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Type of film: Drama, Historical, War, Epic, Biographical

Running time: 3:06:54

195 min | 185 min (TV)

Language: English, German, Polish, Hebrew

Director: Steven Spielberg


Oskar Schindler -

Played by Liam Neeson

The protagonist and eventual savior of approximately 1 ,1 0 0 Jews. The film follows
Schindlers progression from a callous, greedy war profiteer to a man willing to
sacrifice his fortune to save the lives of his Jewish factory workers. Schindler is a
womanizer and con artist who never hesitates to do something outside the law,
such as placing bribes, to get what he wants. His metamorphosis into a hero is
slow in coming. Initially, he is indifferent to the plight of the Jews and has little
concern for the moral issues at stake. However, he develops compassion for the
Jews and begins to see his factory workers as humans deserving of life. His
compassion ultimately compels him to save them at great personal risk.
Schindlers motives are never directly stated in the film, and the real-life
Schindler never offered an explanation.

Itzhak Stern -

Played by Ben Kingsley

Schindlers Jewish accountant and conscience. Stern is an intelligent man who
never loses his pride in the face of the violent and dehumanizing conditions the
Jews face under the Nazi regime. He is able to influence the good, moral side of
Schindler. Stern is the first to recognize that Schindlers factory can be a haven
for Jews. His paternalistic attitude toward his fellow Jews in the ghetto leads him
to take advantage of his position to save those who would otherwise be
exterminated. He initially expresses contempt for the materialistic Schindler but
gains respect for him as the profiteer changes. Sterns relationship with Schindler
contributes greatly to Schindlers decision to save the Schindlerjuden.

Amon Goeth -
Played by Ralph Fiennes
A Nazi soldier in charge of building of Plaszw work camp. Goeth is a cruel,
sadistic man deeply entrenched in Nazi philosophy. Goeth exhibits a true hatred
for the Jews, at times shooting them randomly from his balcony high above the
labor camp. He and Schindler share many common traits, such as greed and
callous self-centeredness, but Goeth gives himself totally to evil and hatred. He is
also deeply conflicted, torn between feelings of attraction and disgust for his
Jewish maid. Goeth represents the all-consuming hatred of the Nazi Party.

Emilie Schindler -

Played by Caroline Goodall

Oskar Schindlers wife. Emilie is a good and patient woman who loves Schindler
unconditionally, even as he cheats on her continually. She expresses only
exasperation upon finding another woman in Schindlers apartment but is visibly
hurt when she finds that the doorman does not even know Schindler is married.
Emilie has pride, however, and leaves Schindler in Poland because he cannot
promise to be faithful to her. She tells him to send chocolate to her at home in

Poldek Pfefferberg -

Played by Jonathan Sagalle

A Jewish smuggler and Schindlers black-market connection. Pfefferberg, whom
Schindler first approaches in a church, becomes Schindlers provider of black-
market luxury items. Pfefferberg is enterprising and determined to survive. During
the liquidation of the ghetto, he plans to escape through the sewers. Though his
wife, Mila, refuses to go in the sewers, he reassures her and goes to see if they
are clear. When he returns for her, she is gone. He uses his quick wit to save
himself in an encounter with Amon Goeth by pretending to be working under Nazi

Helen Hirsch -

Played by Embeth Davidtz

Amon Goeths Jewish maid, who lives a tortured life as the object of Goeths
desire and disgust. Helen Hirsch is a strong woman lost in despair, forced to
work for Goeth, whom she despises. She faces brutal, unpredictable beatings at
Goeths hands and begins to lose hope, accepting the probability of her own
death. She is representative of victims who experienced psychological abuse
under the Nazi regime.

Marcel Goldberg -

Played by Mark Ivanir

A friend of Poldek and a ghetto policeman. Goldberg is an opportunist and black
marketer and becomes a policeman after striking a deal with a Nazi. The job
pays well, which is all he cares about. Goldberg continues to be opportunistic
throughout the film, accepting bribes from Schindler via Stern to move Jews into
Schindlers factory.

Julian Scherner -

Played by Andrzej Seweryn

An SS officer whom Schindler bribes in order to gain the necessary permits for
the sale of his enamelware factory. Although Scherner is a member of the Nazi
Party and buys into all the beliefs of that party, he is not a sadist like Goeth.
Scherners total disregard for the plight of the Jews comes from indifference and
latent anti-Semitism. He represents the institutional evil that was the Third Reich.

Chaja and Danka Dresner -

Played by Miri Fabian and Anna Mucha

A mother and daughter who epitomize family bonds and loyalty. Chaja and
Danka are inseparable throughout the film. During the liquidation of the ghetto,
Chaja makes the ultimate sacrifice, forcing Danka to take the last hiding spot left
in a building. Danka, however, exhibits the same loyalty as she leaves the hiding
spot to find her mother. This mother and daughter represent the loyalty and
devotion of family.

Mr. and Mrs. Nussbaum -

Played by Michael Gordon and Aldona Grochal

A wealthy couple forced to vacate their apartment, which later becomes
Schindlers. The Nussbaums are rich and snobbish, initially disgusted with not
only their ghetto quarters but their country neighbors as well. However, they
quickly lose their snobbery as they realize that all the Jews in the ghetto are in
the same boat.

Rabbi Menasha Lewartow -

Played by Ezra Dagan

A man who serves as a rabbi prior to the Nazi invasion. Rabbi Lewartow, whom
Schindler saves, escapes execution at Goeths hands, and his inability to lead
religious ceremonies represents the oppression of the Jewish faith. The rabbi is
grateful and redeemed when Schindler, in the Czechoslovakian factory, tells him
to begin performing prayers again.

Regina Perlman -

Played by Bettina Kupfer

A woman who attempts to convince Schindler to save her parents. Regina lives
in Krakw and passes as a gentile in order to avoid Nazi capture. She is
desperate to save her parents and risks detection by dressing up and going to
Schindlers office to beg him for help. She is crushed when he refuses her, but
her spirit is redeemed as she later sees her parents enter the factory gate.
Location or setting: Poland (Country)

Date that film was shown I commercial theaters: March 9, 1994 (Philippines)

The relocation of Polish Jews from surrounding areas to Krakow begins in late 1939, shortly after the
outbreak of World War II, when the German Army defeats the Polish Army in three weeks. Oskar
Schindler (Liam Neeson), a successful businessman, arrives from Czechoslovakia in hopes of using the
abundant cheap labour force of Jews to manufacture enamelware for the German military. Schindler, an
opportunistic member of the Nazi party, lavishes bribes upon the army and SS officials in charge of
procurement. Sponsored by the military, Schindler acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits
and cooking paraphernalia. Not knowing much about how to properly run such an enterprise, he gains a
contact in Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), a functionary in the local Judenrat (Jewish Council) who has
contacts with the now-underground Jewish business community in the ghetto. They loan him the money
for the factory in return for a small share of products produced (for trade on the black market). Opening
the factory, Schindler pleases the Nazis and enjoys his new-found wealth and status as "Herr Direktor,"
while Stern handles all administration. Stern suggests Schindler hire Jews instead of Poles because they
cost less (the Jews themselves get nothing; the wages are paid to the Reich). Workers in Schindler's
factory are allowed outside the ghetto, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as
possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureaucracy, which saves them from being transported to
concentration camps, or even being killed.

Amon Gth (Ralph Fiennes) arrives in Krakow to initiate construction of a labor camp nearby, Paszw.
The SS soon liquidates the Krakow ghetto, sending in hundreds of troops to empty the cramped rooms
and shoot anyone who protests, is uncooperative, elderly, or infirmed, or for no reason at all. Schindler
watches the massacre from the hills overlooking the area, and is profoundly affected. He nevertheless is
careful to befriend Gth and, through Stern's attention to bribery, he continues to enjoy the SS's support
and protection. The camp is built outside the city at Paszw. During this time, Schindler bribes Gth into
allowing him to build a sub-camp for his workers, with the motive of keeping them safe from the
depredations of the guards. Eventually, an order arrives from Berlin commanding Gth to exhume and
destroy all bodies of those killed in the Krakow ghetto, dismantle Paszw, and to ship the remaining Jews
to Auschwitz. Schindler prevails upon Gth to let him keep "his" workers so that he can move them to a
factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, in Moravia -- away from the "final solution" now fully under way
in occupied Poland. Gth acquiesces, charging a certain amount for each worker. Schindler and Stern
assemble a list of workers that should keep them off the trains to Auschwitz.

"Schindler's List" comprises these "skilled" inmates, and for many of those in Paszw, being included
means the difference between life and death. Schindler also plays a game of high card draw for one
worker in particular, Helen Hirsch, who'd been serving as Gth's housekeeper and had been a victim of
his continual abuse. Gth is reluctant, hoping to run away with her but knowing that such an action would
result in his death as well as hers. He also floats the idea of simply executing her but finally decides to
play Schindler for Helen's life. Helen is among those who board the train to Brinnlitz.

All of the men on Schindler's list arrive safely at the new site, with the exception to the train carrying the
women and the children, which is accidentally redirected to Auschwitz. There, the women are directed to
what they believe is a gas chamber; after a harrowing experience where their hair is crudely cut off and
they are forced to strip, they see only water falling from the showers. The day after, the women are shown
waiting in line for work. In the meantime, Schindler had rushed immediately to Auschwitz to solve the
problem and to get the women out of Auschwitz; to this end he bribes the camp commander, Rudolf Hss
(Hans-Michael Rehberg), with a cache of diamonds so that he is able to spare all the women and the
children. However, a last problem arises just when all the women are boarding the train because several
SS officers attempt to hold some children back and prevent them from leaving. Schindler, there to
personally oversee the boarding, steps in and is successful in obtaining from the officers the release of
the children. Once the Schindler women arrive in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Schindler institutes firm controls on the
Nazi guards assigned to the factory; summary executions are forbidden, abuse of the workers is as well
and the Nazi guards are not allowed on the factory floor. Schindler also permits the Jews to observe the
Sabbath, and spends much of his fortune acquired in Poland bribing Nazi officials. In his home town, he
surprises his wife while she's in church during mass, and tells her that she is the only woman in his life
(despite having been shown previously to be a womanizer). She goes with him to the factory to assist
him. He runs out of money just as the German army surrenders, ending the war in Europe.

As a German Nazi and self-described "profiteer of slave labor," Schindler must flee the oncoming Soviet
Red Army. After dismissing the Nazi guards to return to their families, he packs a car in the night, and
bids farewell to his workers. They give him a letter explaining he is not a criminal to them, together with a
ring engraved with the Talmudic quotation, "He who saves the life of one man, saves the world entire."
Schindler is touched but deeply distraught, feeling he could've done more to save many more lives. He
leaves with his wife during the night, dressed in Polish prisoner clothes, posing as refugees. The
Schindler Jews, having slept outside the factory gates through the night, are awakened by sunlight the
next morning. A Soviet dragoon arrives and announces to the Jews that they have been liberated by the
Red Army. The Jews walk to a nearby town in search of food. A title card informs us that Schindler was
declared a "righteous person" by the Yad Vashem of Jerusalem, and himself planted a tree on the
Avenue of the Righteous in Israel, which still grows to this day. The fate of Gth is also shown; he was
captured near the German town of Bad Tolz and taken back to Paszw where, defiant to the end and
announcing his allegiance to Hitler, is hanged for crimes against humanity.

As the surviving Schindler Jews walk abreast, the frame changes to another of the Schindler Jews in the
present day (in color) at the grave of Oskar Schindler in Israel. The film ends with a procession of now-
aged Jews who worked in Schindler's factory, each of whom reverently sets a stone on his grave. The
actors portraying the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, also placing
stones on Schindler's grave as they pass. Actor Ben Kingsley escorts the late Itzhak Stern's wife and
Caroline Goodall escorts Schindler's wife in her wheelchair. The audience learns that the survivors and
descendants of the approximately 1,100 Jews sheltered by Schindler now number over 6,000. The
Jewish population of Poland, once numbering in the millions, was at the time of the film's release
approximately 4,000. In the final scene, a man (Neeson himself, though his face is not visible) places a
pair of roses on the grave, and stands contemplatively over it.