Schindlers List Trailer RTL II
Movie Released: 15 December 1993 (USA)

This is the true story of one remarkable man who outwitted the Nazis to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other during World War II. Steven Spielberg turned Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning biography of Oskar Schindler into a seven Academy Award-winning film.

It is the story of Oskar Schindler who surfaced from the chaos of madness, spent millions bribing and paying off the SS and eventually risked his life to rescue the Schindler-Jews. You may read the letter written by his Jews May, 1945.

Oskar Schindler rose to the highest level of humanity, walked thro
ugh the bloody mud of the Holocaust without soiling his soul, his compassion, his respect for human life - and gave his Jews a second chance at life. He miraculously managed to do it and pulled it off by using the very same talents that made him a war profiteer - his flair for presentation, bribery, and grand gestures.

Oskar Schindler

In those years, millions of Jews died in the Nazi death camps like Auschwitz, but Schindler's Jews miraculously survived.

To more than 1200 Jews Oskar Schindler was all that stood between them and death at the hands of the Nazis. A man full of flaws like the rest of us - the unlikeliest of all role models who started by earning millions as a war profiteer and ended by spending his last pfennig and risking his life to save his Jews. An ordinary man who even in the worst of circumstances did extraordinary things, matched by no one. He remained true to his Jews, the workers he referred to as my children. In the shadow of Auschwitz he kept the SS out and everyone alive.

Oskar Schindler and his wife Emilie Schindler were inspiring evidence of courage and human decency during the Holocaust. Emilie was not only a strong woman working alongside her husband but a heroine in her own right. She worked indefatigably to save the Schindler-Jews - a story to bear witness to goodness, love and compassion.

Today there are more than 8,000 descendants of the Schindler-Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are between 10,000 and 15,000 left.

After the war, the Schindler Jew Murray Pantirer, emigrating to the United States in 1949, set up a construction firm with his friend Abraham Zuckerman. From the beginning, they knew they had to find a way to remember their protector. "After the war he couldn't find himself," said Pantirer. "He was too big of a man to start over."

"When we started the business - we came in 1949, we incorporated in 1950 - in our first subdivision in South Plainfield, N.J., the first thing we did was put his name on a street, Schindler Drive."

Their greatly differing complexes have one thing in common. Each has a Schindler Street, a Schindler Drive or a Schindler Way, named for Oscar Schindler. As a mark of their gratitude, Zuckerman and Pantirer have by now dedicated 25 streets in New Jersey to his memory. Planning authorities often queried their choice of names, they say, but none objected when they made known the reasons for their requests.

Zuckerman and Pantirer's devotion didn't stop with street naming. From 1957 until he died in 1974, the two helped Schindler financially as well with money and air tickets, sponsoring his trips to America, where they would buy him clothes and shoes.

Pantirer's son, Larry, met Schindler on several occasions and remains in awe of the person who saved his father's life. "He still had charm and personality," recalled the younger Pantirer. "You could see the way he carried himself, even as an old man."

Pantirer not only assisted Schindler but also contributed to the construction of various Jewish and Holocaust museums, and founded, in Schindler's name, a bursary for Hebraic studies in Jerusalem, again with Zuckerman.

For Abraham Zuckerman's daughter, Ruth Katz, that history was a living history. She remembers Oscar Schindler, "Uncle Oscar", coming to visit when she was a child and staying at her home, where she would talk to him in Yiddish while he would answer in German. "He would always pat the back of my head," she says. "He loved children; he would always call us 'kinder, kinder.'"

Katz says though she grew up as a child of Holocaust survivors, in her house there was no sadness and there were no horror stories. "Everything was music, happiness, they never talked about the bad things. And then the movie comes out, and I say to myself, 'My God! This is what they went through! This man really did save their lives.' When I tell people now that my father was a Schindler Jew, they can't believe it, they're in awe: 'Your father was really saved by Schindler?'

"The stories were always told to us when we were little, how he saved them, and what he did. But when you're a kid, you think they're stories. Some people's parents put their kids on their lap and told them bedtime stories; my father put us on his lap and told us how wonderful this man was to him.

Oskar Schindler

"I remember the day Oscar Schindler died, I was a freshman in college in my dorm. It was one of the saddest days, because I had never really experienced any sadness with my parents. I had never seen my father mourn anyone, because he didn't have anyone to mourn. And he really mourned him. It was a really really traumatic time for him. They were really sad, they had a loss that they hadn't experienced since the war."

The primary goal of Pantirer and Zuckerman has been to express their everlasting gratitude to the man who saved them both from certain death. Through all the years, and all the conversations they had when they would get together in America, Europe and Israel, the big question always remained: Why? What prompted Schindler to act as he did, at tremendous risk to himself?

Pantirer thinks he heard the answer. "He came to my house once, and I put a bottle of cognac in front of him, and he finished it in one sitting. When his eyes were flickering - he wasn't drunk - I said this is the time to ask him the question 'why'.

"And his answer was, 'I was a Nazi, and I believed that the Germans were doing wrong ... when they started killing innocent people - and it didn't mean anything to me that they were Jewish, to me they were just human beings, menschen - I decided I'm going to work against them and I'm going to save as many as I can.' And I think that he told the truth, because that's the way he worked."

Oskar Schindler spent millions to protect and save his Jews, everything he possessed. He died penniless. But he earned the everlasting gratitude of the Schindler-Jews. Today his name is known as a household word for courage in a world of brutality - a hero who saved hundreds of Jews from Hitler's gas chambers.

Schindler died in Hildesheim in Germany October 9, 1974. He wanted to be buried in Jerusalem. As he said: My children are here ..

- Louis Bülow



The Holocaust

The Schindler Story

Erika Rosenberg
Toby Axelrod, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
- archives
USHMM - Photo Archives
Thomas Keneally - Schindler's Ark
A tale of intrigue, feuds, Hollywood tycoons - Linda Diebel, The Totonto Star
Schindler's List Teaching Guide - Southern Institute for Education and Research
Herbert Steinhouse - The Real Oskar Schindler, Saturday Night, April 1994
Rickey Rogers, Reuters News Pictures Service
Elinor J. Brecher - Schindler's Legacy
Washington Post Foreign Service
The Simon Wiesenthal Center
Steve Israel, The Times Herald - Record On Line
AP Photo/Diether Endlicher
Associated Press
Rafael Wollmann
Letter from Berlin by Gerald Posner, The New Yorker, March 14, 1995
Holocaust Testimonies, edited by Joseph J. Preil. The Holocaust Resource Foundation for Kean University 2001. Rutgers University Press.
Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations War Crimes Commission
University of the West of England
The Nizkor Project
JewishGen`  ShtetLinks The Jews of Krakow
Julius Perl
Fred Kirsch, Staff Writer, The Virginian-Pilot
Michael Sherman
Bob Hohler & Brian McGrory, Boston Globe

New Jersey Jewish News
Dispatch Online
The Jerusalem Post
The Southern Shofar
Beacon Journal
The Jewish Times

Sir Martin Gilbert: The Boys - Triumph Over Adversity
Mike Ridley (Moshe Rosenberg): I was on Schindler's List - The Sun, London



Louis Bülow - ©2008-10