At the end of Schindler's List, there is a scene where Oskar Schindler realises, almost breaking down in tears in front of all of his workers, that each of the extravagances/luxuries he still has could have been used for bribes to save yet more Jews.

This, to me, either represents very touching character moment, or an over-the-top bit of cheese on an otherwise very impactful film, depending of course on whether this scene took place in reality or not.

Did this really take place as depicted?

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    The best insight you could get into Oskar's character would be to read "Schindler's Ark" by Thomas Keneally. It is the book upon which the movie is based and was put together from research and interviews with the Schindlerjuden, as they called themselves. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


According to David M. Crowe’s book Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities and the True Story Behind The List...


Among the key revelations in Crowe’s book: Oskar Schindler did not write out a list of people to save, he didn’t break down in tears because he thought he could have saved more people, and it is unlikely he experienced a defining moment, such as seeing a girl in a red coat, that led to his decision to save the lives of his Jewish workers. Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List, while important, impressive and admirable in many ways, took creative license on these and other issues.


Near the end of the movie Schindler’s List, a famous scene depicts Oskar Schindler departing his factory at the end of the war and crying without consolation over his inability to save even more lives. (The scene was even parodied in an episode of Seinfeld.) “The idea that Oskar collapsed sobbing into Itzhak Stern’s arms and bemoaned his failure to save more Jews is preposterous,” writes Crowe. “Oskar was proud of all he had done to save Brunnlitz’s Jews and said so in his speech earlier that evening.”

Oskar Schindler was a great man who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. The imperfections in his character and the nuances in the historical record only make his story more remarkable.

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    "Oskar Schindler did not write out a list of people to save". I'm confused about that quote, considering that there are versions of the list still around.
    – Voo
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 19:48
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    @Voo Was it a list of people to save, or a list of people who had been saved?
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 1:07
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    @CJDennis The one in the BBC article is dated 18 April 1945 so still during Nazi control, so the former.
    – Voo
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 8:35
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    @CJDennis To save. As I understand it the list was mostly of those who had already received protected status as workers in Schindler's Krakov factory, but when the factory was closing the list specified who should be moved to his factory in Brünnlitz, thus escaping the gas chambers. However, technically I think the list was compiled by Pemper for Schindler, rather than by Schindler personally, which might be what Crowe is referring to? (I haven't read the book.)
    – tardigrade
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 9:43
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    @Voo In Oscar Schindler's Factory museum, all guides insist that Schindler and Stern didn't write any such list, that it was a plot device from Spielberg. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 10:41

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