Schindler's List is one of the most powerful movies of all time. It tells the powerful true story of the German businessman Oskar Schindler who comes to Nazi- captured Poland looking for economic blooming and leaves as a savior of more than 1,100 Jews. Many of our grandparents told us of the stories and we learned about it in school year after year, but to see it put to life was a totally touching experience. Some of us couldn't even bare to look at those gruesome scenes.
The movie starts out in a Jewish family's home. The Jews are reciting in prayer for the Sabbath day around a table full of lit candles. When the Jews are gone from the house the candles slowly burn out.
The German forces defeat the Polish in weeks. Soon afterward, the Jews are forced out of their homes to report to the train station, where their names are registered. Over 10,000 Jews are being shipped off to Krakow. People tease and yell at any Jew they see in the street. There is even a little girl screaming "Goodbye Jews" repeatedly as the line of Jews is moving and kids are throwing dirt at them.
In Krakow the ghetto is overcrowded with Jews. The Jewish people are all gathered together and organized into working groups by the Judenrat (twenty-four elected Jews responsible for the order). Oskar Schindler visits the ghetto. He is a German businessman, who wishes to see Itzhak Stern; a Jew is good at accounting and used to own a pot-making factory. Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses, so Oskar makes a deal with Itzhak, and plans to take over the factory after trading money and appointing him his factory manager.
It is now March 20, 1941 - the deadline for entering the ghetto. Edict 44/91 forms a Jewish area. All Jews are now forced to pack their things and move out of their homes by German soldiers. When the Jews arrive to the ghetto, they receive "housing assignments" and are forced to be in tight living quarters.
The next morning, the people are gathered outside and information on their education and working experiences are reported. Some of the Jews that can't be used for work are loaded into trucks and sent off to horrible camps. Some of the Jews that are able to work will soon report to Oskar Schindler's factory.
Under Sterns influence, Schindler has come to feel an pity and responsibility toward his workers, and when the Nazis confine all Jews to a forced labor camp commanded by the sadistic Amon Goeth, Schindler volunteers to keep "his Jews" confined at the factory.
At his own expense, he constructs barracks and strings barbed wire. He apparently creates an outpost of the labor camp, which in reality is a safe haven from the sinister Goeth, who regularly sends "unfit" Jewish workers to Auschwitz.
Oskar starts to promote his new factory by sending baskets full of goods to many German leaders. That's how he started making friends in the first place, by buying them drinks in the restaurant and taking pictures with them when their drunk. The Jews begin their work in the factory. They are taught how to make pots and pans. These workers are very grateful to Oskar for the jobs because it keeps them out of the camps and alive. An one-armed man personally thanks Oskar for his job. Oskar is not too happy about that because he probably feels compassion for the man and it's making him uncomfortable. The Germans later murder him because of his handicap anyway.
Thousands of Jews are shipped off on a train to a concentration camp. The entire luggage is stolen and gone through by German soldiers. By mistake, Itzhak Stern is placed on a train because he forgot his working card. Oskar hears of this mistake and rushes down to the station and desperately retrieves him from the train by threatening the officials.
Untersturmfuhrer Amon Goeth is the German officer that is in charge of the construction of the Plaszow labor camp. The Jewish people build the camp, along with Goeth's house located inside the camp. Goeth is very cruel - he occasionally takes his rifle out and just shoots Jews for fun. He is very angry about the success of the Jewish people, and says that all they have done in the past will soon be forgotten.
(Part I Ends)
It is now March 13, 1943, and liquidation of the ghetto takes place. Thousands of armed German soldiers run wild through the streets of Krakow. Jews are randomly pulled from their houses and killed. The soldiers violently raid the Jews' homes and steal their things. Many run and hide from the soldiers, but are soon found. Many of the residents of the ghetto are killed. Only a few live and some of them are taken to Plaszow forced labor camp.
After the horrible day of killing, Oskar reports to the camp. He has lunch with some of the leading German men. Oskar is very upset; he has no workers anymore because they were all captured and taken off to the camp. He is allowed to take back most of his workers to the factory.
Once everybody returns to work, a young lady that wishes for him to hire her parents visits Oskar. The lady's parents are at the camp and she is very worried about them. She feels as that if Oskar hires them they will live. He gets angry with her and says that he will not hire them, but he does the next week out of kindness. The reason he got mad is because if she found out about him, that means there are rumors about him "saving Jews" and they can spread to the Germans so he just kicked he out
Several days later at Plaszow the sick Jews are separated from the healthy. The ladies pricked their fingers and rubbed their own blood on their faces so they would look healthier. The weak and sick Jews were killed so there would be more room for the new shipments of Jews arriving at the camp. All of the children were placed on trucks and sent away. Several of them attempted to hide so they wouldn't have to leave their family. Most were unsuccessful.
It is now Oskar's birthday. He throws a big party with many of his German friends. Several young Jewish factory workers come to his party to give him a gift. One of the young girls gives him the gift and in return he kisses her. This is a mistake. He broke the Race and Resettlement Act by kissing the Jewish girl. Goeth discusses what happened that night and Oskar apologizes.
In April 1944 Goeth receives orders to exhume and burn the bodies of more than 10,000 Jews killed at Plaszow and the Krakow Massacre. The living Jews at the camp are forced to recover and burn the dead from a year before. The little girl in the red coat, from earlier in the movie, is burned.
Evacuation orders are received. All the Jews from Plaszow are being moved to a different camp to avoid the advancing Russians. But Schindler creates a desperate plan. Digging deeper into his fortune, he constructs a new factory farther west and bargains with Goeth to "buy" all the Jewish workers he will need to staff it. With Stern, he draws up a list of names, "Schindler's List", consisting of more than 1,100 men, women and children. He races against time to save them. In the end, through impossible luck and strong determination, Schindler rescues "his Jews" - the Schindlerjuden, as they will call themselves. Schindler has little left but his car and the clothes on his back. He even gives his clothes to one of his workers before driving off to escape the fast moving Red army. Schindler must flee from the allies, but before he does he is awarded two presents from the Jewish workers. The first is a gold ring that one of the Jews agreed to having his gold tooth pulled to make. The second is a signed paper that every factory worker signed, stating that Schindler saved them from the gas chambers and provided well for them. At this, Schindler is in tears, and wonders why he did not sell his car and his medals to buy more Jews.
The main characters are Oskar Schindler played by Liam Neeson, Itzhak Stern by Ben Kingsley; Amon Goeth played by Ralph Fiennes. Often, the experiences of the minor characters provide the most lasting images. Helen's story (Embeth Davidtz) is memorable, as is the case of little Danka Dresner (Anna Mucha) and her mother as they try to avoid death while staying together. There's a Jewish couple that marries in the Plaszow camp, even though their chances of survival are very slim, and a Rabbi who survives a close encounter with a Nazi gun.
Spielberg chose to film this motion picture in black-and-white and we think his choice was a good move. Almost the whole movie is in black and white, which gives it a "documentary" quality. It is also an effective device for presenting the story; the film starts in color, then, as the lot of the Jews lessen, the colors disappear, not to reappear until the end of the movie when we see that Jews have survived their ordeal. The Director has done a good job using shadow and light, carefully limiting the application of color. The opening scene is in color, as is the closing sequence (which shows the surviving "Schindler Jews", each followed by the actor who played their character, placing a stone on their savior's grave). There are also two instances when color is allowed to bleed into the blacks, whites, and grays. The little girl's jacket appears red so that she stands out from the masses, and a pair of candles burn with orange flames. When color is used, it makes a point and an impression.
The format of this movie makes a person feel as though they are a part of the emotional experience. The entire movie is in black and white and the music that goes along with is unexplainable. The tone of it plays on the viewers' emotions. Schindler's List is not your typical movie. Most movies contain humorous parts or even emotionally uplifting parts, however Schindler's List is totally the opposite. After sitting through this movie for about three hours, we almost felt sick to our stomachs, not only from the emotional scenes, but also from the graphic ones.
On the other hand, Schindler's List might install a feeling of hatred towards Hitler and the Nazi Army. Viewing piles upon piles of dead burning Jews makes a person question the humanity of Hitler and the Nazi's. In this situation, pay back seems inevitable towards such ruthless people. To add to this, children weren't treated any differently. They worked side by side the adults and were killed side by side with the adults.
It's too bad that there weren't more people like Oscar Schindler willing enough to give their lives for a human race. The credits, at the end of the movie, revealed that approximately six million Jews were persecuted. With so few Jews left over, Oscar was one of the very few that helped save a small percentage of the race.
The movie is very graphic, yet relays a lot of useful information to the viewers about the Holocaust. We all agree that it is important for everyone to watch this movie. It does a great job getting across how terrible the situation really was.