What motivated Oskar Schindler? Simple.

Via on Sep 30, 2012

What calms Bigotry? Education. Understanding. Friendship. Love.

In the below quotes by and about Oskar Schindler, I’m reminded of President Obama’s recent conversion to full support of gay marriage rights, and Biden’s comment about accessible, ordinary gay characters being featured on TV as fundamental to the nationwide shift.

“Long a proponent of civil unions, Mr. Obama said his views had changed in part because of prodding by friends who are gay and by conversations with his wife and daughters.”

“I knew the people who worked for me… When you know people, you have to behave towards them like human beings.”[19]

And,

The writer Herbert Steinhouse, who interviewed Schindler in 1948 at the behest of some of the surviving Schindlerjuden (Schindler’s Jews), wrote:

“Oskar Schindler’s exceptional deeds stemmed from just that elementary sense of decency and humanity that our sophisticated age seldom sincerely believes in. A repentant opportunist saw the light and rebelled against the sadism and vile criminality all around him. The inference may be disappointingly simple, especially for all amateur psychoanalysts who would prefer the deeper and more mysterious motive that may, if it is true, still lie unprobed and unappreciated. But an hour with Oskar Schindler encourages belief in the simple answer.”[3]

Via Wikipedia:

…but later he began shielding his workers without regard for cost. He would, for instance, claim that certain unskilled workers were essential to the factory.[3]

While witnessing a 1943 raid on the Kraków Ghetto, where soldiers were used to round up the inhabitants for shipment to the concentration camp at Płaszów, Schindler was appalled by the murder of many of the Jews who had been working for him.[8] He was a very persuasive individual, and after the raid, increasingly used all of his skills to protect his Schindlerjuden (“Schindler’s Jews”), as they came to be called. Schindler went out of his way to take care of the Jews who worked at DEF, often calling on his legendary charm and ingratiating manner to help his workers get out of difficult situations.[8] Once, says author Eric Silver in The Book of the Just, “Two Gestapo men came to his office and demanded that he hand over a family of five who had bought forged Polish identity papers. ‘Three hours after they walked in,’ Schindler said, ‘two drunk Gestapo men reeled out of my office without their prisoners and without the incriminating documents they had demanded’”.[9] The special status of his factory (“business essential to the war effort”) became the decisive factor for Schindler’s efforts to support his Jewish workers. Whenever “Schindler Jews” were threatened with deportation, he claimed exemptions for them. Wives, children, and even handicapped persons were shown to be necessary mechanics and metalworkers.[3]

That legendary charm:

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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One Response to “What motivated Oskar Schindler? Simple.”

  1. Anon says:

    The same point Wendell Berry makes in his Jefferson Lecture earlier this year, "It all turns on affection". The speech is a treasure:
    http://www.neh.gov/news/2012-jefferson-lecture-we

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