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Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of his Life, Wartime activities, and the True Story Behind The List

Posted by Nam2000 on July 30, 2012

When David M.Crowe decided to write a biography on a controversial Holocaust figure, “Oskar Schindler The Untold Account of his Life, Wartime activities, and the True Story Behind The List”, Oskar Schindler was already a known figure, thanks to the works by Steven Spielberg and Thomas Keneally who were men of talent, filmmakers, and novelists. Now it was time for David Crowe as a historian to present Oskar in historical perspective backed by series of original and primary researches done by him to answer many of the myths and realities surrounding this strange personality.


It was December of 1939, when occupied Poland was being torn apart by the savagery of the Holocaust. Oskar Schindler took his first tentative steps from the darkness of Nazism towards the light of wisdom. “If you saw a dog going to be crushed under a car,” he said later of his wartime actions, “wouldn’t you help him?” The book offers an unbiased exploration of the myths and realities of the controversial figure – spy, industrialist, bon vivant, Nazi Party member, Righteous Gentile.


David Crowe collects information on vivid aspects of Oskar Schindler’s life, be it family, business, or political and what evolves is description of a controversial character not by subjective emotions but backed by documents. Crowe did prodigious research, reading everything, speaking to everyone, examining each document, actively collecting historical records, and in the end came to gather more information about Oskar than Oskar himself might be aware of! While exploring individual life of Schindler, the Crowe also gives a vivid description of the wider political and economic environment under which Schindler worked.


Crowe remains in touch with Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List and Thomas Keneally’s touching novel Schindler’s Ark and gives added inputs through his meticulous researches. While bringing into light true story of Oskar Schindler, Crowe has exhaustively taken into account sources based on many official and personal documents, some previously unpublished. The book Oskar Schindler The Untold Account of his Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind by Crowe in the process also gives many account of the social, economic, and political environment of the Germany during Holocaust. The book is an attempt to synchronize the life history or rather various emotions through which Schindler underwent to the circumstances surrounding him.


This book is a splendid treatise on Oskar Schindler, who despite all his shortcomings, underwent a transformation and became the single largest German rescuer of Jews. David Crowe has meticulously presented the saga of a man who ended up becoming a messiah for many Jews in true term. It is a must for anyone willing to know the true story of Oskar Schindler.


The Holocaust is perhaps one of the biggest evil events taken place in human history. It was the massive attempt to terminate an entire ethnic group, the Jews. Also in the process, many non-Jews, including Christians, gypsies, homosexuals, and just about anyone caught opposing Hitler’s regime also faced death in the concentration camps. Schindler initially like many opportunist usurping German businessmen was himself determined to make money, got an opportunity in Holocaust to satisfy his material greed through exploitation of Jews, but ended up losing virtually all his money trying to save Jews working in his factory from Holocaust. In the end, he succeeded in saving at least 1100 Jews from the Holocaust.


The character of Oskar Schindler is difficult to understand because despite all his cunningness to make money and moral weaknesses, his conscience could not admit him to watch Jews killed mercilessly. David Crowe went into depth into each and every aspect of the shaping up of character of Schindler. While keeping that as basic motive, the book also provides details of the German atrocities on Jews, the actions of various German officials to achieve the purpose of terminating Jews centered around Schindler’s domain, and also some of the glimpses of death camps. The political plan of Hitler was to wipe out Jews. Schindler is best known for saving over a thousand Jews by putting them on the famed “Schindler’s List” and then transferring them to his factory in today’s CzechRepublic. The tale of how the “List” was really prepared is one of the most intriguing parts of the Schindler story that Crowe tells here for the first time.


Although married to Emilie at nineteen, Schindler was never without a mistress or two. He was reckless in business trying to make big, presided over the demise of his family business, and became a salesman when opportunity came in the guise of war. Schindler marched to Poland on the heels of the SS. He succeeded in making big in black market by alluring officials with bribes and women. At first, he was very much like every other then German industrialist, driven by profit and profiteering. He was succeeding in his quest. But somewhere something changed and by the end of the war he spent everything he made on keeping at least 1100 Jewish men and women alive. After the war ended, Schindler moved to Argentina with his wife and bought a farm. In 1958, he abandoned his land, his wife, and his mistress, and returned to Germany. The remaining years of his life were spent divided between Germany and Israel, where he was honored and taken care of by his “Schindlerjuden.”


Oskar Schindler died in Hildesheim in 1974. Though Oskar was a greedy businessman, not a good son, not a good husband, but still one aspect of his character which evolved was to save life of Jews. His wife admitted that despite all his excesses, he had a big and loving heart for which she was forced to forgive her after each of his excesses. Many of the features of Oskar’s extraordinary life might have not known, but to the efforts of Crowe are now presented to the world.






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