Oskar Schindler’s wife Emile, who played a ’50/50′ role in saving the Jews, was mistaken for one of the people her husband had saved by Steven Spielberg, who sent her a letter asking her to appear in Shindler’s List.
Emile Schindler was married to ‘Schindler’s List’ Oskar – the man credited for keeping over 1,300 people out of death camps.
New recordings up for auction have revealed how Mrs Schindler felt ‘cut out’ of history and Hollywood after being ignored ‘in a very humiliating and offensive way’.
Friends says she didn’t get the credit she deserved for her ’50/50′ role in saving the Jews and was left in poverty – not benefiting from the movie or book it was based on.
Emile Schindler (right) was married to ‘Schindler’s List’ Oskar (left, in 1957) – the man credited for keeping over 1,200 people out of death camps. Friends say she didn’t get the credit she deserved for her ’50/50′ role in saving the Jews
And now previously unheard interviews she recorded in later life apparently show how Spielberg himself once mistook who she was.
They reveal she was sent a letter by him in 1993 inviting her to appear in the last scene of the film – because she was one of the Jews her husband saved.
The bureaucratic faux-pas note even invited Emile to bring her husband – seemingly not realising she was married to Oskar Schindler.
Close friend and biographer Erika Rosenberg is auctioning off the taped interviews which are expected to fetch between £8,000 to £10,000.
Her unique collection of 48 cassette tapes is being sold at an auction in Edinburgh by Lyon & Turnbull.
The letter from Steven Spielberg – mistaking Emile Schindler for a Jew her husband saved and asking her to appear in an epilogue scene at her husband’s grave site
Emilie Schindler (left) and Erika Rosenberg, her Close friend and biographer
The letter is not part of the sale – but the recordings contain details of the embarrassing note.
Dated May 7, 1993, the letter asked Emile to appear in the end scene of the film along with the ‘other’ Jews her husband saved.
Steven Spielberg at New York Fashion Week, September 2018
Hand-signed by Spielberg, the typed note says: ‘You are part of a remarkable part of history.
‘I first read about Oskar Schindler’s improbable rescue of you and more than 1,300 Jews from the threat of Nazi death camps more than ten years ago, and it has taken me until now to bring this important piece of history to the screen.
‘The story of how your lives were saved will be shared with people all over the world as a major motion picture by the end of this year.
‘I will be travelling to Israel with my crew to film an epilogue scene at Oskar Schindler’s grave site.
‘I would be deeply honored if you would appear in the scene and allow me to include your important face in the film.
‘You and your spouse are invited to come to Jerusalem as my guests May 25-May 30, 1993.’
Speaking from her home in Buenos Aires last week, Ms Rosenberg, 69, said Emilie, who died 2001, was left unhappy by the letter.
The lot of 48 cassette tapes, containing a series of interviews conducted with Emilie Schindler between 1994 and 1995, but some as late as 1998. For auction at Lyon and Turnbull, Edinburgh
She said: ‘I met Emilie three years before Spielberg sent her an invitation to the last scene of Schindler’s List to be held in Jerusalem.
‘What is unique about the invitation is that Spielberg wrote to Oskar’s widow as a Jew whom Oskar would have saved.
‘But the amazing thing is in the last paragraph he also invites Emilie’s husband.
‘This made Emilie very angry and it is also one of the things which she relates to in the tapes.’
The couple helped to save the lives of more than 1,000 Jewish lives during World War Two despite being members of the Nazi party.
They declared all workers at their enamelware and munitions factory as essential.
The pair fled to Argentina following the war but split several years later when Oskar left to sort out his financial affairs – and never returned.
Emilie then lived out her life on a small pension, which is where she met Ms Rosenberg, who became a close friend.
The grave of Oscar Schindler (1908-1974) at the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion in the Old City of Jerusalem
The tapes are said to give a detailed and personal account of her life, from childhood, marriage, courageous wartime work and later life.
Ms Rosenberg has said previously that Emilie’s role in the saving of the Jews had been largely undervalued.
Speaking previously, she said: ‘Emilie has suffered her whole life from being the woman in the shadow of a great man.
‘In fact their roles in saving the Jews could be split 50-50. But she was cut out of the film and the book in a very humiliating and offensive way.’
Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War Two.
But by this time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.
It is said that Emilie also sold her jewels to buy food, clothes, and medicine.
She also looked after sick workers in a secret sanatorium in the camp with medical equipment purchased on the black market.
The collection of audio tapes is being sold as part of a Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps and Photographs sale on Wednesday, June 17.
A spokesperson for Lyon & Turnbull said: ‘The archive of 48 cassette tapes includes important historical primary source material relating to both Oskar and Emilie Schindler and their role in saving the lives of 1200 Jews during the Holocaust.
‘However elements of the accounts have never been in the public domain before.’
Amblin Partners, which is led by Mr Spielberg, has been approached for comment.