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Aftermath


Schindler with his Jews

After the war, the Schindler Jew Murray Pantirer, emigrating to the United States in 1949, set up a construction firm with his friend Abraham Zuckerman. From the beginning, they knew they had to find a way to remember their protector. "After the war he couldn't find himself," said Pantirer. "He was too big of a man to start over."

"When we started the business - we came in 1949, we incorporated in 1950 - in our first subdivision in South Plainfield, N.J., the first thing we did was put his name on a street, Schindler Drive."

Their greatly differing complexes have one thing in common. Each has a Schindler Street, a Schindler Drive or a Schindler Way, named for Oscar Schindler. As a mark of their gratitude, Zuckerman and Pantirer have by now dedicated 25 streets in New Jersey to his memory. Planning authorities often queried their choice of names, they say, but none objected when they made known the reasons for their requests.

Zuckerman and Pantirer's devotion didn't stop with street naming. From 1957 until he died in 1974, the two helped Schindler financially as well with money and air tickets, sponsoring his trips to America, where they would buy him clothes and shoes.

Pantirer's son, Larry, met Schindler on several occasions and remains in awe of the person who saved his father's life. "He still had charm and personality," recalled the younger Pantirer. "You could see the way he carried himself, even as an old man."

Pantirer not only assisted Schindler but also contributed to the construction of various Jewish and Holocaust museums, and founded, in Schindler's name, a bursary for Hebraic studies in Jerusalem, again with Zuckerman.


Schindler in Israel

For Abraham Zuckerman's daughter, Ruth Katz, that history was a living history. She remembers Oscar Schindler, "Uncle Oscar", coming to visit when she was a child and staying at her home, where she would talk to him in Yiddish while he would answer in German. "He would always pat the back of my head," she says. "He loved children; he would always call us 'kinder, kinder.'"

Katz says though she grew up as a child of Holocaust survivors, in her house there was no sadness and there were no horror stories. "Everything was music, happiness, they never talked about the bad things. And then the movie comes out, and I say to myself, 'My God! This is what they went through! This man really did save their lives.' When I tell people now that my father was a Schindler Jew, they can't believe it, they're in awe: 'Your father was really saved by Schindler?'

"The stories were always told to us when we were little, how he saved them, and what he did. But when you're a kid, you think they're stories. Some people's parents put their kids on their lap and told them bedtime stories; my father put us on his lap and told us how wonderful this man was to him.

"I remember the day Oscar Schindler died, I was a freshman in college in my dorm. It was one of the saddest days, because I had never really experienced any sadness with my parents. I had never seen my father mourn anyone, because he didn't have anyone to mourn. And he really mourned him. It was a really really traumatic time for him. They were really sad, they had a loss that they hadn't experienced since the war."

The primary goal of Pantirer and Zuckerman has been to express their everlasting gratitude to the man who saved them both from certain death. Through all the years, and all the conversations they had when they would get together in America, Europe and Israel, the big question always remained: Why? What prompted Schindler to act as he did, at tremendous risk to himself?

Pantirer thinks he heard the answer. "He came to my house once, and I put a bottle of cognac in front of him, and he finished it in one sitting. When his eyes were flickering - he wasn't drunk - I said this is the time to ask him the question 'why'.

"And his answer was, 'I was a Nazi, and I believed that the Germans were doing wrong ... when they started killing innocent people - and it didn't mean anything to me that they were Jewish, to me they were just human beings, menschen - I decided I'm going to work against them and I'm going to save as many as I can.' And I think that he told the truth, because that's the way he worked."

Guestbook


 

 



Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, murderer of millions, master of destruction and organized insanity, was seized by an obsession with the Jews all his life. The Nazi Führer had always been straightforward about his plans - his dream of a racially "pure" empire would tolerate no Jews. He announced at many occasions the "annihilation of the Jews" living in the territory under his control.

In Hitler's mind, murdering millions of Jews could only be accomplished under the confusion of war - from the beginning he was planning a war that would engulf Europe ..


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