Oral History

Murray Pantirer describes one of Oskar Schindler's rescue efforts

The Germans occupied Krakow in 1939. Murray's family was confined to the Krakow ghetto along with the rest of the Jewish population of the city. In 1942, Murray and a brother were deported for forced labor in the nearby Plaszow camp. In May 1944, his brother was transferred to Auschwitz and Murray was sent to the Gross-Rosen camp in Germany. Murray was later transferred to Bruennlitz, in the Sudetenland, as a forced laborer for German industrialist Oskar Schindler. Schindler helped the Jews who worked for him survive the war. Murray was liberated in 1945.


They start liquidating all small camps. They started bringing in people from our camp, and they liquidate the camp Emalia [Deutsche Emailwaren Fabrik], and for the first time I heard about...people talking about Emalia, that there's an Oskar Schindler. And Oskar Schindler, in his camp nobody gets beaten, nobody's hungry, and nobody's overworked, so I just couldn't understand it, but when they took people from Emalia into Plaszow and they put them on a railroad track--it was like August and was...the sun was unbearable, burning on...on the cattle cars, and he bribed [Plaszow commandant] Amon Goeth. Well, I came from the kitchen with some, first to give them soup, and opened up the doors to get a little air. He helped people and I was...uh...asked to do the same thing. Water hoses, and we hosed down with cold water the roofs of the cattle cars, and he was screaming to the Germans, Oskar Schindler, that the Jews are all mechanics, engineers, that the Germans need them, and he guarantees that nobody will escape, to open the doors for them again. So I looked at myself, I said like, "Is this a...a German, or is this an angel?" He wore civilian clothes. I had no idea who he was. I knew only that he will receive the factory from Emalia and he was the only one who did not throw out the Jews--his name...the factory owner was Benks--that he not only took that factory, he took a...a lumberyard and he built barracks and he saved a few hundred Jews.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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