In the Academy Award winning film, “Schindler’s List,” Oskar Schindler undergoes some dramatic changes. At the outset of the movie, Schindler is portrayed as a selfish entrepreneur, living a life of luxury and social comforts, while thriving from the profits of those who toil in his manufacturing facility. But as the story progresses, we witness a softening of his heart as he takes courageous steps to create a covert safe-haven for his many Jewish employees. The more time Oskar Schindler spent witnessing the horrors of Nazi labor camps, the more his conscience took over.
From the safety of his lineage, he saw the cold-blooded killings of Jews – young and old – and watched them suffer starvation, degradation and unprecedented abuse. As the Holocaust escalated, Schindler, with the assistance of an intelligent Jewish accountant, wrote a list with the names of hundreds of Jews. He took the list to the commander of the labor camp and demanded them, because they weren’t much use to him anyhow. This is the major turning point for the character of Schindler as we see he has realized the true value of money and life.
Around this time, we start seeing his heroism appear. While originally he started his factory to benefit him, he grew to love the workers and would do anything to keep them alive and healthy. Schindler’s character is contrasted with the character of the commander of the labor camp. The contrast between the two emphasizes to the audience how admirable Schindler becomes. Both men reach positions of power because of the war and have many lives at their fingertips.
The commander, after a night of drinking, eating and partying, gets out of his bed and with a smoke in his mouth, shoots Jew’s in the camp below who are simply going about the chores they have been assigned. This horrific behavior and brutality towards the Jews demonstrates how easily power can corrupt one’s mind and the commander sees the Jews as worthless. The viewer is shocked by these scenes as we cannot understand how a human could mercilessly kill another and we then realize how good the actions of Schindler really are.
One of the final scenes where Schindler is leaving his factory to escape the police is a moment where Schindler’s transformation into a morally good and admirable person is concreted. With tears in his eyes Schindler, we view his good heart. As he reminisces over how many more lives he could have saved the viewer is convinced of Schindler’s transformation from a selfish entrepreneur to a selfless hero. He saved the lives of over one hundred families yet still feels guilty as if it weren’t enough.
Schindler did a very admirable job at saving so many lives and many people would aspire to become what he had transformed into in such a tough situation. Schindler went from one extreme to the other in his transformation so the change in becoming more admirable was much more dramatic to the viewer. Schindler began as a selfish man but redeemed himself by saving so many innocent lives then claiming it wasn’t enough. This made the viewer see Schindler as a character to admire by the end of the film.