[Day 17] Oscar Schindler – How to judge a man?


I just finish watching Schindler’s List. Gosh! How good the film is! I was almost crying several times and actually cried at the end of the movie. Having read and seen few things about the Holocaust,  I’m still not prepared for this.

Oscar Schindler’s story raises a lot of question about morality and life’s model. Schindler is definitely not a saint. For most of his life, he’s an alcoholic, failure, a cheater, a womanizer, a materialistic guy who cares only about money, profit and himself. But he’s also the guys who risk his life, to try his very best, to give away most of his fortunes to save over 1000 Jews over World’s War II.  Because of his courage, sacrifice, and brilliance, children are saved, families are united, and faith in humanity restored. Oscar Schindler is not a God. But he’s a real savior. Schindler is a human savior, with all of his mistakes and faults. There is one conversation in the end of the movies that makes tears coming out from my eyes:

Oscar Schindler: I could’ve got more … I could’ve got more, if I’d just…I could’ve got more …
Stern: Oscar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Schindler: If I’d made more money…I threw away so much money, you have no idea. If I’d just …
Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Schindler: I didn’t do enough.
Stern: You did so much.
Schindler: This car. Goeth would’ve bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people, right there. Ten people, ten more people…(He rips the swastika pin from his lapel) This pin, two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would’ve given me two for it. At least one. He would’ve given me one. One more. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. I could’ve gotten one more person and I didn’t. I didn`t …”

Two people more. Ten people more. Would that make any difference? What is a man’s responsibility to the world? To the humanity? What is morality? What is ethics? What is the right thing to do? Should Schindler sacrifice more of his own good to save more lives? A pin can save at least 1 life. One fucking damn human life. Why did not he sell them to save more? FUCKING WHY !!!!

I do not have any answer. Silence takes over my heart and mind. I do not know what is right and what is wrong anymore. I believe the moral duty of one person is only with himself. Even if he takes one more others’ people duty as his, he has already done more than enough. My threshold about morality is low. Take care of yourself. That’s it. If you extend over that line, there is no right and wrong anymore. There is only respect.

Another interesting person in the movie is Goeth. He’s an example for the saying “Absolute power leads to absolute corruption”. I think he was the most powerful victim in the scheme. He wakes up, realizing that he hold to power to decide others’ lives without suffering consequences, and then try it. He wants new experiences. He wants to kill people. He wants to feel powerful. Without constraints and under pressures, people would do unimagined things to their mates.

The Holocaust portrayed in the movies is the same with the other books that I read about it. The Jews were the people turning into animals, step by step, and they got used to it. They did not believe what was happening at the time in the concentration camp because it was so hard to imagine something like that could ever happen. They found reasons to sooth themselves that things would only be better, that this situation is the worst possible. Wouldn’t we the same? If something happens to us right now, would we be the same Jews, not believing in the stories that the Nazi were killing and burning people in mass? How horrible would it be, to be dehumanized, ripped apart from your place, your friends, and especially your families? I could not think about it. It makes me scared, and grateful more than ever what I am having right now. I’m having places to sleep, food to eat, knowledge to learn, opportunities to grasp and people to love and be loved. I would not have to be worried about my safety, or simply the water that I need to drink tomorrow. I have more than I know I have.

Oscar Schindler, you have done more than enough. Thank you.



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