is a letter written in 1945 by Oscar Schindler’s former workers, signed:
Isaak Stern, former employee Pal. Office in Krakow, Dr.
Hilfstein, Chaim Salpeter, Former President of the Zionist
Executive in Krakow for Galicia and Silesia.
We, the undersigned Jews from Krakow, inmates of Plaszow concentration
camp, have, since 1942, worked
in Director Schindler’s business. Since
Schindler took over management of the business, it
was his exclusive goal to protect us from resettlement, which would have
meant our ultimate liquidation. During the entire period in which we
worked for Director Schindler he did everything
possible to save the lives of the greatest possible number of Jews, in
spite of the tremendous difficulties; especially during a time when
receiving Jewish workers caused great difficulties with the authorities.
Director Schindler took care of our sustenance, and as a result, during
the whole period of our employment by him there was not a
single case of unnatural death. All in all he employed more than 1,000
Jews in Krakow. As the Russian frontline approached and it became
necessary to transfer us to a different concentration camp,
Director Schindler relocated his business to Bruennlitz near
There were huge difficulties connected with the implementation of Director
Schindler’s business, and he took great pains to introduce this plan.
The fact that he attained permission to create a camp, in which not only
women and men, but also families could stay together, is unique within the
territory of the Reich. Special mention must be given to the fact that our
resettlement to Bruennlitz was carried out by way of a list of names, put
together in Krakow and approved by the Central
Administration of all concentration camps in Oranienburg (a unique case).
After the men had been interned in Gross-Rosen concentration camp for no
more than a couple of days and the women for 3 weeks in Auschwitz
concentration camp, we may claim with assertiveness that with our arrival
in Bruennlitz we owe our lives solely to the efforts of Director Schindler
and his humane treatment of his workers. Director Schindler took care of
the improvement of our living standards by providing us with extra food
and clothing. No money was spared and his one and only goal was the
humanistic ideal of saving our lives from inevitable death.
It is only thanks to the ceaseless efforts and interventions of Director
Schindler with the authorities in question, that we stayed in Bruennlitz,
in spite of the existing danger, as, with the approaching frontline we
would all have been moved away by the leaders of the camp, which would
have meant our ultimate end. This we declare today, on this day of the
declaration of the end of the war, as we await our official liberation and
the opportunity to return to our destroyed families and homes. Here we
are, a gathering of 1100 people, 800 men and 300 women.
All Jewish workers, that were inmates in the Gross-Rosen and Auschwitz
concentration camps respectively declare wholeheartedly their gratitude
towards Director Schindler, and we herewith state that it is exclusively
due to his efforts, that we were permitted to witness this moment,
the end of the war.
Concerning Director Schindler's treatment of the Jews, one
event that took place during our internment in Bruennlitz in January of
this year which deserves special mention was coincidentally a transport of
Jewish inmates, that had been evacuated from the Auschwitz concentration
camp, Goleschow outpost, and ended up near us. This transport consisted
exclusively of more than 100 sick people from a hospital which had been
cleared during the liquidation of the camp. These people reached us frozen
and almost unable to carry on living after having wandered for weeks. No
other camp was willing to accept this transport and it was Director
Schindler alone who personally took care of these people, while giving
them shelter on his factory premises; even though there was not the
slightest chance of them ever being employed. He gave considerable sums
out of his own private funds, to enable their recovery as quick as
possible. He organized medical aid and established a special hospital room
for those people who were bedridden. It was only because of his personal
care that it was possible to save 80 of these people from their inevitable
death and to restore them to life.
We sincerely plead with you to help Director Schindler in any way
possible, and especially to enable him to establish a new life, because of
all he did for us both in Krakow and in Bruennlitz he sacrificed his
Bruennlitz, May 8, 1945."
from the original document in German
Source: The Oscar Schindler file, Department of Righteous among the
Nations, Yad Vashem
YAD VASHEM, The
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
earned the everlasting gratitude of his Schindlerjews. No matter why,
no matter that he was an alcoholic and a shameless womanisor of the worst
sort, no matter that he was no saint and left his wife - what matters to
his Jews is that he surfaced from the chaos of madness and risked
everything for them.
Generations will remember him for what he did. No matter how many
businesses Schindler failed in, he was a success in life ..
Today there are more than 6,000 descendants of Schindler`s Jews living in
the USA and Europe, and many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the
Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are between 3,000
and 4,000 left.