Under the hammer

‘Thank you’ letters to Schindler up for auction

You have ‘restored my faith in mankind,’ reads one missive sent to couple who saved over a thousand Jews from Holocaust gas chambers

Some items from the estate of Oskar Schindler's wife Emilie up for auction on December 8, 2017. (Lawrences Auctioneers)
Some items from the estate of Oskar Schindler's wife Emilie up for auction on December 8, 2017. (Lawrences Auctioneers)

Dozens of letters sent to German industrialist Oskar Schindler and his wife Emilie, expressing thanks and support for saving a thousand Jews from the gas chambers are to be auctioned next month.

About 70 letters and cards that were sent to the couple in Argentina are to be sold along with a few of Emilie’s personal effects.

The items are being auctioned by the UK firm of Lawrences Auctioneers on December 8. The letters are expected to fetch £600-700 (NIS 2,700-3.200).

“I was very moved by your courageous self-sacrifice. More importantly, however, I thank you Frau Schindler, for having restored my faith in mankind,” one letter reads.

Another person wrote, on September 23, 1987, “Although I never actually met you, it is an honor and a privilege, as a spiritual heir of those whom you saved, to wish you a very happy and healthy birthday.”

The collection includes a 1944 black-and-white photograph of Oskar Schindler, and items presented to Emilie in gratitude for what her husband did.

German industrialist Oskar Schindler waves after his arrival in Israel in 1962, to be honored for saving the lives of over 1,000 Jews during World War II. (Keystone/Getty Images via JTA)

Watches belonging to Oskar and Emilie Schindler are also being auctioned in separate lots.

During World War II, Schindler (1908-1974), saved the lives of 1,200 Jews by employing them in his enamelware and munitions factories in Nazi-occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia.

His tale was enshrined in the bestselling 1982 novel “Schindler’s Ark” and its 1993 Steven Spielberg film adaptation, “Schindler’s List.”

In 1945 the Schindlers moved to West Germany and in 1949 emigrated to Argentina. Oskar Schindler returned to Germany in 1957, while his wife remained in Argentina.

AFP contributed to this report.

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