Schindler's List | Study Guide

Thomas Keneally

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Schindler's List | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Fall 1939

    After Poland falls to the Nazis, Oskar Schindler arrives in Cracow seeking business opportunities.

    Chapter 2
  • Early 1940

    Schindler opens his factory, DEF, and begins fulfilling military contracts.

    Chapter 6
  • Early March 1941

    An edict is issued ordering all Jews to live in an enclosed ghetto inside Cracow.

    Chapter 8
  • Late March 1941

    Schindler promises his employees they will survive the war by working for him.

    Chapter 8
  • Late 1941

    Schindler is arrested for black-marketeering but is released because of his influential contacts.

    Chapter 11
  • April 1942

    Schindler is arrested for kissing a Jewish woman at his birthday party but is released.

    Chapter 12
  • Summer 1942

    The Nazis begin shipping Jews who aren't employed in essential industries to labor camps.

    Chapter 13
  • June 1942

    After witnessing a violent ghetto Aktion, Schindler dedicates himself to helping the Jews.

    Chapter 15
  • Fall 1942

    Schindler begins working with a rescue organization, sharing news of the horrors in Poland.

    Chapter 17
  • Spring 1943

    Amon Goeth comes to Cracow to liquidate the ghetto and establish the forced labor camp Płaszów.

    Chapter 19
  • Spring 1943

    Schindler establishes a subcamp at DEF to protect his workers from the violence at Płaszów.

    Chapter 22
  • April 1944

    Disturbed by the conditions at Płaszów, Schindler resolves to undertake a rescue.

    Chapter 27
  • Summer 1944

    Schindler concocts a plan to save his workers by moving his factory to Czechoslovakia.

    Chapter 30
  • Fall 1944

    Schindler makes a list of workers who will come to his new camp at Brinnlitz.

    Chapter 31
  • Late fall 1944

    The 1,100 Jews on Schindler's list arrive at his new camp at Brinnlitz.

    Chapter 33
  • Winter 1944–45

    Schindler works to rescue additional Jews and bring them to Brinnlitz.

    Chapter 36
  • April 1945

    Schindler saves his workers from liquidation by having Commandant Liepold removed.

    Chapter 37
  • May 1945

    The war ends, and Schindler flees to Switzerland with the help of his former workers.

    Chapter 38
  • October 1974

    After receiving extensive honors for his humanitarian efforts during the war, Schindler dies.

    Epilogue

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Author's Note Author Thomas Keneally describes how his book Schindler's List came to be. He first hears the story of Oskar Schindler a... Read More
Prologue It is the autumn of 1943. Poland has been under Nazi occupation for several years. Oskar Schindler, a Cracow businessman... Read More
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 discusses Oskar Schindler's early life. He was born in 1908 in the industrial city of Zwittau to a Catholic fa... Read More
Chapter 2 After the German takeover of Poland, the East Trust Agency is established to seize and run Jewish-owned businesses. Two ... Read More
Chapter 3 In the autumn of 1939 Poldek Pfefferberg, a Jew from Cracow, is wounded in battle and captured by the Germans. He tricks... Read More
Chapter 4 In early December 1939 Schindler appears at the office of J.C. Buchheister and warns Stern and the other employees somet... Read More
Chapter 5 Around Christmas in 1939 Schindler meets with a group of his friends at a nightclub in Cracow. The location is chosen sp... Read More
Chapter 6 Schindler seeks capital to turn the failing enamelworks producer Rekord into a viable business. Abraham Bankier, Rekord'... Read More
Chapter 7 In 1940 many Jews move from Cracow to small rural villages. Among them are Henry and Leo Rosner, who move to a village s... Read More
Chapter 8 For Christmas of 1940 Schindler buys his lover, Victoria Klonowska, a poodle and gives jewelry to his girlfriend, Ingrid... Read More
Chapter 9 For Easter of 1941 Oskar Schindler visits relatives in Zwittau. He and his wife, Emilie, are uncertain whether she shoul... Read More
Chapter 10 Poldek Pfefferberg takes a part-time job working for the OD, the Jewish ghetto police force founded in March 1941 with t... Read More
Chapter 11 Toward the end of 1941 two plainclothes Gestapo men arrive at DEF. They arrest Oskar Schindler and seize his business re... Read More
Chapter 12 Genia, a three-year-old Jewish girl, is smuggled into the ghetto to stay with her relatives, the Dresners. Her former ca... Read More
Chapter 13 In the summer of 1942 the authorities issue new identification cards to the residents of the Cracow ghetto. Those who ar... Read More
Chapter 14 The sorting and removal of ghetto Jews continues. In response Oskar Schindler installs dormitories in his factory to kee... Read More
Chapter 15 Schindler and his girlfriend, Ingrid, riding on horseback on a ridge above the ghetto, watch an Aktion in progress. They... Read More
Chapter 16 Schindler learns that more than 7,000 people were removed from the ghetto during the recent Aktion. He is also aware tha... Read More
Chapter 17 Seeking information regarding the plight of the Jews under the Nazi regime, a Zionist organization trying to save Jews i... Read More
Chapter 18 Schindler travels to Budapest by freight train, where he delivers detailed testimony regarding the situation in Poland t... Read More
Chapter 19 In February 1943 Amon Goeth arrives in Cracow, sent by the SS to liquidate the ghetto and establish a forced-labor camp ... Read More
Chapter 20 Schindler tells Amon Goeth he will not move his factory into Płaszów because such a move would be difficult and expensiv... Read More
Chapter 21 Poldek Pfefferberg and his wife, Mila, spend liquidation day hiding in their attic. They plan to escape the ghetto throu... Read More
Chapter 22 Schindler learns from his workers that executions and displays of violence are common at Płaszów. To protect his workers... Read More
Chapter 23 Prisoners at Płaszów covet a spot at Oskar Schindler's DEF/Emalia, where by contrast the food is hearty and the treatmen... Read More
Chapter 24 When senior officers from Płaszów visit Emalia for an inspection, they attempt to execute one of Schindler's workers. Ou... Read More
Chapter 25 Schindler works to deliver rescue money brought by Sedlacek to prisoners inside Płaszów. Some are reluctant to accept th... Read More
Chapter 26 Raimund Titsch, the Catholic manager of Julius Madritsch's uniform factory inside Płaszów, placates Amon Goeth by purpos... Read More
Chapter 27 In April 1944 Schindler employs Henry Rosner to play the violin at the celebration for his 36th birthday. He confesses t... Read More
Chapter 28 As Amon Goeth's typist, Mietek Pemper has unparalleled access to the regime's internal communications. Pemper also has a... Read More
Chapter 29 In the summer of 1944 the Russians have reached the outskirts of Warsaw. Amon Goeth warns factory owners Oskar Schindler... Read More
Chapter 30 Schindler receives orders that Emalia is to be disbanded as soon as possible and the prisoners sent to Płaszów, after wh... Read More
Chapter 31 In the autumn of 1944 Schindler works to build the alliances and secure the various permits he needs to move his factory... Read More
Chapter 32 In the last few chaotic days of Płaszów's existence, Schindler scrambles to finalize arrangements for his move to Czecho... Read More
Chapter 33 The Schindler women board the train for Brinnlitz a week after the men. To their surprise, they are taken to Auschwitz-B... Read More
Chapter 34 Fearing the possibility of a typhus outbreak, Schindler has a delousing unit built. He also ensures the health of his wo... Read More
Chapter 35 Although it is charged with producing shells for the war effort, Brinnlitz produces very little. What little it does pro... Read More
Chapter 36 During the winter of 1944–45 Schindler and Sussmuth, an engineer at the Armaments Inspectorate, work together to move 3,... Read More
Chapter 37 In April 1945 Schindler celebrates his 37th birthday with the prisoners. They give him a handmade gift, and Niusia Horow... Read More
Chapter 38 The weapons previously stockpiled by Schindler are distributed among the workers. The SS men leave for their unknown fut... Read More
Epilogue Schindler maintains close relationships with many of his former workers after the war. However, he never again attains a... Read More
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