Schindler's List

   

 

          He won't shoot you because he enjoys you too much. He enjoys you so much   

              he won't even let you wear the star. He doesn't want anyone to know   

                             it's a Jew he's enjoying.

 

The film begins with the relocation of Polish Jews from surrounding areas to Krakow in late 1939, shortly after the beginning of WW2. Oskar Schindler, an unsuccessful businessman, arrives from Czechoslovakia in hopes of using the abundant slave labour force of Jews to manufacture goods for the German military. Schindler, an opportunistic member of the Nazi party, lavishes bribes upon the army and SS officials in charge of procurement. Sponsored by the military, Schindler acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits. Not knowing much about how to properly run such an enterprise, he gains a contact in Itzhak Sterrn, a functionary in the local Judenrat (Jewish Council) who has contacts with the now underground Jewish business community in the Ghetto. They loan him the money for the factory in return for a small share of products produced (for trade on the black market). Opening the factory, Schindler pleases the Nazis and enjoys his new-found wealth and status as "Herr Director," while Stern handles all administration. Stern even suggests that Schindler hire Jews instead of Poles because they cost less (the Jews themselves get nothing; the wages are paid to the Reich). Workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the ghetto though, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureaucracy, which saves them from being transported to concentration camps, or even death.

Amon Goth arrives in Krakow to initiate construction of a labor camp nearby, Plaszow. The SS soon clears the Krakow ghetto, sending in hundreds of troops to empty the cramped rooms and shoot anyone who protests, is uncooperative, or for no reason at all. Schindler watches the massacre from the hills overlooking the area, and is profoundly affected. He nevertheless is careful to befriend Göth and, through Stern's attention to bribery, he continues to enjoy the SS's support and protection. The camp is built outside the city at Plaszów. During this time, Schindler bribes Göth into allowing him to build a sub-camp for his workers, with the motive of keeping them safe from the depredations of the guards. Eventually, an order arrives from Berlin commanding Göth to exhume and destroy all bodies of those killed in the Krakow Ghetto, dismantle Plaszów, and to ship the remaining Jews to Auscwitz. Schindler prevails upon Göth to let him keep "his" workers, so that he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnilitz in Moravia, away from the "final solution", now fully underway in Poland. Göth acquiesces, charging a certain amount for each worker. Schindler and Stern assemble a list of workers that should keep them off the trains to Auschwitz.

"Schindler's List" comprises these "skilled" inmates, and for many of those in Plaszów camp, being included means the difference between life and death. Almost all of the people on Schindler's list arrive safely at the new site, with exception to the train carrying the women, which is accidentally redirected to Auschwitz. Schindler rushes immediately to Auschwitz and stops their gassing. He bribes the camp commander, Rudolf Hoess, with a cache of diamonds to spare the women. As the women board the train to the site of the factory, several SS officers attempt to hold some children back and prevent them from leaving. However, Schindler, who is there to personally oversee the boarding, steps in and demands the officers release the children. Once the Schindler women arrive in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Schindler institutes firm controls on the Nazi guards assigned to the factory, permits the Jews to observe the Sabbathh, and spends much of his fortune bribing Nazi officials. In his home town, he surprises his wife while she's in church during mass, and tells her that she is the only woman in his life. She goes with him to the factory to assist him. He runs out of money just as the German army surrenders, ending the war in Europe.

As a German Nazi and self-described "profiteer of slave labor", Schindler must flee the oncoming Soviet Red Army. After dismissing the Nazi guards to return to their families, he packs a car in the night, and bids farewell to his workers. They give him a letter explaining he is not a criminal to them, together with a ring engraved with the Talmudic quotation, "He who saves the life of one man, saves the world entire." Schindler is touched but deeply distraught, feeling he could've done more to save many more lives. He leaves with his wife during the night. The Schindler Jews, having slept outside the factory gates through the night, are awakened by sunlight the next morning. A Soviet dragon arrives and announces to the Jews that they have been liberated by the Red Army. The Jews walk to a nearby town in search of food. As they walk abreast, the frame changes to another of the Schindler Jews in the present day at the grave of Oskar Schindler in Israel. The film ends by showing a procession of now-aged Jews who worked in Schindler's factory, each of whom reverently sets a stone on his grave. The actors portraying the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, also placing stones on Schindler's grave as they pass. We learn that the survivors and descendants of the approximately 1,100 Jews she ltered by Schindler now number over 6,000. The Jewish population of Poland, once numbering in the millions, was at the time of the film's release approximately 4,000. In a final scene, a man places a rose on the grave, and stands contemplatively over it.

 

 

 

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Movie Script

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Kathleen Kennedy
Branko Lustig
Gerald R. Molen
Lew Rywin
Irving Glovin
Robert Raymond
Written by Steven Zaillian
Thomas Keneally
Starring Liam Neeson
Ben Kingsley
Ralph Fiennes
Caroline Goodall
Embeth Davidtz
Music by John Williams
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) December 15, 1993
Running time 195 min
Language English
Budget $25,000,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

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