Schindler's List | Study Guide

Thomas Keneally

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Schindler's List | Chapter 18 | Summary

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Summary

Schindler travels to Budapest by freight train, where he delivers detailed testimony regarding the situation in Poland to Samu Springmann and Dr. Rezso Kastner. They tell Schindler they will convey his testimony to the Zionists as well as the British and American governments. They ask him to travel to Istanbul, where the Zionists have set up a bureau, to make another report, and Schindler agrees.

At a dinner with Sedlacek, Schindler is introduced to an Austrian journalist who works for the Zionist rescue organization. Upon learning that the journalist takes a cut of the rescue money meant to help Jews, Schindler expresses his disapproval and says he will cooperate with the organization without any personal compensation.

Analysis

Schindler's detailed testimony, which is "the first full-bodied report on the Polish havoc" to reach outside Poland, stuns Springmann and Kastner. The problem is much worse than they thought, and they must radically increase their efforts to help Jews. The actions of the Nazis are coordinated, large-scale, and systematic, so the rescue effort must be large-scale and systematic as well. Schindler, as the bearer of the news to the broader world, is the catalyst for these efforts.

Schindler's horror at the situation in Poland as well as his sense of moral obligation to help is solidified by his visit to Budapest. Away from Cracow, in a city that manages to feel "like a prewar city," Schindler is more disturbed than ever by what he has seen and what he is discovering is going on across Europe. The contrast between Cracow and Budapest inspires Schindler to commit himself fully to help the Jews. He expresses disgust at the opportunism of the Austrian journalist who takes a cut of Jewish rescue money and in doing so renounces the ambiguity that previously characterized his own efforts.

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