Letters sent to the widow of a man who inspired the film Schindler’s List are coming up for auction at Lawrences on Friday December 8th. Seventy letters and cards from a small archive of correspondence, photographs and personal effects, belonging to Emilie Schindler who passed away in 2001 and her late husband Oskar, will be sold at the Crewkerne auction house in Linen Yard.
Oskar Schindler was an ethnic born German who owned enamelware and munitions factories in German occupied Poland during the Second World War, employing Jewish people. Although he was initially a member of the Nazi party, he was shocked at the regime’s brutality after witnessing a raid during the annihilation of the Krakow ghetto and discovering that many of his employees had been murdered.
Oskar created the legendary list of Schindler Juden (Schindler’s Jews), protecting those on the list, which included women, children and disabled people, from deportation to the Nazi concentration camps. He convinced the SS officers with bribes that the people listed were essential workers in his factories, manufacturing munitions for the Reich.
Together with his wife Emilie, the German couple are credited with saving the lives of over 1,200 Jewish people from the Holocaust, in the final years of WW11. Comments in the letters sent to the Argentinian home of Emilie, are of gratitude for her role in liberating Jewish people. One letter reads: ‘I was very moved by your courageous self-sacrifice. More importantly, I thank you Frau Schindler for having restored my faith in mankind.’ Another letter, postmarked September 1987 reads: ‘Although I never actually met you, it is an honour and privilege, as a spiritual heir of those you saved, to wish you a very happy and healthy birthday.’
Oskar Schindler died in Germany at the age of 66 years in 1974. He is buried at Mount Zion catholic cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel. The Hebrew inscription at his grave, reads: ‘Righteous Among The Nations.’ Included in the Crewkerne auction lots with provenance from Emilie Schindler confirmed, is a photograph of Oskar Schindler mounting a horse in 1944, a gentleman’s gold automatic wrist watch and silver open faced pocket watch owned by Oskar, a lady’s 18ct gold wrist watch together with three assorted gold and gem set rings and a pair of earrings worn by Emilie, Emilie’s German passport, three silver trays presented in recognition of her services to humanity, a small plated dish, engraved ‘Oskar and Emilie Schindler’, a metal jug and sugar bowl and a musical clock.
The guide price on Lot 2262 is estimated between £600 – £700, although the hammer price is expected to well exceed this amount, due to the provenance and historic interest in the collection. Schindler’s collection can be viewed at Lawrences Auctioneers on Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th and for one hour before the auction takes place on Friday December 8th at 10am.