Dear Mr. Schindler, My friends.
With your permission, I will speak in German for the sake of Mr. Schindler.
Since our guest came to visit us, there were many opportunities to tell about his enormous endeavor. Thanks to him we are able to sit here today and elsewhere in the world there are another 800 survivors. We have all sinned by not having found the way to give an adequate echo to these deeds. I believe that there is no precedent in the entire history of the Holocaust that one person shouldered the enormous burden of rescuing Jews at a time when inhuman risk and schemes were needed to help a single Jews. And here is the man who not only managed to save 1200 people, but who over the years was able to listen and to solve thousands of daily problems that our lives depended on. And let us admit: One day of the problems we had in Brunnlitz was more than enough. But when it lasted for months and years, I ask myself where did Schindler draw the forces and patience to take care of all our problems. And the solution of each problem carried deathly dangers. And I ask myself: what for did he need all this? As a German he would have done his duty even if he did a small fracture of what he had done. I can only attribute this to Schindler’s personality, and will not be able to find answers to these questions….
I personally met Schindler only in Brunnlitz, and even there only through Stern and my late brother. But Schindler was the first German since the beginning of the war that did not fill me with fear. On the contrary. And this was true about all of us….When Schindler came to the factory, no one needed to pretend he was working and the women continued to do their knitting with wool they had stolen from the neighboring factory of Hoffman’s. And when Hoffman discovered the theft, he complained to the Gestapo, and Schindler had the affair closed and paid 8000 Marks for the stolen wool….
Not only weren’t we afraid of Schindler, but when he entered the factory, each of us expected him to stop at his workstation, because every time he passed, he would forget a cigarette box….
Sometimes we would see him at night walking around for hours with Stern. In the mornings Schindler would tell me: “you have no idea how many Talmud lessons I have taken with Stern, the Talmudist”. And then he would add: “And do you know how every Talmudic debate would end? With the request of a supplement of half a loaf of bread for each person. He could have told me at the outset that all he wanted was bread, and we would have saved time.”
And we all remember Zenon, the radio technician. How he managed to repair Schindler’s radio for many months. And only Schindler was aware. Meanwhile Zenon had a little earphone and every day at 2 o’clock he would listen to London radio and inform the factory about the news. One day Zenon decided it was high time to return the radio to Schindler. We feared that we would not be able to learn of the news any longer, but Schindler told him: “don’t worry. I have another radio for repair”. This is how we could hear the news of the world and knew when there was a chance for liberation….
And he stayed with us until the very end. Didn’t leave us but ten minutes past midnight in the night of 8 May 1945, after the SS had left and the ceasefire was on. The same evening the arms that had been prepared in advance were taken out of the storeroom and distributed between the group that was into the secret.
We were powerless and could only accompany Schindler in our hearts and with great gratitude that we owed to our rescuers. Several days earlier we had thought about a memento to give Schindler. The late Jaret volunteered to extract the golden teeth from his mouth, and our friend Licht prepared a ring with an adequate inscription in Hebrew. In the chaos after the war the ring was lost. Licht was kind enough to redo the ring and it was symbolically given to Schindler.
This is a great day for all of us, because seventeen years later we are able to once again shake your hand, Mr. Schindler, and tell you: we haven’t forgotten a thing that you and your wife did for us. And we will never forget, for as long as we live.