Study Guide

Schindler's List Scene 32

Scene 32

Scene 32

  • Oskar's broke. He's spent his last penny bribing officials and purchasing Jews for his factory. Stern asks him if he has any money hidden away.
  • Jewish workers and German guards gather in their respective barracks to hear the announcement that the war is over and that Germany has unconditionally surrendered.
  • Oskar addresses everyone at the factory to explain the situation. It's dead silence. He explains that as of midnight, he's considered a war criminal. He'll remain at the factory until five minutes after midnight then he'll have to flee.
  • Oskar tells the guards that he knows they've been ordered to kill all the workers before the Russians arrive.
  • He lays out their options: they can carry out their orders or they go back to their families with some shred of humanity left.
  • The guards file out.
  • Oskar asks for a moment of silence, and the rabbi's voice echoes above the quiet with the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for remembering the dead.
  • The Jews manage to gather enough gold from a willing donor's teeth to craft a gold ring.
  • Stern walks with Oskar to the cars that will take Oskar and his wife away to hide. As a member of the Nazi party, Oskar will be dead meat if the Russians get ahold of him. The tables have definitely turned.
  • One of the workers gives Oskar a letter that might save him if he's captured. It's signed by every worker in the factory.
  • Then they give him the gold ring inscribed with a passage from the Talmud: "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire."
  • Oskar emotionally collapses under the weight of all the events he and his Jews have been through.
  • He sobs that he could have done more, he could have saved more people.
  • Stern tries to reassure him that he did so much; generations will be born because of what he did.
  • Depending on who you ask, this is either the most moving scene or the most contrived, unnecessary, and overly sentimental scene in the film.
  • The prisoners dress Oskar and his wife in prisoners' clothes, and watch them drive off to an uncertain fate.

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