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This Oscar Schindler has been described as a cynical, greedy exploiter of slave workers during the Second World War, a black-marketeer, gambler, member of the Nazi party eternally on the lookout for profit, an alcoholic playboy and shameless womanizer of the worst sort.

The young Schindler

In the beginning of the 1960s, this same Oscar Schindler was honoured in Israel and declared "Righteous" and invited to plant a tree in The Avenue of the Righteous, which leads to the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem. A memorial in the Park of Heroes praises him as the Saviour of more than 1,200 Jews!

Rake - and Saviour ... Who was this Oscar Schindler who started by earning millions of German marks through exploitation of slave workers and ended by spending his last pfennig and risking his life to save"his" 1,200 Schindler Jews ?

Oscar Schindler was born on April 28th, 1908, in Zwittau in Czechoslovakia in a home imbued with his parents` deep piety. The nearest neighbours were a Jewish Rabbi family, and the two sons became Oscar`s best friends. The family was one of the richest and most prominent in Zwittau, but as a result of the deep economic depression of the 1930s, the family firm became bankrupt.

Now without employment, Schindler joined the Nazi party, as did many others at that time. It was opportune, when one remembers that the first German divisions invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. Maybe because he had seen possibilities which the war brought in its wake, he followed on the heels of the SS when the Germans invaded Poland.

Oscar Schindler quickly got on good terms with the local Gestapo chiefs. He was a womanisor and heavy drinker, but continually risked his life to save his Schindler Jews from the deathcamps.

Schindler was recruited by the German Intelligence Agency to collect information about Poles and was highly esteemed for his efforts - a fact that was to play a decisive role later in the war for Schindler, when he needed all his contacts. 

He left his wife Emilie in Zwittau and moved to Crakow, where he took over a Jewish family`s apartment.  Bribes in the shape of money and illegal black market goods flowed copiously from Schindler and gave him control of a Jewish-owned enameled-goods factory, Deutsch Emailwaren Fabrik, close to the Jewish ghetto, where he principally employed Jewish workers. At this time presumably because they were the cheapest labour ...

But slowly as the brutality of the Nazis accelerated with murder, violence and terror, the seeds of their plan for the total extermination of the Jews dawned on Schindler in all its horror - he came to see the Jews not only as cheap labour, but also as mothers, fathers, and children, exposed to ruthless slaughter.





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Louis Bülow - Privacy  ©2015-17
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