‘Schindler’s List’ producer donates Oscar to Yad Vashem
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‘Schindler’s List’ producer donates Oscar to Yad Vashem

Croatian president on hand as Branko Lustig, 83, gives Academy Award to Holocaust museum in Jerusalem

Branko Lusting, seen here in a photo from 2009. (Public domain/Wikipedia)
Branko Lusting, seen here in a photo from 2009. (Public domain/Wikipedia)

A film producer who survived the Holocaust and won an Academy Award for “Schindler’s List” donated his Oscar statuette to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial on Wednesday.

Branko Lustig, an 83-year-old Croatian-born Jewish Holocaust survivor, presented his award to the museum in a ceremony attended by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

“I’m very honored, I feel this is a good (resting place) for the Oscar,” Lustig told Reuters before the ceremony.

Lustig survived Auschwitz as a child and went on to work on the Academy Award-winning “Schindler’s List,” Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film telling the true story of German industrialist and Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. He later won a second Academy Awards for “Gladiator” in 2000.

The producer said that Yad Vashem would be the appropriate place for the statuette.

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 movie 'Schindler's List'  (Screen capture: Schindler's List)
Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 movie ‘Schindler’s List’ (Screen capture: Schindler’s List)

“I’m not parting with it, I am leaving it to the nation, for generations to come… All Yad Vashem’s visitors will see it; at my home there is only my wife and my daughter,” he said.

Lustig recently contacted Shalev with the offer to donate the statuette, and Shalev accepted, saying there would be a ceremony to mark the donation. Lustig, whose health is declining, also asked Kitarović to be one of the guests at the ceremony. The two have been friends since she served as her country’s ambassador to the US.

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