Scrapbookpages Blog

May 27, 2011

Schindler’s List, the movie, is FICTION, FICTION, FICTION!!! (part 2)

In March 1941, the Jews in the area surrounding the city of Krakow were put into a walled ghetto in Podgorze, a district of Krakow. This ghetto is depicted in the movie, Schindler’s List, but the actual scenes were filmed nearby in the old Jewish ghetto called Kazimierz.

In my blog post about Schindler’s List on May 25th, I neglected to mention one of the most important scenes in Schindler’s List — the “Krakow massacre,” which began on March 13, 1943 and ended the following day.

Jews marching out of the Krakow ghetto

The photo above is an old photo, which is identified on Wikipedia as the the march of the Jews out of the Krakow ghetto when the ghetto was liquidated, an event known as the “Krakow Massacre.”

Prior to this final liquidation in 1943, Jews had been previously sent out of the Podgorze ghetto, beginning in February 1942, as part of Operation Reinhard, the name which the Nazis gave to what they claimed was “the evacuation of the Jews to the East.”  Operation Reinhard was the beginning of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” which was the title of the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 in which the genocide of the Jews was planned.

In the movie, Schindler’s List, the entire liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, which actually happened over a period of years, is lumped together into one scene which takes place on one day.  Spielberg filmed the liquidation scene in the Kazimierz ghetto, although the actual Krakow ghetto (Podgorze) was in another location in Krakow.

Stairwell where Mrs. Dresner hides in the movie

One of the most memorable passages in the novel Schindler’s Ark is the one in which Mrs. Dresner hides under a stairwell when the Nazis come to round up the Jews in the Podgorze ghetto in June 1942 to take them to the Belzec extermination camp.

Mrs. Dresner hid under the stairwell, pictured above, after a neighbor allowed her daughter, but not her, to hide behind a false wall in an apartment. Mrs. Dresner was the aunt of Genia, the little girl in the red coat, in the movie.  In the movie, this scene is part of the final liquidation of the ghetto in March 1943.

Courtyard that is shown in Schindler’s List

The photo above shows the balconies in the courtyard from where the suitcases were thrown down, in the scene in Spielberg’s movie. in which the Podgorze Ghetto is liquidated. This is the courtyard, which links Jozefa street with Meiselsa street, in Kazimierz.

According to Thomas Keneally’s novel, after the first liquidation in 1942, in which many of the Jews escaped, the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB), a group of resistance fighters, bombed the Cyganeria Restaurant and killed 7 German SS soldiers. Next, the SS-only Bagatella Cinema was bombed in Krakow. In the next few months, the ZOB sank German patrol boats on the Vistula, fire-bombed German military garages in Krakow and derailed a German army train, besides forging papers and passports for Jews to pass as Aryans.

In the movie, the date of the scene where Mrs. Dresner hides has been changed to the day of the final liquidation of the ghetto on March 13, 1943.  The movie gives the impression that the Jews were killed for no reason and does not mention what the Jews did in the Resistance.

In the movie, the Nazis go through the Podgorze ghetto, room by room, and tear down walls as they look for Jews who are hiding. While the Nazis are searching for the Jews, a German soldier stops to play the piano. The German people love classical music and this scene is based on the claim that the Nazis literally put down their violins in order to kill the Jews.

The basic theme of the movie Schindler’s List is that the Germans were bad and the Jews were good. Schindler was the one good German who proves the rule.  All the others were evil, especially Amon Goeth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp. who supervised the final liquidation.

According to the novel, Schindler’s Ark, around 4,000 Jews were found hiding in the Podgorze ghetto during the final liquidation and they were executed on the spot. However, during the postwar trial of Amon Goeth, one of the charges against him was that 2,000 Jews were killed during the liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto.

According to the novel, the Jews, who managed to escape from the ghetto, joined the partisans of the Polish People’s Army, who were hiding in the forests of Niepolomice.

Unlike the novel, the movie Schindler’s List does not mention the Jewish resistance fighters, who fought as partisans throughout the war.  In the movie, the Jews are portrayed as totally harmless, so there was no reason for the Nazis to shoot them as they were trying to escape.

Thomas Keneally, who is a native of Australia, mentioned in his novel that in 1944, an Australian plane was shot down by the Germans over Oskar Schindler’s factory; the plane was dropping supplies to the Jewish and Polish partisans in the forest east of Krakow, according to Keneally.

Jews being forced into the Podgorze ghetto in 1941

Krakow had been populated by Jews for 600 years before the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, and the Jews had been discriminated against for years, before the Nazis arrived.

In 1494, there was a  fire in Krakow which was blamed on the Jews; this was the start of pogroms against the Jews.  Because of this, the King of Poland ordered the Jews in the city of Krakow to be resettled in the district of Kazimierz. During World War II, the Nazis ordered the Jews to move out of Kazimierz, into a ghetto in the Podgorze district, which was  across the river Vistula.

In the movie Schindler’s List, there is a scene where a new transport of Jews is arriving at the Plaszow camp and Commandant Amon Goeth must do a “selection” in which the sick prisoners and those unable to work will be killed in order to make room for more workers.  In the movie, prisoners in the Plaszow camp are forced to run naked past German doctors who will decide which ones are healthy enough to work.

The children are loaded onto trucks, presumably to be taken away to be killed.  The  children frantically try to find hiding places.  Some of them hide in the disgusting liquid in an outhouse.  This scene shows that Spielberg has no experience with outhouses, or he would have known that the mess in a latrine is not liquid and a child would not sink down into it.

Besides that, how did the children know that they were going to be killed?  And who gave Amon Goeth the authority to do a “selection”?

Throughout the movie, the Germans are shown as being stupid and inept, while the Jews are shown as being smarter than the Germans.  There is the famous scene where a German pistol won’t fire.  Then there is the scene where a Jewish woman tells the Germans that they are not building the foundations for the barracks correctly.  Amon Goeth shoots her and then tells the workers to build the barracks the way she said to build them.

In real life, the barracks at Plaszow were pre-fabricated buildings and the women prisoners had to carry large pieces of the buildings from the train up the hill to the camp.   In the movie, not only were the Jews smarter than the Germans, the women were smarter than the men.

Amon Goeth, the villain of the movie Schindler’s List, had joined the Nazi party at the age of 24. In 1940, Goeth had joined the Waffen-SS. In 1942, he had been assigned to the SS headquarters for Operation Reinhard in Lublin. Goeth’s first task was to supervise the liquidation of several of the small ghettos in Lublin.

The Jewish ghettos in Lublin were the first ghettos to be liquidated and some of the Jews from Lublin were among the first to be sent to the Belzec extermination camp during Operation Reinhard.

Goeth accepted bribes from the Lublin Jews during the selection process, and put them on the list to be sent to a labor camp, rather than to the Belzec death camp.

The Nazis claimed that Operation Reinhard was the plan to evacuate the Jews from the ghettos in Poland (including the Podgorze ghetto) to three transit camps: Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec, all of which were in eastern Poland. According to Holocaust historians, the three Operation Reinhard camps were actually death camps where the Jews were immediately killed.

In February 1943, Goeth received a promotion and became the third SS officer to hold the job of Commandant of the Plaszow labor camp.

In January 1944, the forced labor camp at Plaszow was converted into a concentration camp under the jurisdiction of WVHA, the SS Office of Economics and Administration in Oranienburg. The two sub-camps at Prokocim and Biezanow were incorporated into the main camp at Plaszow and living conditions were improved.

Polish prisoners and a few German criminals were now in the same camp as the Jews, as was typical in other Nazi concentration camps. There were factories set up at Plaszow for the production of Germany army uniforms, as well as factories for upholstered furniture. There was also a custom tailoring shop, a jewelry shop and a cable factory set up in the camp.

After Plaszow became a concentration camp, Amon Goeth now had to report to the WVHA headquarters office in Oranienburg.

The following quote is from the novel Schindler’s Ark:

“The chiefs in Oranienburg did not permit summary execution. The days when slow potato-peelers could be expunged on the spot were gone. They could now be destroyed only by due process. There had to be a hearing, a record sent in triplicate to Oranienburg. The sentence had to be confirmed not only by General Glueck’s office but also by General Pohl’s Department W (Economic Enterprises).”

This passage in the novel shows that the author had done some research, regarding the fictional scene where Amon Goeth is shooting prisoners from his balcony.  He had to explain why Goeth was not immediately arrested for killing prisoners without permission from WVHA in Oranienburg; it was because Plaszow was a labor camp at the time that Goeth allegedly shot prisoners from his balcony.

According to the Pharmacy Museum guidebook, which I purchased in the former Podgorze ghetto in Krakow, there was a total of 35,000 prisoners in the Plaszow camp during the two and a half years of its operation.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark, mentions that the “Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland” estimated that 150,000 prisoners passed through Plaszow and 80,000 of them died as a result of mass executions or epidemics.

Plaszow also served as a transit camp for prisoners who were being sent to Auschwitz, which would account for 150,000 prisoners passing through the camp.  The mass execution of 80,000 prisoners is pure fiction, but that is O.K. in a novel.

Amon Goeth was eventually arrested by the Nazis for stealing from the Plaszow warehouses and taking bribes from the prisoners.  But this important point is not mentioned in the movie, Schindler’s List.  All of a sudden, Goeth is gone, and there is no reason given for his disappearance.

It would have destroyed the whole theme of the movie if it had been mentioned that Goeth had been arrested by the Nazis themselves.  Goeth was sent to prison, but was released on parole because he was sick.  He was captured by the American army while he was recovering at a hospital.

After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946.

At his trial, Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crime was that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations.

The crime of being a Nazi applied only to Nazi officials, and Goeth had never held a job as a Nazi official. In fact, at the time of Goeth’s conviction by the Polish court, the judgment against the SS and the Nazi party as criminal organizations had not yet been made at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.

It was determined by the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, after hearing witness testimony from Plaszow survivors, that about 8,000 people had died in the Plaszow camp, most of whom were executed.

It was the custom for the Nazis to bring condemned prisoners to the closest concentration camp for execution.  Goeth was charged with the crime of being responsible for the 8,000 deaths.  This is an example of the new concept of co-responsibility which the Allies made up after the war, called the common plan or the common design theory of guilt.

Amon Goeth had not personally executed the 8,000 prisoners, nor had he ordered their executions.  Yet, under the common plan ex-post-facto law of the Allies, he was guilty of executing 8,000 prisoners.

At the trial of Amon Goeth, the Nazi party was said to be “an organization which, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, through aggressive wars, violence and other crimes, aimed at world domination and establishment of the National-Socialist regime.”

Amon Goeth was accused of personally issuing orders to deprive people of freedom, to ill-treat and exterminate individuals and whole groups of people. His crimes, including the newly created crime of genocide, came under a new ex-post-facto law of the Allies, called Crimes against Humanity.

By 1944, the whole Plaszow camp had become a hotbed of corruption with black market trading in stolen goods by the inmates and by the Commandant, Amon Goeth. According to Keneally’s novel, the prisoners were selling the bread, provided by the Nazis for the camp, to Polish civilians outside the camp and the price had finally reached diamonds as currency.

Oskar Schindler was granted permission to draw up a list of 1,100 slave workers for his new  factory in Brinnlitz, in what is now the Czech Republic. A  Jewish prisoner named Marcel Goldberg was put in charge of the names, according to the novel. Goldberg asked for bribes from those who wanted on the list and the price was paid in “stolen treasures,” mostly diamonds. There was a jewelry factory at Plaszow where the prisoners had an opportunity to steal diamonds. At the end of the list, Goldberg put his own name.

There were 800 men and 300 women on Schindler’s List; some had also gotten on the list by making threats to Goldberg, according to the novel.

Oskar Schindler didn’t know all the names of his 1200 factory workers, and he had never spoken to most of them, but in the movie, he is shown as he personally selects the prisoners that he is going to save.

The site of the Plaszow camp, as it looks today

German soldiers pick flowers at Plaszow

Shown in the first photo above, on a high plateau, is the back side of the large Plaszow monument, which faces the city of Krakow. It was on this plateau that mass executions took place, according to testimony in the trial of Amon Goeth in a Polish court in 1946.

According to survivors of the Plaszow camp, 8,000 bodies were later dug up and burned on pyres in order to destroy the evidence of mass murder. Amon Goeth, who was charged with responsibility for these deaths, was convicted in a Polish court and hanged.

The former location of the camp is now a nature preserve where wild flowers grow; the photo immediately above shows German soldiers picking flowers near the Plaszow camp.

Mound near the Plaszow camp

Curiously, the author of the novel Schindler’s Ark mentions the mound of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish General who fought in the American Revolution, but doesn’t mention the mound of Prince Krak, which was visible from the Plaszow camp, as shown in the photo above.

Kosciuszko’s mound, which was built in the 19th century, is west of the city center. Another mound was constructed in 1937 to honor Marshall Josef Pilsudski, the most important Polish national leader in the 20th century.

14 Comments »

  1. To jjriizo: I have not watched your videos on youtube, nor will I. I came across this website only because i had a few questions about Schindler’s list. Anyway you say you are a holocaust denier? I only have a few questions for you: How many people do you think survived the holocaust? (liberated) Possibly hundreds of thousands? How many allied soldiers walked into the camps? Now i am not a holocaust expert and i will not pretend to be, i just want to know how hundreds of thousands of people can all have the same story, (may vary slightly, but all seemingly as awful as the rest) . The point is that millions upon millions of innocent people where taken from there homes, not because the war front displaced them, but because a group of socialists found them to be inferior and were threatened by them. The point is that millions of those innocent people died over that course of time. The world population of Jews was around 17 million in 1939 and in 1945 it shrank to approximately 11 million. How can you explain such a significant change in numbers in such a short amount of time? How can you deny physical evidence? Walking survivors who have told their stories to people who were willing to listen? Whether you believe they were gassed is not the point, whether they were shot, died from exposure, no matter their origin of death the point is that 6 million people who had nothing to do with a war, were murdered. Hitler didn’t have to give an order of execution for the Jews, Heinrich Himmler was appointed to that position. I really don’t care if you even read this reply, i just don’t understand how there are people out there who can deny something of this magnitude, is it because it makes you feel uncomfortable, is it because it makes people lose there faith in humanity? An awful event took place during this time in history, soldiers died, civilians died, families were torn apart all over the world, and the Jewish people were a focal point for the Nazi’s final solution to becoming a dominant race.
    One more thing. If you lived through an atrocity half as bad as the holocaust, were you lost friends and family, and possibly your beliefs and religion? What would you say to the person that tells you….”it never happened”

    Comment by Dan — February 27, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  2. [...] I previously blogged about the movie Schindler’s List here and here. [...]

    Pingback by Holocaust survivor was one of the few Jews to leave Auschwitz alive, thanks to Oskar Schindler « Scrapbookpages Blog — February 16, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

  3. Recently I have visited Poland and my impression of Shindlers was that he tried to save his own skin, knowing that the Russian troops eventually would invade krakow
    It’s any book available which is based on facts about the whole shindler fiasco?
    If anybody know please let me know

    Thanks
    Marcello Lynbrook, NY

    Comment by Marcello — December 7, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    • I consider myself a true blue “Holocaust Denier” actually Holocaust truther and proud of it.
      There were No homicidal Gas chambers…..The number six million is a lie, and Hitler never gave an order to exterminate the Jews….just get rid of them because most of them were communist agitators and trouble makers. When you can explain to me how a body can be cremated in 10 minutes I will believe you.
      It takes between 1-3 hours to sufficiently cremate 1 body and that is using the latest and best equipment today.
      Now multiply that by millions and see how long would it take.
      IMPOSSIBLE to happen the way they say it did.
      Check out my videos on youtube under jjriizo and start educating yourself.

      Jim Rizoli
      Holocaust Truther.

      Comment by JIM RIZOLI — February 18, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

  4. I’ve been reading through part of this blog, which is fascinating and at times a bit surreal. The photo and info area on Scrapbook pages are second to none but this blog in particular is like a soft form holocaust denial hidden alongside facts and details…I may be wrong, but there seems to be a certain level of acceptance of the complete Shoah story, but your commentary is tainted by the need to give “both sides” of the events. I believe history should be based on empirical evidence and scientific rigor. However, you seem to want to paint a more even side to the war against the Jews and claim that in part even some of the Germans were victims and their motivation to eliminate the Jews was, based on a legitimate cause, which of course, in their minds, at the time is clearly so. Even if some version of events have been inadvertently or purposely rendered fictional, for drama for mass consumption (Americans are dumb right?), your vitriolic outcry against this is clearly giving fuel to the full blooded holocaust deniers. I’m not sure what to make of all of this. I’m frightened for the memory of this period of history.

    Comment by Alan — January 10, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    • Your comment is very well written and you are very perceptive. You are correct that my blog is “tainted” by the need to give “both sides,” which is “Holocaust denial” according to Deborah Lipstadt, who maintains that there is no “other side” of the Holocaust. You are correct that I “claim in part even some of the Germans were victims.” I would say that I am not a “Holocaust denier,” but rather a defender of the German people who can’t, or won’t, defend themselves now because they have been “rehabilitated” by 66 years of brainwashing by the American occupation. I don’t agree that I am giving fuel to “the full blooded holocaust deniers.” The full blooded Holocaust deniers were denying for years before I started my website and my blog. They are not learning anything new from me.

      I don’t agree that my blog “is like soft form holocaust denial hidden alongside facts and details.” My blog gives “facts and details” which are perceived by Holocaust True Believers to be denial because the facts and details contradict the official Holocaust story as taught, by law, in American schools. In particular, my photos show details that contradict the official Holocaust story. I am far from being an expert who goes through the archives and uses “scientific rigor” in doing research. I am just an ordinary person who is not overcome by emotion when I visit a historic site. I notice things like the doors into one of the Majdanek gas chambers which both open inwards and and that one door has a protective grid over the peephole on the outside of the door, so that the glass could have been broken by the people inside, if they had not been able to break the glass window in the gas chamber.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 10, 2012 @ 6:00 am

    • Read the book “The Holohoax” by Vincent Thorn and then tell me about the so called Holocaust. I am not a denier as most people would call anyone who even QUESTIONS this event. People are actually jailed for doing so. Just questioning these so called facts. The 6 million amount is laughable at best.

      Comment by primou812 — February 18, 2013 @ 7:46 am

  5. Cyganeria (“Gypsydom”) was actually a cafe, not a restaurant.

    http://polandian.home.pl/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/CafeCyganeria1940s.gif
    http://polandian.home.pl/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/CafeCyganeria2008.jpg

    Comment by Robert — June 7, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    • I went to an online dictionary at http://www.thefreedictionary.com to look up the definition of cafe and restaurant. Cafe was defined as “A coffeehouse, restaurant, or bar.” Restaurant was defined as “A place where meals are served to the public.”

      Are you saying that this cafe did not serve meals? Was it only a bar or a coffeehouse?

      I am not the one who called it a restaurant — Thomas Keneally called it a restaurant in his NOVEL. I was quoting him when I wrote on my blog “According to Thomas Keneally’s novel, after the first liquidation in 1942, in which many of the Jews escaped, the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB), a group of resistance fighters, bombed the Cyganeria Restaurant and killed 7 German SS soldiers.”

      The point of including this information in my blog post is that Thomas Keneally hinted in his novel that there was a reason that the Jews were put into ghettos and camps. And there was a reason that they were shot when they tried to escape. According to Keneally, the Jews who escaped bombed restaurants and killed German SS soldiers.

      The movie Schindler’s List, which is based on a NOVEL, does not indicate that there was any reason whatsoever for the Germans to confine the Jews to prevent them from killing Germans. Spielberg did his best to fool the public into thinking that every scene in the movie was the absolute truth, and that is what the public believes. My post was about my opinion that the public should be told that this is a work of fiction, loosely based on a true story.

      A blog is not like wikipedia. A blog is not open to changes and corrections, so you do not have to nit-pick every word that I have written in the 524 blog posts that I have done to date.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 7, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  6. I don’t see anything strange that some of the Polish civilians have had a few pieces of personal jewelry. If someone owns a dozen diamond rings or wedding bands, inherited from family members, it still does not make this person a rich man. In the time of systematic shortages, those pieces of jewelry could be used as the last resource to buy food. I found it more strange, that inmates of Plaszow had access to ample food supplies, while people outside the camp experienced serious problems getting enough bread to survive.

    Comment by Gasan — May 28, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  7. Quote:
    “According to Keneally’s novel, the prisoners were selling the bread, provided by the Nazis for the camp, to Polish civilians outside the camp and the price had finally reached diamonds as currency.”
    Keneally could not possibly make it up! Apparently, he has heard this story from the survivors. Do we still have to call them “the survivors”? Even after we learn that they were getting the bread in abundance from German authorities and were able to sell it to Polish civilians for diamonds?
    I have heard the similar stories, that happened in blockaded Leningrad. A certain ethnic group was selling bread with admixture of sawdust for gold and diamonds.
    What a bunch of crooks!

    Comment by Gasan — May 28, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    • It is strange that the Polish civilians didn’t have bread, but they had diamonds.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 28, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  8. I know people who love “Schindler’s List” because “This movie shows that not all Germans were evil”. I fail at persuading these people do just a tiny bit more research into the actual events :-( The warm fuzzy feelings they got from watching this movie are enough for them to not ask any further questions.

    Comment by Rachel Bartlett — May 28, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    • I have added one more old photo to my blog post, near the end. This photo shows that the men who worked at the Plaszow camp were not evil. They were out picking flowers in between episodes of shooting the prisoners. According to his mistress, Amon Goeth was writing poetry when he wasn’t murdering the prisoners. In the movie, Goeth is shown in the bathroom with the door open, but according to his mistress, he wasn’t like that — he had nice manners.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 28, 2011 @ 6:44 am


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