Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi party and enjoyed his wealth. It seems surprising that this womanizing war profiteer would become a savior to approximately 1,100 Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler owned an enamelware factory and hired many Jews that lived in and around the Krakow area because they were very cheap workers. Schindler had to pay 5 RM (reichmarks) for women and unskilled works and 7.5 RM for skilled workers to the SS. By employing these people, he was helping himself financially. He took advantage of the potential profit of owning a successful business in wartime and his enterprise prospered. He made quite a profit, but most of his capitol was made on the black market.
Schindler began as a womanizing and immoral man who only cared about his personal gain. He was not faithful to his wife and had many mistresses. His wife Emilie did not live with him for most of their marriage because of it, but she was never unfaithful or wanted to divorce him because of her religious motives.
Schindler, who was initially only concerned with making money and gaining power, underwent a change of motivation and chose to use his resources to help the individuals that he once took advantage of. At first Schindler’s factory and the Plaszow camp were separate. Schindler then bought land around his factory to make a sub-camp of Plaszow. Many Jews in the original part of the camp wanted to go to Schindler’s camp because the conditions were better there. The soup was thicker, the bread was better (He spent 50,000 zl a month for food. $360,000 total.), and there were no beatings. It was a haven for Schindler’s ‘essential workers’. (Keneally, page 202, 203)
After Schindler’s camp was finished, he used a lot of his money to help save individuals. “Oskar would pay out to major and minor SS officials during 1943 to prevent them from recommending the closure of the Emalia camp”, and save the workers. (Keneally, page 228)
Osker’s post war life (in Argentina). Bankruptcy and his failing marriage sent him to Germany and Israel, where 800 people where waiting for him at the airport. When the press in Germany wrote about him, his life became worse and there was an attack on him. He returned to Israel again. There were many reunions with his Schindler Jews. He wanted to be buried in Israel so they granted his wish when he died of a heart attack in 1974.
According to this documentary: Israelien press showed the contrast between Schindler and Adolf Eichman, also the German press wrote in this time about him. In 1963 an heroic article about him was written.
The reward he got after from the Jews wasn’t given in 1945, but 2 decades later.
*This clip shows Oskar Schindler as he was before his experiences with the Schindlerjuden. He was a material man, obsessed with his civil status and flaunting his wealth.
*As the events at Plaszow concentration camp developed, so did the moral character of Oskar Schindler. This clip shows the emotional change that happened within him after his listed Jews were liberated. (The events in this scene aren’t entirely true. The Jews did thank him but they weren’t all there in a culmination at the time.)