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Schindler's List: An Emotionally Gripping Motion Picture Film (A Review)

Updated on March 14, 2015

Oskar Schindler's Factory, Enameled Vessels ‘Emalia’ - Krakow

Source

The Movie, by Steven Spielberg, available in DVD

Save One Person

Most of us can not conceive of saving even one person from likely death. How about saving 1,100 people while living in society in which casual death is a routine habit?

The Movie

"Schindler's List," released twenty years ago in February 1994, ultimately deals with this reality that is based on a true story. This film gained two Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for Steven Spielberg, nominated for 10 other Academy Awards and won five more, and won accolades as an outstanding American Holocaust movie.

My Personal Interest in this Story

My interest in the Oskar Schindler and this moive began on my first trip to Poland and Kakow. A well-read fellow traveler remarked that he had walked from the old city square to the site of the Plaszow Forced Labor Camp and Oskar Schindler's enamel factory. He also criticized the fact that we weren't making a stop at Auschwitz which is close to Krakow.

I did visit Auschwitz, now a memorial and museum, on my second trip to Poland. I would have stayed there all day wandering around with my camera and thoughts, if not for the fact that we had a schedule to keep. On my third trip to Krakow, my group visited a blown-glass Christmas ornament factory (subject of one of my hubpages ) just across the street from Schindler's old factory. At the time of my visit, I could only look through the gates. Now, portions of Schindler's Factory are a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. I anticipate visiting Krakow again and definitely hope to visit the Museum to see the progress.

I've also seen the film many times - not at one sitting, but each time broken into twos or threes. I needed time to decompress and process what I was watching. This is a fitting film to watch, probably in bits and pieces as I did, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 27 to April 28, 2013.


Holocaust Remembrance Day 2015

In the United States

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 2015

begins the evening of

Wednesday, April 15

and ends the evening of

Thursday, April 16

Auschwitz - Birkenau: Railway into the Camp

Source

THE PATH TO NAZI GENOCIDE - A 38-minute video produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Auschwitz - Birkenau

A
Auschwitz - Birkenau, Poland:
Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Więźniów Oświęcimia 20, 32-603 Oswiecim, Poland

get directions

"Schindler's List" in Blu-ray + Regular DVD + Digital HD

Setting the Scene

Over three hours long, "Schindler's List" is not an easy movie to watch. It deals with the Nazi occupation of Poland, and the roundup and imprisionment of Polish Jews in and around Krakow. This beautiful and fascinating European city was spared fundamental Nazi destructions which cities like Warsaw experienced.

Film in Black and White

The film was shot in black and white because Spielberg wanted it to come across to viewers in a documentary form. He resisted urging from studio administrators to do an archieval copy in color. This might be one of the best films that Spielberg has made. If one listens to his interviews, it is the one most emotionally gripping for him to have done.

Who was Oskar Schindler?

Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) is depicted as an entrepreneurial German businessman hoping to profit from the Nazi occupation of Krakow; Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), commandant of the Plaszow Forced Labor Camp, is seen as an alcoholic who shoots prisoners from the balcony of his confiscated manor house. Schindler sets up a factory to make enamel cookware and utensils. Ultimately, as Schindler's unpaid Jewish labor is forced into the labor camp under Gorth's control, Schindler realizes what is happening to his labor force and other Jews. He slowly develops a conscience.

Good versus Evil

The scene is set for a balancing act between the "good" German - Schindler - and the "evil" German - Goeth. Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), a Jewish accountant and financier helps Schindler to run the plant while altering accounting books in order to keep Jews from being sent to concentration camps. Schindler's factory is ultimately refitted for making ammunition. This keeps his work force intact and "working." Schindler begins demanding more Jews for his factory with Stern still cooking the books.

This tale doesn't end in Krakow. As the Allies moved east, Germans moved prisoners to the westward concentration camps and gas chambers. Schindler petitioned Goeth to let him move his factory to Brinnlitz in the Bohemian border lands with Poland. In October, 1944 1,200 Jews travelled out of Krakow to Brinnlitz.

War's End

Schindler's machinations took money for bribing and flattering officials. By the time that Germany fell to the Allies and the concentration camps were discovered, Schindler lost his initial monetary stake, plus whatever money he made selling wares from his factory.


Thomas Keneally's book "Schindler's Ark," published in 1982

Book description from Global Books site: Keneally, Thomas. Schindler's Ark. PUBLISHED: London. Hodder & Stoughton. 1982. EDITION: First Edition BINDING: Original black cloth with dust wrapper. PRICE: U.S.$220
Book description from Global Books site: Keneally, Thomas. Schindler's Ark. PUBLISHED: London. Hodder & Stoughton. 1982. EDITION: First Edition BINDING: Original black cloth with dust wrapper. PRICE: U.S.$220 | Source

Author Thomas Keneally tells of meeting with a Polish Jewish Holocaust survivor; his decision to write the story and his search for information about Oskar Schi

"Schindler's Ark," released in America as "Schindler's List," written by Australian Thomas Keneally and published in 1982. It was a 1982 Booker Prize-winner.

Symbolism in "Schindler's List"

For those who enjoy and look for symbolism in films, here are some items to keep an eye out for in this film. It is up to you to figure out what each means!

  • The girl in red;
  • Candles;
  • Water; and
  • The black and white film format

Days of Remembrance - 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Week for 2015 is April 12-19. A yearly theme is designated by the Museum for the observance. The U. S. Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.

Krakow Photo Gallery - © Georgene A. Bramlage

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking back to the Old City Square from a high building on Linden Street, near the Schindler Factory, Krakow. Major street in Krakow strewn with the bundles of deported Jews after the liquidation of the ghetto. [n]Gates of the Schindler Enamelware Factory, Lindern Street, Krakow. Train tracks leading into Auschwitz.  Scenes of these tracks were used in the movie "Schindler's List." Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow.  Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow.  Double enclosure.  Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Remains of buildings. Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Area where some prisoners were shot.
Looking back to the Old City Square from a high building on Linden Street, near the Schindler Factory, Krakow.
Looking back to the Old City Square from a high building on Linden Street, near the Schindler Factory, Krakow. | Source
Major street in Krakow strewn with the bundles of deported Jews after the liquidation of the ghetto. [n]
Major street in Krakow strewn with the bundles of deported Jews after the liquidation of the ghetto. [n] | Source
Gates of the Schindler Enamelware Factory, Lindern Street, Krakow.
Gates of the Schindler Enamelware Factory, Lindern Street, Krakow. | Source
Train tracks leading into Auschwitz.  Scenes of these tracks were used in the movie "Schindler's List."
Train tracks leading into Auschwitz. Scenes of these tracks were used in the movie "Schindler's List." | Source
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow.
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. | Source
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow.  Double enclosure.
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Double enclosure. | Source
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Remains of buildings.
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Remains of buildings. | Source
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Area where some prisoners were shot.
Auschwitz I concentration camp, near Krakow. Area where some prisoners were shot. | Source

Trailer for Schindler's List

Look carefully and you'll see that most people are trying to leave the city.

Does it make a difference to you where movies are filmed?

Are you a viewer who likes and wants realistic filming locations.

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Girl in the red coat.

Interesting and fascinating. This little girl in the red coat appears several times in the film.

What do you think about movies that deal with such dramatic themes?

Do you like movies with dramatic, and sometimes hard-to-watch, scenes?

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Emotional fulfillment near the film's end.

“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire” from the Talmud the book of Jewish law. If even one man shows humanity to another, he demonstrates the continuing existence of humanity in society—something utterly void in the actions of the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Have you seen the movie "Schindler's List?"

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Comments

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    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Thanks so very much for your comment. I hope that you enjoyed the article.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      This was a very difficult film to watch for me, but I'm glad I did.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @Brite-Ideas: Hi! Thanks so much for visiting my review of "Schindler's List" and your comments. Yes, my visit to Auschwitz was an incredible and overwhelming experience. And yes, this is a hard movie to watch. I have never watched "Sophie's Choice," but after reading your comment, I think perhaps I'll give it a go. And again, thanks for visiting.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      You've been to Auschwitz, incredible experience I'm sure - must have been very overwhelming - I can only imagine - I've watched this movie, but I can say it was one of the hardest movies I've ever had to watch - but anything with this topic is hard to witness, though necessary to witness - Another quality movie that stuck with me and I still find upsetting to think about is Sophie's Choice with Meryl Streep

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @TerriCarr: Hi, Thanks for visiting my lens about 'Schindler's List'. Yes, there are several parts of the movie that are very graphic; maybe a good reminder for some of us youngsters that war is not nice and tidy. If you want to pursue being able to watch the film - which is a long one - I'd like to suggest that you read or look through the book or others from which this movie was made to prepare yourself. Then, perhaps watch the movie in bits and pieces. There are also short segments on youtube. It took me several trips to Poland and lots of study to gear myself up to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 

      4 years ago

      Excellent and detailed review. I did not see the movie because I understood from many reviews that it is quite graphic in places.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @Colin323: Hi! Thanks for stopping by to read and and comment on this lens. Yes, this film, as Spielberg hoped it would be, is a deeply emotional film. And viewers need to be quick to catch glimpses of the child in read. Thanks again...

    • profile image

      Colin323 

      4 years ago

      Yes, I agree this is a remarkable and memorable film. The flashes of red into the black and white film (each time a different take on the girl in red) is brilliantly done. The extended real scenes of the Jewish survivors and relatives honouring Schindler's grave at the end was very moving. Excellent review.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @Nancy Hardin: Nancy Carol, Thank you so much for your kind and gracious comments. I feel as you do about people needing to know...a large part of negation is that it thumps people out of their comfort zones. It took me several trips to Poland before I could bring myself to visit Auschwitz because I didn't want to face my own reaction. Besides the three big groups - Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals - there were many nationalities, including Poles, interred.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Excellent review of a movie I feel everybody should see. We must never forget it, and there are now people who deny it ever happened. Movies, books and eyewitness accounts of these atrocities are needed for the purpose of knowing the truth. Thank you for your review. Putting it in my FB page and my blog.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @reasonablerobby: Certainly drives home the history behind this well-done film. This is probably one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. Sincere thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. All are appreciated.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 

      4 years ago

      Brilliant, terrifying and emotional. I still can't believe the complete barbarity of the commandant in this film. Shocking.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @GrammieOlivia: Yes, I knew you had written a review of this movie, after I wrote my review! I haven't had a chance to ready yours, but will do so soon. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      4 years ago

      Yes, I have a personal interest in this story, as I had also written a review.......nice lens.

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