SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - A list of Jews saved from the Nazi death camps during World War II by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler has been found in research notes at an Australian library and will go on public display on Tuesday.
The list of 801 Jewish men was found among six boxes of papers that belonged to the Australian author Thomas Keneally who wrote the book “Schindler’s Ark” that was the basis for the Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List” by Stephen Spielberg.
The 13-page, yellowing, document was found tucked between research notes and German newspaper cuttings by a researcher at the New South Wales Library in Sydney sifting through the boxes of manuscripts acquired by the library in 1996.
The list, which turned out to be a carbon copy of a list by Schindler of Jewish workers he helped to escape the Holocaust, will go on public display on Tuesday, the library said in a statement.
“The original list was hurriedly typed on 18 April 1945 in the closing days of WWII, and it saved 801 men from the gas chambers,” said library co-curator Olwen Pryke who found the list. “It’s an incredibly moving piece of history.”
A spokeswoman for the library said the whereabouts of the original list was unknown.
The list was believed to have been given to Keneally by Leopold Pfefferberg, Jewish worker number 173 on the list, following a chance meeting in Pfefferberg’s luggage shop in Los Angeles in 1980.
But the library spokeswoman said the list was believed to be one of a number of lists that Schindler was believed to have made, with no single definitive list of the people he saved.
Pfefferberg persuaded Keneally to write about Schindler, who died in 1974 and whose heroism during the war only came to light once documented by Keneally.
Keneally’s 1982 book was turned into the movie “Schindler’s List” that was released in 1993, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley, and won seven Academy Awards.
More than 1,100 people were saved by Schindler, a card-carrying Nazi, who ran an enamelware factory in Krakow, Poland, during the war where he used Jewish labor.
Using bribery and charm, he persuaded Nazi officials that his workers were vital to the war effort and should not be sent to the death camps, using all the money he had accumulated during his career to save lives.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by David Fox