Nazi Propaganda and the Outbreak of World War II | by US Holocaust Museum | Memory & Action | Medium

Now we’re going to make a big jump—from a doctor in the depths of Africa to a Nazi profiteer who saved 1,200 Jews. You will find this an interesting story.



In January 1933, Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime came to power in Germany, starting a twelve year rampage against all peoples they felt were a threat to what they considered their “superior” German race. They considered the Jews to be the most inferior. Other victims of Nazi tyranny during those years were the Roma (Gypsies), the mentally and physically disabled, some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others), political dissidents, and homosexuals.

The Jews were their biggest targets, and we’re all familiar with the horrors they went through. In 1933, approximately 9 million Jews lived in the 21 countries that came under German rule during World War II. By the end of the war, in 1945, only 3 million Jews remained. Through systematic state-sponsored genocide, the Nazis had murdered six million of them.


OSKAR SCHINDLER (1908-1974) [1]

Into the horrors of this period came Oskar Schindler. Schindler was an intriguing person who did some incredible things, though he—like Albert Schweitzer—had human flaws—big ones. Yet he was the unlikely hero who, though a Nazi, risked his life to save 1,200 Jews.

Oskar was born into a middle-class Catholic family in Zwittau, Moravia in what is now the Czech Republic. He attended a German grammar school, later studying engineering. After attending a number of trade schools in the city of Brno and marrying Emilie Pelzl in 1928, he held a variety of jobs. He worked in his father’s farm machinery business, opened a driving school, and sold government property in Brno. He also served in the Czech army.

In 1936, Schindler began working with the Abwehr, (Office of the Military Foreign Intelligence) of the German Armed Forces. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and Poland, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. His Abwehr connections, though hurting enemies of Germany, would later put him in a position to save many lives.

[1][1] Holocaust Encyclopedia,

This has been Part 41 of the series A Life Worth Living. Read Part 42 – A Complex Man.