondering whether Smith used his high position to save his son.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 17, 2016 at 18:55
  • @Fiksdal Ah, yes, my apologizes, I misread one of the lines and thought your question was a bit more on the "why" of it rather than the "What happened." Jun 17, 2016 at 18:57
  • No problem. I've edited OP to make it more clear. Your answer still provides useful background information.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 17, 2016 at 18:59
  • There's been no date announced, to my knowledge. The first season was completely released in November 2015, so November 2016 would probably be the earliest we could expect it. But it wasn't renewed until December, unlike many network shows who usually know while they're filming the last few episodes, and so it could take them a bit longer to gear up. Jun 17, 2016 at 19:25
  • 1
    Thanks for coming back to update your answer with the new information!
    – Erik
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:43

I don't buy the idea that Obergruppenführer Smith's son has FSH—Dr Adler is a quack, a Doctor Feelgood, and the disease Adler thinks Smith's son suffers from is transmitted through the X-chromosome. Thomas Smith may suffer from something related to fetal exposure to radiation, or something completely from out of left field, and may find himself rejected for euthanasia by a doctor younger and more cautious than Dr Adler who doesn't want to tarnish the name of a Nazi hero.

Naturally, I hope I'm wrong—Thomas Smith's fate might allow a plot twist that changes his parents' politics and actions from loyalist to subversive, but then again, Obergruppenführer Smith's role might be totally changed by other factors. Frankly, Smith has the chance to make a greater mark on history by intervening somehow in the matter of his protégé, Joe Blake. The Nazis had a nasty practice called Sippenhaft, by which the families of a political criminal could be made to suffer. If Smith acts to save Blake, will he allow his son to be in danger? There are so many possibilities for a triangle subplot involving the two Smiths and Blake…

Moving on to larger issues, I still want to know how the film stash may affect the reality of the day. Why does Abendsen burn most of his films? Does the existence of a film make the manifestation of its Nebenwelt more likely? Is the series even going to involve the viewers in the concept of a Nebenwelt? Are we going to go into a plot involving Heisenberg's multiple universes, a metaphysical concept dating back to von Leibniz, and a Nazi attempt to build a way to benefit from other universes? Or did the Nazis conquer the US because they already had such a device?

Pleasant dreams…

PS: Look at the five-dollar United States Note Tagomi checks out midway through Series Two, and the coins Abendsen plays with at the end of Episode Ten. Tagomi's US is not our universe, and Abendsen is playing with Pounds Sterling and Deutschmarks, which are not a part of Juliana's universe. Season Three could get very interesting for all you metaphysicians out there…


I know someone who works in the background on the show. If it helps in any way, there is a

funeral scene involving the Smith family.

So, draw your own conclusions based on that.

  • 1
    Second season is out and the funeral was not for the son.
    – Erik
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:43

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