Oscar Schindler (Liam Neilson) was a failed businessman that saw an opportunity to make a fortune during World War II. In 1939 He moved to Krakow, Poland to make his fortune by exploiting cheap labor from imprisoned Jews. Schindler began his business career in Krakow rubbing elbows with highly ranked officials in the Nazi party. Schindler was not a moral man and through bribery and lavish parties gained the trust and respect of the Nazis.
Upon creating his political connections Schindler went looking for an infrastructure for his business. Schindler found an accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) of a previously confiscated factory. Stern was a member of the Judenrat. (Wikipedia.com) The Judenrat was a Jewish council made up of 24 Jews responsible for maintaining order in the Jewish ghetto. (historyinflim.org) He proposes to Stern that if Jewish businessmen would invest in his company he would repay them in products made. He also suggests that Stern oversee the operations as manager and accountant. Schindler’s role would be to market the products and the business. Stern finds Jewish investors that are interested and Schindler takes over a confiscated Deutsche Emalwaren Fabrik factory that made pots and pans for the German army. Taking advantage of the cheap labor Schindler only hires Jews instead of Pols (polish workers) because they cost more money. Schindler promotes his company to the German Army by giving lavish gifts and bribes to SS officials.
March 20, 1941 was the deadline for the Jews to enter the ghetto. Jews were exported if the German officials deemed their profession not essential to the German war effort. Many teachers and musicians were shipped off to horrific camps because their profession was not deemed essential. Stern actively assists Jews in finding a working role that was essential to help the war effort. Stern helped many people without technical skill become documented as essential laborers in order to save their lives. These rescued workers started to refer to Schindler’s factory as a haven.
Schindler befriends Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) commandant of the forced labor camp Plaszow. Goeth is an evil man who enjoys killing and torturing Jews. On one event he shot a woman because she wasn’t walking fast enough. Schindler’s company is very successful but his selfish motivation changes as he watches the brutality of the Nazis against the Jewish population. While riding their horses in the forest, Schindler and his mistress stumbled upon the Nazi liquidation of Krakow Jewish quarter. Both were visibly disturbed as they watched the Nazis show no mercy in killing people in middle of the street. Working with his accountant Stern, Schindler starts to protect any Jew in danger of loosing their life by bribing the officers who create the work lists. Schindler would give Stern material things such as watches, lighters, and cigarette cases. Stern would barter these things in exchange of having the person transferred to the factory. Schindler’s team of Jewish workers grew from 45 to 350.
To avoid the advancing Russian army all the Jews in the Plaszow camp were being displaced to other locations such as Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Schindler used his fortune he obtained during the war to buy Jews from Goeth and rescue them from a certain death. Goeth agrees and requests a list of the names Schindler want to purchase. He purchased over 1,100 workers and moved the entire factory to Czechoslovakia. In his new factory he produced artillary shells. His evoloving distaste for the war caused him to purchase artillary shells from other manufactures rather than produce his own. Not a single bullet was made during the seven months the factory was in operation. Once the war is declared over, Schindler flees Czechoslovakia to escape excecution himself. On paper Schindler is a member of the Nazi party, owner of a factory making bullets for the German army and in possesion of over one