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Schindler’s List: Personal Reflection

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Oskar Schindler was Nazi in good stead with the regime, as his gold pin would suggest. A married man, he lived with a German mistress and maintained an affair with his secretary. He was a shrewd businessman, and his dealings were often under the table, and his business thrived through bribes. When Schindler set up his war-time business and successfully secured Jews from the ghetto as employees, his sole aim was to profit handsomely for himself. He paid the Jews in kind, with pots and pans and other products made at the factory, which they could barter in the ghetto. It is hard to imagine that a man with this background saved eleven hundred Jews.

When the movie comes to an end, one watches the surviving Jews from Schindler’s legacy along with their descendants, and there is a sense of elation. But that elation is short-lived, when one considers that this movie is in memory of all the Jews that lost their lives, and that number adds up to six million. What becomes clear when Schindler’s efforts are observed is the lack of value of Jewish lives. The Nazi regime considered them sub-human, and this is evident in Goeth’s random killing sprees, almost as if the Jews were animals waiting to be hunted for sport. This lack of respect for the Jews becomes even more evident considering Schindler was able to buy the eleven hundred he saved by paying Goeth. As a Nazi, it was Goeth’s prerogative to deport these Jews, sending them to their extermination at concentration camps. But for a sum of money, his priorities were easily altered.

Today, the eleven hundred Schindler Jews have multiplied and have over six thousand descendants. It is heartening to think that there were Nazi’s and Germans in Germany who had ideas other than the mass murder of Jews. These are the Germans that have turned Germany’s fortunes and policies around and make them one the world’s foremost proponents of peace today. The movie ends on a heartening note, with one Jew noting, “If you save one life, you save the world entire”.

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