SCHINDLER, THE MAN AND THE SYMBOL
Written by Alexander Kimel - Holocaust Survivor.
Oscar Schindler may be a world hero for saving more than 1,000 Jews from the Nazi Holocaust but his widow has written a book in which he is portrayed as a selfish, ruthless man.
At a presentation of her book Thursday, 88-year-old Emily Schindler said the work on which Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg based his Oscar-winning film ``Schindler's List'' was ``packed with lies.''
``Spielberg's film ... portrays Oscar as a hero of this century. That is not true. Neither he nor I were heroes. We were just what we were able to be. In war we are all souls without a destiny,'' she wrote in the autobiography.
``Emily Schindler - Memoirs'' depicts her husband as a greedy man whose main interest in saving Polish Jews from Adolph Hitler's death camps was to have cheap labor to keep his china factory going.
She recalls a night in 1944 when he came home extremely worried -- the Nazis had decided to take all Jews from the Plaszow concentration camp in Krakow, including their factory workers, to Auschwitz for extermination. His chief concern, according to the book written in her modest house in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, was to persuade the Nazis to let him keep his workers.
``What matters now is being able to take our people somewhere else, so that we can continue to work,'' she said her husband told her. Without the factory, she said, Oscar would have been sent to the front to fight.
He eventually succeeded and the now famous Schindler's List, with the names of 1,300 Jews to be spared extermination, was put together.
The Schindlers settled in Argentina after the war. He eventually returned to Germany and died in 1974 but his wife stayed in Argentina and led a quiet life supported by Jewish groups until 1994, when Spielberg's film brought her to the limelight.
Lucid and strong, she told a news conference half in Spanish, half in German that she had no love lost for her late husband. ``I did everything for him, he did nothing for me,'' she said, adding that he did not treat her in a humane way.
Spielberg's story, she said, was simply incorrect. ``What does he know about my life? Absolutely nothing.''
The question arises, was Schindler a conniving opportunist that tried to avoid the draft, or was he an idealist that saved Jews? Regardless of what the answer is, regardless of his motivation, Schindler is a SYMBOL of daring and caring. He has proven that even one man can make a difference. Schindler exposed all the pretexts of the Germans, claiming that they did not know and we could not helped it. A thousand Schindlers and a million of victims would be saved.