Schindler’s List: More Than A Good Movie

It was arguably the best role Liam Neeson ever acted and the most compelling movie Spielberg ever directed. It was selected Best Picture of 1993. It has been ranked as the 8th best American film of all time. It’s message: even in the darkest of places the brightest light can shine in the most unexpected ways.

I refer to Schindler’s List, the gripping big screen depiction of an unlikely hero who lived in one of the darkest periods of the 20th (or any) century. Oskar Schindler, an Austrian businessman who despite playing the part of villain, had a change of heart and worked tirelessly to save the lives of over 1100 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

Schindler joined the Nazi party and during WWII used his factory to produce ammunition for the war. He had no great claim to fame or virtue. The legend he became emerged from the story he lived through–a story that he wrote by his simple response to what he saw going on around him.

Though raised in a Catholic home, he was not noted to be a religious man. He was, in fact, an opportunistic businessman who sought to profit from the war.

Schindler witnessed something in 1943 that produced a change in his heart. While observing a raid on the Kraków Ghetto, where SS agents were used to rounding up the inhabitants for shipment to the concentration camp at Praszów, he was appalled by the murder of many of the of his Jewish employees. From that point forward he made a deliberate effort to preserve the 1100-plus Jews who labored in his factories. With determined desperation he spent every franc he had to preserve as many Jews as he could.

The lesson of this remarkable movie is two-fold:

1. One person can make the difference. Ask Oskar. He saved a whole generation of Jews.2. Human life is priceless. For someone who understands this, no sacrifice to too great to preserve and protect it. Once in awhile, from the lowest moments in history, a man or woman rises up to surprise us all.

Connecting With Schindler’s Passion Today

The Second World War is history, but today a full scale war is being waged against at risk youth and children across the globe. Human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime of the 21st century—exploding at such a rate that it is now second only to drugs as the most lucrative crime in the world. As Oskar Schindler stood in the gap for the Jews, so we must do what we can to free the slaves of our generation–or educate them before they become enslaved!

John is a social entrepreneur who, having served all of his adult life championing young people on three continents, is now speaking out passionately against global human trafficking. (Copyright 2012– Justice For Youth. All rights reserved.)