In a time when human lives meant nothing; when millions were exterminated without a second thought, Oskar Schindler risked his life to save as many Jews as he could. It couldn’t have been an easy choice, and was undoubtedly a calculated dilemma since he was, in fact, a Nazi. His identity as such undoubtedly hurt or helped him. He couldn’t have known for sure. But he took a chance.
This is when character shows. When we see the monumental humanity expressed during the most horrible of times.
I visited the site of the former Oskar Schindler Factory, stopping at the square where the Jewish ghetto wall once stood. Now there is a display of 63 chairs set in rows in this common park space. Each seat represents 10,000 Jews imprisoned there. If you can imagine that. But you can’t, really.
Once I entered the Schindler Factory Museum, I was taken through the timeline of the war, the rise of Nazi power, and what life was like for the Polish Jews of the time.
A few interesting facts about the man:
- In order to avoid investigation of his property for Jews, he had to persuade and bribe government officials.
- After spending millions on protecting and saving Jews, he went bankrupt in 1958.
- The movie, “Schindler’s List,” was inspired by a list that Oskar Schindler made. After the Plaszow concentration camp was disbanded, the captive Jews there were transported to a new concentration camp. Schindler made a list with the names of all these captive Jews and saved all of them.
- He saved approximately 1,200 Jews in total.
- He is among those the Israelis call “Righteous Gentiles”- non-Jews who took great risks to ensure the safety of Jews doomed by the Nazis’ “Final Solution.”
- He is buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion.
Toward the end of the museum exhibit, there is a small room with pictures of those Schindler saved. Some are pictured here, but I couldn’t capture them all.
I left the museum wanting to watch the movie again. It’s been so long. It’s one of many movies that depict a unique perspective of the Holocaust. It is one of my favorites.
Which Holocaust movies made an impact on you?
What an amazing experience the museum must have been. I still remember visiting a concentration camp-turned-museum when I was 16 and being stunned speechless by seeing it in reality. I haven’t seen many Holocaust movies, but one of my favorite books set during the time is Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, which I read as a kid and really impacted me.
That was an amazing book. They all are, really. While I was in the Schindler Factory Museum, they mentioned the movie ‘The Pianist,’ too. I want to see that now. My list of Holocaust movies is growing…
The picture of the chairs is powerful; as are the eyeglasses and the shoes.
As far as movies depicting the Holocaust making a lasting impression I would have to nominate QB VII which was televised in the 70’s or maybe even in the 80’s.
Oh! I haven’t seen that one. Thanks for the reco! I will try to find a copy.
This seems like such an impactful visit. We have to know history so we don’t repeat it and not just sweep it under the rug. Thanks for sharing!
There are so many stories. I can’t help but listen to as many as I can.
I am always so much more moved by real people who show such courage, compassion, love in the face of horror than by any movie characters. Anne Frank’s diaries always send me into tears. Your last photo is incredibly powerful and inspirational.