BOSTON (Reuters) - A historically important letter from Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist whose efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust were made famous in the 1993 Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List,” is among the Schindler documents to be sold at New Hampshire auction house.
The one-page letter signed by Schindler was sent from his enamelware factory in Krakow, Poland, where he employed more than 1,000 Jewish workers from a nearby Nazi concentration camp, Bobby Livingston, vice president at RR Auction, said on Wednesday.
The letter, written in German and dated August 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.”
Schindler had been tipped off in the summer of 1944 that the Nazis planned to close factories unrelated to the war effort. Through bribery and personal connections, he got permission to produce arms and move the factory and its workers to Brunnlitz, in Sudetenland, or Sudetengau, in what is now Czech Republic.
“This is the first document I have seen verifying this move and it is quite important because I thought it took him much longer to get such permission,” David Crowe, a Holocaust historian and Schindler biographer, said in a statement.
“Most importantly, if Oskar had not gotten such permission, there would have been no Schindler’s List,” he said.
Schindler saved lives during World War Two by employing Jews in munitions and other factories he owned. The nine or 10 lists of employees he submitted to the Nazis became known collectively as “Schindler’s list.”
A book on the subject, “Schindler’s Ark,” by Australian author Thomas Keneally became the basis for the movie “Schindler’s List,” directed by Steven Spielberg. It was a box office hit and won the Academy Award for best film.
The documents also include 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. Behind the new building were living quarters for Jewish workers that served as a safe haven from the nearby Plaszow concentration camp, it said.
“We’ve never seen a war-dated Schindler document,” said Livingston, the auction house vice president. “It’s exceptionally rare, and something of this importance we just never get.”
The auction ends August 14. By Wednesday afternoon, online bids had reached nearly $21,000.
Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Edting by Daniel Trotta and Jackie Frank