Schindler's Grave

Oscar Schindler`s life after the war was a long series of failures. He tried without success to be a film producer and was deprived of his nationality immediately after the war. Threats from former Nazis meant that he felt insecure in post-war Germany, and he applied for an entry permit to the United States. This was refused as he had been a member of the Nazi party.

After this he fled to Buenos Aires in Argentina with Emilie, his mistress and a dozen Schindler Jews. The Schindlers settled down in 1949 as farmers, first raising chickens and then nutrias. They were supported financially by the Jewish organization Joint and thankful Jews, who never forgot them. But Oscar Schindler met with no success, and in 1957 he became bankrupt and travelled back alone to Germany, where he remained estranged from his wife for 17 years before he died in poverty in 1974, at the age of 66.

He never saw Emilie again ...

Emilie stayed in Argentina, where she scraped by on a small pension from Israel and a $650 a month pension from Germany. Her only relative, a niece, lived in Bavaria, Germany.

Jewish organizations have honored her for her efforts during the war. In May, 1994, Emilie Schindler received The Righteous Amongst the Nations Award - along with Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank's family in the Netherlands and preserved her diary after the family was taken away by the Nazis.

Almost 2,000 people attended the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Yom Hashoah commemoration honoring Emilie Schindler. The tiny woman in the navy blue pantsuit was greeted with smiles and tears as she made her way, supported by two rabbis, toward the menorah-shaped monument at the Museum of Tolerance, where she lit the memorial flame to remember the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. 'Let me touch you,' said one woman as she reached out to embrace Emilie Schindler.

In 1995, Argentina decorated her with the Order of May, the highest honor given to foreigners who are not heads of state. In 1998 The Argentine government decided to give her a pension of $1,000 a month until her financial situation improved. Last November, Emilie Schindler, was named an Illustrious Citizen by Argentina.

Emilie fell last Nov. 1 at her home in San Vicente. She lay for hours, alone. After undergoing a hip replacement operation, Emilie had to enter a home for the elderly in Buenos Aires, her care heavily subsidized by Argentine charities. Hospital officials had delayed her surgery for three days because she could not afford the operation. Financiel help eventually came from several soccer players, River Plate, and other Argentine citizens.

In July, 2001, during a visit to Berlin, Germany, a frail Emilie handed over documents related to her husband to a museum. Confined to a wheelchair and totally dependent upon others, she told reporters that it was her 'greatest and last wish' to spend her final years in Germany, adding that she had become increasingly homesick. 'I am very happy that I can be here,' she told with a dazzling smile.

Her Argentinian biographer Erika Rosenberg said she was urgently seeking a German home for Schindler's widow. 'Now, as an old lady, Emilie Schindler needs help herself for the first time,' Rosenberg said. The German state of Bavaria immediately offered a home to Emilie Schindler. Bavaria would be happy to help fulfill her wish, Bernhard Seidenath, a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs, said Monday July 16, 2001.

A deeply grateful Emilie accepted the offer. She will be taken Sunday July 22, 2001, to the Adalbert Founder Home in the Bavarian town of Waldkraiburg by ambulance from Berlin, said Joerg Kudlich, head of the home.

But the plans to transport her to the retirement home was put on hold as she was hospitalized in critical condition on saturday July 21. Mrs. Schindler is in intensive care, a transport is out of the question, said Dr. Hans Pech, head of interior medicine at the Maerkisch-Oderland Hospital outside Berlin.

Emilie Schindler died Friday night October 5, 2001, in the Berlin hospital.

As to Oscar Schindler the author Erika Rosenberg had no doubt: 'Emilie still loved Oscar Schindler', though Emilie was bitter and disillusioned: 'He gave his Jews everything - and me, nothing.' But she was capable of expressing both her love and bitterness towards him in one sentence, calling him a drunk and womanisor, but also saying: 'If he'd stayed, I'd have looked after him.'

- Louis Bülow