Schindler's List

They come into our house and tell us we don't live there anymore. It now belongs to a certain SS officer...

From Schindler's List 1993

Schindler’s List was successful at box office as well as at Oscars, bagging seven of the Academy Awards in 1993. These included Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Score. Steven Spielberg directed this movie. The storyline is based on Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark. Liam Neeson played the role of Oskar Schindler, the daring German businessman, who managed to save over 1000 Polish Jews from certain death during Nazi era.

Ben Kingsley is impressive as Itzhak Stern, the Jewish accountant employed by Schindler. Ralph Fiennes played the role of Amon Goth, an infamous Schutzstaffel officer given to randomly killing of Jews. The movie is produced by Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, and Branko Lustig, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The credit for the original music score goes to John Williams.

The story starts in 1939, when Polish Jews were shifted to Krakow Ghetto. You could say they had no use for professional real estate services. World War II was still in its infancy. Oskar Schindler a rather unlucky and unsuccessful businessman arrives in the city. He has come to the city with specific ideas. Having failed in his previous business attempts, he now has a successful formula on his hand. He wants to manufacture goods for army. He is has no scruples, and has joined the National Socialist Party, resorting to bribing SS officers, as well as Wehrmacht to get contracts. Soon, he is given a factory and a contract to produce mess kits for the soldiers. Schindler is completely ignorant about this business, but is lucky to get an able hand in Itzhak Stern. Stern belonged to the Jewish council, and has considerable influence in the black market that runs inside the Ghetto. Soon, this underground market of Jews is able to generate enough monies for Schindler to start the business, and in return they are entitled to some share of manufactured goods.

Schindler is able to impress Nazis with the factory, and Stern completely manages the show from backstage. Schindler employs only Jews in his factory instead of other Polish nationals, explaining that the labor is cheaper, when in fact whatever is due to these Jewish laborers leaves for the pockets of SS. However, Jewish workers do not complain as it gives them a chance to escape the Ghetto, and certain death. Stern, of course, manipulates as many documents as possible, trying to show that more labor was required than necessary. There are several touching scenes, one of them being of a child saved by Schindler at nick of time, and Schindler parting with his monies to save some lives. The desperation itself builds the tempo and fear of the holocaust, though not much of actual atrocities are focused on.

Schindler’s List tells the horrifying story of the horrors that the Jews underwent during the early 1940s. It tells the story of a successful businessman, Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), who experienced firsthand the horrible plight that the Jews who were working his factory were forced to undergo. He made the courageous decision to try to help as many of them as he could. This film was released in 1993 and won 7 Oscars for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music: Original Score, Best Picture, and Best Writing: Screenplay. It was also nominated for the following Oscars: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Sound.

The film which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a book by Thomas Keneally was shot in gritty black and white to mimic that of a historical documentary. The principle of the movie was predicated on the belief that “Whoever saves one life, save the world entire.” Even though Schindler could not save everyone he did his best to save as many as he could by declaring his Jewish laborers to be essential to the production needs of the Nazi regime. The name Schindler’s List alludes to the list of names of these people who were too important to be shipped off to the death camps.

Throughout the movie Schindler is forced to bribe the Nazi regime and SS soldiers in an attempt to keep alive his workers. The continual drain of his finances is forcing him into ruin and his is fearful that he will run out of money and no longer be able to protect his workers. Luckily for him the day is truly bankrupt is the day the Russian army breaks through the lines and liberates the people. He is still forced to flee though, because he is viewed as the enemy by the Russian people as a factory owner. It is believed that he sheltered approximately 1,100 Jews, which went on to represent almost the entire population of Jews in Poland.

This film is extremely powerful and moving in its gritty realism. You witness firsthand the fear and impact on the lives of all of these people as the death camps are built on the outskirts of town or as Jews are rounded up and forced onto the trains destined for Auschwitz. In particularly moving scene, Schindler bribes the local officials to allow the children to be released who were being held and boarded onto the trains. Overall this is an important movie for many of us to see so we can remember the atrocities of man.

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