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Oskar Schindler: Nazi or Inspiration?
Transcript of Oskar Schindler: Nazi or Inspiration?
The Start of a Prosperous Journey
In 1939 Oskar Schindler built up the Deutsche Emaillewaren- Fabrik with Itzhak Stern. Schindler worked together with Itzhak Stern, who kept Schindler's business alive at all times. With the factory he was able to make a lot of money because he used the Jews in Krakow Ghetto as free workers. In 1942 the Krakow Ghetto was cleaned out. Schindler makes a compromise with Amon Goth, that he can re-build his company next to Plaszow to keep all his workers. At this time, Schindler and Stern slowly started to to help people so that they don't get deported into camps.
In 1944 Schindler had to move his company to Brunnlitz. And by bribing a few officials, including Amon Goth, he was able to take all of his workers with him. This is when Schindler and Stern really started to take as many Jews with them as possible to ensure their safety. In exchange for names to be written down onto Schindler's list, he gives small but expensive gifts to the officials.
The End of the Journey
In 1945, the end of the war is announced. Schindler holds a speech to the 1200 Jews that he was able to save. The "Schindler Jews" make a ring for him as a thank you for his help. Into the ring they engraved: 'Whoever saves a life saves the world.' Oskar Schindler died on October 1974 in Germany, his remains are found in Jerusalem. On July 18, 1967, Yad Vashem decided to recognize him as a 'Righteous Among the Nations.'
Oskar Schindler was able to save 1200 Jews. He gave all he had to save people he didn't know, people who were said to be unworthy of living. So why did he save them? Perhaps the question is not why he did it, but rather how could he not. And perhaps the answer is unimportant. It is his actions that matter now, testimony that even the worst of circumstances, the most ordinary of us can act courageously. If Oskar Schindler, flawed as he was, did it, then so might we, and that is reason enough to hope.
Early life and Road to Nazism
Oskar Schindler was born on April 28, 1908 in Svitavy (Zwittau), Moravia. He was an ethnic German and a Catholic. His family was one of the most richest and most prominent in Zwittau until the economic depression of the 1930s. During the depression a lot of people joined the Nazi party including Schindler, who joined on February 1939.