Study Guide

Schindler's List Emilie Schindler (Caroline Goodall)

Emilie Schindler (Caroline Goodall)

How much can one woman take?

The long-suffering Emilie knows her husband is a hopeless womanizer. We don't see much of her in the film, but her presence—and the demands she makes of Schindler—say a lot about her character.

She can't change Oskar's philandering ways, but she won't stand for being humiliated. When she visits him Krakow and he asks her to stay, she replies. "I will only stay if you promise me no doorman or maître d' will ever mistake anyone but me for Mrs. Oskar Schindler." The next shot shows her saying good-bye on the train. So much for loving, honoring, and obeying.

Schindler ends up reforming his cheatin' heart at about the same time he's taking risks to save the Jews. She comes back and he agrees to meet her conditions: no doorman or maître d' will ever mistake her for anyone but Mrs. Oskar Schindler.

Emilie stayed married to Oskar until his death in 1974. Only after his death did people learn the extent of her role in saving Jews.

Emilie almost single-handedly saved over a hundred Jewish women and children misrouted to Auschwitz and abandoned on a train near Schindler's factory. The Schindlers took them in, and though they were too sick to work a single day, they paid the SS every day for their labor with their own money. Emilie helped Oskar run his factory, which kept people on their list out of harm's way for the rest of the war.

After the war, the couple moved to Argentina, where Oskar failed at business and took to drinking and carousing with women. He eventually left her and went back to Germany, leaving her with a load of debt.

Emilie was also given the designation of "Righteous Among the Nations." Spielberg invited her to the premiere of the film, where she finally had her moment in the sun after years of living under her husband's shadow. (Source)

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