How does the world measure a businessman? Most of the people believe that profit and loss percentages are the key figures to understand the feat of a businessman. Then, people may not care how strong the business is or how many workers have put their efforts to make the business run. There is no mistake because that is how the world market has depicted and influenced the businessmen.
However, when the name Oskar Schindler is uttered, the history fanatics hardly remember that he was actually a businessman and made millions during the period of war – the World War II. People consider him as a savior even though he and his wife Emilie did not want to be known as true heroes of the vicious war effort initiated by Nazi Germany.
Earning millions using the slave laborers is not a big deal – especially when people were ready to get a blauschein or a blue card to show themselves useful for the war efforts and survive the German aggression, Schindler took the chance. He owned a company at Lipowa Street in Krakow, Poland. This company was known as Deutsche Enamelwarenfabrik.
However, it is better to mention that even though finding this company brought Schindler the fame in the Nazi Germany, it was not the first effort by him. Before finding this company, he used to work in several places including his father’s business. He also joined in the Czechoslovak army and arose to the rank of Lance Corporal.
Even during the Nazi period, he was an active member of Abwehr or the German secret service. Therefore, it was easier to him to get in touch with the people, especially the high-ranked Nazi officers. It helped him get the signatures he required for his newfound company, which actually was established and run by Jews.
People may ask why Schindler recruited Jews in maximum numbers for his company. From the economic point of view, it was the best option that he could opt for. The polish laborers used to cost more while the wages of the Jews used to go directly in the funds of the notorious SS (Schutzstaffel). As a result of that, being a Nazi party member, Schindler could gain profits while the Jews did not get any money to meet their daily needs. In short, slave laborers profited his business.
Certainly, the question will arise that whether his and Emilie Schindler’s claims not to call them as heroes were actually right or justified in this regard. This is true that the company, especially the man running the company profited from the slave laborers. He was a womanizer and in the initial stage of the Nazi party ruling, did not protest its activities. However, the thing for which he deserves to be listed among the all time greats is his effort not to wage the war but to save the lives of the people who worked for him.
This thing indeed landed into some troubles. He was a womanizer and kissed a Jew girl during his birthday celebration. Apart from that, his own party believed that he was a Jew-sympathizer. For this reason along with some other accusations, he had to spend several nights in jail. However, his unmatched personality, with which he had befriended a number of high class Nazi officers (including SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Amon Goeth), helped him bail out soon.
In his own words, he did nothing more than a man should do. He did what his conscience told him to do. If any movie buff has watched the famous movie “Schindler’s List” by Steven Spielberg, he or she may remember a scene where a girl in red dress was crossing the streets when the Nazi, especially SS atrocities were taking place in the broad daylight. Anybody may ask, whether that moved Schindler or not. Here, again, it is better to quote him – “ There was no choice. If you saw a dog going to be crushed under a car, wouldn’t you help him?”
Does he sound like a Nazi sympathizer in those words? He took risks, but never raised his voice considering it troublesome enough during the regime. However, he ensured safety as well as food and medicines to the workers in his factory. He did not let any Nazi officer visit or affect the daily lives of the workers in his factory until the end of the war. Everyone knows, in this process, he lost his millions – he had nothing except a letter signed by all the Jew workers and a metal ring that they gifted him as a memorabilia.
Then, like the rest other Nazis, he left Germany and headed to Argentina for political asylum. He indeed tried his fate as an entrepreneur but failed repeatedly. Later, he moved back to a liberal, post-war Germany. Later in 1963, he was named “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Israeli government.
So, was he a hero? Or, he just did something humanitarian that none except his better half dared to do living within the Nazi regime. It would be better to leave the matter to the hands of history while as a conclusion a Jew-proverb can be recalled – “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire”.