Oskar Schindler real story

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Schindler's List (1993)
Starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
based on the book "Schindler's List" by Thomas Keneally
Reel Face: Real Face:
Liam Neeson Liam Neeson
June 7, 1952
Ballymena, Co.
Ireland, UK
Oskar Schindler Oskar Schindler
Born: April 28,
Zwittau, Austria-
Date of Death:
October 9, 1974
(liver failure)
Ralph Fiennes Ralph Fiennes
22, 1962
England, UK
Amon Goeth Amon Goeth
Born: 1908
Vienna, Austria
Date of Death:
September 13,
1945 (hung for war crimes)
Ben Kingsley Ben Kingsley
December 31,
Scarborough, Yorkshire,
England, UK
Itzhak Stern

Itzhak Stern
Date of Death:

"I am the conscience of all those who knew something - but did nothing."
- Oskar Schindler

Questioning the Story:

Why did Oskar Schindler do what he did?
Schindler never gave a clear explanation for why he protected and saved the lives of as many Jews as he did. Some might say that his humane actions and sacrifices need no explanation. Schindler attempted to explain his actions by saying the following, "I knew the people who worked for me. When you know people, you have to behave towards them like human beings."
Another time, Schindler described his behavior differently, "There was no choice. If you saw a dog going to be crushed under a car, wouldn't you help him?"

Below, Schindlerjuden (Schindler's Jews) offer their own explanations of Schindler's motives:
Johnathan Dresner: "He was an adventurer. He was like an actor who always wanted to be centre stage. He got into a play, and he couldn't get out of it."

Mosche Bejski: "Schindler was a drunkard. Schindler was a womanizer. His relations with his wife were bad. He often had not one but several girlfriends. Everything he did put him in jeopardy. If Schindler had been a normal man, he would not have done what he did."

Schindler's List book Thomas Keneally

Danka Dresner: "We owe our lives to him. But I wouldn't glorify a German because of what he did for us. There is no proportion."

Abraham Zuckerman: "The movie didn't show all the little things he did; he came around and greeted you. I had food, protection, and hope."

Salomon Pila: "I don't know why he was so good to us, but I would say, `Thank you very much,' because he saved my life."

Helen Beck, one of the women rescued from Auschwitz: "I will never forget the sight of Oskar Schindler standing in the doorway (at Brunnlitz). I will never forget his voice - `Don't worry, you are now with me.' We gave up many times, but he always lifted our spirits . . . Schindler tried to help people however he could. That is what we remember."

Ludwik Feigenbaum: "I don't know what his motives were, even though I knew him very well. I asked him and I never got a clear answer and the film doesn't make it clear, either. But I don't give a damn. What's important is that he saved our lives."

What happened to Oskar Schindler after the war?
After the war, Schindler went to Argentina with his wife, his mistress, and a group of former Schindlerjuden where they bought a farm. In 1958, for seemingly no reason at all, Oskar Schindler left Argentina, his wife, and his mistress to return to Germany. He spent the remaining years of his life traveling between Germany and Israel, where after several failed business ventures, he lived primarily on handouts from his Schindlerjuden. Oskar Schindler died in Hildesheim in 1974. At his side was his current mistress, the wife of his doctor.

Why did he leave his wife and never return?
Even Emilie Schindler was not sure why Oskar never returned to her. In a passage from her A Memoir Emilie wrote of visiting Oskar's tomb over 37 years after he left:
"At last we meet again .. I have received no answer, my dear, I do not know why you abandoned me .. But what not even your death or my old age can change is that we are still married, this is how we are before God. I have forgiven you everything, everything .."

How was Schindler viewed by Germans in post-war Germany?
Schindler was deprived of his nationality immediately after the war. His former business partner refused to work with him, people denounced him in the streets, and he received threats from former Nazis.

Does evidence of the actual list still exist?
In 1999, the list of Jewish employees drawn up by Oskar Schindler to save them from the Nazi death camps was discovered in a suitcase that was found while a couple was cleaning the home of their late parents. The family had been close friends of Schindler.
This finding was reported by the german newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung.

Was the little girl in the red coat a real person?
Roma LigockaSteven Spielberg did not knowingly base the girl on an actual person. However, after seeing the film, holocaust survivor Roma Ligocka (pictured left - click to enlarge) identified with some of the film's characters. In the Krakow ghetto, Ligocka was known to everyone by the strawberry-red coat she always wore. This encouraged her to write a memoir of her experiences titled The Girl in the Red Coat. The memoir is still available to read.

Link to Learn More:
The List
Amon Goeth
Itzhak Stern
Jewish Virtual Library: Oskar Schindler
Schindler's List Teaching Guide
Emilie Schindler
Steinhouse: The Real Oskar Schindler
Roger Ebert's Review

Watch the Schindler's List Movie Trailer:

Schindler's List movie trailer

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