Free The Life Of Oskar Schindler AND The Role He Played During The Holocaust Research Paper Example
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How often a man is born, which a society can be called a real hero? The man, who unselfishly helps others, putting his live and the live of his family in a danger of death. The history boasts a few real decent people with a kind heart. Children all over the world for many years at the lessons of history will be admire this man, whose name was Oskar Schindler. The man who risked every day, saving the Jews. So, what pushed a man to such a risk: a good heart or personal gain? What actually was Oskar Schindler?
According to the facts, this remarkable man was born April 28, 1908, in industrial town Zwittau, situated in Austria-Hungary, the present territory of the Check Republic. He was raised in the Catholic family of German industrialist Hans Schindler and Louisa Loser and his sister Elfriede. Catholics Schindlers lived next door to the family of rabbi of the Zwittau. Little Oscar and his sister Elfriede loved to play with children of a rabbi. In 1924, the boy was excluded from the school because of childish misbehavior.
Unfortunate, the economic crisis of the late 20's put Schindlers out of business. The family business collapsed. The father of the family departed in an unknown direction, abandoning his wife and children. (Wundheile 335) The mother of Oscar died shortly thereafter. Schindler had independently earned a living.
Oskar Schindler led a life of idle capitalist, seeking profit in money. Here for the first time, he displayed the character of a player and adventurer. At the age of nineteen, he married a girl named Emilie Pelzl, devout Catholic. They first met at 1928 and after six weeks, they were already married. At the day of the weeding, parents gave Emilie a dower, a bid sum for those times, a 100.000 Czech crowns. The husband allocated money to the purchase of the car. Their alliance seemed to be unhappy. From 1930 through 1935, Oskar became a father to the two illegitimate kids. (Wundheile 335)
At the time when he met Emilie, he earned a living by vending electric motors. He led the risky cash transactions, entered into shady dealings, which promised quick and high profit. However, in most cases they failed. As soon as Schindler got money, he immediately spent them. Mainly on women and on his second passion – alcohol. If there were some money left, he lost them at gambling. (Jackson 175)
During the short period he was deprived of the important components of a happy life in the future affected him. German Nazi party gained popularity in Czechoslovakia too, so, in 1938 Oskar joined the party of Konrad Heilein and later the Nazi party as well. Nevertheless, his motives for joining the party were completely enterprising. At that time, he worked as a salesman at the Electrotechnic Company and being a member of Nazi party gave him more opportunities for making a profitable sale. Without doubt, Schindler had any bearing with racial ideology of Nazi. Many Jews among his friends confirmed this.
Disappointed with the ability to succeed in his hometown, Schindler went to seek his fortune in Poland. Leaving his wife in his hometown, he moved to Cracow, hoping to succeed in entrepreneurship. There he became a traveling salesman and sold tractors to local farmers. As Jews owned many of enterprises, he made friends with some of them. One of the first people Oskar met in Cracow was Isaac Stern, an accountant at the textile factory. They remained friends up to the Stern’s death in 1969.
Since December 1939, Oskar Schindler stated to lease an enamel factory. Eventually, in 1940, he bought it on the verge of bankruptcy. In that period, the officials were in attempt to inspect all the plants and enterprises in order to dispense Jewish workers. As it known, Schindler had many Jews among his employees. He enlarged his manufacture during the first years of war, recruiting large numbers of Jews and Polish workers. Very quickly in the factory appeared new buildings, and the number of employees has increased nine-fold. Each second was a Jew. In 1942, the amount of Jews, employed at Schindler’s factory was 500.
On March 1941, the position of Jews deteriorated. In Cracow Nazi established the ghetto, where movement of Jewish people was severely restricted by high walls. (Wundheile 337) However, suddenly there came a turning point in his relations with the Jews. The restriction of movement was only the beginning. In 1942, Jewish workers were no longer allowed to be paid. As a result, the owners of the plants had to pay a fixed amount of money to “the guards” for every employed Jew. As a result, of such SS actions, the Jews had lost all means of subsistence and become completely dependent on Oscar. It means, that Schindler have to pay the Jewish workers with the money from their own work, buying them food, money for which he gained from selling the enamel goods on the black market.
However, soon the views of Oskar Schindler have changed dramatically after witnessing a liquidation of the Krakow ghetto in March 1943. All the Jews were annihilated, and those who survived, were transmitted to the concentration camp in Cracow named Plaszow, known for its sadistic treatment of prisoners.
Nevertheless, in summer of 1943, Oskar Schindler was asked by Zionist organization to visit a Budapest. In the Budapest, he was asked to report about the abolishment of the Jewish people in Europe.
Later on, in 1943, Oskar’s enamel factory legally became a part of the Plaszow’s concentration camp. As the result of the tortures of the sadistic commandant of the camp Amon Goth, Jews workers often had been late at work. Therefore, Oskar decided to build the barracks near his factory to prevent the harassment.
However, in January of 1944 everything changed. The condition the Plaszow has shifted as well as Oskar’s factory. All was denoted a labor-forced camp under supervision of General Pohl. At the same year, a direct order from the General, where was said to convey all the prisoners to Auschwitz. Carefully considering all possible options, Schindler was able to transport his manufacture to Brinnlitz near his native town. In that time, a man called Goldberg created the list of Jews who were to be transmitted. The whole amount of Jews who were rescued from death was approximately 1200. They all remained alive by the end of the war. Although, Schindler took with him not only Jews, who worked with him at the factory, but also Jewish workers of nearby plants. In a new place, in the Czech city of Brinnlitz, instead of enamelware, the factory began to produce artillery shells. Schindler would not have been able to save lives of those 1200 Jewish people not being in a Nazi party and not being an owner of the enamel factory. (Thompson) From 25 thousand inhabitants of the camp in the Plaszow, Oskar Schindler saved 1098 people. The rest were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. About 200 Jews were taken to a new factory “an account of the necessity, due to the needs of the military industry”. On food, clothing, medicines for the employees of the factory Schindler spent his money, even sold his wife's jewelry. The salvation of 1300 lives cost Oskar Schindler about four million marks - all money he had.
After the final surrender of the Germans in 1945, Oskar Schindler together with his wife Emilie Schindler were transport west. After long difficult journey, Schindler finally came to Regensburg. For the next 4 years, Schindler together with his wife Emilie lived there.
In 1949, Schindler’s family moved to Argentina, a place with big number of Jews. Arriving in South America, Schindler immediately got involved in another adventure, putting an interest-free loan of Jewish charitable organization in the creation of a fur farm for breeding otters. Business failed very soon.
In 1957, Schindler received from Germany a message that he was supposed to get “wiedergutmachung” - compensation for the lost factory. However, his wife refused to move back to Germany. She lived on the Israeli pension of $650. She never saw him again. Just received a letter in which Oskar wrote that he invested all the money (100 thousand marks) in a new business, but went bankrupt.
It was the last affair of Schindler as a businessman. The rest of his life he spent in poverty. However, from 1961 until his death in 1974, the “Schindler Jews” living in Israel, every spring invited their Savior in the Promised Land. He went to Israel every year. Oskar spent time mainly drinking the brandy in the street cafes. All his expenses were paid.
After the surrender of the Germans, Schindler wanted some of “his” Jews moved to Argentina with him and Emilie. (Thompson) However, even his friend Isaac Stern declined the proposition. Isaac and his wife moved to Paris, but Schindler and he were in touch after Oskar moved to Argentina. Stern knew about all Schindler’s business failures in the South America and about his moved back to German too. Arrived in Hanau, Oskar attempted to direct the cement manufacture, but he got bankrupt again, seemed to lost all his luck during the war period.
Jewish savior died in 1974 in Hildesheim, rest of his poor life spent in Frankfurt. His grave is situated in Israel on Mt. Zion according to his wish. Nowadays, after years he died, many people still visit his grave in order to honor him.
The last ten years of his live, he maintained to survive with the support of the Jewish people he saved. As it was mentioned before, Schindler maintained relationship with his Jewish friend Isaac Stern. This man was one of the first who recognized the true intentions of Oscar. When Stern died, Schindler cried like a baby. Isaac was the person, who walked with him through the hard war years.
On these events, retold by survived Polish Jew Poldek Pfefferberg, Australian writer Thomas Keneally in 1982 wrote the book “Schindler's Ark”, awarded the Booker prize. However, not all people consider Schindler a moral person, arguing that he was looking for the benefit in saving Jews. (Jackson 176) In 1993, Director Steven Spielberg filmed the book by putting black-and-white psychological drama “Schindler's List”.
Despite all his numerous friends among Jews, Oskar Schindler were alone and miserable for the rest of his life. In business, it caught up to succeed. Perhaps, he lost all his huge amount of luck during the salvation of 1200 Jews.
Unfortunately, he is not often remembered as a hero of the Holocaust because of his communion with the Nazi party. (Jackson) However, his heroism is not possible to refute. His participation in Nazi party gave him the lucky opportunities and useful connections and, of course, his enamel factory. All these things helped him to save 1200 Jewish soul. He had used his position for a good cause. It is impossible to dispute the fact that Oskar had a good heart and a big soul. All decisions he made during his life, brought him to the main one – saving lives of the Jews. Moreover, his work, in truth a great cause, will not be forgotten until “his” Jews exist to tell the story of Schindler's list worldwide.
Jackson, M. W. "Oskar Schindler and Moral Theory." Journal of Applied Philosophy: 175-82. Print.
Thompson, B. "Oskar Schindler." Greenhaven Press. 1 Jan. 2002. Print.
Wundheiler, Luitgard N. "Oskar Schindler’s Moral Development during the." Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 13 (1986): 333-39. Http://www.jstor.org. Department of Sociology, Humboldt State University. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.
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