Posted Sunday, October 7, 2001

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Sydney, Sunday, October 7, 2001

Schindler's widow dies after stroke

EMILIE SCHINDLER, widow of Oskar Schindler, made famous in the book Schindler's Ark and the film Schindler's List, has died in a German hospital where she was being treated after a stroke. She was 94.

Argentine writer Erika Rosenberg said in Buenos Aires that Schindler had died in Strausberg, near Berlin, after having the stroke in July.

Emilie Schindler
During World War II, the Czech-born German Oskar Schindler and his wife saved 1,200 Jews from death in concentration camps by giving them refuge as workers in Schindler's factories.

The story was told by Australian author Thomas Keneally in the book Schindler's Ark.

Steven Spielberg turned it into a film in 1993, focusing on Oskar and giving Emilie a small role, to which she referred in her 1996 memoirs In Schindler's Shadow.

However, the woman who married Oskar Schindler in 1928, after having known him for six weeks, told the story differently. She said she played a large part in saving the Jewish workers, cooking for them and caring for the sick.

But she said: "Neither my husband nor I were heroes. We were simply what we could be."

Emilie was born in the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in 1907. She met her husband at the age of 20 on her father's farm in Alt Moletein as Oskar was selling motors.

In 1942, Emilie followed her husband to German-occupied Cracow, where he had opened an enamel factory and was making a fortune using cheap Jewish labour.

The couple later used that money to save their workers, mostly through bribing Nazi officials.

In 1949 the couple moved to Argentina, but Oskar left his wife in 1957 and returned to Germany alone.

He died in 1974.


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