D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Schindler’s List, 1993.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes.
Schindler’s List is Steven Spielberg’s multi award winning World War Two film that tells the story of Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand refugees of Polish-Jewish descent during the Holocaust.
The film is rated as one of the greatest ever made and ranks highly on any list of films that must be seen. Its massive award success included Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and five others, as well as seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes. The critical success was mirrored at the box office as the film brought in more than $321,000,000 worldwide and has been cited by many filmmakers as close to perfection.
The story follows Schindler (Neeson), a German businessman who arrives in Krakow with plans of becoming a war profiteer. At this time Jewish Poles were being relocated to Krakow ghetto by the German military and held in the area, unable to leave. Schindler, using his Nazi Party membership, military sponsorship and a few bribes, manages to acquire a factory and begins making war mess kits. However, with little or no knowledge on how to actually run this business he hires Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) to help him.
Stern uses his position as an official of Krakow’s Jewish Council to find Jewish businessmen who lend Schindler money for his factory in return for goods produced. Schindler also hires Jewish Poles to work in his factory rather than Catholic Poles, as he only has too pay a pittance to the SS in order to use them. Those that do work in Schindler’s factory are afforded more freedom and are allowed out of the ghetto.
With the factory being a big success Schindler reaps the benefits and praise of the Nazis whilst Stern handles the administrative side of the business. However, he comes to realise that the Nazis are committing unbelievable horrors against the Jewish people and so he falsifies documents deeming more and more people essential to the German war effort. This ensures that as many people as possible avoid being sent to concentration camps or executed as the Nazis order every Jew killed or moved to Auschwitz.
Schindler bribes a number of Nazi officials in order to keep his Jewish workers from being sent to Auschwitz and certain death. He compiles his list of skilled workers he needs in order to run his factory and goes about getting them saved.
Schindler’s List is a film you must see before you die, as it’s an unbelievable true story about how one man saved so many lives. At the end of the war there were less than 4000 Jews left alive in Poland, but due to the work of Oskar Schindler there are now over 6000 Jewish descendants of his factory workers. The film is touching, tragic, heartbreaking, beautiful and a real eye opener.