Oskar Schindler And The Schindler Jews.

2971 words - 12 pages

"Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." ~Oskar SchindlerStories of the Holocaust are often entirely overcome with a lingering reflection of World War II- chaos, tragedy, destruction, and death. There are but few prevailing remembrances that look at something positive and remarkable that came out of the horrific events of this time. The story of Oskar Schindler is undoubtedly that of the most well known German hero of the Holocaust. It is the story of a man who heroically outwitted Hitler, the powerful SS troops, and the Nazi party in its entirety to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other during World War II. While millions of Jews died in Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz, the Schindler Jews miraculously survived. No matter that there are insults to his personal life- what matters to his Jews is that he surfaced from the madness around him and risked everything for a group of men, women, and children that he did not even know. Millions were spent to protect his Jews, everything he possessed, and he died penniless at the age of 66. No one will ever know exactly what made this profound man do what no German had the courage to do, but Schindler ultimately earned the everlasting gratitude of his people and rose to the highest level of humanity.Prewar Years-Oskar Schindler was born in 1908 in a middle-class Catholic family in Austria-Hungary, and lived most of his adulthood in Sudenland in Germany. It was opportune for him to join the Nazi party, as did many others of the time, and Schindler quickly got on good terms with the local Gestapo chiefs. He was also recruited by the German Intelligence Agency to collect information about Poles and his efforts were very esteemed by fellow Nazis (Schmittroth and Rosteck, 1998). Schindler never believed in Nazi ideals, especially hatred of the Jews, but he joined the party because it provided good business connections that would be crucial later in the war (Fremon, 1998). Emilie Schindler once wrote, "Not every German was a Nazi...but the pressure to conform was intense, and very few dared to be themselves. Hitler had been very clear: 'whoever is with me will be able to live in a great Germany. But whoever is against me will find instant death'" (Schmittroth and Rosteck, 1998). Indeed, he assumed the role of two opposite personas during the battle of the Nazis in the Second World War. He was a savior of Jews who spent his millions providing for them and keeping them protected from execution, yet he was also a man with personal evils and wore the powerful Nazi swastika on his lapel. "He was a hard-drinking gambler and adulterer, a black marketer who resorted to bribery, a man who desired money even more than he did the series of women who became his mistresses. He seemed to be a thoroughgoing scoundrel. However, Oskar Schindler had a conscience" (Gottfried, 2001). His decisions and actions greatly changed the fate of over 1000 Jews, both during and after the war. Schindler succeeded in...

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