Schindler's List | Study Guide

Thomas Keneally

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Schindler's List | Chapter 31 | Summary

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Summary

In the autumn of 1944 Schindler works to build the alliances and secure the various permits he needs to move his factory into Czechoslovakia. Facing opposition from the governor of Moravia as well as local Nazi officials, Schindler seeks the assistance of Sussmuth, an engineer employed by the Armaments Inspectorate. Sussmuth suggests the vacant wing of a textile plant in the village of Brinnlitz as a probable location for Schindler's new facility.

Schindler visits Brinnlitz, a Germanic village near his hometown of Zwittau, and finds the proposed facility to his liking. When he returns to Emalia, he finds that an Allied bomber has crashed into his barracks. The plane was carrying Australians delivering supplies to the partisans. Sensing that time is of the essence, Schindler works to hasten the process of relocation. He encourages the speedy cooperation of various agencies and the goodwill of local officials with generous gifts of black market goods, a practice that earns him accusations of black-marketeering.

The SS arrests Goeth and raids his apartment. Suspected of embezzlement and black-marketeering, he is imprisoned while awaiting trial. During the investigation, the SS questions Helen Hirsch and Mietek Pemper regarding Goeth's economic activities. Pemper is imprisoned for two weeks after an SS official learns that Goeth has given the typist access to secret documents. From prison, Goeth sends Helen Hirsch a friendly note asking her to bring him items that will make him more comfortable.

Schindler draws up the first version of the list. Despite petitioning by Schindler and Raimund Titsch, Julius Madritsch ultimately declines to relocate his own factory and workers, believing Schindler's plan will fail. To Schindler's initial list, Titsch adds the names of dozens of Madritsch's workers. After Schindler turns in the document to the Administration Building at Płaszów, it falls into the hands of Jewish personnel clerk Marcel Goldberg, who accepts bribes from various prisoners who want to be added to the list.

Analysis

Faced with the most meaningful project of his career, Schindler snaps into business mode. In planning his move to Czechoslovakia, he makes use of old connections and cultivates new ones. He spends extraordinary sums of cash procuring black market goods to grease the gears of the system, smoothing over accusations of bribery with even grander bribes. For Schindler, money is literally no object. He is doing business but not for the sake of profit. His business is merely a front, a means by which he may accomplish the grand lifesaving mission that has come to obsess him.

Goeth's corrupt ways finally catch up with him, and he is arrested—not for his murderous sadism but for economic wrongdoings. In prison, his power is stripped, but even in his new powerless state, he fails to comprehend the effects of his violent and abusive behavior on those around him. The tone of his request to Helen Hirsch is friendly and casual, containing no hint of apology or self-awareness.

Schindler's list begins with all the names of the Emalia prisoners and grows larger. When Schindler promised Stern some months earlier that he would save all the Płaszów inmates, Stern was dubious. With the stench of burning bodies filling the air, such a promise seemed impossibly grandiose. But by the end of the year, Schindler has devised a plan that will save, if not all the Płaszów inmates, at least all the Emalia inmates and then some. Stern, in his prisoner's passivity, lacked access to the reckless hope that was growing within Schindler. Now, Schindler's list gives hope to all whose names are on it. The list is hope manifested.

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