Who is the Jewish savior?

Savior of the Jews

"Anyone who witnessed the sadistic kind of persecution of this group of people in Poland had to have a stone instead of a heart if they didn't feel sorry for them and felt a task to help", "

In the 1960s, Oskar Schindler remembered his motivation to protect Jews from murder in the extermination camps during the Second World War. Of the few Germans who, under National Socialist rule, had the courage to stand up for the persecuted, his commitment is unique. Oskar Schindler was born on April 28, 1908 in Zwittau in what is now the Czech Republic.

"" I had 14 Jewish classmates in my earliest youth. The children of my neighbor Dr. Rabbi Felix Kanter and his two boys played soccer with me. And suddenly Herr Hitler came and one was no longer allowed to shake hands with the Jews. "

After finishing school, Oskar Schindler trained as an engineer in his father's agricultural machinery factory. After the factory had to close, he worked as an agent for the German Abwehr in the 1930s until he was exposed and sentenced to death for high treason. The occupation of the so-called "remaining Czech Republic" by the National Socialists in March 1939 saved his life. Shortly before, he had joined the NSDAP.

With the invasion of Poland at the beginning of the Second World War, Oskar Schindler, who loved dissolute life and women, went to Krakow and took over a Jewish company there. Under his direction, the small company that manufactured kitchen appliances for the Wehrmacht became a flourishing factory. In addition to Poles, he also employed Jews from the Krakow ghetto.

When Schindler observed the excesses of violence on the part of the SS, he changed from a war profiteer to a caring protector of his Jewish workers. One of them was Leopold Pfefferberg. After 1945 he emigrated to the USA.

"He was and he is a person, a good person. He spent his own money to give us bread, bought medicine. We had no money, I had nothing at all."

Since the factory was classified as a "vital" operation, Oskar Schindler not only received lucrative orders, he was also able to request additional Jewish forced laborers. He bribed military and party representatives and risked his life in order to accommodate his employees on the factory premises.

"With a certain degree of caution, it was of course possible to come to an agreement with the individual. You had to take the risk that would arise in a hundred situations: with a bottle of schnapps, people even get to know how much they can withstand things that did not conform to the law, the current one. "

When the Red Army approached at the end of 1944, Oskar Schindler succeeded in relocating the factory to Br├╝nnlitz in the Sudentenland and taking all Jewish workers with him.

"Mr. Schindler saved my life, he also saved my wife's life, he saved 1,300 people."

The Jewish workers did not owe their lives to Oskar Schindler alone. His wife Emilie had actively supported her husband. The penniless entrepreneur tried a fresh start after the war in Bavaria, but faced with economic failures, the couple emigrated to Argentina in 1949, but were not successful there either.

In 1957 Oskar Schindler returned to Germany alone. When the "Schindler Jews" living in Israel heard of his problems, they invited him to regular visits and supported him financially. In 1967 the Jad Vashem Holocaust Memorial honored him as "Righteous Among the Nations".

"I could sit in Switzerland with the million dollars and would have said: I'm sorry, my Jews perished in Auschwitz. But what is life and what is the million dollars when you have 1,300 people who trust you for five years have? And I haven't lost a human being to an unnatural death in five years. "

Oskar Schindler died on October 9, 1974 in Hildesheim. At his own request, he found his final resting place in Jerusalem. It was not until two decades later that Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's film "Schindler's List" made his story known worldwide.