Schindlers List

May 1, 2010
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During the course of World War Two, two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe was annihilated. There were many people, such as Meip Gies, who hid Anne Frank, and Raoul Wallenberg, who saved about 100,000 Jews, who helped save Jewish people despite the risk of their own lives. The story Schindler’s List follows the life of Oskar Schindler during WWII. The story shows how Schindler’s indifference to the Jews changed to compassion. Oskar Schindler ends up saving over 1000 Jews from the Nazis. At the beginning of the war Schindler felt no compassion towards the Jews, but as the war progressed and Schindler saw the harshness of the Nazis his compassion towards the Jews increased.
Oskar Schindler was a greedy member of the Nazi party at the beginning of WWII. He cared for nothing but his mistresses and making money for himself. Near the beginning of the story Schindler only wants money. He told some wealthy Jews that their money would be worthless in the Ghetto so they should have given him their money to open a factory for himself. Taking advantage of wealthy Jews was only one of the times he cheated the Jews for their money. At one point in the story some of Schindler’s Jewish workers were being deported to a concentration camp. One of the deportees was Itzhak Stern, his accountant, who made everything flow smoothly for Schindler’s business. Schindler went to the station and bribed some of the guards to let Stern go free. When he initially pulls Stern off the train, it can be believed that this was an act of kindness, but it ended up, that all Schindler wanted was to keep making money; he felt no feelings for Stern’s life, he only cared for making money for himself. Schindler allowed the rest of the Jews to be deported. Schindler saw no reason to keep the Jews alive, if they did not matter to him. All Schindler cared about at the beginning of the war was his own needs. The lives of the Jews were not important
During the war Schindler saw how harsh the rest of the Nazi party was towards the Jews, and he began to realize what they really were doing was cruel. The arrival of Adam Goeth, an SS official who was the head of the local concentration camp, and the actions that he performed, helped change the way Schindler felt about the Jews. Goeth was treating the Jews as objects, trading them, beating them, and not showing any sign of compassion. When Schindler saw Goeth randomly shooting Jews from his balcony, he realized he was not an evil person like Goeth. He cared for money, but he did not want to harm anyone. Schindler fully realized Goeth’s evilness after he talked to Goeth’s maid Helen Hirsch. Schindler saw how Goeth treated her; she told him that Goeth beat her, and yelled at her for no reason. Schindler, from that moment on, kept seeing what the Nazis were really like. In addition after the concentration camp Plaszów was finished being built, the SS officials began to move all the Jews out of the Ghettos. High up on a hill Schindler and a mistress watched the chaos of the movement. They focused in on one little girl, the only one in color who was wandering around in the craziness of the Ghetto. She was walking as if nothing was going on around her. The red coat helped to display the helplessness of The Jewish people and how they could not have saved themselves they needed others help. The moment when Schindler completely changed his initial motives, was when Schindler saw this little girl wandering around, and then later saw her on the pile of dead bodies. He could no longer sit back and only care for money. Schindler had finally fully understood what the Nazis represented. Because of these events, Schindler turned from a greedy indifferent person, to a savior of the Jews.
At the end of the war, Schindler was completely against the German Army, and he wanted to help save the Jews. There were many places that his compassion towards Jews was evident. One example was when a woman came to him asking him if Schindler could save her parents. He was furious at first, thinking that she was trying to take advantage of his kindness. Later he realized that saving these Jews was the right thing to do and he saved her parents, which showed Schindler cared after all. Another example of Schindler’s compassion towards Jews was present was when all the Jews were being shipped to his factory. These Jews were extremely dehydrated, and the Nazi guards did not care that Jews were thirsty. Schindler tried to make a joke, saying that he should take the fire hose and spray inside all of the transport cars. This action seemed funny to the guards, but Schindler’s real motive was to give water to the Jews. Schindler still needed to maintain the trust of the Nazis or they would catch on to his changes motives. He was able to by keeping a playful joking attitude. One of the best examples of that Schindler’s compassion for the Jews was when he made the list of all the people he wanted in his factory. His memory for all of the names showed how much he really cared for the Jews. Schindler’s motive to save Helen Hirsch shows his dedication to save whomever he could. To save Helen he goes to Goeth and asks him to deal Helen over a game of cards, Schindler won and got to keep Helen. After using all his money to buy these Jews, Schindler’s compassion towards Jews was extremely evident.
As WWII progressed Oskar Schindler began to do what was necessary to help save the Jewish people. He was apathetic at the beginning of the war, but some events such as the harshness of Goeth and the movement of the Jews out of Krakow changed his initial motives. At the end of the movie he no longer cared about money, he only cared about saving as many Jews as possible. There have been many people that were alive during the Holocaust that helped save thousands of people. If those individuals decided not to help, there might have been another one million people dead. The actions of these rescuers saved the lives of people that could not have saved themselves. Schindler’s motives are a great example that an open mind, strong will and a strong heart can help save thousands.





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