“Schindler gave me my life, and I tried to give him immortality”, are the words of Leopold Pffeferberg, the man who inspired Thomas Keneally to pen Schindelr’s Ark and eventually Stephen Sperilberg to embark on his epic, academy award winning saga Schindler’s List.
Nothing is more compelling in life than human tragedy and its eventual triumph over tyranny and adversity. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, we are intrigued by it. When in real life, such a triumph does take place and in such trying circumstances, we take it personally. Thomas Keneally and Steven Speilberg showcased the lives and trials of a portion of the millions of Jews, whose civilization was at the brink of destruction, and was only thwarted because of “a few good men
” who did something.
What Oscar Schindler lacked in morality, he made up for in salvation. This is his strory.
As the compelling drama begins, Jews across Germany and other occupied territories at the time are being systematically “deported” to ghettos and then to Concentration Camps, where they will spend the rest of the war in squalid conditions, or be gassed to death as part of the Third Reich’s infamous “final solution”
Enter, Sudeten-German industrialist, Oskar Schindler, who like other financially driven economists then, believe the time is ripe to become war profiteers. He strides to any length to propagate his Deutche Emalewaren Fabrik(German Enamelware Factory) to become the epicenter of the War Machine. His scrupulous dealings in and out of the bedroom, takes him closer to the German Army’s Heirarchy, which in the end comes to his and the rescue of 1100 Jews.
It is Schindler’s accountant Itzakh Stern, who instigates the mass exodus of Jews from Ghetto’s and certain death, into Schindler’s factory as part of the “free” workforce and inspires Oskar Schindler to reap out the humanity within him. As Schindler discerns for himself, the “elaborate” plans laid out by Amon Goethe (Commandment of Plaszow) and the Nazi’s in general, we see a man in transition, no longer the secular, romantic, but someone forced to witness the wrath of war first hand. As thousands upon thousands of Jews are exterminated with heart wrenching ease, Schindler begins to question the validity of his existence and thus embarks on his pathway to salvation.
In the die hours of the War, Schindler is bathed in the arms of his extended “family” and then flees, leaving them to begin their arduous journey of grief and rebuilding.
The movie experience is cinematic brilliance. Spielberg’s rendition of the War, takes your heart and soul into the midst of tragedy. The Art direction and cinematography is the first of its kind and will leave viewers aghast with overflowing emotions, coupled with a haunting soundtrack that will leave some in tears.
The culmination of these are summarized in a scene where the Germans are deporting Jews from a Ghetto into Concentration Camps, and amidst the Black and White cinematography a little girl in a Red Hood wanders among the carnage into what seems to be a good hide out. Towards the end the little girl re-appears.
History truly does make such feates an act of immortality.