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Searching for Schindler

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  545 Ratings  ·  77 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 Bev

Audio CD, 0 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Bolinda Publishing (first published 2007)
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Petra Eggs
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
Oct 16, 2015 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
Mikey B.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mikey B. by: Petra Eggs
This is a marvelous book! If you have read and/or seen the movie “Schindler’s List” then this speaks to you.

Thomas Keneally, up to 1980, was a relatively unknown author living in Australia. He was visiting California and his briefcase was broken. He walked into a handbag store in Beverly Hills looking to buy a new one. The owner of the store, Poldek, finding out that Keneally was a writer, convinced and cajoled him into writing a true story about a Sudeten German, Oskar Schindler, who saved Jews
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
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aus-connection
Listened to the audio book version from Bolinda Publishing

Its Tom Keneally's memoir of how he came across the Schindler story and the journey through its research, publication and portrayal to film. There is also parts of his family life in Sydney(found out he grew up in the same suburb I live now! that was exciting) and his journalistic endeavors in Eritrea during the war with Ethiopia and later. It spans roughly 10-12 yrs from the time he chanced upon the story to Schindler's List winning the
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 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie☯
16 OCT 2015 - recommended by Bettie. Thank you.
Helen O'Toole
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book answers so many questions. I have read several of Tom Keneally's eminently readable novels over the years and in particular the then named Schindler's Ark later to be Schindler's List. Keneally dedicated Schindler's List to Poldek Pfefferberg who " by zeal and persistence caused this book to be written." He tells the story of visiting a Los Angeles leather goods store and meeting the owner, Poldek as he calls him throughout the book. " Have I got a story for you!" And so this book tell ...more
Stuart Hill
Sep 06, 2014 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 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 05, 2013 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
Colleen O'grady
Jun 12, 2011 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
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
Nov 11, 2013 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.
Deborah Pickstone
3.5 stars

Keneally lost points for me by digressing a lot to his life in general and away from the subject, which I found irritating. That aside it was a very enjoyable read.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book about how the book "Schindler's List" got started, written, and eventually made into an Oscar-winning movie, is interesting as a look at the creative process and at history. One main reason these book drew me in, was the indomitable man who got it all started -- Poldek. Poldek was a Polish Jew, who worked for Schindler. For decades he urged writers and filmmakers (he immigrated to L.A.) to write Oskar Schindler's story of "man's humanity to man" because Schindler saved he and his wife' ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining read. I teach about the Holocaust, with an emphasis on Oskar Schindler, at my school, and this was a great way to supplement what I already know about him. The book about writing the book. I adored Poldek. You could even read this having no idea about Schindler at all, because you witness one man learning about Schindler who would go on to write Schindler's List.
May 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Doesn't particularly say anything.Did ir even need to be written?
Peter Steiner
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have read Schindler's list or traveled to Poland (especially Krakow) this is a delightful, behind the scenes, read about the writing of the book and the making of the movie. Thomas Keneally is a remarkably sensitive and insightful author and this book was one of his many treasures.
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
Sep 20, 2012 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

Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tl;dr: Started brilliantly but slowed to a country meander in parts. Still worth it, though.

As other reviewers have said, the book spent a lot of time detailing what happened between the book being published in 1982 and the film being released in 1993. I would have been content to miss the trips to Eritrea and diversions to other books being conceived, written and published. Keneally's style is entertaining and I'll be seeking out his other works, but I can't help feel that 'Searching for Schind
Pete daPixie
It was in a haphazard way that I was searching for Schindler. My wife has been advocating a holiday to escape the U.K. winter blues, so to cheer her up I booked a trip to Auschwitz. As we stay in the city of Krakow where the Oscar Schindler events happened and where Spielberg filmed Schindler's List, that was what inspired my search. I scanned the many shelves of WWII books in the town library without success. So I asked at the reception desk for something on this topic. The librarian tapped int ...more
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
Oct 19, 2012 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
Sep 15, 2011 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
Oct 08, 2009 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
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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
More about Thomas Keneally...
“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. ” 23 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. ” 18 likes
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