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When the Nazis were beaten back on the East Front, Plaszow and its satellite camps were dissolved and closed. Schindler had no illusions as to what that would entail. Desperately he exerted his influence on his contacts in the military and industrial circles in Crakow and Warsaw and finally went to Berlin to save his Jews from a certain death. With his life as the stakes, he employed all his powers of persuasion, he bribed uninhibitedly, fought, begged ...

The deathcamps

Where no-one would have believed it possible, Schindler succeeded. He was granted permission to move the whole of his factory from Plaszow to Brunnlitz in occupied Czechoslovakia and furthermore, unheard of before, take all his workers with him. In this way, the 1,098 workers who had been written on Schindler`s list in connection with the removal avoided sharing the fate of the other 25,000 men, women and children of Plaszow who were sent without mercy to extermination in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, only 60 kilometers from Plaszow.

Until the liberation of spring, 1945, Oscar Schindler used all means at his disposal to ensure the safety of his Schindler-Jews. He spent every pfennig he had, and even Emilie Schindler`s jewels were sold, to buy food, clothes, and medicine. He set up a secret sanatorium in the factory with medical equipment purchased on the black market. Here Emilie Schindler looked after the sick. Those who did not survive were given a fitting Jewish burial in a hidden graveyard - established and paid for by Schindler.

Later accounts have revealed that Schindler spent something like 4 million German marks keeping his Jews out of the death camps - an enormous sum of money for those times.

Even though the Schindlers had had a large mansion placed at their disposal close to the factory, Oscar Schindler understood the fear which his Jews had of nocturnal visits from the SS. As in Plaszow, Schindler did not spent one single night outside the little office in the factory.

The factory continued to produce shells for the German Wehrmacht for 7 months. In all that time not one usable shell was produced! Not one shell passed the military quality tests. Instead, false military travel passes and ration cards were produced, just as Nazi uniforms, weapons, ammunition and hand-grenades were collected. But still, a tireless Schindler succeeded in these months in persuading the Gestapo to send a further 100 Belgian, Dutch and Hungarian Jews to his factory camp "with regard to the continuing war industry production".

In May, 1945, it was all over. The Russians moved into Brunnlitz. The previous evening, Schindler gathered everyone together in the factory and took a deeply emotional leave of them.

Schindler with Jews he saved

He told them they were free, he was a fugitive."My children, you are saved. Germany has lost the war." He asked that they didn't go into the neighboring houses to rob and plunder. "Prove yourself worthy of the millions of victims among you and refrain from any individual acts of revenge and terror". He announced that three yards of fabric were to be given each prisoner from his warehouse stores as well as a bottle of vodka - which brought a high price on the black market.

At five after midnight -  certain that his Jews finally were out of danger - Oscar Schindler left the factory. "I must leave now", Schindler said, "Auf Wiedersehen".

Oscar Schindler and 1200 Schindler-Jews along with him had survived the horrors of the Holocaust ...

Poldek Pfefferberg, the Schindler Jew who helped Oscar Schindler procure black-market items to bribe Nazi officers with during the war, later told he promised Schindler to tell his story:"You protect us, you save us, you feed us - we survived the Holocaust, the tragedy, the hardship, the sickness, the beatings, the killings! We must tell your story ...."



The Schindler Women




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Louis Bülow - Privacy  ©2015-17
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