There was a movie that came out in 1993 called Schindler’s List. Maybe some of you saw it. I saw it back when it first came out in the theater, so it’s been quite a long time. But there’s one scene in particular that stands out for me. The movie’s about a German factory owner named Oskar Schindler, who saves the lives of many of his Jewish workers during the course of the war. And this scene that I remember so clearly is the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.
Schindler is on a horse on a hill looking down over the city, and he’s watching all of this unfold before him. And it’s a horrific scene. There’s chaos in the streets. The Nazi soldiers are rounding up the people. They’re pushing them, they’re shoving them into line, marching them down the street, tossing their belongings on the ground. You hear cries and screams. You hear sporadic gunfire in the background, and then at one point, one of the soldiers shoots a couple of people at point-blank range, and you see them drop to the ground.
And Schindler is watching all this. And you can tell he’s both horrified and also sort of fascinated. He can’t turn away from it. Almost all of the movie is in black and white but there’s this haunting violin theme playing over all of this. If you saw the movie, you might still be able to hum it. It’s both inexpressibly sad and also in a way sort of joyful. It’s a very interesting melody.
Anyway, so this is all unfolding in black and white, and this is the part I remember so vividly: There’s a little girl and she’s wearing a red coat, and she sort of appears out of nowhere, and she’s almost invisible to everyone in that scene. They’re marching one way, she slips behind them and goes the other way. She slips through people, she almost seem to slip between the legs of the Nazi soldiers. She just keeps going against the flow. She finds a building that’s open. She goes up to an apartment and she hides under a bed. And Schindler has seen her. He’s noticed.Continue reading