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Who Owns Schindler’s List?

A preliminary hearing starts Wednesday in Jerusalem in a legal case that pits the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre against the estate of Oskar Schindler’s widow to decide who owns the legacy of the man who saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazis.

Schindlers List

Who owns Schindler’s list? That is the question to be decided by a Jerusalem court, which holds a preliminary hearing on the case on April 15. A document from almost exactly 70 years ago lies at the heart of the legal battle – dated April 18, 1945, it lists the names of 801 Jewish workers who German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved from extermination by asking the Nazi authorities to allow them to work at his factories.

The rights to this document and others are being claimed by both Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial centre and Erika Rosenberg, who is both a beneficiary and the executor of the estate of Emilie Schindler, Oskar’s wife.

Yad Vashem, which describes itself as the Jewish people’s “living memorial to the Holocaust”, is dedicated to safeguarding the remembrance of the tragedy for future generations. In 1999 the Jerusalem-based centre received a suitcase sent from Germany containing thousands of documents, including two of the four remaining copies of Schindler’s list, of which there were originally seven copies typed on onionskin paper.

The suitcase – of incalculable historical and financial value – was in the possession of Anne-Marie Staehr, who was once Oskar Schindler’s mistress. Schindler left for Argentina with his wife after the war, returning alone to Germany in 1957, where he died in anonymity in October 1974.

The suitcase and the list found its way to the press in Germany, where it made headlines, and was eventually sent to Yad Vashem by German journalist Ulrich Sahm, a Jerusalem resident and a former correspondent for the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” newspaper.

On these events, both warring parties agree. But the two sides differ on who held the rightful claim to the documents prior to their arrival in Israel.

Rosenberg alleges that Staehr absconded with the documents from Schindler’s home in Frankfurt after his death and kept them in the suitcase until her own death in 1984. Forgotten in the attic of her house in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, they were found 15 years later by Staehr’s son.

Emilie Schindler, who still lives in Argentina, learned of the existence of the documents through the media. She asked Rosenberg, then her friend and biographer, to retrieve them and bring them to her in Buenos Aires. But when Rosenberg confronted the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” to demand it hand over the documents, she was told the suitcase had already been sent to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The Israeli news daily “Haaretz” cites Rosenberg as saying that Emilie fell ill over the affair, and that she called it “a huge injustice”. “I saved Jews, together with my husband, and now the Jews have taken the suitcase away from me. You must demand it, even after my death,” she allegedly said.

In 2001 Emilie returned to Germany, where she died without leaving any descendents. Like her husband, she was posthumously bestowed with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”, the highest civilian honour that Israel grants to Gentiles who saved Jews during World War II.

As the designated executor of Emilie Schindler’s estate, Rosenberg sought in vain to fulfill her wishes by retrieving the documents. In 2013 she filed a legal suit against Yad Vashem, which she accused of theft.

Rosenberg’s lawyer, Naor Yair Maman, makes a distinction between the legal case and its historical ramifications.

“Even if you believe that, from the historical-academic perspective, it would be preferable that the documents remain in Yad Vashem, you have no right whatsoever to claim title to someone else’s property,” he told AFP.

Yad Vashem says it obtained the documents legally and has always acted with transparency. The memorial centre contends that Oskar Schindler gave the suitcase in question to Staehr voluntarily – and that it had, therefore, never belonged to Emilie.

“Yad Vashem holds the documents lawfully and has acted the whole time openly and publicly,” it said in a statement to AFP, adding that it was opposed to “trading in Holocaust-era documents”. Citing their historical value, the centre said the documents must remain in the public domain.

Yad Vashem requested a dismissal of the charges in February, a request that was denied by the Jerusalem District Court.

“We will hold our debate with Rosenberg in court to ensure these documents do not reach the private hands of those who are not their legal owners and whose interests are unclear,” Yad Vashem subsequently vowed.

Rosenberg has always defended her intentions, saying she only wants to “preserve, protect and restore the historical data”.

In July 2013, another copy of Schindler’s list – which notably inspired the eponymous film by American director Steven Spielberg – was sold on eBay for $3 million.

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April 15, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, News, This Day In History | , , , | Leave a comment

Irena Sendler

When we hear stories about people who saved the Jewish people during the Holocaust, we always hear about the men. Everyone knows who Oskar Schindler is yet very few know who Irena Sendler is, even though she saved over 1,500 more Jews than Schindler.

Irena Sendler was born Irena Krzyżanowska on February 15, 1910 in Warsaw, Poland to Dr.Stanisław Krzyżanowski, and his wife, Janina. Her father died in February 1917 from typhus that he had caught while treating patients who others refused to treat for fear of catching the disease, among them many Jewish patients.

In 1939 when the Germans first invaded Poland, she started small by giving much needed food and shelter to Jews Once the Warsaw Ghetto was erected in 1940, Sendler could no longer help isolated Jews, so she started saving children. Sendler used her papers as a Polish social worker and papers from one of the workers of the Contagious Disease Department to enter the Warsaw Ghetto. Each time she entered the ghetto she left with the children.
She soon had a network of 10 people working with her. They made sure to inform the families caring for the rescued children that they must return them to their Jewish families after the war. To ensure this she kept very detailed records as to where each child was placed in jars buried in a neighbor’s backyard.

On October 20, 1943, Sendler was arrested and was placed in the notorious Piawiak prison, where she was constantly questioned and tortured. During the questioning, she had her legs and feet fractured. She refused to answer and was sentenced to death. Her executioner was bribed by others and helped her escape. Regardless, The Germans boisterously broadcast her execution. Posters were put up all over the city with the false news of her death.

She lived hidden for the remaining years of the war, just like the children she rescued. When the war was finally over, she dug up the bottles and began the job of finding the children and trying to find a living parent. Almost all the parents of the children Sendler had saved, died at the Treblinka death camp. Some children were sent to Israel and many others were adopted by Polish families.

Sendler was announced as the 2003 winner of the Jan Karski award for Valor and Courage. The announcement was made on July 24, 2003 and the award ceremony took place later that year in October 23 in Washington, D.C. She died on May 12 , 2008 in Warsaw, Poland.

During Passover, as the Jewish community celebrates their cultures and freedom from slavery, let us remember a woman and her jars who saved so many during the Holocaust.

April 8, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, This Day In History | , , , | Leave a comment

Schindlers List: The Girl in the Red Coat

A little girl in a red coat becomes the catalyst which saves the lives of more than 1,000 Jews destined for the concentration camps in Steven Spielberg’s celebrated film Schindlers List.

But for the now 24-year-old woman who played the role in 1993, the iconic appearance left her traumatised for years.Oliwia Dabrowska was three years old when she starred as the girl in the red coat – the only flash of colour in the otherwise black-and-white film.

via Schindlers List: Trauma of girl in the red coat who became holocaust icon | Mail Online.

A Girl From Schindlers List by Stella Muller-Madej

 

March 5, 2013 Posted by | This Day In History | , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow Ghetto opened 72 years ago this week

IN SCHINDLERS STEPS – This day in history – 1941 – The beginning of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow

One of the five main ghettos created by Nazi Germany during their occupation of Poland in WWII. Before the war, the city was an influential cultural centre for the 60,000 – 80,000 Jews that resided there.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | This Day In History, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Photo Gallery

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who, after witnessing with horror the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Kraków in March 1943, began employing Jewish workers in his enamel factory at 4 Lipowa St., which supplied metal goods deemed necessary to the war effort to the German army. Schindler managed to save more than 1,200 Jews from the death camps at great risk and expense to himself. Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List” was filmed almost entirely in Kraków. More information on Oskar Schindler can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

I didn’t take too many pictures at the museum as it was incredibly dark inside and really didn’t lend itself to photography layout wise, but what few I did are displayed in this small sub-gallery.

via Oskar Schindler’s Factory Photo Gallery by Helen Betts at pbase.com.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Recommendations | | Leave a comment

Stella Muller-Madej ‘A Girl from Schindler’s List’ dies age 83.

Stella Müller-Madej, a Holocaust survivor who wrote about being saved by Oskar Schindler, has died.

Stella Muller-Madej

Müller-Madej died on Jan. 29 in Krakow at the age of 83. She was born in 1930 in Krakow. In March 1941, she was moved to the Krakow Ghetto and in 1942 to the Nazi camp in Plaszow. She entered Auschwitz in October 1944. Thanks to the efforts of her uncle, Müller-Madej was listed with her family on Schindler’s list and along with other prisoners was sent to the Brunnlitz factory.

After the war she returned to Krakow, and in 1991 she published a book, “A Girl From Schindler’s List.” In 2001, she published the second part of her memoirs, “A Girl From Schindler’s List: Postwar Years,” which describes the life of her family after the war and the impact of the trauma of World War II on her life.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, News | , , , | 1 Comment

Schindler’s List – 20th Anniversary Edition

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2013 marks the 20th Anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning film Schindler’s List, and Universal is acknowledging the milestone by giving the film a Blu-ray release with a 20th Anniversary Limited Edition. Set to arrive in March, the Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the film on Blu-ray and DVD as well a digital copy and UltraViolet.

Directed by Spielberg, the 1993 black-and-white drama is based on Thomas Keneally’s novel Schindler’s Ark and stars Liam Neeson as the title character Oskar Schindler, a Catholic man and member of the Nazi party who puts his life and career on the line by employing 1,100 Jews in his factory during the Holocaust. Also among the cast are Ben Kingsley, playing Schindler’s accountant, and Ralph Fiennes, who played a cruel Nazi commander.

Here’s the trailer for the Blu-ray…

For its Blu-ray release, the film has been “meticulously restored from the original film negative in pristine high definition, supervised by Steven Spielberg.” Bonus features include “Voices from the List,” a documentary that includes testimonies from Holocaust survivors. And also “USC ShoahFoundation Story with Steven Spielberg,” which focuses on how Spielberg was inspired by the film to start the USC Shoah Foundation, an institute for visual history and education. 

It’s hard to believe the film is turning twenty this year. Given the anniversary, the timing seems right for the movie to make its Blu-ray debut, and for the film to get touched up for high def. It’s certainly one of the more moving historical pictures in movie history and well worth owning. 

Universal has the release date for Schindler’s List 20th Anniversary Limited Edition set for March 5, 2013. Below is a look at the box art for the set.

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LINKED POST

A Girl from Schindler’s List

January 16, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Youngest Oskar Schindler’s List Survivor Dies Aged 83

Krakow Tours

Leon Leyson, the youngest among the 1,100 Jews saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler during World War II, died over the weekend at his southern California home. He was 83 years old. His daughter told the Los Angeles Times that her father passed away after a four-year battle with lymphoma.

Schindler saved Jews by telling SS officers that they were his employees and necessary for his factories. He called Leyson “the Little Leyson” because the boy, who went to work in Schindler’s factory at age 13, needed to stand on boxes to work the machinery.

Leyson’s mother and brothers were also saved by Schindler, who died in 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem. He was named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1993.

LINKED POSTS

Remembering Oskar Schindler

Schindlers List Review

Schindlers List For Sale

The Krakow Ghetto

A Girl From Schindlers List

January 15, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering Oskar Schindler

KRAKOW TOURS – On the day that the world is remembering and reminiscing about John Lennon (today would have been  his 70th birthday), another internationally famous figure should be remembered also.

On this day (9th October) in 1974 Oskar Schindler died.

Oskar Schindler rose to the highest level of humanity, walked through the bloody mud of the Holocaust without soiling his soul, his compassion, his respect for human life –  and gave his Jews a second chance at life. He miraculously managed to do it and pulled it off by using the very same talents that made him a war profiteer – his flair for presentation, bribery, and grand gestures.

In those years, millions of Jews died in the Nazi death camps like Auschwitz, but Schindler’s Jews miraculously survived.

To more than 1200 Jews Oscar Schindler was all that stood between them and death at the hands of the Nazis. A man full of flaws like the rest of us – the unlikeliest of all role models who started by earning millions as a war profiteer and ended by spending his last pfennig and risking his life to save his Jews. An ordinary man who even in the worst of circumstances did extraordinary things, matched by no one. He remained true to his Jews, the workers he referred to as my children. In the shadow of Auschwitz he kept the SS out and everyone alive.

Oskar Schindler and his wife Emilie Schindler were inspiring evidence of courage and human decency during the Holocaust. Emilie was not only a strong woman working alongside her husband but a heroine in her own right. She worked indefatigably to save the Schindler-Jews – a story to bear witness to goodness, love and compassion.

Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of the Schindler-Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are between 3,000 and 4,000 left.

Oskar Schindler spent millions to protect and save his Jews, everything he possessed. He died penniless. But he earned the everlasting gratitude of the Schindler-Jews. Today his name is known as a household word for courage in a world of brutality – a hero who saved hundreds of Jews from Hitler’s gas chambers.

Schindler died in Hildesheim in Germany October 9, 1974. He wanted to be buried in Jerusalem. As he said: My children are here ..

October 9, 2010 Posted by | Events, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Hollywood Becomes History

Some fantastic photographs here of the area in and around the Liban Quarry, site of one of the working quarries used by the nazi’s for the prisoners from the nearby work camp of Płaszów. And used during the filming of Shindlers List as a mock up of the Płaszów camp.

Krakow Tours’ Schindlers Steps walk takes you through this area and includes many other interesting sites from Schindlers time in the area seen and locations used in Spielberg’s film.

When Hollywood Becomes History More Works from the Płaszów series… (click on an image to see them larger) … Read More

via Patrick Hough Photography

August 5, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tatra Beer is big problem for the Slovakians – sorry I mean Bear

KRAKOW TOURS – A large bear is rampaging on the Polish-Slovakian border, in the Tatra National Park (TPN), and has already attacked some horses and two lumberjacks, one on either side of the border.

The Slovakians have apparently issued orders to shoot the animal if found on their side of the mountains, but the Poles have a more humane approach to the problem. Workers from the TPN have prepared a special cage which they hope to lure the aggressive mammal into.

“If he goes into the cage, we’ll put him to sleep for a while, carry out some genetic testing, establish its sex, age and weight, attach a collar and then wake him up and let him go. Then we’ll know from an online signal where the bear is to an accuracy of 5m,” park director Pawel Skawinski told reporters.

This will enable TPN workers to manage the animal and enable them to warn tourists and mountain walkers away from areas where the bear is active. In extreme circumstances, park officers are ready to use plastic bullets against the marauding beast. “He won’t be killed by us,” Skawinski guaranteed.

The park director has three hypotheses as to why the animal is behaving so aggressively: either the bear is injured, or it has been fed by people and no longer fears them, or – an extremely rare occurrence – the bear is a natural born killer.

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz thieves NO SHOW for prison sentence.

KRAKOW TOURS – The three men jailed for stealing the Auschwitz sign are missing after being let out of jail on compassionate leave.

Two of the men, brothers Lukasz and Rodoslaw M., had been entrusted with weekend passes in order to visit their ill mother. The third man, Pawel S., had also been allowed out, to organise wedding plans with his fiancée. But police have confirmed that all three have failed to return to the jail in Wroclaw and arrest warrants have now been issued by Krakow’s District Court.

The men had been sentenced for their roles in the theft of the famous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign that sits above the entrance gate to the Nazi death camp in December last year.

Police are now worried that their no show could affect the outcome of the case against Anders Hogstrom, the man who is believed to have plotted and staged the entire theft. Hogstrom, who founded Sweden’s anti-immigrant National Socialist Front in 1994, was extradited to Poland this month to face trial – with most of the evidence based on statements from the men who are now missing.

The former neo-Nazi leader has pleaded innocent, stating that he was merely asked to collect the sign from the Polish gang in order to pass it onto a buyer. If convicted of the crime, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schindler’s List For Sale $2.2 Million

KRAKOW TOURS – Oskar Schindlers List, Krakow Tours.Schindler, the Czech businessman made famous by Stephen Spielberg for saving 1,200 Jews from the concentration camps, made 7 copies of his life-saving list.

The whereabouts of two of them are unknown, the Israeli Holocaust Museum has two, another is in a public archive in Koblenz, Germany, another is in the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and the final extant list belongs to the Stern family, descendants of Schindler’s accountant and right hand man, Itzhak Stern.

After two years of negotiations with historic document dealer Gary Zimet of MomentsInTime.com, the Stern family has put that last known privately-held copy on the market. The price is a cool $2.2 million.

“It’s printed on onion-skin paper,” Zimet said. “It’s remarkable given the age and the paper. It’s in excellent shape.”

“This is the only remaining copy left in private hands,” Zimet said. “The rest are in museums.”

While Zimet expects that many museums will be interested in obtaining the list, he notes that the high price will require a patron to step forward. “These days, museums are all broke,” Zimet said.

Several copies of the list were made between 1944 and 1945. Every time Schindler submitted a new (and longer) list of employees to be spared the camps, he kept a carbon copy. According to the Stern family, this particular list of 801 names dated 18/04/1945 was the second to last one Schindler made.

Here’s hoping someone with cash could use the tax write-off and donate it to a public institution.

March 23, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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