Films that Promote Peace & Nonviolence
1) "...Your giving them hope, you shouldn't do that...that's cruel.": Wav 31 KB
2) "Understand, if this factory ever produces a shell that can actually be fired, I'll be very unhappy...": Wav 23 KBSchindler's List
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Based on a true story, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List stars Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, a German businessman in Poland who sees an opportunity to make money from the Nazis' rise to power. He starts a company to make cookware and utensils, using flattery and bribes to win military contracts, and brings in accountant and financier Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) to help run the factory. By staffing his plant with Jews who've been herded into Krakow's ghetto by Nazi troops, Schindler has a dependable unpaid labor force. For Stern, a job in a war-related plant could mean survival for himself and the other Jews working for Schindler. However, in 1942, all of Krakow's Jews are assigned to the Plaszow Forced Labor Camp, overseen by Commandant Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), an embittered alcoholic who occasionally shoots prisoners from his balcony. Schindler arranges to continue using Polish Jews in his plant, but, as he sees what is happening to his employees, he begins to develop a conscience. He realizes that his factory (now refitted to manufacture ammunition) is the only thing preventing his staff from being shipped to the death camps. Soon Schindler demands more workers and starts bribing Nazi leaders to keep Jews on his employee lists and out of the camps. By the time Germany falls to the allies, Schindler has lost his entire fortune -- and saved 1100 people from likely death. Schindler's List was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won seven, including Best Picture and a long-coveted Best Director for Spielberg, and it quickly gained praise as one of the finest American movies about the Holocaust. Mark Deming
------------------TV Guide Review: The seven Academy Awards and virtually unanimous acclaim accorded to SCHINDLER'S LIST were entirely merited. Director Steven Spielberg has achieved something close to the impossible--a morally serious, aesthetically stunning historical epic that is nonetheless readily accessible to a mass audience.
In 1941, the Jews of Nazi-occupied Kracow are dispossessed of their businesses and herded into a tiny, squalid ghetto. Small-time entrepreneur Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a gentile, conceives of a get-rich-quick scheme that involves Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), an accountant and member of the local judenrat (Jewish council), and an enamelware plant where cheap labor is supplied by ghetto Jews.
Stern sees a way to save Jewish lives: factory employees, classified as essential workers, are exempt from "resettlement" in concentration camps. Against his better judgment, Schindler looks the other way as Stern adds musicians, academics, rabbis, and cripples to the factory rolls. Within a year, the Final Solution is well underway, and a monstrous Nazi commandant, Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), brutally liquidates the ghetto and ships surviving Jews to a forced labor camp. Schindler bribes the cynical Goeth to permit re-establishment of the factory within camp walls, and business continues more or less as before. But Schindler is changing, and at great risk to himself, he begins to take an active role in protecting his workers.
Though based on fact, SCHINDLER'S LIST is neither history, nor the "definitive" film version of the Holocaust some reviewers wanted it to be. It's an intensely personal meditation on the nature of heroism and moral choice, rendered on the kind of rich, dreamlike cinematic canvas that only Hollywood can realize. Far from a departure for Spielberg, SCHINDLER'S LIST is the fulfillment of his singular talent for achieving high seriousness--as with EMPIRE OF THE SUN--within and despite the constraints of corporate filmmaking.
Thomas Keneallyís Schindlerís List is the historical account of Oskar Schindler and his heroic actions in the midst of the horrors of World War II Poland. Schindlerís List recounts the life of Oskar Schindler, and how he comes to Poland in search of material wealth but leaves having saved the lives of over 1100 Jews who would most certainly have perished. The novel focuses on how Schindler comes to the realization that concentration and forced labor camps are wrong, and that many people were dying through no fault of their own. This realization did not occur overnight, but gradually came to be as the business man in Oskar Schindler turned into the savior of the Jews that had brought him so much wealth. Schindlerís List is not just a biography of Oskar Schindler, but it is the story of how good can overcome evil and how charity can overcome greed.
Schindlerís List begins with the early life of Oskar Schindler. The novel describes his early family life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his adolescence in the newly created state of Czechoslovakia. It tells of his relationship with his father, and how his father left his mother. His mother is also described in great detail. Like many Germans in the south, she was a devout Catholic. She is described as being very troubled that her son would take after her estranged husband with his negligence of Catholicism. Oskar never forgave Hans, his father, for his abandonment of his mother , which is ironic considering that Oskar would do the same with his wife Emilie. In fact Hans and Oskar Schindlerís lives would become so much in parallel that the novel describes their relationship as ďthat of brothers separated by the accident of paternity.Ē Oskarís relationship with Emilie is also described in detail as is their marriage. The heart of the novel begins in October 1939 when Oskar Schindler comes to the Polish city of Cracow. It has been six weeks since the Germanís took the city, and Schindler sees great opportunity as any entrepreneur would. For Schindler, Cracow represents a place of unlimited possibilities because of the current economic disorder and cheap labor. Upon his arrival in Cracow he meets Itzak Stern, a Jewish bookkeeper. Schindler is very impressed with Stern because of his business prowess and his connections in the business community. Soon Schindler and Stern are on their way to the creation of a factory that would run on Jewish labor. Around this time, the persecution of the Jews of Poland begins with their forced relocation into ghettoes. This turns out to be timely for Schindler as now he is able to get very cheap labor. The next few years would go well for Schindler and his factory for they turned a great profit. In fact he made so much money that he is quoted as saying, ďIíve made more money than I could possibly spend in a lifetime.Ē His workers were also very happy. This is because ďSchindlerís JewsĒ were treated as humans as opposed to being treated as animals. For them, working in Schindlerís factory was an escape from the ghetto and from much German cruelty. They loved Schindler so much that his factory became known as a haven throughout the Jewish community.
However, things began to go sour for Schindler, when the Germans ordered the liquidation of the ghettoes. Soon all of the Jews in the Cracow ghetto were relocated to the Plaszow labor camp. By this time Schindler had grown so affectionate toward his Jewish workers that he refused to hire Poles, and instead sought of a way to keep using the Jews that he had grown so accustomed to. As the Cracow Jews were relocated to the Plaszow labor camp, Oskar Schindler came into direct dealings with the campís director, Amon Goeth. He did not like Amon, but he tried to get in on his best side in order to keep using his Jews in his factory. Amon agreed to let Schindler use them, and thus saving his Jews from some of the harshness of the Plaszow labor camp. As the war began to go badly for the Germans, they decided to accelerate their ďfinal solutionĒ by sending the Jews to more sinister concentration camps such as Auchwitz. This is when Oskar Schindler finally comes to the realization that he had the power to help his people. The now enlightened Schindler decides to use his entire fortune to buy the lives of the Schindlerjuden in order to save them from the gas chambers of Auchwitz. This is how Schindlerís list came to be. 1100 Jewish names that had in some way touched his life were put on a list and bought. His plan was to send the 1100 Jews to his newly created ammunitions factory in his native Czechoslovakia. However, Schindlerís plan does not go smoothly for an entire train load of his women were accidentally shipped to Auchwitz instead of to his factory. Schindler then uses more of his diminishing financial recourses to try to get his Jews out of Auchwitz. He succeeds in doing this, and thus the Schindlerjuden have escaped the worse. Meanwhile in Czechoslovakia his plan continues in that he tricks the Germans into thinking that they were going to produce quality ammunition, but instead not one good shell was ever produced to help the German army. Gratefully, within a few months Hitler was dead and the Germans were defeated. Unfortunately, Oskar Schindler was now penniless for he had given everything in order to save as many Jews as possible.
Thomas Keneally wrote Schindlerís List to be more than just the story of a man and his heroic deeds, but also to show todayís world of the dangers of hatred. He emphasizes this latter point through his descriptions of how cruelly the Nazis treated the Jews. Keneally also tries to point out how one man can make a difference as is the case with Oskar Schindler. However, perhaps Keneallyís greatest objective with Schindlerís List is that the world should never forget Oskar Schindler and what he did for the Jews as well as for mankind. Schindlerís impact is so great that even the numerical facts are astonishing. In fact if one compares the number of direct descendants of the Schindlerjuden to the number of Jews alive in Poland after 1945, it is evident that there are more Schindlerjuden today than the total number of Jews in 1945 Poland. This statistical fact shows how greatly Schindler, who died in 1974, will be missed. Perhaps Keneally shares the Schindlerjudenís remorse for their savior by the way he ends his novel. Keneally ends the novel with the somber line, ďHe was mourned on every continent.Ē
Schindlerís List had a great effect on me personally. I thought that Thomas Keneally did an excellent job in making the reader feel the events of the time. Perhaps what I found to be most interesting in Schindlerís List is a question of morality. I began asking myself the question, would I be as heroic as Oskar Schindler if I were in his shoes? I think that this is exactly what Keneally wanted us to do; he wanted us to look at ourselves and analyze whatís inside. Historically, I find Schindlerís List to be very important not only because it is tells of a shameful time in western civilization, but also because the events that took place in the novel occurred only yesterday. After all fifty years is almost nothing in historical terms. Perhaps the novelís greatest strength is this feeling that the events that transpired in Schindlerís List are in fact modern history.
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Format: Paperback, 400pp.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks
Pub. Date: December 1993
Edition Desc : MVI TIE IN
In a new hardcover edition, here is the story of how Oskar
Schindler, a German-Catholic industrialist, came to save more Jews from the gas
chambers than any other single person during WWII. It is the story that Steven
Spielberg turned into a seven Academy Award-winning film, and a milestone of
Holocaust literature that touches the hearts and provokes the mind of all who
read it. Photos throughout.