Oskar Schindler

1908-1974

// Biography of Oskar Schindler.


// 

Oskar Schindler was born April 28, 1908 in Zwittau in Moravia. Its middle class family belonged to the Catholic community who spoke in German in the Sudetenland. The young Schindler, who was studying engineering, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father and take over the factory of agricultural machines. 

Some colleagues and neighbors were friends of Schindler Jews, but this did not establish any lasting and intimate friendship with any of them. Like many of the young German-speaking Sudetenland, he joined the party Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German, having been enrolled in the Nazi party after the German annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938. 

Shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939, Schindler with 31 years of age went to occupied Krakow. The city, home to some 60,000 Jews and the German occupation administration, the Generalgouvernement, proved very attractive to German businessmen, who wanted to capitalize on the misfortunes of the occupied country. Naturally cunning and unscrupulous, Schindler appeared at first to thrive in these surroundings. In October 1939, he is a factory that had previously belonged to a Jew. As a result of some maneuvers - through commercial advice of an accountant Polish Jew, Isaak Stern - Schindler began to build his own fortune. In Zablocie the outskirts of Krakow, a small factory of kitchen equipment for the German army began to grow. In just three months, the factory employed about 250 Poles, including seven Jews. In late 1942, the factory expanded to produce munitions, occupying about 45,000 m 2 and employing almost 800 men and women. Of these, 370 were Jews from the Krakow ghetto, established by the Germans after they entered the city. Early on Schindler adopted an extravagant lifestyle, enjoying the evening in the company of senior SS officers as well as in the company of a Polish woman very pretty.Until one point, which put him far from the benefits of the war was the humane treatment of their workers, particularly toward the Jews. 

Schindler never developed any ideological resistance against the Nazi regime. However, his growing revulsion and horror at the senseless brutality of the Nazi persecution of the Jewish population wrought a curious transformation in the unprincipled opportunist. Gradually, his selfish purpose of winning money went into the background, giving more importance to the fact that you want to save as many Jews from Nazi executions. One of the main tools Schindler for the task of saving lives was connected with the fact that his works be considered as essential to the war effort in occupied Poland. This served not only to obtain lucrative contracts with the military but also to remove some Jews from the jurisdiction of the SS. When your employees were threatened with deportation to Auschwitz by the SS, Schindler could ask for them to be dismissed, arguing that his removal would seriously hamper efforts to maintain production essential to the war effort. He did not balk at falsifying the records, listing children, housewives and lawyers as expert mechanics. In addition, were also protected unskilled workers or temporarily incapacitated. 

The Gestapo arrested Schindler sometimes, having arrived to question him about possible irregularities and favoritism of Jews. 

In March 1943, the Krakow ghetto was liquidated, and the Jews that remained transported to the labor camp of Plaszow, outside Cracow. Schindler asked the SS-HaupsturmführerAmon Goeth, the brutal master of that field, that will let you set up a special sub-camp for Jewish workers at its plant in Zablocie. At this location, it was easier to keep the Jews in relatively tolerable, providing them with food bought with his own money on the black market. 
 

 

In late 1944, Plaszow and all secondary fields had to be evacuated due to the Russian advance. Most prisoners (more than 20,000 men, women and children) were sent to extermination camps. Upon receiving the order to evacuate, Schindler, who had approached from the Army Supreme Command (OKW), managed to obtain official permission to continue production in a factory that he and his wife had set in Brünnlitz in the Sudetenland. Thus, it was assumed that all workers Zablocie, to which we had gathered much of the Plaszow camp workers, were transferred to the factory. However, instead of being brought to Brünnlitz, 800 men (including Jews 700) and 300 women in the list have been diverted to Schindler Gross-Rosen and Auschwitz respectively. 

When I heard what happened, Schindler tried to secure the release of the men's camp Gross-Rosen. After he sent his personal German secretary to Auschwitz in order to negotiate the liberation of women. It was necessary to pay the Gestapo 7 DM per head daily. This was the only one in the history of killing field of release of a large number prisoner at the time the gas chambers were still in operation. 

One of the most remarkable humanitarian actions undertaken by the two involved Schindler Jews Goleszow 120 prisoners, one of the Auschwitz sub-camps. The men worked at the plant in a quarry belonging to the company under the SS. With the approach of the Russians in January 1945, were evacuated to Goleszow and transported westward into cattle cars without food or water. After seven days' journey in winter, the SS guards stationed at the doors of the wagons Brünnlitz. Emilie Schindler was in time to prevent the SS camp commander ordered the train back. Schindler, who had returned to the field after the search of food outside the camp, had some difficulties to convince the commandant that he desperately needed people who were locked in the train for the plant. 

When the wagons were finally opened, nearly thirty bodies were discovered frozen. Schindler noted that the master planning, the best Nazi tradition, burning the unfortunate one of the furnaces of the factory. Schindler managed to be cremated according to Jewish religious ritual in a plot of land near a Catholic cemetery, which had been bought especially for this purpose. The remaining 107 survivors, terribly frostbitten and scared, had medical treatment. 

In the last days of war, even before the Russian army in Moravia, Schindler was able to go to Germany in Allied-controlled territory. The industrial magnate wartime was by now penniless. However, Jewish organizations and survivor groups supported him in subsequent years, helping to finance (in the long run, unsuccessful) emigration to South America When Schindler visited Israel in 1961, the first of seventeen visits was extremely well received and treated by 220 survivors. He continued to live partly in Israel and Germany. After his death in Hildesheim, Germany in October 1974, the devastated survivors supported the transfer of the remains of Schindler to the Protestant Cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel.Emilie Schindler died on 5 October 2001 and is buried in Germany. 

The July 18, 1967, Yad Vashem decided to recognize as an Honorable Oskar Schindler among nations. On June 24, 1993, Yad Vashem decided to reconfirm its original decision to extend the recognition also Schindler's wife, Emilie Schindler.



The english version of this article will be available soon. In the meanwhile, the text above was the result of a Google translation from portuguese version to english.