Oskar Schindler - The Lists Were Life

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Manage episode 293996810 series 2850466
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Why did he do it? Why did this ordinary German businessman spend over four million Marks to keep Jews out of the death camps? Why did he continue to risk his life and those of his wife and children for over three years in order to help Jews? Many think of Oskar Schindler as a great Samaritan and compare him to Mother Teresa. However, Oskar Schindler does not exactly fit the description of a Samaritan angel very well; he had many bad habits, including excessive drinking, smoking, and spending lots of money on expensive suits with large Nazi badges on them.

No one will ever completely understand why Schindler did what he did. But we do know this: Oskar Schindle rose to the highest level of humanity. He walked through the dark, bloody mud of the Holocaust without soiling his soul. His compassion and respect for human life gave the 1,300 Jews a second chance for life when there was none.

Schindler miraculously managed to save over 1,300 Jews during World War II by using the same talents that made him a wealthy war profiteer: his flair for presentation, bribery, and above all, his grand gestures to the SS in Berlin. The German industrialist established an enamelware factory in Krakow, adjacent to the SS force labor camp of Plaszow working with SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth. Then, because of the approaching Russian forces, the SS decided to close the camp at Plaszow and send the Jews to Auschwitz. Schindler quickly set out to establish another work camp at Brünnlitz in the Sudetenland for his workers. In order to accomplish this transfer of Emalia workers, several lists of names were written by Marcel Goldberg, Mietek Pemper, and Itzhak Stern. With Schindler’s approval of the lists, the Jewish workers, along with 250 wagon loads of machinery and raw materials, were moved to the new factory at Schindler’s cost.

At the beginning of the war, Schindler had earned millions of German Marks as a war profiteer. He ended the war by spending his last German Marks and risking his life and that of his family to save the Jews. Schindler not only saved lives, but he saved our faith in humanity. After World War II, Oskar Schindler was isolated and rejected by his fellow Germans. On May 8, 1962, Yad Vashem invited Schindler and his wife to plant a carob tree on the Avenue of the Righteous. He died penniless in Hildesheim, Germany in October of 1974. Schindler’s last wish was to be buried in Jerusalem among his Jewish friends.

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