Articles/Biographies/Other/Schindler, Oskar

Oskar Schindler was born in Svitavy, Czechoslovakia on April 28, 1908. His parents were wealthy and owned a machinery business. He married a woman named Emily after becoming an adult, but their marriage crumbled after he began abusing alcohol. He ended up having affairs outside of his marriage and produced two illegitimate children.

In 1929, the stock market crashed and his family went bankrupt. His father left his mother, who died shortly afterward, and Oskar was left without a job. He decided to join the Nazi Party in 1930 and move to Poland, where he worked as a machinery salesman.

After the German invasion of Poland, Schindler moved to Krakow, where he purchased a factory in Krakow, Poland that manufactured enamel kitchenware. He decided to open a small enamel shop outside of Krakow, where he employed mainly Jewish workers. By employing them, he also saved them from being sent to concentration camps elsewhere.

Since Germany was ruled by a fascist government, Schindler was forced to manufacture munitions for the Germany military. However, he instructed his workers to purposefully introduce defects into the weaponry such that it could never fire. He hoped that by doing so, the German Army would more easily be defeated.

In 1942, he witnessed a raid by the Germany military on the Krakow Ghetto and was horrified by the treatment of the Jews. As the Jews were rounded to be sent to the Plaszow concentration camp, he met with Amon Goth, the commander of the camp, to arrange for nine hundred of the Jews to be sent to work at a factory instead.

His activities began to make him look suspicious to the Germans and he was twice charged with conspiracy. However, he managed to avoid being jailed by bribing government officials. As the Red Army advanced, he had all of his 1200 workers transferred to Brunnlitz in October of 1944. Unfortunately, a portion of them were accidentally shipped to Auschwitz, but he was able to save them and have them returned.

After the end of World War 2, he moved to Argentina, where he ended up going bankrupt. He returned to Germany in 1958 and pursued several business ventures, all of which ultimately failed. He died on October 9, 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany and was given an honorable burial at the Christian Cemetery at Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Israel.

After Schindler died, one of his workers told his story to an author, Tom Keneally, who wrote a book called "Schindler's Ark". This book was later turned into a movie, "Schindler's List", which was directed by Steven Spielberg.