Fact Vs Fiction: Schindler's List

Spielberg's Academy Award winning movie is one of the best films of all time. But is it all true?

Schindler S List

Schindler’s List documents the heroic tale of the man who managed to save over 1,000 Jews from being sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. German industrialist, Oskar Schindler, capitalised on the wartime economy by taking over as manager of a small enamel wear factory in Krakow. Schindler was initially interested in hiring Jewish people due to their low rates under the Third Reich. However, as the treatment of the Jewish people across Nazi-occupied territories became increasingly worse, Schindler sought to help those most in need.

The factory manager began giving his employees better working conditions and access to more food in secret. As the war continued and the Nazis began taking more of their frustrations out on the Jews, Schindler knew that many of those close to him would be murdered without cause. Towards the end of the Second World War, Schindler had created a list of over 1,000 names and he was able to save most of them.

Schindler’s bravery led him to become an honoured member in the Jewish faith. The people he had saved from certain death were dubbed Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews) and Oskar Schindler was laid to rest on Mount Zion in Israel. He was the only member of the Nazi Party to have had that honour.

10. FACT: Schindler Saw The Liquidation Of The Krakow Ghetto

Schindler S List
Universal Pictures

In 1942, the Nazi Party decided to liquidate the Krakow ghettos and inserted all Jews in camps on the border of the city. During the liquidation, essential workers were lined up in the street, taunted, humiliated or shot. The survivors were sent to live in the newly built Plaszow Camp, where they were kept under constant surveillance and threat.

In the movie, while out riding his horse, Oskar witnesses the barbaric actions carried out by the Nazis during the liquidation of the ghetto. This caused him to change his incentive from financial profit to saving as many of his employees as possible.

In reality, this also marked a turning point for Schindler as he began to understand just how little hope his workers had. However, what the movie doesn’t document is that Schindler was aware of the upcoming liquidation days beforehand. He had ordered all of his Jewish employees to sleep the night in the factory to avoid conflict.


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