Monday 30th June 2014
I had been told that Oskar Schindler’s grave was on Mount Zion, not far from the Dormition Abbey. A couple of weeks ago a man sitting near the Tomb of St David had offered to show me the grave, but I suspected his seemingly generous offer would have led to a demand for a generous remuneration so I declined! Today I asked people on the street and was given directions for free!! But first a word on Oskar Schindler.
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was an ethnic German industrialist, German spy, and member of the Nazi party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories, which were located in what is now Poland and the Czech Republic respectively. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark, and the subsequent 1993 film Schindler’s List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, and dedication in order to save the lives of his Jewish employees.
The graveyard was off the main road below the Tomb of St David and above the Church of St Peter Galicantu. We found the graveyard easily enough, following the instructions we had been given. And yes, there was a sign on the gates of the graveyard, “Way to Oscar Schindler’s Grave”.
But having entered the graveyard, there were no further signs! No further directions! Where to find one particular grave among so many? We wandered along the main thoroughfare, looking left and right, but without seeing any further sign, and not able to see the grave we were looking for. We continued down to a second tier of graves with the same result. There was yet another tier below that. How would we ever find the grave among all the other graves!?!
I remembered that at the end of the film “Schindler’s List”, the descendants of the survivors were filmed. Each had put a stone on Oskar Schindler’s grave, much as we had seen stones left on Ben Gurion’s grave. I reckoned that if I could see a grave with a lot of stones on it, it would probably be Oskar Schindler’s grave. I look out over the third tier of graves and sure enough, one of them was nearly covered in rocks. I went down the steps and walked closer to investigate and it was indeed Oskar Schindler’s grave.
We said a prayer of thanks for his inspirational courage in saving the lives of 1200 Jews towards the end of the Second World War; we prayed also for ourselves and for others, that we would be able to find similar courage to defend those who lives are at risk in today’s world.
For more detailed information, pictures and clips on Oskar Schindler and the role he played see:
Shalom, Peace, Salaam!!!