“He who saves a single soul , saves the world entire”
The Jewish Inscription on Schindler’s ring given to him by the Jews at Brunnlitz.
Oskar Schindler was born on 18 April 1908 in Svitavy, a Moravian industrial town, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many ethnic Germans lived in Svitavy, and the surrounding area, the Sudetenland.
Oscar’s parents Johann Schindler and Francisca nee Luser were both Germans from Silesia, who had settled in Svitavy, where he worked in insurance, and the selling of electrical generators for domestic purposes, and dealing with farm machinery.
A sister Elfriede was born in 1915 – Oskar was very close to her, as was his relationship with his mother. After leaving full time education, Schindler worked in the family business in Svitavy, after a short break he commuted to Brno, where he worked for an electrical company called Moravska Elektotechnica (M.E.A.S.), as a representative.
Bored with this work, he then became the manager of a driving school in the town of Mahrisch – Schonberg, which is halfway between Switavy and Mahrisch Ostrava. It was towards the end of 1927 that Schindler first met Emilie Pelzl, born on 22 October 1907, at her parents house in the village of Alt Moletein, in the area of Honeestadt, northern Moravia, some 60 kilometres to the east of Switavy.
Oskar’s visit was a business trip with his father to the Pelzl household to sell electrical equipment to Joseph Pelzl, the business calls became more frequent, and a whirlwind courtship developed.
Three months later, on the 6 March 1928 against the wishes of both families, they were married. On the very day of the wedding there was a disaster. The local police had received anonymous information that Oskar was already married. He was arrested and detained in the Switavy police cells in order that enquiries could be made.
Read the full story of Oskar Schindler here:
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team