Hello there, this post is very graphic, containing disturbing material. Please do not read this if you are sensitive or get triggered easily. This has to be my most heart felt entry so far, so I excuse any gibberish in advance.
The film is based on a man named Oskar Schlinder, who was apart of the Nazi party, however he saw past the illusion most of Germany at the time accepted; he knew the Nazi’s actions were immorally wrong.
Let me start at the beginning. Jewish families being registered by Nazi’s. This is illustrating how they confided to the rules set by a “superior” race, through this accepting they are part of the “weaker” race. Anti-semitic behaviour is shown very early on within the film, Nazi’s cutting off a Jewish man’s payots and mocking him with them. This is merely the beginning of the de-humanisation of the Jewish people. We are then shown the Judenrat (councils for Jewish people set up by the Nazi’s), one woman is tryingg to appeal a case about SS men now living in her home, leaving her homeless. Buying and selling on the streets was also made illegal, so the Jewish people used to trade at the back of Churches. Something Oscar Schindler uses to his advantage when getting in supplies for his many elaborate bribes.
I noticed the Nazi’s used the Jewish people mainly for labour tasks, for example, shovelling masses of snow. This is when they would also be able to select various people who were fit enough to work, the whole time the Nazi’s tested the Jewish people, always wanting the healthiest workers. Nazi officers shot one of Schindler’s workers (in front of the whole ghetto); a one armed older man. I was stunned by the ease the Nazi’s had when pulling the trigger of their guns and how one simple movement could take life. Schindler took a liking to this man, who waited outside of his office everyday to thank him for saving his life by hiring him.
The Nazi’s tried to keep their grand illusion of hope alive with the Jewish people right until they reached the “showers”. They were told to leave their luggage on the train platform, and clearly label their bags, suggesting they would be following them to the camp. This cruel act was followed by a scene of Jewish workers sorting out the peoples possessions, as they were being taken to a death camp.
The extents the Jewish people would go to just to keep some of their prized possessions were incredible. One family took out their jewels and stuffed them into pieces of bread. Each member was made to swallow one. However, the Nazi’s also went to extreme lengths to capture these people. They made it into a sort of sick sadist game, using a stethoscope to listen to ceilings and then firing machine guns up at the people hiding under the floorboards. In the labour camp, the head of the camp would sit on the balcony of his mansion overlooking the premise, randomly shooting anyone he deemed to not be working. This began with someone typing their shoelace and then he began to shot anyone sitting down or not looking busy.
A jewish man was working within the camp factory; Schindler set this up to keep his flow of money coming in to be able to pay for his monthly bribes. He was not deemed efficient enough to work, so Nazi officers took him outside and put a gun to the back of his head. *click* The first gun was jammed. *click* *click* The second and third guns didn’t work. This was the point in the film in which I truly believed God was present. As after this the officers merely hit the man and left him alive, this may have also been a brutal punishment, but he kept his life. I have no knowledge of guns, but I certainly know three separate guns not firing is unusual. Was it fate?
Inspection day came around. Women in the barracks pricked their fingers and wiped the blood on their cheeks to “look more alive”. This scene partially upset me, knowing how the people were so desperate to stay in the camp, as this was before the Nazi’s shaved their heads and stripped them of their identity, simply giving them a number. As I knew their fates I felt sick watching the Nazi’s select the healthy from the not healthy. This was when the Nazi’s played the role of God, choosing who they deemed to be worthy or not to live. During this time the Nazi officers would personally pick girls they took a liking to, so later on they could use them for their own personal wishes.
As the film progressed, a scene was shown of what looking like snow in the camp, which is in fact the skin particles of the bodies being burnt in the crematorium. Small children were almost dancing and playing in the “snow”.
Oskar Schindler also goes to extremities to save his workers. Bribing guards, forging working permits and rescuing his workers from Auschwitz. He bribes the leader of the labour camp to allow him to build a sub-camp called Brünnlitz, within this camp his workers are safe; they are “essential workers” so they cannot be killed or harmed. His list of people he wishes to buy comes to 1,200 people. Which some may view as little, some as a large amount. I personally believe it is a great number considering those people would most likely be sent straight to the gas chambers. Oskar went broke right before the end of the war, after spending a fortune on rescuing his women and children workers from Auschwitz.
At the end of the film, Schindler has to flee after the war due to his position as being a Nazi. His workers prepare a document which they have all signed stating his true nature. They forge him a gold ring, made out of one of the workers gold teeth saying “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire” in Hebrew. Schindler puts on this ring before he leaves. I believe this film is a must-see, this film really gives an insight into the life of the Jewish people being persecuted by the Nazi’s, obviously the film can be criticised by Holocaust victims, but Stephen Spillburg did a very good job in replicating the time.
After the war, Schindler was not arrested. He was allowed to plant a Holy tree in Jerusalem, which still grows today even after his death. A picture of this tree is below:
In a 1983 television documentary, Schindler was quoted as saying, “I felt that the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them; there was no choice.”
I am struggling to end this post, I just want to leave you all with the final quote again engraved on Schindler’s ring.
“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”