Schindler’s background involved a series of twists and turns, and he had a flair for adventure and a penchant for dangerous endeavors. Born in 1908 in Zwittau, Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after 1918, part of Czecho- slovakia and today, Svitavy in the Czech Republic), Oskar Schindler was known as a bon vivant. After the Nazi assumption of power in Germany, Schindler decided to work for the German military intelligence, the Abwehr, and became a professional spy.
This is probably the only recorded story to emerge from the Holocaust of a close and intimate collaboration between Polish diplomats (mainly in Switzerland, but also in other countries) and Jewish rescue activists that led to a major effort to rescue thousands of Jews, and succeeded in saving certainly many hundreds and perhaps even more. The major rescuers in this story, headed by Aleksander Ładoś, need to be acknowledged, praised and made universally known.
Most rescuers when asked what prompted them to respond positively to the call for help find it hard to come up with reasonable explanations. None quote statements by the world’s great philosophers, but simply state that it was the most natural thing for them to do, to help out a fleeing Jew, or the Jew’s entire family.