Schindler's Rare Blueprints Sold for $63,426
Blueprints for an expansion of Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler's Poland factory during World War II have been sold at auction online for $63,426, a New Hampshire auction house told AFP on Thursday.
Dating back to 1943, and bearing the logo of German engineering firm Siemens, the construction plans refer to living quarters where Schindler housed his Jewish workers safe from the brutality of the nearby Plaszow camp.
"As the plans were used to build a portion of Schindler's safe haven from Nazi atrocities, this collection holds a truly remarkable place in history," RR Auction vice president Bobby Livingston said in an email to AFP.
The same buyer, who asked to remain anonymous, also paid $59,135 for a August 1944 letter of introduction, signed in blue pencil by Schindler, for a Polish employee arranging for the transfer of the Krakow factory to Brunnlitz, known today as Brnenec in the Czech Republic.
The rare documents went up for auction last week, on the heels of the failure by a Los Angeles-based auctioneer to find any bidders for an original Schindler's List at a staggering $3 million.
Holocaust historian David Crowe told AFP the letter is valuable evidence that Schindler got top-level permission from Nazi German officials to relocate his operations -- and, in turn, his Jewish workers -- sooner than previously thought.
Schindler is credited with saving the lives of some 1,200 Jews employed in his factories during World War II. He died in anonymity in Germany in 1974 at the age of 66.
The industrialist's story was the focal point of director Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List" in 1993.
Last month, auctioneers in California put a 14-page typewritten list bearing the names of 801 of Schindler's employees -- thought to be the only one in private hands -- on sale on eBay with an opening price of $3 million. It attracted much attention, but no bidders. In 2010, a New York State judge allowed an original copy of Schindler’s original list to be auctioned off for over $2 million.
Born on April 28, 1908 in Zwittau/Moravia (today in the Czech republic), to a middle-class Catholic family in the German-speaking community in the Sudetenland, he studied engineering and, like many other German-speaking youth in Sudetenland at the time, subscribed to Konrad Henlein’s Sudeten German Party, which supported Nazi Germany and advocated for the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and its annexation to Germany. After the Sudetenland's incorporation into Nazi Germany in 1938, Schindler became a formal member of the Nazi party.
After moving to Krakow in 1939 aged 31, Schindler made a small fortune with after taking over an enamelware factory previously owned by a member of the local Jewish community, and rose up the social ladder; socializing with leading SS commanders and other Nazi Party members. But after witnessing Nazi cruelty to the helpless Jewish community the shrewd businessman changed track - sacrificing his own fortune to employ as many Jews as possible into his workforce - by hook or by crook - as a pretext to save them from being deported to death camps.
He even risked his own life - he was arrested by the Gestapo several times under suspicion of "favoring Jews." One time he traveled to Hungary on a risky mission in cooperation with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to meet with local Jewish leaders and discuss further methods of relief.
His many acts of heroism are recorded by Yad Vashem.
After passing away in 1974 his remains were brought to Israel - where he spent much of his later years - and are buried in the Catholic Cemetery of Jerusalem. The inscription on his grave reads: "The unforgettable rescuer of 1,200 persecuted Jews".