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Pfefferberg


Poldek Pfefferberg

Poldek Pfefferberg was instrumental in publicizing the story of Oscar Schindler. He and his wife Ludmilla were saved by Schindler - the rest of his family was not as lucky. Almost 100 perished including his parents, sister and brother-in-law.

One day, in November 1939, a man knocked on the door, and Pfefferberg thought it was the Gestapo. It wasn't. It was Oscar Schindler, a German businessman who had purchased an enamelware factory that had been confiscated from Jews. Schindler had come to ask Pfefferberg's mother, an interior designer, to redecorate his new apartment.

"I was hiding in the next room", Pfefferberg later said, "but listening to Schindler, I knew he wasn't Gestapo. Even then I could tell he was a good man. I began to talk to him and we became friends."

He began to work a little for Schindler, procuring rare commodities for him on the black market. In 1940, he met Ludmila Lewinson, and the two were married in the Crakow ghetto, where Jews were confined. They subsequently worked for Oscar Schindler in his factory.

Schindler promised the Jews who worked for him that they would never starve, that he would protect them as best he could. And he did, building his own workers barracks on the factory grounds to help alleviate the sufferings of life in the nearby Plaszow labor camp. He gave safe haven to as many Jewish workers as possible, insisting to the occupying Nazi officials that they were essential workers, a status that kept many from certain death.

"Oscar Schindler was a modern Noah", Pfefferberg said, "he saved individuals, husbands and wives and their children, families. It was like the saying: To save one life is to save the whole world. Schindler called us his children. In 1944, he was a very wealthy man, a multimillionaire. He could have taken the money and gone to Switzerland ...  he could have bought Beverly Hills. But instead, he gambled his life and all of his money to save us ..."


After the Liberation in Mai, 1945, Poldek and Ludmila had gone first to Budapest and eventually to Munich where Poldek -  a physical education instructor before the war - organized a school for displaced children. Oscar Schindler, too, had settled in Munich where his best friends, the people he regarded as "his children", were the Jews he had helped survive.


It was there, in the midst of a card game, that Poldek Pfefferberg made his promise, vowing he would tell the world what had happened, how even on the days when the air was black with the ashes from bodies on fire, there was hope in Crakow because Oscar Schindler was there:
"You protect us, you save us, you feed us - we survived the Holocaust, the tragedy, the hardship, the sickness, the beatings, the killings! We must tell your story ..."

Poldek Pfefferberg spent 40 years trying to drum up interest in the Schindler-Story - and the story was told so the whole world knew it by heart.

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Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, murderer of millions, master of destruction and organized insanity, was seized by an obsession with the Jews all his life. The Nazi Führer had always been straightforward about his plans - his dream of a racially "pure" empire would tolerate no Jews. He announced at many occasions the "annihilation of the Jews" living in the territory under his control.

In Hitler's mind, murdering millions of Jews could only be accomplished under the confusion of war - from the beginning he was planning a war that would engulf Europe ..


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