Oskar Schindler

During World War 2 and the
Holocaust, millions of Jews died in the Nazi death camps like Auschwitz, but Oskar Schindler's Jews miraculously survived. To more than 1200 Jews Oskar Schindler was all that stood between them and death at the hands of the SS. But he remained true to his Jews, the workers he referred to as my children. In the shadow of Auschwitz he kept the Nazis out and everyone alive.

Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of Oskar Schindler's Jews living in US and Europe, and many in Israel. Before World War 2, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are between 3,000 and 4,000 left.

Oskar Schindler spent millions to protect and save his Schindler Jews, everything he possessed - he died penniless. But he earned the everlasting gratitude of his "children". Now his name is known as a household word for courage - a hero who saved 1200 Jews from Adolf Hitler's gas chambers.

In a 1964 interview, standing in front of his dingy apartment Am Hauptbahn No. 4 in Frankfurt Am Main, West Germany, Oskar Schindler for once commented on what he did:

"The persecution of Jews in occupied Poland meant that we could see horror emerging gradually in many ways. In 1939, they were forced to wear Jewish stars, and people were herded and shut up into ghettos. Then, in the years '41 and '42 there was plenty of public evidence of pure sadism. With people behaving like pigs, I felt the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them. There was no choice."

When asked, Schindler told that his metamorphosis during the war was sparked by the shocking immensity of the Final Solution. In his own words: "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."

Schindler died in Hildesheim in Germany October 9, 1974 and he wanted to be buried in Israel in Jerusalem. As he said: My children are here ..

- Louis B├╝low