Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Religion


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A Saint in Disguise? A deadly shot bellows through the air. People jump back in
surprise. A young girl lays in a soft red puddle of blood, her shining Star of
David glistening in the once delightful sun. Many glance, but most just pass on
by. But one stares in astonishment. In anger. In disbelief. Though a
controversial man of his time, Oskar Schindler, through bribery and lies,
transformed the threatened lives of hundreds of Jews. Individuals can make a
difference as far as human rights are concerned. Even though the initial motives
for action may be less than honorable, the end may justify the means. The story
of Oskar Schindler is a shining example. A German war profiteer of slave labor,
a crook, an alcoholic, and a womanizer are all terms that have been used to
describe Oskar Schindler. Why then, on his fifty third birthday did the
municipality of Tel Aviv dedicate a plaque in the Park of Heroes describing him
as savior of over 1200 Jews? Why was he declared a Righteous person in Jerusalem
and invited to plant a carob tree in the Avenue of the Righteous? The answer is
simple: To more than 1200 Jewish people held as prisoners in camps during World
War II, Oskar Schindler and his factories are all that stood between them and
death at the hands of the Nazis. Schindler's motives, even to this day, are not
completely clear. As you learn about a man full of flaws just like the rest of
us, I know that you too will appreciate the fact that an ordinary man can do
extraordinary things. Oskar Schindler is a hero to over 6,000 Jews currently
living across the United States and Europe. Schindler is a great example of
loving one's neighbor. The people who Schindler saved made his morals a part of
their life, also. Schindler motivated the Jews to be the best they could
possible be. Oskar was once quoted as saying, "I knew the people who worked
for me. When you know people, you have to behave towards then like human
beings." Also, God's love is not selective. It is to include all people.
Schindler tried to save as many Jews as he possibly could. Although he could not
nearly save all, his attitudes and opinions stayed the same with every person.
He wanted to help them, to feed them, to save them. Schindler performed faith
with love-in-action. Instead of publicly speaking about the unfair treatment of
Jews, he took many steps further. He opened up the factory, employed several
hundred Jews, and put his beliefs into action. He believed that the truth will
make one free, and that was the exact outcome of the war - the Jews kept their
religion and pride throughout the years, and in the end, they came out
successful. Oskar's father and mother, Hans and Louisa Schindler, were deeply
religious. This resulted in a strong Catholic household for Schindler. The
Schindler family was one of the richest and most prominent in Zwitlau and
elsewhere. Schindler himself was a very tall and handsome man. Needless to say,
he was adored by all the young women. His fancy, though, fell for a beautiful
young girl named Emily. After only six weeks of courtship, they were married.
Sadly, after only a few months of marriage, Schindler began to heavily abuse
alcohol. He also had several affairs resulting in two children out of wedlock.
In 1929, during the Great Depression, the Schindler family business went
bankrupt. At this time, Schindler's father left his mother, and she died soon
after. The picture being painted of Schindler is not exactly one of high class
and morals. Indeed, Schindler was an alcoholic and a womanizer. This leads many
to think, how can this man be considered a saint? What would possess him, with
all of his power and money, to risk his own life to save the lives of thousands
of people he has never met? How did he do it? It was no easy task. In all of
this the question still remains, why? Why did he do it? The answer is that there
is no answer. Schindler would never comment on what he did. He never truly gave
an answer as to why he did what he did. Ludwik Feigenbaum gave the best
description of Schindler that made sense of his actions. "I don't know what
his motives were, even though I knew him very well. I asked him and I never got
a clear answer and the film doesn't make it clear, either. But I don't give a
damn. What's important is that he saved our lives. Another survivor, Johnathan
Dresner suggests, " He was an adventurer. He was like an actor who always
wanted to be center stage. He got into a play and he could not get out of
it." No matter what anyone believes, the story of Schindler touched me. I
think to myself, would I have the courage to give up my life for a bunch of
strangers? Would I give up all of my comforts and riches with nothing in return?
I am a bit bewildered by the story. I wish that I knew exactly why he did the
things he did. Yet as the old saying goes, "Some things are better left
unsaid." I think that is what Schindler believed. He saw no reason to give
a why. I think that is why he is a hero. He did not want all the pomp and
circumstance. He did not want the hero status. I think he saw no reason to brag
about what he had done. Schindler knew what it meant to himself and those that
he saved, and that is all that mattered. Saving those lives was his return for
giving up all he had. He died without much fanfare. He was bankrupt and his last
few years were rough. He gave up everything he owned, literally. Yet it did not
matter. He gave an unselfish love, of sorts, to the Jews. Schindler is indeed a
hero for many reasons. Most importantly, he helped to save a race of human
beings, just like you and me. Through the actions of one man, 1200 human beings
were saved. Today, 40 years later, there are over 6,000 descendants of the
schindlerjuden. Oskar Schindler was faced with many choices. He began his
adventure as a profiteer making millions of dollars. He spent every last cent
that he had providing for and ultimately buying the freedom of "his
children". In Schindler's case the end justified the means. In 1963 Oskar
Schindler was named a Righteous Gentile. He was the third Christian to ever
receive this honor. Moshe Bejski, who has served on the committee that decided
who will be honored as Righteous Gentile, said, Schindler was unique in two
ways: he carried on his rescue actions for a very long time, and he did it on a
large scale." I completely agree with this. It takes a gifted and special
person to be able to carry out what Schindler did, and that is exactly what he
is. Author Eric Silver, who wrote The Book of the Just: The Unsung Heroes Who
Rescued Jews from Hitler, once wrote, "You had to take him as he was.
Schindler was a very complex person. He was against evil. He acted
spontaneously. He was adventurous, someone who took risks, but I'm not sure he
enjoyed taking them. He did things because people asked him to do them. He loved
children. He saw all the children and grandchildren of those he had rescued as
his own family. He was very, very sensitive. If Schindler had been a normal man,
he would not have done what he did. Everything he did put him in danger. He
could have done much less, and still qualified as one of the righteous."
This insight by the author basically says it all. Schindler was a special man
and others like him do not come along every day. Applying the aspects of
Christian morality toward Oskar Schindler may actually reveal a saint in
disguise. Schindler had his share of faults just like you and me, but in the
end, his love conquered all evil. He used the Jesus Principle to act instead of
using his own reactions. One may never know his motives, even his closest
relatives. But that is not important. The fact of the matter is that he risked
his own life to save 1200 lives. After the war, Schindler and his wife were
forced to flee to Argentina. Oskar sacrificed his home, family, money, and life
for the Jews. And that, in my opinion, is a great reason for Oskar Schindler to
be considered a saint.

Bibliography1. Hertling, Victoria. "The Making of Schindler's List." April 4,
1995. 2. Paldiel, Mordecai.
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Oskar Schindler. 1982. "Schindler's
List." 1995. "Schindler's
List." 1995. 3. Gleick et al.
"Requiem for a Hero." People. MAR 1994. pp. 40-44 4. Keneally, Thomas.
"Schindler's List " New York: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, 1982 5.
Ottenhoff, John. "Naming the Dead. " Christian Century. 16 FEB 1994,
pp. 172-175. 6. Schickel, Richard. "Heart of Darkness." Time, 13 DEC
1993, pp. 75-77 7. Silver, Eric. "A crook, a Womanizer and a Hero."
Entertainment Weekly, 8. Roberts, Jack L., "The Importance of Oskar
Schindler" San Diego:Lucent Books, 1996
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