Scrapbookpages Blog

March 20, 2018

Schindler’s List — the movie

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — furtherglory @ 3:24 pm

Photos of the place where Schindler’s List was filmed

Courtyard in Kazimierz used for movie location

In 1993, when Stephen Spielberg made a movie out of a novel called “Schindler’s Ark,” written by Australian author Thomas Keneally, he needed an authentic Jewish quarter for the scenes depicting the Jewish ghetto of Podgorze in Krakow. He chose the Kazimierz district of Krakow because this area had not changed since the 1940s, while Podgorze had been partially rebuilt with modern buildings.

Schindler’s List tells the story of how Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German industrialist from the Sudetenland in what is now the Czech Republic, saved 1098 Jews from the misery of having to work at the Nazi forced labor camp at Plaszow, by employing them in his factory in the Zablocie district of Krakow.

Schindler’s factory became a sub-camp in the Nazi concentration camp system; the Jewish prisoners lived in barracks which Schindler built for them on the grounds of his factory.

Instead of paying wages to the Jews, Schindler paid less than normal wages to the WVHA (SS Economic Office in Oranienburg) for their labor. Although Schindler didn’t mistreat his Jewish workers, he did profit from their slave labor. Initially, he was motivated by the desire for money, not by a desire to save the Jews.

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.

According to my tour guide, a courtyard such as this is typical of the way living space was traditionally arranged in the old Jewish quarters of Polish cities.

Since the fall of Communism in Poland in 1989, Kazimierz has been revived as a Jewish community, and it has also become a popular tourist attraction with special tours of the places where the movie was filmed.

In October 1998, I took a guided tour of Kazimierz and took some photographs of the places where Schindler’s List was filmed.

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

According to the book, after this roundup 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 liquidation of the ghetto on March 13, 1943.

The photograph below shows the stairway used in the scene in which Mrs. Dresner hides from the Jewish police who were helping the Germans to round up the Jews for “transportation to the East,” a euphemism for taking them to the alleged gas chambers.

Stairs where Mrs. Dresner hid in the story of Schindler’s List

The guided tour that I took in 1998 was called “Schindler’s Steps”.  From Krakow, the tour entered Kazimierz on Jozefa street and the first thing we saw was the courtyard, which links Jozefa street with Meiselsa street, and the stairwell where the hiding scene in Schindler’s List was filmed.

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 red, in the movie.

In the movie, the Nazis went through the Podgorze ghetto, room by room, and tore down walls as they looked for Jews who were hiding. While they are searching for Jews, a German soldier stops to play the piano. The Nazis loved classical music and this is a reference to the Jewish saying that the Nazis literally put down their violins in order to kill the Jews.

Germany was the most civilized and advanced country in the world in the 1930s, which makes it all the harder to understand how the Nazis could have planned the deliberate genocide of the Jews.

According to the novel, entitled “Schindler’s Ark,” around 4,000 Jews were found hiding in Podgorze during the liquidation of the ghetto and they were executed on the spot.

However, during the post war trial of Amon Goeth, the Commandant of the Plazow camp, the charges against him mentioned that 2,000 Jews were killed during the liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto.

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 heroic Jewish resistance fighters, who managed to escape from the Nazis, and lived to fight as partisans throughout the war.

The Schindler’s Steps guided tour, which I took in October 1998, started in Krakow with Schindler’s modern apartment building at #7 Straszewskiego Street. From there, Schindler could look out his third floor windows and see the Planty, a narrow park all the way around Old Town Krakow which marks the area where the town walls once stood.

This apartment, in a very ordinary, ugly gray building, was given to Schindler by the Nazis after it was taken, without compensation, from the Jewish Nussbaum family.

Straszewskiego Street ends at Wawel, the limestone hill where the ancient royal palaces still stand. During the German occupation of Poland, Hans Frank, the governor of occupied Poland, which was called “the General Government,” lived on Wawel hill in the Castle originally built by King Kazimierz the Great, the founder of the separate city of Kazimierz. Schindler’s apartment in Krakow was north of the Kazimierz district and north of Wawel hill.

Street in Kazimierz before the Germans came

The next stop, on the tour that I took, was Schindler’s Enameled Pots and Pans Factory, on the south side of the river Vistula, at #4 Lipowa Street. Lipowa Street goes through Podgorze, and the factory is just east of the former ghetto and across the railroad tracks.

Enamelware was apparently widely used in Poland instead of pottery or china, judging by the large amounts of enameled dishes, that were brought to the concentration camps by the prisoners. It is now on display in the museums at Auschwitz and Majdanek.

Enamelware is the type of dishes that Americans associate with the Old West when cowboys ate the beans that they cooked over the campfire on metal plates coated with mottled gray enamel. The most popular color of enameled bowls, displayed in the museums in Poland, is a dull brick red. Enameled pots and pans, such as Schindler produced in his factory, were also popular in American kitchens up until the 1960s.

Oskar Schindler

Schindler obtained a contract with the Germans to supply mess kits and field kitchen pots to the German army. Schindler’s Krakow factory produced armaments as well as enamelware. The Enamelware part of the factory remained open until 1945 with 300 Polish non-Jewish workers.

When the Plaszow camp closed, Schindler moved the munitions part of his factory to Brünnlitz in what is now the Czech Republic.

The factory produced 45 mm anti-tank shells, but none of his shells were ever used because Schindler deliberately set his machines so that the calibration was incorrect, according to the movie “Schindler’s List.” Other sources claim that Schindler spent all the money that he made on his enamelware business to purchase shells on the black market which he then sold to the Nazis. By that time, his purpose was not to make money, but to save his Jewish workers, and thereby save himself from being indicted as a war criminal.

Thomas Keneally, the author of the novel “Schindler’s Ark,” who is a native of Australia, mentioned in the book that in 1944, an Australian plane was shot down by the Germans over Schindler’s factory; the plane was not trying to bomb his munitions factory, but was dropping supplies to the Jewish and Polish partisans in the forest east of Krakow, according to the author.

Schindler’s factory building was still being used for an electronics factory when I visited Krakow in 1998 and I only saw it from the street. The factory is an ordinary gray stucco three-story building with lots of windows, built right next to the sidewalk.

The architectural style of the building is what Americans would call Art Deco; in Poland in the 1940s, this style was called Modern. There is an iron gate at the entrance to the factory courtyard where Schindler built barracks for his workers.

The factory was named Deutsche Emailwaren Fabrick (German Enamelware Factory) and was called DEF for short.

Jewish workers at Schindler’s factory

Oscar Schindler’s factory was taken over by the Jewish Council in Krakow and the building then had a sign outside, just like the original sign, which says “Deutsche Emalia Fabrika – Oscar Schindler.” The factory is now included on the Schindler’s Steps tour; visitors can see the stairs that were used in the filming of the movie.

Schindler’s original office is at the top of the stairs and visitors may sit at his desk. The rest of the factory is off limits but visitors can look around the grounds. The factory interior was not used in the film, except for the stairs.

The photos below were contributed by Richard Stephenson, who took the Schindler’s Steps tour in December 2005.

The grounds of Oskar Schindler’s Factory in Krakow

Photo Credit: Richard Stephenson

Stairs in the factory were shown in Schindler’s List

Photo Credit: Richard Stephenson

Oskar Schindler’s real office was not shown in Schindler’s List

Photo Credit: Richard Stephenson

On my visit to Poland in 1998, I stayed at the Hotel Cracovia in Krakow which was owned by Orbis Travel Agency, the tour company that I used. Built in 1965, it was a first class, but inexpensive, hotel where tour groups from all over Europe stayed before visiting such places as Auschwitz, which is due west of Krakow.

Tours of Kazimierz and the site of the Plaszow labor camp can be arranged from the hotel, as well as private tours of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

 

Schindler’s List – the Movie

Podgorze ghetto in Krakow

Books about Schindler’s List

February 13, 2018

The youngest Shindler’s List survivor is still telling her story

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:00 pm

You can read about the youngest Schindler’s List survivor in this recent news article:

https://www.jta.org/2018/02/06/news-opinion/world/the-youngest-schindlers-list-survivor-is-still-telling-her-story

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

[Eva] Lavi is the youngest survivor to have been on Schindler’s list, the Jews saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler and immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film. Lavi was put in a ghetto in Poland with her family immediately after the Nazi takeover, transferred to a labor camp and then to Auschwitz.

After being saved by Schindler, who sheltered hundreds of Jews who worked in his kitchen goods and armament factories, Lavi lived a quiet life in Israel. She served in the army, lived on a kibbutz, worked as an administrative assistant and raised a family. She remembers the early years in Israel when survivors were disparaged as weak and passive. But as interest in the Holocaust increased, she became more vocal in recounting her experience. Now she speaks to groups at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust authority, and travels to Poland every year with a group of high school students.

“It’s true testimony from someone who was there. It’s not a story,” she told JTA in a separate interview last week, adding that once Israelis became interested in the Holocaust, “the survivors opened their mouths and began to tell the story. It’s not just a story. It’s the worst and cruelest thing that happened in the world.”

Although Lavi now regularly returns to Auschwitz, she says the experience still isn’t easy. Each time, she finds herself looking around in horror and crying. But by now she’s used to it.

“Every time I go, I cry here and there because it’s a terrible thing,” she told JTA. “Every person that went there saw the ovens, the gas chambers. Everything was real. It’s very scary, but because I’ve gone so many times, I take it differently. I don’t think about myself. I think about how the kids are reacting.”

End quote

The following information about Treblinka is from my scrapbookpages.com website:

Treblinka was second only to Auschwitz in the number of Jews who were allegedly killed by the Nazis. Between 700,000 and 900,000, compared to an estimated 1.1 million to 1.5 million at Auschwitz.

The Treblinka death camp was located 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Warsaw, near the railroad junction at the village of Malkinia Górna, which is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the train station in the tiny village of Treblinka.

Raul Hilberg stated in his three-volume book, “The Destruction of the European Jews,” that there were six Nazi extermination centers, including Treblinka. The other extermination camps were at Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau, all of which are located in what is now Poland. The last two also functioned as forced labor camps (Zwangsarbeitslager), and were still operational shortly before being liberated by the Soviet Union towards the end of the war in 1944 and early 1945.

The camps at Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Chelmno had already been liquidated by the Germans before the Soviet soldiers arrived, and there was no remaining evidence of the extermination of millions of Jews. The combined total of the deaths at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor was 1.5 million, according to Raul Hilberg.

In June 1941, a forced labor camp for Jews and Polish political prisoners was set up near a gravel pit, a mile from where the Treblinka death camp would later be located. The labor camp became known as Treblinka I and the death camp, which opened in July 1942, was called Treblinka II or T-II.

December 4, 2017

Alleged Shinder’s list survivor unable to identify Amon Goeth

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 1:19 pm
https://i0.wp.com/www.telegram.com/storyimage/WT/20171204/ITEM/171209953/AR/0/AR-171209953.jpg

Rena Finder was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1929

http://www.telegram.com/item/20171204/schindlers-list-survivor-tells-her-tale-at-clinton-middle-school

You can read Rena’s tale in the  Dec 4th Telegram news article linked to above.

Begin Quote from Telegram news article

“After the Holocaust was over, and someone showed me a picture of [Amon] Goeth, I did not know who he was. I was too afraid to ever look him in the face, so I never knew what he looked like.” The one thing she did notice about him was that he had two very large dogs, that were vicious themselves. She claims that large dogs still scare her to this day….

She claims that the award winning film [Schindler’s List], produced by Steven Spielberg, is exactly what life was like during that time.

End Quote.

Her inability to identify Amon Goeth from a photo, and her belief that it was exactly like in the fictional movie makes me think she was never really in Plaszow.

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/schindlers-list/

Click on the link above to see many other articles about Schindler’s list.  You can also click on the link below to read several other articles I have written about Rena Finder.

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/rena-finder/

June 3, 2017

Holocaust survivor, who was saved by being on Schindler’s List, tells her story

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:23 pm

Rena Farber was on Schindler's List

Rena Farber, who is shown in the photo above, was 10 when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. As her family was forced into a ghetto, her father tried to reassure her not to worry. “The world will hear about us. They will come and save us.” But the world did not intervene to save the Jews of Europe.

The Nazis took her father away and she never saw him again. As she and her mother were leaving their apartment in Krakow, she tried knocking on neighbors’ doors. “But no one had the courage to say goodbye.”

Of those neighbors, she said, “They were ordinary people, like the people you come across everyday.
Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_31021725/bearing-witness-horror-and-heroism#ixzz4iyYrUElN

I have written several blog posts about Schindler’s List, including this one: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/schindlers-list-the-movie-is-fiction-fiction-fiction/

You can also  read more about Schindler’s List on this blog post that I wrote: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/20th-anniversary-of-schindlers-list/

February 14, 2017

Famous house that was shown in the movie Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 7:30 am

You can read a recent news article about Amon Goeth at http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/petition-to-conserve-schindlers-list-nazi-torture-house/

To refresh your memory, Amon Goeth was a German military officer, who shot prisoners, that were working in the Plasow camp, with a high-powered rifle, from the balcony on the back of his house.

The prisoners were working in an area that was on the other side of the house, but Goeth had a special rifle that could shoot over a house. [just kidding]

View of the back of Amon Goeth;s house

The front of Amon Goeth’s house today

plaszow08

My 1998 photo of the front of the house

My photo directly above, taken in 1998, shows the front of the house where Amon Goeth lived during the time that he was the Commandant of the Plaszow camp near Krakow, Poland. His mistress, who had been introduced to him by Oskar Schindler, lived with him in this house.

The house has apparently been remodeled, and it only vaguely resembles the original house.

The photo below shows the back of the house, which has a balcony on the top floor.

Tourists view the back of Goeth's house

Tourists view the back of Goeth’s house

The photo above shows a tour group standing behind the house where Amon Goeth formerly lived. At the top of the photo is the famous balcony from which Goeth allegedly shot prisoners at random with a high-powered rifle.

Goeth’s house was on top of a hill which overlooked a concentration camp where prisoners were forced to work.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark, upon which Spielberg’s movie is based, mentions that Goeth stepped out of the front door of a “temporary residence” and shot prisoners at random.

Later when Goeth moved into the three-story white house on Jerozolimska Street, he shot prisoners from his balcony, according to the novel Schindler’s List.

In the movie, Schindler’s List, Goeth is shown standing on the balcony in the rear of his house, shooting prisoners, who were not working fast enough, using a high-powered rifle. According to my tour guide, Goeth actually shot prisoners from a hill overlooking the Plaszow camp because Goeth’s house was located behind this hill.

The old photo below shows Goeth standing on the balcony from which he allegedly shot prisoners in the camp, which was located on the other side of the house.

Goeth standing on he balcony behind his house

Goeth standing on the balcony behind his house

Amon Goeth was married and had two children, who were living in Vienna, while he was working as the Commandant of the Plaszow camp; his wife divorced him in 1944.

Goeth had been previously married and his first wife had divorced him in 1934, according to the book entitled “Schindler,” written by David Crowe.

Like Oskar Schindler, whose wife did not accompany him to Krakow, Goeth took a mistress, Ruth Irene Kalder, who was one of Oskar Schindler’s secretaries. Goeth lived lavishly and drank heavily, just like his friend Schindler.

Goeth’s mistress remained loyal to him and kept a photograph of Amon on her night table until the day she died.

In an interview with a British journalist in 1983, Ruth Irene Kalder, described Goeth as a charming man with impeccable table manners. She said that she never regretted, for one second, her relationship with Amon, which began when she was 25 years old. Kalder committed suicide in 1983, on the day after this interview.

Allegedly, Ruth Irene had become distraught when she learned that the 82-minute documentary, which the journalist was making, was not just about Oskar Schindler, but would include a negative portrayal of her former lover, Amon Goeth, who was also the father of her love child, Monika, born in November 1945.

Kalder was a young, beautiful woman with a slender figure, a former actress and an experienced secretary; why she chose to live with a monster like Amon Goeth remains a mystery to this day.

 

November 20, 2016

Defending my blog posts about Schindler’s list

Filed under: Holocaust, movies, TV shows, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:18 am
Amon Goeth stand on the balcony in the rear of his house

Amon Goeth standing on the patio in the rear of his house

Over the years, I have written several blog posts about the movie entitled Schindler’s List.  Before that, I wrote about Schindler’s List on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01C.html

Now the subject of Schindler’s List has come up in a recent comment on my blog, written by a newb who knows nothing.

To understand the movie Schinder’s List, start by reading this blog post which I wrote five years ago in 2011: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/schindlers-list-the-movie-is-fiction-fiction-fiction-part-2/

Then move on to a blog post, which I wrote in 2010: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/did-oskar-schindler-save-1200-jews-from-certain-death/

I am now 83 years old, and literally on my death bed. I don’t want to spend the last years of my life arguing about whether, or not, Amon Goeth shot Jews from his second-floor balcony or from a spot on the ground in the rear of his house.

In 1998, I made a trip to Poland, accompanied by a tour guide, who took me to see the house where Amon Goeth was living when he allegedly shot prisoners from his balcony. The balcony, and the patio, are both at the rear of the house. Did Amon Goeth have a special rifle that could shoot over the house and hit prisoners who were working in the camp, a mile away?  I don’t think so.

November 11, 2016

The famous Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 9:37 am

I have written several blog posts about the famous Schidler’s List:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/schindlers-list/

Now Oskar Schindler is back in the news:

Holocaust education program receives collection materials on Holocaust rescuers Oskar and Emilie Schindler

November 9, 2016

Factory shown in Schlindler’s List will be turned into a Memorial Site

Filed under: Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:04 am
Oskar Schlindler

Oskar Schlindler

I have written several blog posts under the tag Schindler’s List: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/schindlers-list/

According to a news article which you can read here, Schindler’s Factory will soon be turned into a memorial site:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/09/schindlers-list-factory-turned-into-holocaust-memorial-czech

I wrote about Schindler’s List on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01.html

 

February 6, 2016

Holocaust survivor who was on Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 7:38 am

I have a section on my scrapbookpages.com website about Schindler’s List, which you can read at  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01C.html

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler

This morning, I read a news story about Rena Finder, a woman who survived the Holocaust because she was saved by Oskar Schindler; she had the good fortune to have been put on the famous Schindler’s List.

Rena Finder greets Steven Spielberg Photo credit: Reuters

Rena Finder greets Steven Spielberg [Photo credit: Lucas Jackson – Reuters]

The following quote is from the news story cited above:

Begin quote
[Rena] Finder was among 300 women at Auschwitz in imminent danger of being sent to gas chambers. Schindler received word of them, and he convinced Nazi commanders that he needed workers for his factory in Brünnlitz, in Czechoslovakia. But his usual bribes (mainly alcohol) did not work.

So, Finder said, he sent his secretary, Hilde Albrecht, with everything from food and diamonds to black-market goods to allow Finder and the 299 other women to leave Auschwitz [Birkenau] in 1944.

[You can read about Hilde Albrecht and Oskar Schindler on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler ]

Finder said she was there for 3½ weeks, but “3½ weeks in Auschwitz was a very long time.” Her father was killed there, but she and her mother escaped, with Schindler’s help.

Schindler — whom she described as an outgoing, friendly and handsome man with a great smile — a few weeks earlier had help save 700 men from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, where they had spent a week.

“He had papers that these workers were to come to Czechoslovakia,” Finder said of Schindler.

“We left the way we came, on a train. This time they didn’t pack us as much. This time I remember we were able to sit on the floor.”

Movie director Steven Spielberg made Schindler’s compassion known internationally in the 1993 film “Schindler’s List,” based on the 1982 book “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally.

“Schinder’s List” received 12 Academy Award nominations and won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg.

End quote

I have written several blog posts which are under the tag Schindler’s List: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/schindlers-list/

December 28, 2015

My blog posts about the movie Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:03 am
Photo of the real Oskar Schindler

Photo of the real Oskar Schindler

I check the stats for my blog every morning to see what people have been reading. This morning, I noticed that my blog posts about the movie Schindler’s List have been getting a lot of hits.

A scene from the movie entitled Schindler's List

A scene from the movie entitled Schindler’s List

I have written many blog posts about this movie which I have grouped under the tag Schindler’s List:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/schindlers-list/

I have also written about Schindler’s List on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01C.html

My photo of the place where scenes in Schindler's List were filmed

My photo of the place where scenes in Schindler’s List were filmed

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