SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Sydney’s Jewish Museum and descendants of survivors saved by Oskar Schindler are angry that a carbon copy of his famous list was sold to the State Library of New South Wales.
The German industrialist’s list of more than 800 Jews — described by the library as “one of the most powerful documents of the 20th century” — was given to Australian author Thomas Keneally in 1980 by Leopold Pfefferberg, a Schindler survivor living in Los Angeles. It prompted Keneally to write his Booker Prize-winning work, "Schindler’s Ark," which spawned Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film, "Schindler’s List."
The library said this week it paid an undisclosed sum to a dealer for Keneally’s manuscript material in 1996. But the document had been languishing in the bowels of the library for 13 years until it was recently discovered by a researcher.
The Sydney Jewish Museum and others related to the Schindler story were disappointed the list was sold to the library. Museum president John Landerer told J-Wire, a local Jewish Web site, “I can only express disappointment that he [Keneally] chose to dispose of such a precious document this way.”
Jake Selinger, whose parents were saved by Schindler’s list, added, “It’s hard to believe that he would sell this precious document without having any care or concern as to where it would end up.”
The 13 pages of yellowed paper listing the names of Jews saved from the Nazis goes on display at the library on Tuesday.