Oskar Schindler

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Oskar Schindler
A Story of Life

Humanitarian Terry Prachett said, “Most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but by people being fundamentally people. Oskar Schindler was an ordinary person who despite his faults, managed to accomplish extraordinary things. Despite Schindler’s early ambitions to use World War II to make a profit for himself, something changed within him and he soon began to have doubts about his career ambitions as he witnessed the inhumane brutality of the Jewish race. With the Jewish race at the hands of annihilation by the Nazis, Schindler saw, over and over again, Jews herded like animals in to cattle cars and transported to a certain death. Schindler realized that it was his duty to help these Jewish people and he vowed to spend his life and his fortune saving as many lives as he could save. A most unlikely hero by all accounts, Oskar Schindler spent his fortune and his life devoted to saving a generation of lost souls, destined for a horrific death, in what the world calls the Holocaust. From humble beginnings to a wealthy status to penniless yet again, Oskar Schindler’s devotion to sparing over 1,000 Jewish lives has been accounted as one of the most notable humanitarian efforts of mankind. Born April 18, 1908 to the Hans Schindler family of Zwittau, Austria-Hungary, Oskar Schindler and his sister, Elfriede were raised with a few more privileges compared to other boys and girls their ages. During this time, boys of a young age were expected to behave a certain way if they expected to gain employment after their school years were over. Oskar Schindler felt as if this rule did not apply to him, as he was sure to get a job in the family business, farm machinery production. Therefore, at an early age he began to do and act as he pleased. As he grew older, he began to follow in his father’s footsteps of drinking, partying, and enjoying the company of women. Although Oskar Schindler loved his mother, a very devout Catholic, her wishes for him to mature in to a well-respected young man were never realized as he, unfortunately, grew in to a womanizer who preferred fancy cars and a good time to the respect of others. As the world around him continued to abruptly change and people and towns were destroyed as a result of World War I, Oskar Schindler continued to work for this father’s business. On a business call to the Pelzl farm he met Emilie, a very religious woman. After courting for 6 weeks, they married much to both of their father’s disapproval. “She [Emilie] married Schindler in 1928 and worked closely with her industrialist husband throughout the war, scourging on the black market for food and other supplies for the Jews in their employ, as well as personally protecting them and caring for those too ill to work.” (Encyclopedia Britannica) As the mistreatment of the Jews by the Nazi party continued to surmount, Oskar Schindler, a quiet member of the Nazi party, began to protect each Jew he could. It is unknown how much of the Nazi party philosophy he believed. “In 1937, Schindler began wearing the swastika, the emblem of the German Nazi party. Once the German army invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, however, Schindler was appalled at its bullying of the Czech population, and its illegal seizures of private property. As war approached, he sought out business possibilities with the German military. When he heard that the army needed enamel cookware, he offered to furnish and run a factory to produce it. His factory, the Deutsche Email Fabrik (DEF), was located in Krakow, Poland, a town that before the war had had a Jewish population of fifty thousand.” (WilsonWeb) However, the harsh realities of a world at war had begun to be understood as Krakow’s population began to decline after the German invasion of Poland. Soon after the start of his new business, Schindler realized that, to protect...
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