Once in a while, I'm gripped by the facts of a story so much I have to read it to the end even if I don't like the style in which it's told. Such is the case with Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally. Oskar Schindler was an industrialist and speculator in Cracow, Poland during the Nazi occupation. He liked to drink and was an unashamed womanizer. He seemed an unlikely candidate for one to try and save as many of the Jewish population as possible and yet he did. He put his own life in harm's way many times, sometimes very recklessly. Yet he did and the author couldn't say for sure why. I say, thank God for Oskar Schindler.
At first, the Jewish people of Cracow were forced into a ghetto within the city. About a year later, the ghetto was violently shut down and the citizens rounded up and put into a nearby concentration camp run by the sadistic Amon Goeth. That guy was a monster. When he wasn't beating or terrorizing his servants, he was out playing random shooter of prisoners. He'd go out with his gun, take aim at a prisoner (who knows why) and kill that person. Or he'd get angry over nothing and shoot a prisoner. Schindler stepped in and finagled his employees out of that horrible camp by building one of his very own behind his factory. He rescued the employees of a fellow industrialist by housing those employees in the same camp. At Schindler's camp, the SS was not allowed to roam around beating or terrorizing inmates at will. Schindler paid and paid with bribe after bribe.
Eventually, the local concentration camp was ordered to close and every inmate was to be shipped to notorious camps like Auschwitz. Again, Schindler saved over a thousand people by relocating his factory and bribing officials to allow him to bring 1,100 of the inmates with him.
When the war was over, Schindler lost everythingâall his money, property and jewelry. He and his wife had to run for their livesâaccompanied by 8 of the inmates. All of the former Jewish people in the camp wanted to protect the Schindlers and wrote letters praising him for what he'd done. After the war was over, they supported him when he needed financial help and had him live with them in their homes (mostly in Israel) for several months out of the year. When he died, he was buried in Jerusalem and was mourned by people around the world.
I'd never heard of him before! I'd heard of the movie, of course, but hadn't had a chance to see it. When I saw the book at a library sale, I picked it up and I am ever so glad I did.
The biggest challenge I had was getting through some of it because of the wording. I don't want to use the adjective âponderousâ and I'm too lazy to find a milder word that means almost the same thing. Some really amazing stories, fables and fact came to light (for me) and so I was able to wade through the prose which just seemed really heavy. Oh well. I'm glad I read it anyway.
If you haven't seen the movie-you should read the book. If you have seen the movie you will need to read the book! This was an international bestseller before Steven Spielberg turned it into a great film! The author details the rise of one man-not a perfect man, but a good man who helped to save dozens of Jews during WW II.
They were called "Schidnler's Jews"-and were proud to tell the story.If you are a reader-you are going to love the book and find it even better than the movie!
A stunning novel based on the true story of how German war profiteer and prison camp Direktor Oskar Schindler came to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other single person during World War II
There are no words worthy enough to describe the impact this book will have upon you. There are many stories within this story, and all of them will linger in your mind long after the book is finished. If you haven't yet read it - you truly need to. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
From the back cover: "In the shadown of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womanizer and heavy drinker who enjoyed the good life, yet to them he became a saviour...[The] novel recreates the story of Oskar Schindler, an Aryan who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who continually defied and outwitted the SS, and who was transformed by the war into an angel of mercy. It is an unforgettable tale, all the more extraordinary for being true."
It is better than the movie, of course, as it contains more detail and you have time to think about things or go back over them.