Friday, January 29, 2010

Searching for Schindler

Searching for Schindler is a memoir written by Thomas Keneally.

This is one of the books that I had picked up from the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in November. I had bought it thinking that I will enhance my minuscule knowledge of the legendary gentleman Oskar Schindler. The very first time that I knew something more than just his name was when I watched the movie Schindler's List early last year. The movie shook me to my core would be an understatement. It ripped me apart, my emotions were raw at the humiliation, torture, barbaric treatment that the Jews received during that shameful time in our human history.
The movie also filled me with awe for this man who helped so many Jews. It only made my belief stronger that 'there is good in this world'. I tried looking up more info on the net and was flooded with it. I read and read.

This book, actually told me that much before the movie was made, the Author Thomas Keneally had written a book by the same name, and then it got made into a movie by the awesome Steven Spielberg.

The journey of the book and the movie is what is opened up in this memoir.

Thomas Keneally is an Australian, who was in Lon Angeles met the real star Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg who ran a boutique of Handbags etc. The author had gone in to purchase a briefcase.
Poldek and his wife were holocaust survivors. In his possession were numerous photographs, paper cuttings, documents related to the holocaust and about Oskar Schindler. He had tried on many occasions to get someone to write a book or make a movie or a TV series out of all the real and amazing data that he had, but had no success.

Keneally took up the assignment and after a lot of hard work, travelling, meeting more holocaust survivors the book Schindler's Ark/ Schindler's List was published. The book won him the Booker Prize.

The book and movie was possible only because it had the relentless support of Poldek who traveled and interviewed people along with Keneally. It was his mission to see it being made into a movie. He would often say 'An Oscar for Oskar' !! And his dream did come true when The movie actually won 7 Oscar Awards.

The book is great, informative, has many photographs of the actual Schindler, and many more of the camps in which people were held. The book for me showed that if we really want to accomplish something - it is possible.

The recent spat between Chetan Bhagat and the makers of 3 idiots looked very stupid to me at first. ( I was/am on CB's side).
But when I recalled reading that the author Keneally was actually invited by Spielberg to the shooting of the entire movie and that he was given first class air fare wherever he was flown to, he was always put up where Spielberg himself stayed shows what kind of treatment an author ought to deserve for the original idea, story etc. Keneally was also asked to be present at all press conferences related to the movie, he was invited to all the glittering premiers that the film had. He was paid his dues when Spielberg (or was it Universal) bought the rights of the book from him; but the points to be noted is the treatment and respect he received for his effort and knowledge of the subject. I firmly believe that Intellectual property needs to be respected and treated as a commodity abiding by the laws of the industry as such.

Overall I say: go read this book

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