Synopses & Reviews
Spy, businessman, bon vivant, Nazi Party member, Righteous Gentile. This was Oskar Schindler, the controversial man who saved eleven hundred Jews during the Holocaust but struggled afterwards to rebuild his life and gain international recognition for his wartime deeds. David Crowe examines every phase of Schindler's life in this landmark biography, presenting a savior of mythic proportions who was also an opportunist and spy who helped Nazi Germany conquer Poland.
Schindler is best known for saving over a thousand Jews by putting them on the famed "Schindler's List" and then transferring them to his factory in today's Czech Republic. In reality, Schindler played only a minor role in the creation of the list through no fault of his own. Plagued by local efforts to stop the movement of Jewish workers from his factory in Kraków to his new one in Brünnlitz, and his arrest by the SS who were investigating corruption charges against the infamous Amon Göth, Schindler had little say or control over his famous "List." The tale of how the "List" was really prepared is one of the most intriguing parts of the Schindler story that Crowe tells here for the first time.
Forced into exile after the war, success continually eluded Schindler and he died in very poor health in 1974. He remained a controversial figure, even in death, particularly after Emilie Schindler, his wife of forty-six years, began to criticize her husband after the appearance of Steven Spielberg's film in 1993.
In Oskar Schindler, Crowe steps beyond the mythology that has grown up around the story of Oskar Schindler and looks at the life and work of this man whom one prominent Schindler Jew described as "an extraordinary man in extraordinary times."
"With 32 black-and-white photographs, this biography is essential in understanding one of the most extraordinary figures from the Holocaust." Booklist (Starred Review)
"This book will go down as the definitive story of Oskar Schindler, telling the story of how a man with not a few character flaws, at the sight of the Nazi terror in Poland, underwent a transformation and became the single largest German rescuer of Jews. Based on material not heretofore made public, David Crowe has carefully and studiously documented the saga of a man, who began by being concerned only with himself, and ended by becoming an altruist in the best sense of the term. This book is a must for anyone wanting to know the true story of Oskar Schindler." Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, Director, Righteous Among the Nations Department, Yad Vashem
"We have seen what men of talent, filmmakers and novelists...can do with the story of Oskar Schindler. Enter the historian David M. Crowe. His research is prodigious; he has read everything, spoken to everyone, examined each document and the general historical record. He brought to this task his considerable erudition and explored not only the details of Schindler's life but the wider context in which he worked. The result is a monumental work of scholarship, detailed, informed, precise and measured, the definitive work on this extraordinary man....I have no doubt that Crowe knows more about Schindler than Schindler knew about himself and his own activities. The result only sharpens our appreciation for Schindler's works and deepens the mystery as to why he did what he did." Michael Berenbaum, the University of Judaism, Los Angeles, California; former Director of the Research Institute, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; former President, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation; author of A Promise to Remember
"The gradual evolution of an almost feudal relationship between Schindler and his protected Jews is the kernel of David M. Crowe's account of the war years. His densely argued, sometimes repetitive explanation of how an ethnic German of no demonstrable moral scruple or philo-Semitism was transformed into the Righteous Gentile of legend is far more plausible than the novel and film versions of Schindler's List
. Useful as well is Crowe's meticulous reconstruction of how the famous survivors' list was actually compiled, without Schindler's participation." A. J. Sherman, Times Literary Supplement
(read the entire Times Literary Supplement review
In this landmark biography, Crowe steps beyond the mythology that has grown up around the story of Oskar Schindler and looks at the life and work of this man whom one prominent Schindler Jew described as "an extraordinary man in extraordinary times." Photos.
About the Author
David M. Crowe is a professor of history at Elon University where he teaches German and Russian history. He has served as president of the Association for the Study of Nationalities at Columbia University and is a member of the Education Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of Nationalities Papers. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.