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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Schindler's list ........... letter in auction ...

Of the many Cinema halls in Cinema Road in Kakinada in East Godavari district, Satyagowri is perhaps unique.  In 1990s it used to screen only English movies – the specialty was they would issue only one ticket to the person standing in the queue, all had to stand in the queue and those who stood within the marked line, were sure of getting a ticket ! – it had good music system inside – understand that this theatre stands renovated in 2008, has capacity of 696 and now screens Telegu movies as well.  I remember seeing this movie there – on day 1 – there were not many and more than half moved out fast in a few minutes as they could see more of a typewriter and letter only as someone leaving the hall remarked.

It was ‘Schindler’s List’ based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally, an Australian novelist,  released in 1993 -  directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian.  It was a film based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. It starred Liam Neeson as Schindler.  Reportedly, Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews), made it his life's mission to tell the story of Schindler. Spielberg became interested in the story when executive Sid Sheinberg sent him a book review of Schindler's Ark.  Schindler's List premiered on November 30, 1993, in Washington, D.C. and is  among the greatest films ever made, also a box office success.  In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2004.

It is a touching story dating back to 1939 when the Germans move Polish Jews into the Kraków Ghetto as World War II begins. Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German, arrives in the city hoping to make his fortune. SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) Amon Goeth arrives in Kraków to oversee construction of Płaszów concentration camp. When the camp is completed, he orders the ghetto liquidated. Many people are shot randomly and killed in the process of emptying the ghetto.  Schindler keen to save as many as possible bribes those in power – the list (Schindler's List") is the list of people to be transferred to Brinnlitz and thus saved from transport to Auschwitz.  Schindler even stops production and spends his fortune in bribing and saving people.  He runs out of money  just as Germany surrenders, ending the war in Europe.
In the film after some scenes depicting Goeth's execution and a summary of Schindler's later life events after the war, the black-and-white frame changes to a color shot of actual Schindlerjuden at Schindler's grave in Jerusalem. Accompanied by the actors who portrayed them, the Schindlerjuden place stones on the grave. In the final scene, Neeson places a pair of roses on the grave. It is an emotionally touching movie indeed !.

In Aug 2013 – Oskar Schindler was in news as a historically important letter from him was is among documents to be sold at New Hampshire auction house.  On auction was the one-page letter signed by Schindler -  sent from his enamelware factory in Krakow, Poland, where he employed more than 1,000 Jewish workers from a nearby Nazi concentration camp. The letter, written in German and dated Aug. 22, 1944, was sent on behalf of one of Schindler's employees, Adam Dziedzic, who had 'received a clearings contract for unloading and assembling war-necessary machinery and has been sent to Sudetengau.' The nine or 10 lists of employees he submitted to the Nazis became known collectively as 'Schindler's list.' The documents also included a medical transfer document that underscores Dziedzic's importance to Schindler and plans for part of Schindler's Krakow munitions factory, the auction house said.  
Subsequent newsreports in Aug 2013 indicated that the collection of documents of Schindler fetched more than $122,000 at an online auction. Earlier, a list of Jews to be rescued by Schindler went unsold on eBay, after it was listed with a reserve price of $3 million.
Lr of Schindler - picture credit : Daily Mail Co Uk

Steven Allan Spielberg the director of movie Schindler’s List is considered one of the most popular and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as archetypes of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years, his films began addressing humanistic issues such as the Holocaust, the transatlantic slave trade, war, and terrorism. He is one of the co-founders of DreamWorks Studios. Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Three of Spielberg's films—Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993)—achieved box office records, each becoming the highest-grossing film made at the time.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Sept.,2014.

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