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Schindlers Ark by Thomas Keneally

Book cover for Schindlers Ark
This novel tells the story of Oskar Schindler, self-made entrepreneur and bon viveur who almost by default found himself saving Polish Jews from the Nazi death machine. Based on numerous eyewitness accounts, Keneally's story is unbearably moving but never melodramatic, a testament to the almost unimaginable horrors of Hitler's attempts to make Europe judenfrei, or free of Jews. What distinguishes Schindler in Keneally's version is not, superficially, kindness or idealism, but a certain gusto. He is a flawed hero; he is not "without sin". He is a drinker, a womaniser and, at first, a profiteer. After the war, he is commemorated as Righteous among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, but he is never seen as a conventionally virtuous character. The story is not only Schindler's. It is the story of Kraków's dying ghetto and the forced labor camp outside of town, at Plaszów. It is the story of Amon Goeth, Plaszów's commandant.