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AlbertJayNock

Why Oskar Schindler is one of my heroes

Who are your heroes?


Although he was not a veteran, one of my heroes is Oskar Schindler.He was a great humanitarian, but not a very typical one. He had more in common with an Ayn Rand character than he did with Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa.

One of my favorite scenes in the film Schindler's List is when Schindler's jewish accountant nearly gets sent to a concentration camp by mistake. Schindler's reaction is to yell at him and complain about how hard it would have been to get along without him.

That seems cold at first. And it also appears to lack perspective. Most folks would agree that being sent to a Nazi death camp is a lot worse than losing a good accountant. But if you think further, you can see that Schindler truly valued this man.And he was glad there was one less Jew sent to a death camp.Who cares what his reasons were?

Schindler didn't care about being thought of as a hero, or even about actually being one. He just wanted to run his businesses, make some money, and have some fun. But he had enough of a moral compass to do the right thing when push came to shove. That's how he ended up being a hero. That's actually classier and more humble than setting out to be a hero.

I'd mentioned Ayn Rand earlier. I thought about Schindler some time back while reading an article in National Review about Ayn Rand. The author writes the following about Howard Roark, the protagonist of  The Fountainhead:


Roark is egoless...“I don’t make comparisons,” Roark says. “I don’t want to be the symbol of anything.” He does not want to be a great architect; he wants to build his buildings. That’s egolessness.

Substitute "great humanitarian" for "great architect" and "run his business and take care of his employees" for "build his buildings"  and you've got Oskar Schindler.

Oskar  Schindler was a man who managed to be a humanitarian without being a pain in the ass about it. I can think of very few other people who have accomplished that. That's why he is one of my heroes.

Comments

I like this. I bought Schindler's Ark a while ago and haven't read it...the subject is pretty depressing. But now I'm curious again.
I have to confess I haven't actually read the book (even though I have a copy.) I'm basing this post on the film, which is worth seeing. (But you're right,it is depressing.)