Schindler's List | Study Guide

Thomas Keneally

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Schindler's List | Chapter 20 | Summary



Schindler tells Amon Goeth he will not move his factory into Płaszów because such a move would be difficult and expensive and would interrupt the production of munitions so vital to the war effort. Stern visits Schindler and finds him depressed about the upcoming liquidation of the ghetto.

On the morning of March 13, 1943, Goeth and his colleagues arrive at the ghetto, ready to begin liquidation and end the long history of Jewish life in Cracow. Knowing what is coming, the doctors at the ghetto hospital arrange to have all their able-bodied patients moved out. As the liquidation begins, the doctors administer a lethal dose of cyanide to the few remaining patients at the hospital.


Although Schindler despises Goeth, he understands it is necessary to maintain cordial relations, and he does this so convincingly that Goeth believes Schindler is his friend. After Schindler offers Goeth a bribe, Goeth agrees to let DEF remain outside Płaszów. He does not suspect that Schindler makes his request out of concern for the Jews. Instead he assumes Schindler wishes to keep DEF separate to protect his black market business dealings.

Stern's attempts to comfort Schindler regarding the upcoming liquidation of the ghetto are unusual since Stern is a direct victim while Schindler is not. Schindler's idealism and outrage have grown stronger, while Stern has adopted an attitude of acceptance. When Stern tells Schindler things could be far worse, Schindler angrily tells him such an attitude is "damn well not good enough!" Schindler can be idealistic because, unlike Stern, he has power. As a Jew, Stern has no choice but to accept his circumstances.

Goeth and his colleagues approach the liquidation of the ghetto with excitement, believing they are primary actors in an event that will be celebrated by posterity. The brutal euphoria of Goeth and his colleagues contrasts starkly to the profound loss of hope the doctors at the hospital experience. They euthanize their sickest patients to spare them execution, knowing with certainty that things will not improve.

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