Oskar Schindler Grave

Oskar Schindler Grave

Holocaust Museum Israeli Soldiers
Oskar Schindler Grave

Oskar Schindler's Grave, Jerusalem

Here is the grave of Oskar Schindler, lionized in the Steven Spielberg film, The Schindler's List. In the final scene of The Schindler's List, the Jews saved by Oskar Schindler line up and place stones on his grave to create the shape of a cross. I was surprised to find stones still covering Oskar Schindler's grave in that shape, although I suspected they were stones placed by more recent visitors to his grave who wished to leave a mark of their visit and honor the man.

The inscription on the grave of Oskar Schindler, who died on October 9, 1974 at 66 years of age, is in Hebrew and in his native German, and reads:
28. 4. 1908  -  9. 10. 1974
(Compare this to the inscription on Jesus tomb.)

Oskar Schindler, of course, is the German industrialist and Nazi party member who made a fortune during the Second World War by employing unpaid Jewish laborers. Upon learning that his Jewish employees were going to be sent to Auschwitz to be exterminated, Oskar Schindler bought them and then spent his fortune protecting them until the end of the war. Steven Spielberg's movie is a poignant portrayal of the transformation of a materialistic fiend into a humanitarian.

After the Second World War, the penniless, 41 year-old Oskar Schindler moved to Argentina with his wife and tried to start over as a chicken farmer. When his venture failed, he returned to Germany alone and lived out the rest of his life in poverty punctuated by annual visits to Israel, where he was treated like royalty by the Jews he had saved.

If you were touched by his story, you may be interested in two of his contemporaries, John Rabe and Chiune Sugihara. Another German industrialist and Nazi Party member, John Rabe is credited with saving 250,000 Chinese civilians from being raped and massacred by the Japanese army during its Rape of Nanking (the city has since been re-named, Nanjing) in eastern China, while Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese vice-consul to Lithuania, saved over 6,000 Jews from the Nazis by issuing them visas that allowed them to escape to Japan.

Like Oskar Schindler, John Rabe and Chiune Sugihara lived and died in poverty after the war,* but history honors them as symbols of courage and conscience in an otherwise dark period.

* When the mayor of Nanjing learned that John Rabe was living in poverty in Germany, he took up a collection among the people of Nanjing and then made a trip to Germany to personally deliver their donations to John Rabe.

Travel Tip
Oskar Schindler's grave isn't at the Lutheran church near the Holy Sepulcher church as some claim, and is tricky to find. To find it, walk about 300 yards down the hill from Zion Gate until you come to a small parking lot, across the road from which are two unmarked gates. Walk through the gate on the right as you face them, and into the sprawling cemetery. Then walk down two levels to find his tomb near the center of the third (the lowest) level. The stone pile may still be there to help you find it.

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