Oskar Schindler’s Life After the End of World War II

Oskar Schindler is the German industrialist, spy, member of the Nazi Party who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, employing them in his munitions and enamel factories.

After the end of World War II, as a member of the Nazi Party and the Abwehr intelligence service, Schindler was in danger of being arrested as a war criminal.

Stern and several others prepared a statement that he could present to Americans, attesting to his role in saving Jewish lives.

He also received a ring, made with gold from dental work taken from the mouth of Schindlerjude Simon Jeret. The ring has the inscription “Who saves a life, saves the whole world”.

To escape capture by the Russians, Schindler and his wife escaped west in their vehicle, a two-seater Horch, with a diamond hidden by Oskar secretly under the car seat. Initially, the Schindlers traveled with several fleeing German soldiers on the running boards. A truck carrying Schindler’s mistress Marta, several Jewish workers, and a load of black market goods followed behind.

The Horch was confiscated by Russian troops in the town of Budweis and the Schindlers were unable to recover the diamond. They continued by train and on foot until they reached the American lines at the town of Lenora, and then traveled to Passau, where an American Jewish official arranged for them to travel by train to Switzerland. They moved to Bavaria in the fall of 1945.

Schindler factory in Krakow, 2011

Schindler factory in Brünnlitz (2004)

At the end of the war, Schindler spent his entire fortune bribing people who bought black market supplies for his workers.

Oskar briefly moved to Regensburg and then to Munich, but he did not prosper in post-war Germany. He was virtually destitute. In fact, he was reduced to receiving assistance from Jewish organizations.

In 1948, he filed a claim for reimbursement of his wartime expenses with the American Jewish Distribution Committee. He estimated his expenditures at over $1,056,000, covering the costs of building the camp, bribes, and expenses for black market goods, including food. He received a $15,000 refund.

Schindler emigrated to Argentina in 1949, where he tried raising chickens and later nutria, a small animal bred for its fur.

Commemorative plaque on the house where Schindler lived in Regensburg.

When the company failed in 1958, he left his wife and returned to Germany, where he had a series of unsuccessful business ventures, including a cement factory. He declared bankruptcy in 1963 and suffered a heart attack the following year, which landed him in a month-long hospital stay.

Staying in touch with many of the Jews he met during the war, including Stern and Pfefferberg, Schindler survived on donations sent in by Schindlerjuden from around the world.

He died on October 9, 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only member of the Nazi Party to be so honored.

Schindler’s tomb in Jerusalem. The inscription in Hebrew reads: “Righteous among the nations”; the German inscription reads: “The unforgettable savior of 1200 persecuted Jews.