Oskar Schindler: His Life before the List

Oskar Schindler was a very human figure, in an inhumane time.  He saved hundreds of Jews and future Jewish generations that would have otherwise most likely been killed by the Nazis.  He was an incredibly smart and ambitious man, and it was this that led him to open a factory in Krakow, Poland, that would later become a vital source of supplies for the Third Reich (Hitler’s army).  He did all of this during World War II, but few people know where he came from, or his background.  Oskar Schindler was a smart Czechoslovakian business man, whose Jewish roots and economic position led him to become the only Nazi who saved over 1,000 Jews.

Schindler was born in Czechoslovakia in the city of Zwittau in present day Czech Republic.  He was born on April 28, 1908, to an upper class family (Encyclopedia of World Biographies, 2012). Schindler was very popular in school, but he was not a great student.  He was always surrounded by a good family and proud parents.  When he graduated from school, he began working for his father selling farm equipment made by the family company.  In 1928, Schindler married a woman named Emilie which caused him to break the close relationship he had with his father because the disagreement he had of getting married.  This prompted him to leave the family business and join a Moravian electrical company as a sales manager.

After his quiet young life, the rise of the Nazis in Germany and his not so great economic position led him to become the man we all knew from the 1993 American movie Schinders List.  Oskar Schindler had been working in the electrical company for eleven years, when in February 1939 he joined the Nazi party (USHMM 2012), and on September of that same year the Nazis invaded Poland.  In a matter of weeks, Schindler managed to move to Krakow, the new seat of government for the Nazis.  He arrived looking for ways to make profit, and soon in relations with key Nazi generals: Schindler quickly created friendships with key officers in both the Wehrmacht (the German army) and the SS (the special armed Nazi unit).

Oskar was a smart business man, and had a background of relationships with Jewish people.  When he was a little kid, his neighbors were the family of a Jewish Rabbi.  The Rabbi had two kids of around Oskar’s age, and they eventually became Oskar’s best friends.  They spent most of their day with each other and both families were very close.  This might have really touched him and urged him to save so many lives.  He never developed any love for the Nazi party and only joined it due to good economic opportunities.  Eventually not even the money would prevent him from saving Jewish people, which he called “my children”.  He started to purposely make his items of a low quality so that there would be a quicker end to the war.  The Jewish influence he received at a young age might have helped him make the right decisions during the horrifying reign of the Nazis.

This man was an opportunistic Nazi Party member whose past Jewish influence shaped his heroic intervention during World War II.  His interaction with Jews during his childhood years, his kind heart, and his ambition all ledSchindlerto bea famous hero figure of the Holocaust.  His background was extremely important in the shaping of his future, and all of the things that affected him as a child and a young adult made him an extremely humane figure in an inhumane period of History.

 

By: Sebastián Flores, April 25, 2014

 

 

 

 

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