“My attitude toward us. But from all things, always

“My dear friends, each one of us can conjure memories and innumerable stories, and still we shall not encompass all that should be said about this man Schindler, about his deeds and his attitude toward us. But from all things, always the humanitarian in him stands out. He made an indelible mark not only because of a single rescue operation, but for his constant fatherly attitude and self-sacrifice, which are indescribable; he passed a test that has no equal. And he stayed with us to the very end. He did not leave us until 10 minutes past midnight, on May 8, 1945, after the SS guard had left first, and the armistice was already in force.” Testimony of Moshe Bejski at the reception in Israel, 1962, for the German Oskar Schindler. In March 1943, Schindler witnessed the liquidation of the Cracow ghetto and was shocked by the brutality and inhuman methods of his own kinsmen. Something in him was kindled, a spark that grew larger with time and led him to a self-imposed commitment to do whatever was possible to save hundreds of Jewish laborers and their spouses. He bribed SS and Gestapo officials and commanders, making them believe that “his” Jews were a valuable asset to a country at war. Many of the 900 Jewish workers in Schindler’s expanded factory were unqualified for the specialized labor of the enamel plant, the Germans grudgingly released to him some of the ghetto Jews who were being transferred to the newly created Plaszow labor camp, which was notorious for the brutality of its commander, Amon Goeth. In October 1944, he was ordered to close his plant and to release the Jewish workers to the SS. Instead, he succeeded in transferring the total of his 1,100 protegees. When the war ended, he had to his credit some twelve hundred lives saved. Schindler wound up penniless and miserable. This jovial man had exhausted his energies for a most noble cause, the saving of innocent lives, for which he derived no profit to himself. Schindler’s last request was to have his remains buried in Jerusalem. The cortege who carried his coffin to the Latin cemetery on Mount Zion in 1974 included several hundred of those he saved. The Schindler’s List, a movie by Steven Spielberg tries to recapture the unique story of this great humanitarian as an additional testament to future generation. In 1962 a tree was planted in Schindler’s honor in the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem. Oskar and Emilie Schindler were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations in 1993.