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Schindler's Ark

Schindler's List

historical novel keneally jews

a novel by Thomas Keneally, published in 1982 (Booker Prize). An epic account of the Second World War, the novel, based on extensive research and interviews with survivors of concentration camps, questions the boundaries between the genres of historical documentation and imaginative fiction. Set in Nazi Germany, and based on a real person, it tells the story of Oskar Schindler, an amoral and profligate though ambitious German entrepreneur who moves to Cracow to profit from the collapse of Jewish-run businesses as anti-Semitic fervour accelerates. The seemingly unscrupulous profiteer becomes an unlikely protector of Polish Jews, to be revered as a hero by Israel and by Jews all over the world. As the narrative progresses, Schindler demonstrates his wit and courage, using his factory and connections to save the beleaguered and the threatened from extermination by their Nazi oppressors. He eventually succeeds in his mission of rescuing a band of women and children prisoners from Auschwitz-Birkenau. Keneally painstakingly reconstructs historical fact to present a convincing portrait of a variety of individuals—particularly women—and their great resilience when faced with the fear of imminent destruction. Underlying the account is his fascination with the central figure's psychology, and with the circumstances of destiny which lead similar individuals to do good or evil, to preserve or destroy. Due to its historical dimension the book was a contentious winner of the Booker Prize for fiction. The novel was published in the USA as Schindler's List which was the title of the film version by Steven Spielberg of 1994.

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