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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z
6 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Schindler's List

by

Schindler's List Cover

ISBN13: 9780671880316
ISBN10: 0671880314
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

 

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Discussion Points
  1. Schindler's List, while based on the true story of Oskar Schindler and the Schindler Jews, is fiction. At what point does this novel depart from the merely factual? What "liberties" does Thomas Keneally take that a non-fiction author could not?

  2. At the start of the book, Keneally lets us know that his protagonist, Oskar Schindler, is not a virtuous man, but rather a flawed, conflicted one, who makes no apology for his penchant for women and drink; yet he gambles millions to save the Jews under his care from the gas chambers. How does Keneally reconcile these two distinctly different sides of Oskar Schindler? How do you, the reader, reconcile them?

  3. Keneally writes, "And although Herr Schindler's merit is well documented, it is a feature of his ambiguity that he worked within or, at least, on the strength of a corrupt and savage scheme, one that filled Europe with camps of varying but consistent inhumanity." What abiding differences were there between Oskar Schindler and men like Amon Goeth, who operated the controls of this system? To what extent did Schindler remain in partnership with them? Where did he draw the line, and how did he keep himself separate while living among them?

  4. Schindler and his mistress, Ingrid, ride their horses to the hill overlooking the Cracow ghetto, where they witness an Aktion. Trailing alone at the end of a line of people being marched off, Oskar and Ingrid spot a little girl in red, "the scarlet girl." What is it about her presence on this early morning that is instrumental in Oskar Schindler's sudden and terrible understanding of what is happening in Europe and of his responsibility to mitigate it?

  5. "I am now resolved to do everything in my power to defeat the system," Schindler says after witnessing this Aktion. Do Schindler's subsequent actions defeat the system, or does he merely help to perpetuate it?

  6. Keneally follows many other characters throughout the book: the prisoners, Itzhak Stern, Helen Hirsch, Poldek and Mila Pfefferberg, Josef and Rebecca, the Rosner brothers — all of whom, at points, rise above their circumstances and engage in acts of great courage and generosity. In contrast, characters such as Spira and Chilowicz engage in acts of cruelty and self-interest. Yet they have similar circumstances. How do you feel about these different characters and their choices?

  7. "All our vision of deliverance is futile. We'll have to wait a little longer for our freedom," Schindler says to Garde (a Brinnlitz prisoner) when they learn that the Fiihrer is still alive after an attempt on his life. Oskar speaks as if they are both prisoners waiting to be liberated, as if they have equivalent needs. What do you think Schindler means by "our freedom"? How might Schindler and other Germans have felt to be imprisoned? Is it fair for him to equate himself with Garde?

  8. After Brinnlitz is liberated, some of the prisoners take a German Kapo and hang him from a beam. Keneally writes, "It was an event, this first homicide of peace, which many Brinnlitz people would forever abhor. They had seen Amon hang poor engineer Krautwirt on the Appellplatz at Plaszow, and this hanging, though for different reasons, sickened them as profoundly." Why are so many of the prisoners sickened, in light of the atrocities committed against them? Do you feel the prisoners would have been justified in killing as many Germans as they could have? Why do you think there aren't more rampant acts of vengeance on the part of Schindler's Jews after their liberation?

  9. In a documentary made in 1973 by German television, Emilie Schindler remarked that Oskar had "done nothing astounding before the war and had been unexceptional since." She suggested that it was fortunate that between 1939 and 1945 he had met people who had summoned forth his "deeper talents." What are these "deeper talents" and what is it about war that elicits them? And what is it about peacetime that suppresses them?

  10. After the war, Schindler never reached the level of success he'd known during wartime. Both of his enterprises, a farm in Argentina and a cement factory in Frankfurt failed, and he was to fall back on Schindler's Jews time and time again. They became his only emotional and financial security, and they would help him in many ways until the day he died. Keneally suggests that Schindler remained, in a most thorough sense, a hostage to Brinnlitz and Emalia. What might he mean by this? Do you agree?

  11. What vision of human nature does Schindler's List express? Does it express the view of human beings as fundamentally good or evil? As immutable or capable of transformation? Does it leave you with any kind of a message, any vision for mankind? If so, what is it?
Recommended Readings

Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

Doubleday, 1967

Dita Saxova, Arnost Lustig

Northwestern University Press, 1979

The Holocaust in History, Michael Marrus

NAL/Dutton, 1989

The Jews: Stories of a People, Howard M. Fast

Dell, 1968

Maus I and Maus II, Art Spiegelman

Pantheon, 1991

Night, Dawn, and Day, Elie Wiesel

Jason Aronson, Inc., 1985

One, By One, By One, Judith Miller

Touchstone Books, 1990

Sophie's Choice, William Styron

Vintage Books, 1979

Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi

Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995

The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945, Lucy Dawidowicz

Bantam Books, 1986

Winter in the Morning, Janina Bauman

The Free Press, 1986

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Veronica Adams, December 15, 2013 (view all comments by Veronica Adams)
Schindler’s List tells the compelling true story of how a single person saved more Jews from being gassed than any other individual in World War II. This person is Herr Oskar Schindler, the director of a Polish concentration camp. Although he runs the camp, he does not agree with the Nazi policy of mistreating Jews. He helps the people in his camp by treating them with dignity instead of gassing them, while risking his own life and authority. The author, Thomas Keneally, uses pure human ingenuity to show the acts of a helpful man in a position of dread.
I thought that this book was a very exciting and good read. I felt that the characters (especially Schindler) were very well thought-out. Thomas Keneally treated every character like they were the protagonist, whether they were or not. I would probably recommend this book to people who have seen the movie and liked it or to people who like World War II stories. Overall, this book was very well written, and since I have not yet seen the movie, I can only hope that it is as good as the book.
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ltobin, January 6, 2012 (view all comments by ltobin)
Much different from what I expected, Keneally's Schindler's List is more of a historical account than a dramatic re-telling of a true story. Do not get me wrong, there is mystery, and subterfuge, and pain, but Keneally does not need to dress up the details in any way but the truth. I found myself completely engrossed in what I thought was going to be just be a dramatic story interwoven with a painful account of concentration camps and death. I could not put the book down, even when the tears were flowing and I was scared for the next paragraph to confirm my deepest fears.

An imperfect man, Schindler does something extraordinary. It reminds me that even with all my mistakes, I can still make a difference.
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kaaren a., November 24, 2006 (view all comments by kaaren a.)
The style of Keneally's writing is different from the popular "fast read" style that is so pervasive today, so it took me a chapter or two to "get to know" his voice. Once I understood his style I revelled in his storytelling, despite the desperate subject matter. Keneally includes true anecdotes to build the history that is the Holocaust, and although thoroughly shocking and previously unknown facts are included, this is a history that can be read with the enjoyment of getting to know the characters as Keneally sees them. Before I read this book, I thought I knew a lot about the Holocaust. I would recommend this book to everyone: even if you have seen the movie, there is much more in the book than could be included in the movie.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780671880316
Author:
Keneally, Thomas
Publisher:
Touchstone Books
Author:
Keneally, Thomas
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Study and teaching
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Judaism - General
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
Study & Teaching
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
Righteous gentiles in the holocaust
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Holocaust, jewish
Subject:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Fiction.
Subject:
World War, 19
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Holocaust; Oscar; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; History; Historical Fiction
Subject:
Holocaust; Oscar; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; History; Historical Fiction; Hilary Clinton; Hard Choices; Steven Spielberg; Ben Kingsley; Liam Nee
Subject:
Holocaust; Oscar; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; History; Historical Fiction; Hilary Clinton; Hard Choices; Steven Spielberg; Ben Kingsley; Liam Nee
Subject:
Holocaust; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; Executive Order 9066; Shame and the Captives; History; Historical Fiction; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Hilary C
Subject:
Holocaust; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; Executive Order 9066; Shame and the Captives; History; Historical Fiction; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Hilary C
Subject:
Holocaust; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; Executive Order 9066; Shame and the Captives; History; Historical Fiction; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Hilary C
Subject:
Holocaust; Oskar; Schindler; Shindler; Schildner s Jews; Jewish; Gas Chamber; Extermination Camps; World War II; Nazi; Nazi Regime; Germany; Poland; Executive Order 9066; Shame and the Captives; History; Historical Fiction; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Hilary C
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Touchstone ed.
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
1992
Publication Date:
December 1993
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.97 oz

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Religion » Judaism » General

Schindler's List Used Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Touchstone Books - English 9780671880316 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the Booker Prize

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction

Schindler's List is a remarkable work of fiction based on the true story of German industrialist and war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who, confronted with the horror of the extermination camps, gambled his life and fortune to rescue 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers.

Working with the actual testimony of Schindler's Jews, Thomas Keneally artfully depicts the courage and shrewdness of an unlikely savior, a man who is a flawed mixture of hedonism and decency and who, in the presence of unutterable evil, transcends the limits of his own humanity.

"Synopsis" by , Winner of the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction

From the author of the new novel The Daughters of Mars, Schindler's List is a remarkable work of fiction based on the true story of German industrialist and war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who, confronted with the horror of the extermination camps, gambled his life and fortune to rescue 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers.

Working with the actual testimony of Schindler's Jews, Thomas Keneally artfully depicts the courage and shrewdness of an unlikely savior, a man who is a flawed mixture of hedonism and decency and who, in the presence of unutterable evil, transcends the limits of his own humanity.

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