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Searching for Schindler

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  431 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
This is the captivating story behind Schindler’s List, the Booker Prize–winning book and the Academy Award–winning Spielberg film. Keneally tells the tale of the unlikely encounter that propelled him to write about Oskar Schindler and of the impact of his extraordinary account on people around the world.

Thomas Keneally met Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg, the owner of a Beve
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Nan A. Talese (first published 2007)
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Petra X
This book is precious, something special to read. This is the story of a man, Poldek,a victim of the Nazis who was saved by Oskar Schindler and eventually, in "California, Beverly Hills" had a very good business in handbags and briefcases. His life's mission was to have a book, then a film, made about his hero and saviour whom he called his own personal Jesus Christ. A chance meeting with the Australian-Irish author Thomas Keneally who was in the store looking for a replacement briefcase, brough ...more

I read Schindler's List more than twenty years ago; long enough ago that the title was Schindlers Ark. Like many people, I knew that Keneally first heard about Oskar Schindler when he bought a briefcase from a luggage retailer in Los Angeles. I didn't know much more than that, though, and this memoir fills in the details of that particular story. It covers in some detail Keneally's initial encounter with Leopold (Poldek) Pfefferburg and his wife, his meetings with other Holocaust survivors who w
This book makes a nice companion to Schindler's List. Keneally does a good job fleshing out the background to his search for Schlinder. Additionally, he does a good job of bringing to life the inspiration for his discovery of the story. At times, however, the book is more telling than showing and especially towards the end, it feels like Keneally is dropping names. Totally understandable, but rather boring to read.
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Thomas Keneally's account of his discovery of the story of Oskar Schindler, which became the basis for his Booker Prize-winning novel Schindler's Ark and the Oscar-winning film Schindler's List.

Episode 2: Poldek and Thomas set out to meet the Australian and American Schindlerjuden, the Jews saved by Oskar.

Episode 3: Poldek takes Thomas to Poland to witness 'the intimacy of horror' in the Krakow ghetto.

Episode 4; The journey ends in Israel and Thomas goes home
Jenny Collins
I have finally finished this book and I have to say although I loved the first half I did find the second half a bit of a chore.
The first part of the book is about how Thomas Keneally came by the story and you are introduced to an amazingly passionate man Poldeck who has made it his mission in life to make sure the story of Schindler is heard. You join Thomas and Poldeck on their journey as they source Schindlers Jews and gather the story. The stories the survivors have to tell really gripped me
Oct 16, 2015 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie☯
16 OCT 2015 - recommended by Bettie. Thank you.
Stuart Hill
Sep 06, 2014 Stuart Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title was a bit of a misnomer as there isn't a great deal about Schindler in the text. What the book is really about is how the novel Schindler's Ark came to be written and the subsequent film Schindler's List produced. It was an engaging read, largely due to the presence of the irrepressible Poldek Pfefferberg for most of the journey, a holocaust survivor who spent many years attempting to publicise the Schindler story. The phrase 'larger than life' is insufficient to capture the presence o ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most people have read or heard of Thomas Keneally's amazing book, Schindler's List. However, in this 2007 book, Keneally traces how he got the idea for the book. He was in a leather-goods store in Hollywood looking for a brief case when he me Poldek Pfefferberg who related the story of Schindler. Poldek had been one of the many who Schindler saved. After this, Keneally begins a world-wide trek with Poldek to interview survivors, see Warsaw and Cracow, visit Jerusalem, and back home to Australia ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you liked Schindler's List (book, movie, or both), as I do, you will probably find this book to be interesting, as it tells the background of how Keneally discovered the story of Oskar Schindler and the time and effort it took to get the story researched and told, and then how the movie came to be made, stories behind the movie's development and creation, and the aftermath of the making of the movie. This is Keneally's memoir of those years, and is in many ways a tribute to Leopold Pfefferber ...more
Craig Phillips
The book starts off well. Especially interesting is the chance encounter that starts the ball rolling, providing you haven't read any reviews or heard the story before. The main protagonist, Poldek, is a great character with formidable will, and he is with us all along. Some of the bit characters and side stories are interesting.

As other reviewers have said, it starts to feel padded toward the end, the pace certainly recedes and ther the self indulgence of the author sets in. This is definitely
Jun 25, 2014 Mick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book contains the details as to how the author got to know about the Schindler legend through Poldek and the first few chapters has the details regarding the same and their travels. More than 2/3rd of the book gives out the reception of the book and the making of the movie. Not what I expected. Wanted to learn more about schindler, guess could have gone straight for Schindler's ark.
Oct 16, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Christine

Description: Thomas Keneally's account of his discovery of the story of Oskar Schindler, which became the basis for his Booker Prize-winning novel Schindler's Ark and the Oscar-winning film Schindler's List.

1/5: Keneally's account of his discovery of the story of Oscar Schindler

2/5: Poldek and Thomas set out to meet the Australian and American Schindlerjuden, the Jews saved by Oskar.

3/5: Poldek takes Keneally to Poland to witness 'the intimacy of horror' i
Apr 07, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I, now, better understand the book Schindler's List and the film, as well. This book gives a good insight to the author and follows his, quite interesting, adventure for buying a replacement briefcase to being on set with Steven Spielberg. He spends more time with the survivors in their modern setting than in Schindler's List. I was concerned by the label of fiction on Schindler's List and this book dispels many of my fears. I also get to know some of the key characters, including the author him ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Yeemay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful companion volume to Shindler's Ark. Keneally writes engagingly about how the book came to be written, his chance meeting with the larger than life figure of Poldeck, the incorrigible, exuberant celebrant of life, his meeting with other members of the Schindlerjuden to collect first hand testimonies, meeting Schndler's wife Emilie and other major players. It is a personal memoir of the writing of the book and the eventual making of the film but incredibly moving in parts and f ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Abbe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-library
From Publishers Weekly

Australian author Keneally was awarded the 1982 Booker Prize for his novel Schindler's List. How Keneally came to write that novel about Oskar Schindler's rescue of more than a thousand Jews from the Holocaust is a tale that, curiously enough, began in Beverly Hills while the author was promoting his Civil War novel, Confederates. Looking for a new briefcase, he entered a luggage shop owned by the ebullient, charismatic Leopold Poldek Pfefferberg, one of Schindler's survi

Kathleen Hagen
The Search for Schindler, by Thomas Keneally, narrated by Humphrey Bower, produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

This book tells the story of collecting the stories of survivors from the holocaust, saved by Oscar Schindler, which ultimately became the movie, Schindler’s List.” Thomas Keneally is an Australian, and having Bower read this book imports the right Australian accent. Bower is also good at creating the Polish Jews’ accents.
Publisher’s Note:
A memoir of Tom's journey aro
Nov 01, 2012 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually bought this book by mistake. Kindle and the 1-click shopping being the culprit. I figured I would eventually read this book after I read the actual Schindler's Ark/List anyway, so went ahead and read this (which I'm regretting right now... should have read the actual book first!).

This memoir details how Keneally came to write the book, Schindler's List/Arc. In a way, it was pretty dry, just a recount of things happening, places they went... but I actually found this Poldek guy very am
Camille McCarthy
I was always curious to know more about how Keneally came to write such a well-known and well-done book. My only other experience of this author, previous to reading Schindler's List, was when in high school I came across the book "To Asmara" which was about the Eritrean war for independence and thus immediately caught my attention as a former resident of Eritrea. Seeing as how it is such a little-known country, I thought this book would bring back feelings of nostalgia for a country I had recen ...more
Oct 09, 2009 Ilze rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why did Keneally write this book? He's already made a real mint out of Schindler with Schindler's Ark/List (as well as the film by Steven Spielberg), what could he add? Part of me was wondering if he ran out of money and thought now's the time for some income. Part of me thought it was a tribute to Poldek (Leopold Pfefferberg), but if this was the case, why wasn't it entitled something along those lines? He fires through the "search" as quickly as possible and with as many split infinitives as h ...more
As much a memorial to Poldek Pfefferberg (the Schindler Jew whose persistence got Keneally's book written and Spielberg's film made) as a memoir of Keneally himself, I feel like this book should be part of a three-book set: Schindler's Ark (as it is in the Australian and British editions), Searching for Schindler, and the book about the making of the film (that I saw once in a second-hand bookshop and ever after have wished I had bought). I certainly see it as a natural companion to both the boo ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Deena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating telling of not only Keneally's writing of & research for Schindler's List, but also his responses to the long process by which it became a movie, and the movie itself. We see Keneally's writing process of this particular book as well as in general, and how the research for it affected him.

I'm no more willing to deify Keneally than he was (or I am, for that matter) Schindler, but in the used copy of this book that I bought, someone taped a picture of Keneally & Spe
Heather F
Mar 20, 2009 Heather F rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. It tells the story about how the author of Schindler's list came upon the story of Oskar Schindler and the process he went through in writing the story. The story was funny, tender, and full of interesting details. I liked that the story didn't focus too intently on the details of the holocaust but still told the basic story of Schindler along with many brief accounts of holocaust survivors. I would highly recommend this book!!!

It also tells the story of how the mov
This was a truly wonderful read. I didn't give it 5 stars because I don't hand out a ton of those and the book did fizzle somewhat at the end.

"Searching for Schindler" is the story of how Thomas Keneally discovered the story of Oskar Schindler, the research for the book "Schindler's List" and how the movie came to be.

It is also, in some respects, a tribute to Poldek Pfefferberg the Schindler Jew whose persistence got Keneally's book written and Spielberg's film made. Schlinder's List was a stor
Susan Erhardt
I found this quite an interesting story of how Australian author Thomas Keneally met, quite by chance (in Beverly Hills, of all places), a Holocaust survivor named Leopold Pfefferberg, who'd been on "Schindler's List". He was persuaded by Pfefferberg to write the book that Steven Spielberg turned into a movie. The tale got off track in places here and there, but was overall an enjoyable read. Now I kind of want to watch the movie again, though the first time was so painful, I'm not sure I really ...more
Taylor Church
This was an amazing memoir filled with personal and idiosyncratic details. I rarely read two books in a row by the same author, but having been consumed by Schindler's List I was unbelievably enthralled with a memoir on the writing and inception of said book. It was relatively short and an easy readm but Keneally's prose is always witty and beautiful. If you have not read Schindler's List, go read it (just having seen the movie does not count), then read this book. I am off to the next book by t ...more
Colleen O'grady
Jul 02, 2011 Colleen O'grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As is usual with Tom Kenneally, his writing skilla are superb and I am on the hunt to find his book Schindler's List or Schinler's Ark. I want to read what he has researched for this book. Here he gave us a description of his meetings with the Schindler Jews, trials of those involved with Schindler during the war and how they felt about him, and one exceptional man Poldeck, who actually got Kenneally interested in writing the story. It would be nice if more writers could do that, that write biog ...more
Christina Sesok
Pretty good book. It was definitely interesting to follow Keneally's quest to discover the true story of Oskar Schindler. It provided reasoning behind why Keneally portrayed Schindler the way he did in his novel, not to mention how he heard about the amazing story in the first place. There were times where Keneally got off topic though, and it seemed to draw away from the text, which was a little frustrating at times. It was definitely an interesting book to read, and now I've added Schindler's ...more
Enjoyed it and made me want to get a copy of Schindler's List
This is not nearly as interesting as the story of Schindler itself--a good half of the book is about the reception of the book, receiving the Booker Award, and eventually having the movie made into the film--but it does has its moments. Leopold Poldek is introduced to the world as the driving force behind making sure Schindler's story was told. Poldek was a strong personality--he passed away in 2001 and the book is in part dedicated to his memory--and gave the book more "character."
Kristin Lee Williams
Oct 18, 2008 Kristin Lee Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This book came in to the library the other day and it looked interesting so I decided to check it out. I really liked Schindler's List so I thought reading about how the book was conceived would be fascinating. I was right. The story of how Keneally literally stumbled on to Schindler's story is amazing. It is also amazing to read how he was able to convince so many survivors to share their experiences with him. I definitely recommend this one, especially to lovers of history!
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Thomas Michael Keneally, AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction. He is best known for writing Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982, which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993), which won the Academy Award for Best Pict ...more
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“But then what is the alternative to trying to tell the truth about the Holocaust, the Famine, the Armenian genocide, the injustice of dispossession in the Americas and Australia? That everyone should be reduced to silence? To pretend that the Holocaust was the work merely of a well-armed minority who didn’t do as much harm as is claimed-and likewise, to argue that the Irish Famine was either an inevitability or the fault of the Irish-is to say that both were mere unreliable rumors, and not the great motors of history they so obviously proved to be. It suited me to think so at the time, but still I believe it to be true, that if there are going to be areas of history which are off-bounds, then in principle we are reduced to fudging, to cosmetic narrative. ” 21 likes
“Paradox is beloved of novelists. The despised savior, the humane whore, the selfish man suddenly munificent, the wise fool, and the cowardly hero. Most writers spend their lives writing about unexpected malice in the supposedly virtuous, and unexpected virtue in the supposedly sinful. ” 17 likes
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