Oskar Schindler

Early Life

Oskar Schindler was born April 28, 1908 in Svitavy (German, Zwittau), a Moravian town just over the German boarder. In his childhood he attended elementary and secondary schools, and was friends with the neighbor Jewish boy. He grew up in a home with less than ideal situations, with his father an alcoholic and known for his mistresses. As he grew older he was friendly with many of the Sudetenland Jews, and had a great interest in Jewish culture. He would often speak with his neighbor, the rabbi, about the Yiddish literature in Poland and Czechoslovakia, and about ancient Jewish traditions.

Oskar married Emilie Pelzl March 6, 1928, and quickly spent through her dowry as he once told her he liked the “finer” things in life.  He had a passion for motorcycles and fast cars and even raced a few times until he stopped winning. While attending technical school he was given the nick name “Schindler the crook” after he was expelled for forging his grade report.

Political Affiliation

Oskar Schindler believed in the Greater Germany. He was a Czech , but didn’t consider himself a Czech. He was a German in every respect. Deep in the Nazi party and maybe the Abwehr, maybe even the SS, say some British researchers, and agreeing with everything except the racial policies.

During the War

In October 1939 Schindler moved from Svitavy to Krakow following the German invasion of Poland. In November of 1938 he took advantage of the German occupation program, which took control of Jewish-owned and Polish-owned businesses in order to Germanize them. He bought Rekord Ltd., a Jewish-owned enamelware manufacturer and converted it to the German Enamelware Factory Oskar Schindler, also known as Emalia. Schindler operated 3 factories total in Krakow, but only at Emalia did he employ Jewish workers from the near by Krakow ghetto.

After the War

Schindler fled to Argentina with his wife, mistress, and some of his workers, where he bought a farm that soon failed. He left his wife and mistress in 1958 and went back to Germany. In 1962, Yad Vashem awarded Schindler the title “Righteous Among the Nations” and was honored as a “good German”. He died in 1974 in Hildesheim.


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