Geoff's Reviews > Schindler's List

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 21, 2009

really liked it
Read in August, 2009

A tale assembled from first-hand accounts of Oskar Schindler and his Kitchenware/munitions factories in Poland/Czechoslovakia during WWII.

It's still hard to comprehend the atrocities of Nazi Germany, but Schindler's List is full of details from the first days of occupied Poland, through the development of the Concentration and Death Camps outside of Krakow, and finally the nerve-wracking closing days of the war in which anything could have happened in trying to cover up the Holocaust. The sheer mass of random killings by SS troops and coolly-calculated exterminations in the book are overwhelming. Writing on Auschwitz-Birkenau: "The moral universe had not so much decayed here. It had been inverted, like some black hole..." A machine designed to end civilian lives as quickly and cleanly as possible. Of course, the human supervisors of the Final Solution often took care to make it a dirtier process.

I haven't seen this movie, but I have been to the Auschwitz and Dachau camps, so I had a picture in my mind of the bleak fall evenings, and the endless rows of barracks and barbed wire. To me, it seems that even had the Nazis managed to exterminate their resident Jewish populations completely, the machine would still have been hungry for any reason to feed it- be it small infractions by conquered gentiles, to their own fascist power struggles. I think there would have been no end to it.

The book also goes into many specific details to show that Schindler himself was not a 'paragon of perfection' but a man of many vices. But he was human, and could recognize that saving the few people he could would be better than resigning himself to their fates. Since he is lauded as rescuing more from the gas chambers than any other individual, I actually expected him to save more than just 1,200 people or so in the end- it seems like such a small number compared to the 6+ million total victims of the Holocaust. And Oskar probably always wondered if he could have done more. But to have that many people survive a terror due to your hard work has to be some consolation. "He who saves a single life saves the world entire."
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Schindler's List.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Cassie (new)

Cassie Meyer You should definitely watch the movie soon -- some of your questions are addressed there, and it is also a visually moving film.

back to top