Schindler’s List Summary

Schindler’s List Summary

Schindler’s List is a 1993 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg.

The screenplay was written by Eric Roth and Michael Blakemore from a story by Roth and Blakemore.

The film stars renowned actors including Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ray Liotta and Johns  Malkovich.

In 1943, Oskar Schindler (Neeson) saved over 1,200 Jewish people during World War II by employing them at his factory in Nazi occupied Poland.

He was later recognized as a hero for saving these lives.

Schindler’s list is a movie about a man who risked his life to save Jewish people during the Holocaust.

If you want to find out more about what happens in this movie then read on!

Schindler’s List Summary

Schindler’s List Summary

During World War II, the Nazis forced local Jewish people into the overcrowded Kracow Ghetto. Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) is a successful businessman.

He arrives in Czechoslovakia looking to utilize the cheap labor of the Jewish population in order to manufacture enamelware.

In order to obtain this enamelware factory, Schindler bribes the German army forces and SS officials.

Schindler hires Ishi Stern, an Israeli who has contacts among black marketeers, the Jewish business community, and the government.

He handles administrative duties and helps Schindler get financing.

In the meantime, Schindler makes new friends and gains status and wealth, as well as the title of “Herr Direktor’” and Stern remains in charge of administrative duties. 

Stern suggests Schindler hires Jews instead of Poles because they’re cheaper. 

Schindler’s workers are allowed out of the ghetto, and Stern fakes documents to ensure that as few people as possible are sent to concentration camps, or killed by deeming them “essential” to the war movement.

Amon Göth (played by Ralph Fiennes) arrives in Poland to begin construction of a labor camp near Paszów.

Soon thereafter, the SS sent in troops to massacre those within the Kraków ghetto.

Schindler watches from the hillside above the area, and is deeply affected by the event.

Despite his caution, he nonetheless makes friends with Göth and, through Göth’s interest in bribery, continues to thrive with the SS’s protection and support.

Once camp construction is completed, Schindler bribes Göth to allow him to create a sub-camp for his Jewish workers.

He does this in order to keep his workers safe from the guards. Soon, an order comes from Berlin which orders Göth to remove and destroy all the bodies left within the Kraków ghetto.

As well as this, he is ordered to disassemble Paszów and deport the remaining Jews to Auschwitz.

Schindler convinces Göth to allow him to keep his workers by promising to move them to a factory near his hometown.

Göth agrees but only if Schindler pays a certain amount for each employee.

“Schindler’s List” is made up of the workers who were deemed “skilled”.

For many of these workers, being included on this list meant their survival and avoidance of certain death.

Schindler attempted to gain one worker in particular, Helen Hirsch, by playing a card game.

Helen Hirsch served as Göth’s housekeeper and had been continually abused by him.

Göth did not want to give up Helen as he had planned on running away with her, despite the fact that this would lead to both of their deaths.

After much thought, he agrees to playing Schindler for Helen’s life. Schindler is successful and Helen is one of the workers who board the train to Brinnlitz. 

The train carrying the men on Schindler’s list arrives at the new site safely.

Unfortunately, the train with the children and women is accidentally rerouted to Auschwitz.

Schindler’s List Summary

The women are led to what they think are the gas chambers.

In a disturbing turn of events, they are forced to strip and have their hair removed, but they only see water falling from shower heads.

The next day, the women are shown standing in line for work.

Meanwhile, Schindler races immediately to Auschwitz to solve this problem.

He bribes the camp commander, Rudolf Höss (played by Hans-Michael Rehberg), with diamonds so that he could save them.

However, whilst the women and children are being directed onto the train, SS officers try to hold some children back in order to stop them from leaving.

Schindler steps in to grant the release of the children from the officers and is successful in doing so.

Once they arrive back at Schindler’s camp, he demands that the Nazi guards follow specific and firm rules.

The guards are not allowed to commit executions, abuse the workers or enter the factory floor.

Later, Schindler heads to his hometown to surprise his wife whilst she is in church.

He tells her that she is the only woman in his life, even though he is previously shown to have been having affairs behind her back.

Schindler is joined by his wife in his return to the factory. There, she assists him in running it.

As the German army surrenders at the end of the war, Schindler’s funds run out. 

Because Schindler is still a German Nazi as well as one who profits from slave labor, he decides to flee from the Soviet Red Army.

He tells the Nazi guards to return to their families and says goodbye to his workers. His workers write him a heartfelt letter explaining their gratitude.

The letter states how the workers believe that Schindler is not a criminal to them for he saved their lives.

Schindler is touched by this letter, but it still filled with a deep feeling of regret. He thinks that he could have done more, saved more lives.

In the middle of the night, he leaves with his wife disguised as refugees. 

Schindler’s workers were awoken in the morning, having camped outside the factory gates all night.

After they wake, a Soviet cavalryman arrives and tells them that they have been released by the Red Army.

Soon after, the Jewish people walk to a town nearby, searching for food.

On screen a title card is shown explaining that the Yad Vashem of Jerusalem planted a tree in Israel in memory of Schindler and his righteousness.

This is followed by a scene where the actors who portrayed the characters within the movie are shown paying their respects at Schindler’s grave.

During the end scene of this movie we learn that Schindler saved and sheltered around 1,100 Jewish people.

These people now have many descendants whose numbers total to around 6,000 altogether.


Schindler’s List is a must-see film. It shows us the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of an ordinary man.

We get to know about the circumstances of the death camps and the mass murder of Jews during World War II. 

If the summary of this movie has interested you, then we highly recommend checking out the incredible performances of these actors in this movie. 


If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Synopsis Of Lolita‘.