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COMMUNICATION: Media, Arts, & Society | February 27, 1994


An Unpublished Letter to

Calendar Letters, in Los Angeles Times

In your article on documentary-maker Jon Blair, he says that "I always felt it was a weakness in my film that I couldn't explain Schindler's motivation [as a Nazi saving Jews], and Spielberg told me the same about his -- it seems impossible to crack that enigma." Perhaps not.

After experiencing Mr. Spielberg's Schindler's List (merely "watching" seems a wholly inadequate term), what I came away with was this: Whether he was developing industry; enjoying wine, women, and song; or saving helpless souls from the death camps, Herr Schindler was utterly submerged in a "lust for life" (I believe the Jewish expression is l'chaim) -- he thus stood in stark contrast to those who wore the skull-and-cross-bones on their uniforms.

It was, thus, not out of character for the real Schindler to have said in that 1973 documentary, as you mentioned, that he saved all the Jews he could simply because he couldn't stand all the killing: A lesson as vital -- and timeless -- as Schindler's List is deserving of Oscars®.

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