Schindler’s List: Darker, Braver Than You Remember As It Marks 30th Anniversary


‘Schindler’s List’ is darker — and braver — than you may remember

The film, marking its 30th anniversary, has been unjustly dismissed by scholars

This story was originally published in the Forward. Click here to get the Forward’s free email newsletters delivered to your inbox.

When people remember Schindler’s List, they may best recall its last, morally uncomplicated moments.

Before he leaves his factory in Brünnlitz, Liam Neeson’s Oskar Schindler addresses the 1,000 or so Jews he saved. Crossing himself, he requests three minutes of silence for the Jewish dead, but the rabbi present instead says the Kaddish. On Schindler’s way into exile — the war is over, and he will be hunted as a member of the Nazi party and a profiteer of slave labor — the floodgates open. Over the strains of Yitzhak Perlman’s violin, Schindler sees his material possessions and breaks down. He could have traded his car for the lives of Jews — 10, easy. His swastika pin, made of gold, was worth two more Jews.

“I didn’t do enough,” he cries. (The song on the soundtrack is titled “I Could Have Done More.”)


PJ Grisar The Forward

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] and @pjgrisar on Twitter.

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