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La Liste de Schindler by Thomas Keneally
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La Liste de Schindler (original 1982; edition 2000)

by Thomas Keneally, François Dupuis (Traduction)

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4,76157982 (4.14)1 / 277
Member:thingol
Title:La Liste de Schindler
Authors:Thomas Keneally
Other authors:François Dupuis (Traduction)
Info:J'ai lu (2000), Poche, 535 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**
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Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally (1982)

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English (51)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (57)
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Most people have come to know this book via Steven Spielberg's famous 1993 movie version, Schindler's List which won countless awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction at the Academy Awards, though I refused to see it at the cinema when it was released and have never seen it since either, even though it is often listed among the greatest films ever made. Stories about the holocaust have always been very difficult for me to deal with, no doubt largely because of the fact that I was exposed to holocaust material at an early age growing up in Israel for a few years, where the message is "Never Forget" and the holocaust images I was exposed to as a young girl were seared into my brain and indeed never forgotten. I don't think I would have ever picked up the book either, if I hadn't become a Folio Society collector; which are beautiful high quality hardcover illustrated books, and fallen in love with the drawing style of Tim Laing, who has illustrated several Folio Society editions, namely of a trio of John Le Carré books. His realistic pencil drawing style was highly inspirational to me as an artist and I was moved to communicate by email with him directly to ask him for some professional tips which he was kind enough to share with me. When I later discovered FS had published Schindler's Ark in 2009 and that it was also illustrated by Tim Laing, I simply had to have it. Then a friend from the Folio Society Devotees picked it out for me and of course I couldn't refuse her.

The book tells a tale that begins with the larger than life Oskar Schindler, who at the onset of WWII and in the prime of his early thirties is an extremely successful and wealthy industrialist, as well as a well-connected Nazi party member. Schindler is described as a bon-vivant who was handsome, with a strong build, who though married, was an unrepentant womanizer and entertained at least three simultaneous love affairs. He also drank heavily with his business and government contacts—which as the war evolved were more often than not one and the same—but no matter how much alcohol he imbibed, his faculties were never impaired and he never showed signs of inebriation, a quality which was going to serve him well in his often delicate and dangerous dealings. Schindler was a German from the Czech region, and he was living in the Polish town of Kraków for his business dealings, where he had a factory, Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik, commonly known as "Emalia", which initially produced enamelware in the form of kitchenware, but Schindler's connections in the Wehrmacht and its Armaments Inspectorate enabled him to obtain contracts to produce enamel cookware for the military. At this time, the Jewish population of Kraków was forced to move into cramped conditions in a ghetto, from which they were eventually to be deported to work camps and concentration camps. To help as many Jews as possible over the war years, Schindler hired as many Jews in his factory as he could—which often meant they were saved from being deported to concentration camps, being useful to the Germans—though usually having to resort to very expensive black market bribes and ruses, especially when a work camp was created outside Kraków and the ghetto was liquidated. Schindler then took many extraordinary steps which would prove both to the Jews and the Germans he was intent on helping the Jews. The Germans let him get away with it because of his important connections and the extravagant bribes he paid to the right people, though he did land in jail at great risk to his life more than once. The commandant of the work camp at Plazów where the ghetto residents who survived the ghetto exile were transported was called Amon Goeth. This man was a sadistic maniac who was in the habit of randomly executing his prisoners on the slightest pretext, though often without the least provocation and was all too happy to follow orders to feed his charges as little as possible. This situation caused Schindler to create a work camp on the grounds of his factory where he could insure the Jews he employed would at least have enough food to eat and have decent chances to survive the war. Then when the work camps in that region were about to be closed down following orders from Berlin and the prisoners were slated to be sent to the death camps, Schindler arranged for his factory to be moved to Brünnlitz in the Czech republic, and this is how Schindler's List of 1,200 Jews was created, naming the Jews who were to be sent over to this new factory and spared the gas chambers.

This is a gripping book and is in many ways a page-turner. Oscar Schindler himself is a fascinating character, and his nemesis Amon Goeth and many of the other characters who people the story seem larger than life and make for thrilling reading. There are many passages in the book which are deeply disturbing, especially when one stops to consider that all the material in the novel is based on facts and on the countless interviews Thomas Keneally had with Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews") around the world, and whoever else was willing to talk to him. For those who are sensitive to graphic violence, as I am, there are many description of the abuses done to the Jews by the Nazis and the deeply antisemitic Poles. What makes the book bearable is that all through the narrative there are the tale of individuals whose acts of survival and courage enabled a large group of people to live through the madness of the holocaust. One could take the view that the horrors inflicted on the Jews during WWII continue to this day in various iterations on various ethnic groups and be discouraged by that fact, but then we could also take some small comfort from knowing that there will always some who try their best to help those in need, even in the worst circumstances.

I do intend to watch the movie now I've broken the ice and have read the story. A friend told me the movie ends on a very hopeful note, and that past the mid-point, when the horrors of the Nazis have been shown, things become much brighter with the mission to save the Jews taking over. I guess I'll only find out once I see the movie myself, but he book presents another reality. While it's true enough Schindler did in fact save over one thousand Jews, the book presents the entire process as being filled with danger and anguish for all who had the most to lose, right until the end. In fact, Schindler himself did not come out of the war without suffering some loss. Escaping from the camp at Brünnlitz mere hours before the Russians were due to arrive (when he would have been shot as a German and a Nazi), a diamond (or a quantity of diamonds, according to the book) had been hidden in the upholstery of his car, but this was stripped and stolen shortly after so that Schindler was penniless from then on, and somehow was never quite able to recoup his fortune or find his direction in the years following the war, until his death in 1974. However, he always stayed in contact with his Schindlerjuden throughout the world and was supported morally and financially by the Jewish community, and made frequent travels to Israel, where he was named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1963. ( )
5 vote Smiler69 | Jan 18, 2015 |
This powerful novel evokes strong emotion in the telling of Oskar Schindler's story. Whether or not you've seen the movie, this novel is a "must read," as it gives background information into what made Oskar, a German, decide to risk his life for over 4 yrs. and 3 arrests to protect over 1000 Jews from being placed into concentration camps. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
A famous movie, I didn't want to watch it until I had read the book. Keneally isn't a brilliant writer, but Schindler's List seems well-researched. It was easy to read without being overly simple.

Throughout the book, I was confused by Oskar Schindler, the man. What were his motivations? Did he draw a moral line in the sand, refusing to pass a certain point of complicity? Was he mainly a businessman who tried to use the war to his advantage? Or was he perhaps just hung over half the time and drunk the other half, and therefore never in a truly clear state of mind?

At the end of the book, his wife is quoted as having said in a documentary that Schindler didn't do anything remarkable before the war, and he didn't do anything remarkable afterwards either. I think this says it best. That particular situation, the people in it, and the way he reacted to the events and the individuals are the reason for everything. In the end, Schindler was nothing more or less than himself. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
A famous movie, I didn't want to watch it until I had read the book. Keneally isn't a brilliant writer, but Schindler's List seems well-researched. It was easy to read without being overly simple.

Throughout the book, I was confused by Oskar Schindler, the man. What were his motivations? Did he draw a moral line in the sand, refusing to pass a certain point of complicity? Was he mainly a businessman who tried to use the war to his advantage? Or was he perhaps just hung over half the time and drunk the other half, and therefore never in a truly clear state of mind?

At the end of the book, his wife is quoted as having said in a documentary that Schindler didn't do anything remarkable before the war, and he didn't do anything remarkable afterwards either. I think this says it best. That particular situation, the people in it, and the way he reacted to the events and the individuals are the reason for everything. In the end, Schindler was nothing more or less than himself. ( )
1 vote dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Granted, this was an outstanding and deeply moving story about an idiosyncratic and not previously well-known war hero who saved 1,100+ Jewish lives from the Holocaust.

But I found the book as a book hard to follow. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | Dec 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
THE versatile Australian novelist, Thomas Keneally, tells the true story of Schindler's rescue effort in this remarkable book which has the immediacy and the almost unbearable detail of a thousand eyewitnesses who forgot nothing. The story is not only Schindler's. It is the story of Cracow's dying ghetto and the forced labor camp outside of town, at Plaszow.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Keneallyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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TO THE MEMORY OF OSKAR SCHINDLER,

AND TO LEOPOLD PFEFFERBERG,

WHO BY ZEAL AND PERSISTENCE

CAUSED THIS BOOK TO BE WRITTEN
The Elster - DeFlaun Family
First words
In Poland's deepest autumn, a tall young man in an expensive overcoat, double-breasted dinner jacket beneath it and - in the lapel of the dinner jacket - a large ornamental gold-on-black enamel Hakenkreuz (swastika) emerged from a fashionable apartment building in Straszewskiego Street, on the edge of the ancient center of Cracow, and saw his chauffeur waiting with fuming breath by the open door of an enormous and, even in this blackened world, lustrous Adler limousine.
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Disambiguation notice
This is the novel Schindler's Ark, also published as Schindler's List. It is neither Schindler's List / Piano Solos nor the movie Schindler's List. Despite similar titles, the three media are separate works and should not be combined with each other. Only the novel Schindler's List (Schindler's Ark) should be combined here.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671880314, Paperback)

Winner of the Booker Prize

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction

Schindler's List is a remarkable work of fiction based on the true story of German industrialist and war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who, confronted with the horror of the extermination camps, gambled his life and fortune to rescue 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers.

Working with the actual testimony of Schindler's Jews, Thomas Keneally artfully depicts the courage and shrewdness of an unlikely savior, a man who is a flawed mixture of hedonism and decency and who, in the presence of unutterable evil, transcends the limits of his own humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A mature novel that is a fictionalized treatment of the life of the German industrialist who saved the lives of many Jews during World War II. Schindler's List is a remarkable work of fiction based on the true story of German industrialist and war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who, confronted with the horror of the extermination camps, gambled his life and fortune to rescue 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers. Working with the actual testimony of Schindler's Jews, Thomas Keneally artfully depicts the courage and shrewdness of an unlikely savior, a man who is a flawed mixture of hedonism and decency and who, in the presence of unutterable evil, transcends the limits of his own humanity.… (more)

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