In 1939, Schindler bought an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory’s peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.
By July of 1944, Germany was losing the war. Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory, thus sparing his workers from certain death.
Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of the war, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.
A person who is recognized as ‘Righteous’ for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in their name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having the name added to those on the ‘Wall of Honor’ in the ‘Garden of the Righteous’ at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Anyone who has been recognized as ‘Righteous’ is entitled to apply for honorary citizenship of the state of Israel. If the person is no longer alive, their next of kin is entitled to request that commemorative citizenship be conferred on the ‘Righteous’ who has died.