This is the third article in our series highlighting European American and Holocaust Remembrance Month. We continue to encourage all associates to join in activities that refresh our memories of the Holocaust and underscore the resiliency of those who endured the horrors, so that we never forget. This week we highlight a review of Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg. We encourage you to view this work and share your thoughts with Alan Shatz, Special Emphasis Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The film is set in Krakow, Poland, during World War II (1939). Oskar Schindler is an opportunistic businessman who enlists the help of Itzhak Stern and other Jews, who have been captured by the Nazis, to open a pot factory. This generates Schindler money while protecting the Jews from going to Auschwitz. Schindler enlists Stern’s help in creating a list of Jews to work in his factory. When the Schutzstaffel or SS starts exterminating the Jews in the ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his Jews protected.
Amom Goeth, an SS officer, takes command of the Krakow ghetto and, after executing many Jews, he forced the population from the ghettos into a makeshift camp. There, he prepares them for later transport to Auschwitz. During this time, Schindler, along with Stern, concoct a scheme to get as many Jews as possible out of Nazi occupation and to safety.
They accomplish this task by building friendships with other factory owners, relationships with other SS officials, and a personal relationship with Goeth. Meanwhile, Goeth has fallen in lust with his Jewish house cleaner, Helen Hirsch. He abuses Helen because he hates the fact that she is Jewish and that he covets her, but she will not return his affection.
With the money he has made from his factory, Schindler, with the help of Stern, creates a list of 1100 Jews, and buys their way to his hometown of Zwittau, Poland. Enroute, the women are mistakenly transported to Auschwitz, where they are processed. Fortunately, Schindler arrives and rescues them. The Jewish women are then reunited with the men in Schindler’s hometown.
A few months later, the war is announced over, to which Schindler announces the Jews “freed” to the SS guards at his factory. Schindler is left penniless, after spending everything he had on freeing as many Jews as he could. Amom Goeth is later captured and executed for the war crimes he committed.
Oskar Schindler took advantage of the war and became a Nazi sympathizer to gain wealth. In the process of this gain, he saw the suffering the Jews encountered at the hands of the SS guards and knew he had to do something. He spent not only the money that he made to save the Jews, but he also risked imprisonment to do so.
This series will continue next week with a review of X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II, by Leah Garrett.
Editor’s note: April is European American and Holocaust Remembrance Month. This is the second in a series of articles with the intention recognizing European Americans, specifically those European Jews murdered or marginalized by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. This year’s theme is “Resiliency, The Strength of a People…Never Forget.” The Holocaust was a genocide that refers specifically to the attempted annihilation of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Annual remembrances ensure we never forget.
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