Two weeks before the opening of the film on his extraordinary wartime deeds, Oskar Schindler was honored for his rescue of more than 1,000 Jews.
In ceremonies punctuated by sobs, Emilie Schindler, the businessman’s widow, accepted awards and accolades on behalf of her husband and herself last week in New York and Washington.
“It is time to bear witness to goodness, not only to evil,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said at a ceremony Thursday in New York.
“I stand here primarily as a survivor,” said Foxman, who was hidden in Poland by his Catholic nanny. “I stand here because I was a recipient of … ‘Schindlerism.’ “
During the war, Oskar Schindler convinced the Nazi authorities that the 1,100 Jews employed in his bogus munitions factory “were essential to the German war effort,” Foxman said.
With this ploy, which survivors called an act of moral courage, Schindler and his wife were able to save all of the “Schindlerjuden.”
On Tuesday, Oskar Schindler, who died in 1974, was honored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
At the ceremony in Washington, Emilie Schindler accepted the museum’s Medal of Remembrance from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The awards coincide with the release of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List,” which is scheduled to premiere in North America on Dec. 15.
In New York, the Jewish Foundation for Christian Rescuers/ADL gave Emilie Schindler, now 85, the Courage to Care award, which was inaugurated on Yom HaShoah in 1987 to honor rescuers.
Standing under a red banner that said, “Goodness is rare but sacred in history; it must not be neglected,” Emilie Schindler started to speak in German.
In the hushed room she began to cry. “She is thanking those assembled,” her translator said, “and those who are not here.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.