Oscar Schindler in Germany
Bronia Gunz spent
World War 2 largely under Schindler's protection: first at
Plaszow and later, at the factory in Brinnlitz,
She later recalled how Schindler told the
prisoners to dig graves to deceive the Nazis. But he
assured them he could save them and then he disappeared
for days. "We were digging the graves and thinking:
This is the end" Gunz said.
Then Schindler returned. "One day this beautiful,
gorgeous man shows up with a piece of paper, and he says:
Saved, no digging anymore ...
By 1944, when the workers on Schindler's list were
transferred to Brinnlitz, their feelings of security were
unshakeable. "Doubts? No, never!" insisted
Bronia Gunz. "He was for us like God."
Stella Müller-Madej, owes her life to Schindler's list.
She was 14 but registered as being 2 years older and as a
metal worker - all so she could survive as essential for
the war industry. Both she and her parents would not have
survived World War II without it. Aided by notes, diaries
and a vivid memory, she managed to capture her
recollections of the wartime period in a book: Through
the Eyes of a Child, which has been published in eight
countries. The book deserves a place next to Anne Frank's
Diary. She later told:
I’ll say is nothing poetic, but I will repeat till the
end of my days that the first time I was given life by my
parents and the second time by Oscar Schindler.
In ‘44 there were around 700 women transported from Płaszów,
300 of whom were on his list, and he fought for us like a
lion, because they didn’t want to let us out of
Auschwitz. He was offered better and healthier
‘material’ from new transports, unlike us, who had
spent several years in the camp. But he got us out .. he
saved us ..'
following posting 2002-06-14 was reported on JewishGen Discussion
Group by Tom Weiss of Newton, Massachusetts, and described
the humanitarian motivation of Oscar Schindler:
late 1970, I was with a survivor from the Schindler
transport in a small village near the Brunnlitz factory
where Schindler's Jews were held. The survivor, Victor
Dortheimer, recalled that an elderly lady, Mrs.
Hofstatter, died from natural causes.
Schindler bought a piece of land (which he showed me)
adjacent to a Christian cemetery so that she could be
buried in a proper Jewish manner. The camp commandant
wanted to cremate her in the factory furnaces.
About a month ago I was in a London restaurant; sitting
opposite was a lady unknown to me. During our conversation
she told me that her family had originated in Krakow and
that her grandmother was with Oscar Schindler. She said
that her family never knew what happened to her which had
depressed them over the years.
I asked her name, and she said 'Hofstatter'. I said, `I
know where your grandmother is buried. I have been there
and have seen the plot of land.' The woman was stunned
that someone would know the fate of her grandmother and
her final resting place.
On June 5 there was a memorial service held in the
Christian cemetery of the village of Deutsch Biela.
Present were the Hofstatter family, a local priest, the
Israeli Ambassador in Prague and local dignitaries. A
plaque in memory of both Chana Hofstatter and Oscar
Schindler was placed and I, Robin O'Neill, read a prayer
for the occasion."
The story was confirmed by Robin
O'Neill, a writer with H-Net, an interdisciplinary
organization of scholars dedicated to developing the
educational potential of the Internet.
Holocaust Testimonies, edited by Joseph J. Preil,
the survivor Aaron Schwartz recalls Plaszow and the
slaughter of the Cracow ghetto:
I came to Plaszow the first day, they put me in a group
where we were digging a huge grave .. they brought in
trucks, with children, from infant to twelve years old.
They were all killed .. when the children were brought in,
they were shot, right in that grave ..
A little girl, a beautiful blond girl, sat down in the
grave, dressed in an Eskimo white fur coat, was all
bloody, and asked for a little bit of water .. this child
swallowed so much blood, because it was shot in the neck.
And then it started to vomit so terribly. And then it lay
down and it says, "Mother, turn me around, turn me
This child did not know what happened to it. It was shot,
it was half-dead after it was shot. And this child sat
down in the grave, among all the corpses, and asked for
water .. it was still alive. There was no mother, just
children brought from the Cracow ghetto.
So this little girl lay down, and asked to be turned
around. What happened to it? I do not know. It was
probably covered alive, with chlorine .. I am sure,
because they did not give another shot to that girl
one million children under the age of sixteen died in the Holocaust
was one of them ...
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