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28 April 1908|
Zwittau, Moravia, Austria-Hungary
(now Svitavy, Czech Republic)
|Died||9 October 1974
Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Mount Zion Catholic Cemetery
|Spouse(s)||Emilie Schindler (1928–1974; his death)|
|Children||Emily Schlegel, Oskar Jr. Schlegel|
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) 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. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark, and the subsequent 1993 film Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.
Schindler grew up in Zwittau, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czech government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II.
In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews at the factory's peak in 1944. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler to protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.
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