The city of Kraków, located in southern Poland, was once the royal capital of the kingdom. About 60,000 Jews lived there in 1939 out of a population of 250,000 people. The Germans occupied the city on September 6, 1939.
The city of Kraków attracted many German industrialists, wheelers and dealers, amongst them Oscar Schindler. He knew the city well since he was a Czech salesman of agricultural machinery and visited Kraków frequently before the war. He was now determined to build for himself an industrial empire. Being a member of the German secret service, he soon established excellent contacts in the so-called Aryanization office that distributed confiscated Jewish property for pennies. He soon took control of the old enamel factory and renamed it The German Enamel Works. The factory produced kitchenware for the Armed Forces. Oscar also managed to obtain army purchase contracts. His factory in Zabłocie outside the city limits was soon a booming enterprise. The work force was entirely Jewish and came from Kraków.
Schindler protected his work force and fed them even if he had to buy food on the black market, which occurred frequently since the German provided starvation rations, if at all.
Schindler's Jewish work force survived all obstacles that the S.S. put in his way. Many Jews tried to become workers for Schindler since it was considered a safe place.
The list of Jewish workers varied as it expanded. We know of the existence of several lists that were drawn up at different times and some were smuggled out of the camp. We also know that various Jewish organizations, such as the Swiss Jewish Help Organization and the American Jewish Distribution Committee, helped Schindler financially with his expenses in sheltering his Jewish work force.
About the Database:
This database includes 1,980 names of individuals combined from two separate lists:
- List A: Last and final list of Schindler's inmates from Bruennlitz, Czechoslovakia, printed in April, 1945. The inmates were sent to Czechoslovakia from the camp at Plaszów, Poland. The Bruennlitz camp was liberated by the Russian Red Army in 1945.
- List B: This list was compiled in March of 1944, according to Mordechai Lustig, who was on the list but later removed. The list was taken from Kraków to Budapest and then to Turkey. It finally reached Palestine and was printed in the newspaper Davar on September 9, 1944. The list was printed without a by-line, but apparently was reliable enough to be printed in Davar, an important daily. This list was divided into three sections that represented the three main areas of Schindler's factory.
- A. Main labor camp
B. Women's camp
C. Radiator camp
The fields of the database are as follows:
- Given Name
- Birth Year
- Source: Davar or Yad Vashem
- Disposition: indication if individual survived