6th April 2017

Schindler’s List

Claudia Wilkinson

Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List is a movie that makes you grateful to live in this successful, democratic country of New Zealand. The holocaust was a mass murder, killing over 6 million innocent Jews with Adolf Hitler leading the genocide. This movie is based on a true story, conveying a tragic slice of history which changed the world forever. Winning the Academy Award for best picture along with 33 other global awards, Schindler’s List is a deeply powerful movie giving us insight in the horror of the past, so sit back, relax and have some tissues ready by your side for the flood of emotions you will experience.

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his Enamelware and Ammunitions factories, which were located in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. His factory started off as an enamelware industry with employing Jews for cheap labor but when he changed his perspective of the Holocaust, he turned it into an ammunition factory. The catch was that he made bullets casing and shells that were impractical as he made them to not function to save many more lives outside the factory. This meant that he could now employ children to use their little fingers to polish the inside of the bullets. By Schindler cleverly utilizing families in his factory, this meant the families could stay together and grow older hand in hand to live a full life.

Oskar Schindler was a man of many faces – a drinker, a gambler, a womanizer, driven by greed and a lust for high living – making his life a mystery to many. Portrayed by the best actor nominee, Liam Neeson does an amazing representation of Oskar Schindler with even learning how to speak in a German accent showing us how passionate he was to portray the past. The German language and accent sound very serious and up tight and Liam Neeson pulls it off like a natural. Oskar Schindler is the main protagonist in the film, showing us his progression from a money-hungry businessman who wishes to use the Jews as cheap labor in his factory to a compassionate activist who risks his security and spends all his money to protect his Jewish workers from the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. Starting off as a rich business man revolving his life around grasping a hold on more money, now saving as many lives as possible.

When he spies a little girl in a red coat during the liquidation of the Ghetto, it changed his perspective on what he felt. Spielberg focussed on the innocent girl by using the color red in her coat in the black and white film. Watching the liquidation of the ghetto made him reach deep down and realize that he did think about how the horror was being inflicted on the Jews and felt like something needed to change, and maybe he was the was one to do that. Sitting high on his horse overlooking the whole ghetto with disbelief and horror that a human can do this with no emotion, like slaughtering animals. Oskar’s face shows it all with his eyes fixated on watching his fellow Nazi members eliminating the Jewish race, however, the little girl in the red coat catches his eye walking aimlessly amongst the horror, oblivious to what’s going gone. This changed his thinking seeing first hand resulting in him taking action and eventually saving over 1000 Jews.

The cinematography is used with Speilberg focusing on a range of different camera angles to find the right one to truly portray the event, he chose to use high wide angle camera shot when looking down at the Ghettos. This allows the viewers to be more aware of what is happening as you can see the close things and also the things in the distance to help give the whole picture of the devastation caused by the liquidation of the ghettos. When Oscar Schindler is on top of the hill looking down at the Ghetto, the angle shot is from below. This is a great shot is it made him look that he is high in the rankings of superior by making him look large and in power. The movie is shot in Black and white showing that there is no light, no hope during the Holocaust. One facet of the film that was in color was the little girl in the red coat during the liquidation of the ghettos. This helped show that all the Jews were treated equally no matter their age and that everyone was punished and were sent to death.

Explaining motivation behind his actions, Oskar quoted there was no choice. If you saw a dog going to be crushed under a car, wouldn’t you help him?” This reflects his behavior and how he felt towards the innocent Jews. Oskar slowly develops humanity by showing us that he felt that all humans are one and should be treated in the same matter. By employing almost 1200 Jewish workers in his factory, he protected these lives from the Nazis by using his charm, social skills, and bribes. Schindler eventually spent his entire fortune on bribes to protect his laborers and for black-market items purchased for his Jewish workers. Slowly as the brutality of the Nazi’s accelerated with murder, violence, terror and the beginning of their plan for the total extermination of the Jews dawned on Schindler in all its horror – he came to see the Jews not only as cheap labour, but also as mothers, fathers and children, exposed to ruthless slaughter.

“Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.”  spoken by Oskar Schindler., he goes on to say to Amon Goeth, “That’s what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he’s brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he’s going to die. And the Emperor… pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.” “That’s power, Amon. That is power.” This quote was used by Oskar Schindler to help convince Amon Goeth (Nazi camp commander) that if he wants to show is true powers, not to punish the Jews.

To this day, this movie still leaves an impact on the society. In the Middle – East the Isis leaders are training up the young men which are just about identical with the Nazi’s training up the Nazi leaders. This is a truly horrifying event that’s happening that is happening in the world and just hope it doesn’t lead to another World War or a Holocaust.

Oskar Schindler said, “I hated the brutality, the sadism, and the insanity of Nazism. I just couldn’t stand by and see people destroyed. I did what I could, what I had to do, what my conscience told me I must do. That’s all there is to it. Really, nothing more.” This was stated in 1972, speaking about his take on the final solution, referring to the German Nazis’ plan to engage in systematic genocide against the European Jewish population during World War II. Spielberg reflects this character through Liam Neeson and accurately portrays the real Schindler and his efforts for saving as many lives as possible.

The movie “Schindler’s List is a very powerful movie that accurately portrays a horrific slice of history. The movie began with a list of Jews being confined to the Ghetto. It ends with a list of some who were saved. The list is life. All around its margins lies in the Gulf.


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. You should rearrange paragraphs 2 and 3 – paragraph two introducing Oskar and the actor who plays him in the movie, and paragraph 3 talking about the factory and how he employs the Jews, initially to make money, then to save them.

    When editing,check your vocabulary and think RID – do you need to Replace, Insert or Delete words (I’ll talk about this is class tomorrow).


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