Schindler's List

Schindler's List Summary and Analysis of Scenes 29 to 35 : The List/Zwittau-Brinnlitz


The scene opens with a shot of a naked woman in bed before panning upward to show a contemplative Oskar Schindler standing in the corner. He stares out the window, pondering his situation and the situation of the Jews. Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" plays in the background. He moves to the living room where he begins to count his trunks full of money.

The shot cuts to him standing with Goeth on Goeth's balcony. He is pacing back and forth, smoking. Goeth does not understand why Schindler wants the Jews he has been working with. He asks where the money is in this venture, where the scam is. Schindler refuses to answer but asks him how much a Jew is worth to him; he plans to bribe Goeth. Goeth returns the question, before the camera cuts to a close up of a typewriter spelling out names. Schindler and Itzhak Stern are working on creating a list of Jews that will travel with Schindler to a new factory in Moravia instead of to Auschwitz. Stern types frantically while Schindler paces, listing off names of people who should appear on the list. He continues to ask how many are on the list. When he hears the number, he says that he wants more.

The sound of the typewriter continues as Schindler arrives at Goeth's villa with a suitcase of money. The scene cuts to Schindler trying to convince a fellow Nazi who has been sympathetic to the Jews to join him in his venture, but the man adamantly refuses. When the scene returns to Schindler and Stern's list making, Stern asks Schindler how he is doing this. When Stern discovers that Schindler is buying each and every Jew on the list, he is impressed and shocked. When the list is finally completed, Stern tells Schindler that the list is an absolute good.

Schindler then approaches Goeth and asks to put Helen Hirsch on the list. Schindler lays a deck of cards in front of Goeth and asks to play a game of 21. He offers Goeth 14,800 Reichsmarks if Goeth wins and asks for Helen if he wins. Goeth initially refuses, saying that he wants to take her back to Vienna with him. Eventually, Goeth agrees to the card game and Schindler wins. The scene cuts to the faces of the Jews on the list as they say their names to the list checkers before boarding a train to Schindler's new factory in Moravia. The film first follows the journey of the men. It is cold and crowded on the train, but they rip off icicles from the side of the car for water. They arrive safely in Moravia, and Schindler welcomes them to Zwittau-Brinnlitz. He tells them that the women are on their way and that there is hot soup and bread waiting for them inside the factory.

The camera then moves to the women's train. The train is equally as cramped, and the women entertain themselves with stories of food. They look out the window and something seems not quite right. A boy outside looks at them and cuts his finger across his throat, symbolizing death. Night approaches and the train pulls into a cold station filled with officers. A title appears on the screen, informing the viewer that the women have arrived at Auschwitz. The women are pulled from the train and lined up. Protests that they have been delivered to the wrong location are ignored. They are all brought into a room where their hair is chopped off and their shoes are taken from them. They are then ushered into an enclosed room. The women, having heard stories of the gas chambers, panic as soon as the door is shut. They scream in terror until the spouts overhead begin to gush water. Laughing, they realize that they are not in a gas chamber, but in a shower.

The scene cuts to Rudolph Hoss and Schindler, who are sitting at a desk together. Schindler has presented to Hoss the list of the Jews who are meant to be at his factory instead of at Auschwitz. Hoss tells him that he is not the only industrialist who needs labor. Hoss wonders why Schindler believes that he can help him. Schindler pours out diamonds on the desk. Hoss offers him 300 Hungarian Jews who are soon to be shipped into Auschwitz. Schindler refuses, insisting that he be given those from his list. His wish is granted.

The scene cuts to the women being ushered back onto a train leaving Auschwitz. Officers begin to grab children and pull them to the side, while mothers scream and try to hold onto their daughters. As soon as he notices, Schindler angrily runs after the officers and stops their behavior. He explains that the young girls are essential for polishing the inside of shell casings. The girls are allowed on the train. The film cuts to a shot of Schindler walking among the women as guards open the gates to Zwittau-Brinnlitz. Soon after, he explains to all his soldiers that they are not permitted to kill workers without just cause and that guards will not be allowed on the factory floor without Schindler's authorization.

The next scene opens in a church. Emilie Schindler kneels at a pew, singing along with a hymn. Schindler approaches and takes a seat in the pew behind her. He taps her shoulder and surprises her, letting her know that he is ready to be a faithful husband. The camera cuts to Schindler walking his wife through the factory. He introduces her to Stern before Stern pulls him away to let him know that the officials are unhappy with the quality of his shells. Schindler tells Stern to buy shells from elsewhere, so that fewer shells are being produced. Regardless of the monetary cost, Schindler says he will be very unhappy if his factory ever produces shells that can be fired.

Schindler then approaches Rabbi Menasha Lewartow and informs him that he should be preparing for the Sabbath. He tells him to accompany him to his office where he has some bottles of wine. The Rabbi recites prayers in honor of the Sabbath with candles and wine later that evening. Nazi soldiers listen in, perplexed.


The opening of Scene 29 presents Schindler as having realized that he might be able to provide a solution after all. The Billie Holiday song playing in the background, whose lyrics are about the hollow worth of wealth, serves to convey his thoughts to the viewer. Schindler knows Goeth is open to bribes, and as he examines his wealth, Schindler realizes he may be able to buy Jews from Goeth.

Stern's pronouncement of the list as an absolute good is significant, for it exhibits the total switch in morals and the procurement of virtue for Schindler. Stern has been acting as his conscience throughout the film, and for him to tell Schindler that one of his actions is an absolute good means that Schindler no longer needs Stern as his conscience. He now has his own. This plays out several scenes later when Schindler approaches his wife in the church. By committing himself to monogamy and marriage, Schindler shows his virtue and conscience in another way.

Schindler's conversation with Goeth about Helen shows Goeth's continued attachment to his maid. Despite how unfeasible the act would be, Goeth fantasizes about bringing her to Vienna with him and growing old at her side. It is a very personal struggle, and he only speaks of it to Schindler because he knows that Schindler already knows about it and will not judge him harshly. Goeth realizes that to protect this woman to whom he has grown very attached, he must send her with Schindler. This denotes that Goeth does, in fact, understand Schindler's motive in buying the Jews, but does not and will not say anything to stop him.

The rest of this portion of the film serves to illustrate the type of haven Zwittau-Brinnlitz is. The women's accidental stint in Auschwitz provides a stark contrast to Zwittau-Brinnlitz. The floating ashes, harsh guards, required short haircuts, and threat of mass extermination put Schindler's bright factory with inactive guards into perspective. The Auschwitz accident also further exemplifies the extents to which that Schindler is willing to go to in order to protect the Jews on his list. He shows a fierce loyalty to them, bribing a commander to reclaim them and personally assuring that they all make it safely on the train to Moravia.

Multiple techniques are used to show the viewer that Schindler's factory is a haven. Schindler instructs his guards to not shoot and to not enter the factory floor. He provides hot soup and bread for his workers. He allows the Rabbi to host a Sabbath. Perhaps most notably, he is willing to go completely broke in order to ensure that fewer artillery shells are produced for the Nazis.