Where Light and Shadow Meet

Overview

In plain eloquence, the woman who married Oskar Schindler tells the true story of their life together, what they did to save the Jews in their factories, and what led to "Schindler's list." It soon became clear that her marriage would have both its passions and its betrayals. Yet Emilie stayed with Oskar through his growing involvement with the Nazis, working for counterintelligence with him. She first, then he later, came to realize the costs of the Nazi takeover and became witnesses to its terrors. Their inward...
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Overview

In plain eloquence, the woman who married Oskar Schindler tells the true story of their life together, what they did to save the Jews in their factories, and what led to "Schindler's list." It soon became clear that her marriage would have both its passions and its betrayals. Yet Emilie stayed with Oskar through his growing involvement with the Nazis, working for counterintelligence with him. She first, then he later, came to realize the costs of the Nazi takeover and became witnesses to its terrors. Their inward allegiance changed even as they needed to maintain patriotic appearances and close affiliations with the Nazis in power. Through their work together at their two factories, saving the Jews became paramount for the Schindlers. Emilie nursed the Jewish factory workers when they fell ill, often saving their lives. She risked imprisonment or worse for her activities in the black market to feed them. Her stubbornness kept her fighting for food, even daring to ask a wealthy mill owner to give them grain to feed her starving workers. Where Light and Shadow Meet chronicles the Schindlers' flight after the war, the loss of almost all their possessions, and their eventual emigration to Argentina. There they settled on a farm, but barely scraped together an existence. Oskar returned to Germany, leaving Emilie to manage on her own. This is the story of one woman's daily acts of bravery during Hitler's reign and why it mattered. It is also the story of a marriage and of survival. Finally, it is the story of Emilie's strength in continuing on one day at a time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Oskar Schindlerwho "made himself look important in other people's eyes just through his conviction of his own importance"is not a hero to his former wife. Although her husband's activities in WWII have already been famously chronicled in Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List and Steven Spielberg's Academy Award- winning film of the same name, Emilie Schindler describes here these same years from her point of view. The distortions she points out in the book and the film are minor, but she does contribute a detailed description of how she assisted her husband in running the factory in Krakow whose Jewish workers they saved from German persecution. At great risk to herself, she often provided food and medical aid. Obviously bitter about her husband's frequent infidelities, his former wife portrays him as opportunistic, immature and self-indulgent. The couple settled in Argentina after the war, but Oskar Schindler left for Germany in 1957 and never saw his wife again. Her compelling memoir provides a well-deserved testimony to her own courage during WWII and the opportunity to vent her feelings toward the husband who abandoned her. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In this autobiography, the wife of Oskar Schindler, whose story is known through Schindler's List, chronicles her own wartime heroism. She begins with her childhood in Bohemia, then traces her life from her marriage to her work against the Nazis to her present life in Argentina. During World War II, Emilie first began her resistance to Nazism by joining Oskar in counterintelligence. Later, she obtained food for Jews on the black market and cared for sick Jewish factory workers. She is candid in her accounts, including the infidelities of her husband. Written in a straightforward, accessible manner, her work is unique in revealing the woman behind one man's bravery. Recommended for Holocaust collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/97.]Mary F. Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Lib., Wheeling
Kirkus Reviews
Schindler's list of triumphs and failures as recollected by the Holocaust hero's unsung and oft-stung widow.

Schindler shares firsthand impressions of her suddenly celebrated husband, Oskar, whose entrepreneurial, humanitarian efforts saved the lives of many condemned Jews during the Holocaust. Much of what she reveals about Oskar is unflattering, as she is intent on puncturing the myth that has evolved around her husband's life since the phenomenal success of Steven Spielberg's movie Schindler's List. She paints a portrait of a deeply flawed man who was as erratic, immature, and self-serving as he was generous and kind. While she was struggling to scrape money together to obtain enough food on the black market to survive, her husband was squandering it on women and "small pleasures and on objects for which we had not the slightest need." Schindler's appetite for women was insatiable, and his wife learned early on to just grin and bear it if she wished to stay married. While she approached life warily, Oskar almost always acted impulsively in his personal affairs. He often became indiscreetly involved with lower-class women, yet when it came to dealing with the SS high command, Oskar could be at once "engaging and determined." She traces many of her husband's undesirable traits to his turbulent fahter, whom she describes as "a hopeless alcoholic who, in one of his awful drinking binges, raped his wife's sister and got her pregnant." While never diminishing her husband's efforts and accomplishments in rescuing Jews during WW II, her own humanitarian endeavors are the focus here. Often endangering her own life, she did all she could to keep ailing factory workers alive and out of the reach of the Nazis.

A stark, strained account of a singularly courageous couple, at the point where black-and-white cinematography meets naked truth.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393041231
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Prologue: From the Other Side of the World
1. Childhood inBohemia
2. Oskar Enters My Life
3. Schindler's List
4. After the War
5. A New Home
Epilogue
Maps
Photographs

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