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Schindler's List Video Questions
Excerpt From this Document
SCHINDLER’S LIST is one of the most powerful movies of all time. It is a 1993 movie based on the novel “Schindler’s List” by Thomas Keneally. It tells the compelling true story of the German businessman Oskar Schindler who comes to Nazi-occupied Poland looking for economic prosperity and leaves as a savior of more than 1,100 Jews. A charming and sly entrepreneur, Schindler bribes and befriends the Nazi authorities to gain control of a factory in Krakow by aryanization, which he staffs with Jewish slave - laborers, and soon he is making a fortune. But among the Jews who work for him is Itzhak Stern, the plant manager, who in his benevolence sees to it that Schindler's workforce includes the most vulnerable and cherished members of Krakow's Jewish community.
- Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson): German businessman who runs a Jewish-slavelabor factory
- Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley): Jewish Plant Manager
- Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes): Nazi leader who managed the Jewish labor camp
- What happens to the one armed machinist? What does this show about the SS soldiers?
- Why do you think Schindler demands for Itzhak Stern to get off the train?
- How is Stern an asset to Schindler?
- Describe the demeanor of Amon Goeth. What does he do to the Jewish engineer? Why?
- What is Amon Goeth saying about the Jews to other German soldiers?
- Describe the process of liquidation of Krakow (Ghetto).
- Why do you think Goeth executes at random?
- Schindler observes a wandering Jewish girl in a red coat. What is the significance of this “girl in red?” What does she represent or symbolize?
- This is one of the four occasions in the film when color is used. Why is color used? What statement does this make?
“I didn’t do any camera tricks, except this one moment, where I wanted there to be color on the red winter coat of the little girl,” Spielberg said in the documentary “Imaginary Witness. “That was how Thomas Keneally describes her, because Schindler made an observation when he was sitting on his horse watching the liquidation of the ghetto. He noticed that no one was selecting the most obvious color in a very monochromatic scheme.
“And my interpretation of that was that America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in.”
- What are happening to the bodies? Why are they doing this?
- What are Schindler and Stern creating? Why?
- Why do you think the women get sent to Auschwitz? What happens to them there?
- How does Schindler get the women to come to his factory? How does he persuade the officers to accept the children to come to his factory?
- Describe Schindler’s speech about the end of the war. What is happening to all the Jews?
- What happens to Goeth?
Overall Discussion Question:
- It is obvious that Schindler risked his life to save the Jews. Did he do it out of empathy, impulse, self-interest, influence? What things did Oskar see that helped him understand the horror of the situation? Give specific examples of his benevolence. Was Oskar dedicated from the beginning, pushed by Stern, or only when he received the ring was he sure he had done the right thing? Did Oskar ever really realize how much he had done?
About this Document
While studying the Holocaust and WWII I show Schindler's list and these are the questions students need to answer. Make sure you hand out permission forms for this movie, and any student that cannot view the movie should have a alternative activity. I do have a alternative activity also on this site.