Schindler's List | Study Guide

Thomas Keneally

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Schindler's List | Chapter 11 | Summary



Toward the end of 1941 two plainclothes Gestapo men arrive at DEF. They arrest Oskar Schindler and seize his business records for examination. Before he is taken to SS headquarters, Schindler provides his secretary, Victoria Klonowska, with a list of names to call to secure his release. At SS headquarters a Gestapo man interrogates Schindler regarding his black market activities. Following an overnight detention, Schindler is released.


Schindler's gift for dealing successfully with high-ranking Nazi officials, whom he neither likes nor respects, pays off. He has long used his extensive network of contacts, cultivated over the years with gifts and parties, to assist him in business matters. Now he has these same men to thank for his freedom.

Schindler's interrogator frames Schindler's black-marketeering as a moral issue, telling him that "businesses supplying the war effort had a moral duty to devote all their product to that great enterprise." However, after it becomes clear that Schindler has friends in high places, moral concerns are dropped since a man who is connected to "people influential in the war effort need not be too closely looked at." Schindler walks away from SS headquarters a free man, his black market participation unexamined, only because he has been willing to participate in the cronyism required by the blatantly corrupt regime.

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