Schindler's List

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Schindler's List

ACTIVITIES POST VIEWING OF SCHINDLER'S LISTThe Righteous Gentiles-How Righteous was Oskar Schindler?

A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF OSKAR SCHINDLER April 28, 1908 - Oskar Schindler is born in present-day Czechoslovakia1914-1918 - World War I; Czechoslovakia is established November 19181927 - Schindler marries Emilie after a six week courtship1935 - Schindler family business goes bankrupt; father abandons motherSeptember 1938 - Munich Conference, Sudetenland ceded to Nazi Germany September 1, 1939 - Nazi Germany invades PolandSeptember 17, 1939 - Soviet Union invades Poland; Poland partitioned between Nazi Germany and Soviet UnionOctober 26, 1939 - Krakow becomes capital of German-occupied Poland, the so-called General GovernmentNovember 1O, 1939 - Krakow Jews forced to wear blue-white armband with Star of DavidDecember 1939 - Schindler purchases enamel factoryMarch 20, 1941 - Germans establish ghetto in suburb of KrakowJune 1942 - Germans begin construction of labor camp at PlaszowJune 2, 1942 - First deportations of Jews from Krakow to Belzec death campOctober 28, 1942 - Second wave of deportations to BelzecMarch 13, 1943 - Final liquidation of ghettoSeptember 1944 - Schindler's factory is closed; Schindlerjuden are taken to PlaszowOctober 1944 - Schindler prepares "list" of Jews he takes to Brunnlitz, CzechoslovakiaNovember 1944 - Schindler rescues Jewish women from Auschwitz-BirkenauMay 8, 1945 - Second World War ends; Brunnlitz camp liberated following dayApril 28, 1962 - Schindler named Righteous Gentile by Yad VashemOctober 9, 1974 - Schindler dies in Frankfurt, West Germany; buried in Israel

Task 1Read the first two subheadings of the text by clicking on this hyperlink. They areThe Righteous Gentiles and Yad Veshemand complete a placemat activity with three others by folding a piece of paper into quarters and each taking turns to write your responses. Underline any simoilarities with one colour. Highlight differences of opinion with another and then discuss them.

Task 2You will be divided into small groups. Look at each of the three sources on the blackboard which discusses Oskar Schindler and his actions during the Holocaust. You are to assume the role of a committee of judges, discussing whether Schindler, on the basis of the historical documents in hand, is entitled to receive the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Each group will be asked to arrive at a unanimous decision.

TestimoniesSource 1 Natan Werzel’s testimony “In 1939, before the war, I bought some machines from an enamel factory at an auction. Schindler came to my factory like a robber, without any official appointment, and announced that as long as I run the business well, I would not be harmed. High-ranking German officers used to come to Schindler to buy and sell. I worked there for roughly a year or a year and a half. Schindler’s attitude towards me and towards the other Jews was generally good. One day he told me: ‘In Russia they line you up at the wall if you know too much.’ I knew all sorts of things about him. At the end of 1941 he paid discharged me. In the summer of 1942 he sent for me. He explained that he was under police investigation, that it was forbidden for Germans to buy businesses from Jews. He demanded that I sign forged documents indicating that I had sold my machines to a Pole before the war. I refused. He offered a bribe, and still I refused. He went to another room. Half an hour later, some SS men turned up in black uniforms and started beating me. Schindler himself was also beating and cursing me. I just lay there, and then I lost consciousness. After I woke up Schindler said to me: ‘Will you sign now, you cheat?’ I said I would. That night I had to go see a doctor. When I returned to my village, a clerk from the Ministry of Foreign Currencies in Cracow suddenly arrested me. He found Jewelry in my house, and took it. Then he said: ‘you can get this back from Schindler!’ This means that Schindler had told on me.”[1]Source 2 Julius Wiener’s testimony to the Committee 10/10/1956 (The Wiener family used to own a wholesale shop for enamel.) “On 15/10/1939 Oskar Schindler broke into our shop in a manner reminiscent of gangsters. He put his hand on the cashier, locked the doors, and then announced that as of that moment he will be taking over the running of the business. He attacked my father very rudely, spouting insults at him. He also threatened him with a gun, and when my wife tried to interfere, he shouted at her: “shut up you Jewish pig! Now you will get to know me and Hitler!” He demanded that my father kiss Hitler’s portrait. He forced us to sign some papers handing over ownership of the business. He didn’t let my father come to the shop but I had to continue working there, for a living.” (Mr. Wiener says that two months after this incident, Schindler accused him of cheating. The accusation was over the measurement of enamel. Schindler had arranged a similar false cheating issue in another factory of his. He threw Mr. Weiner out of the shop and ordered him not to return. The next day Mr. Wiener did return and tried to speak with Schindler.) “Around noon, some SS men came into the factory. They wore uniforms. Schindler pointed at me and told one of them: ‘Give him a quick haircut!’ The five SS men took me to the back room, locked the door and brutally began to beat and punch me all over my body. After a while I fell on the floor, wounded and bleeding, and then lost consciousness. After a while, when I woke up, I saw my assailants pouring water on me. The hooligan who had received the orders from Schindler, grabbed me, sat me down on a chair and said to me: ‘You lousy Jew, if you dare to bother the manager (Schindler) again, if you dare to come either here or to his factory ever again, you will go to the place from which no one returns!’ I did not come back. I understood that Schindler’s goal was to learn from me how to run the business. The minute this goal was achieved, he threw me to the streets like a discarded object…”[2]Source 3 A Letter Written by Schindler’s Former Workers Signed: Isaak Stern, former employee Pal. Office in Krakow, Dr. Hilfstein, Chaim Salpeter, Former President of the Zionist Executive in Krakow for Galicia and Silesia "Brothers! We, the undersigned Jews from Krakow, inmates of Plaszow concentration camp, have, since 1942, worked in Director Schindler’s business. Since Schindler took over management of the business, it was his exclusive goal to protect us from resettlement, which would have meant our ultimate liquidation. During the entire period in which we worked for Director Schindler he did everything possible to save the lives of the greatest possible number of Jews, in spite of the tremendous difficulties; especially during a time when receiving Jewish workers caused great difficulties with the authorities. Director Schindler took care of our sustenance, and as a result, during the whole period of our employment by him there was not a single case of unnatural death. All in all he employed more than 1,000 Jews in Krakow. As the Russian frontline approached and it became necessary to transfer us to a different concentration camp, Director Schindler relocated his business to Bruennlitz near Zwittau. There were huge difficulties connected with the implementation of Director Schindler’s business, and he took great pains to introduce this plan. The fact that he attained permission to create a camp, in which not only women and men, but also families could stay together, is unique within the territory of the Reich. Special mention must be given to the fact that our resettlement to Bruennlitz was carried out by way of a list of names, put together in Krakow and approved by the Central Administration of all concentration camps in Oranienburg (a unique case). After the men had been interned in Gross-Rosen concentration camp for no more than a couple of days and the women for 3 weeks in Auschwitz concentration camp, we may claim with assertiveness that with our arrival in Bruennlitz we owe our lives solely to the efforts of Director Schindler and his humane treatment of his workers. Director Schindler took care of the improvement of our living standards by providing us with extra food and clothing. No money was spared and his one and only goal was the humanistic ideal of saving our lives from inevitable death. It is only thanks to the ceaseless efforts and interventions of Director Schindler with the authorities in question, that we stayed in Bruennlitz, in spite of the existing danger, as, with the approaching frontline we would all have been moved away by the leaders of the camp, which would have meant our ultimate end. This we declare today, on this day of the declaration of the end of the war, as we await our official liberation and the opportunity to return to our destroyed families and homes. Here we are, a gathering of 1100 people, 800 men and 300 women. All Jewish workers, that were inmates in the Gross-Rosen and Auschwitz concentration camps respectively declare wholeheartedly their gratitude towards Director Schindler, and we herewith state that it is exclusively due to his efforts, that we were permitted to witness this moment, the end of the war. Concerning Director Schindler's treatment of the Jews, one event that took place during our internment in Bruennlitz in January of this year which deserves special mention was coincidentally a transport of Jewish inmates, that had been evacuated from the Auschwitz concentration camp, Goleschow outpost, and ended up near us. This transport consisted exclusively of more than 100 sick people from a hospital which had been cleared during the liquidation of the camp. These people reached us frozen and almost unable to carry on living after having wandered for weeks. No other camp was willing to accept this transport and it was Director Schindler alone who personally took care of these people, while giving them shelter on his factory premises; even though there was not the slightest chance of them ever being employed. He gave considerable sums out of his own private funds, to enable their recovery as quick as possible. He organized medical aid and established a special hospital room for those people who were bedridden. It was only because of his personal care that it was possible to save 80 of these people from their inevitable death and to restore them to life. We sincerely plead with you to help Director Schindler in any way possible, and especially to enable him to establish a new life, because of all he did for us both in Krakow and in Bruennlitz he sacrificed his entire fortune. Bruennlitz, May 8th 1945."[3]

View the clips.

Task 3In your opinion, what are the messages that Righteous people pass on to us?

Listen to Monica Hertwig's reflectionby clicking on Goeth's picture

Task 4View the three video clips and write a minimum of200 words in a reflectivejournal. What lessons canwe learn from history?Write a prayer for boththe victims AND thosewho perpetrated such crimes.

Click and view first 6:12 minutes.


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