Widow of Oskar Schindler Dies at 93

FRANKFURT - Emilie Schindler, who helped her industrialist husband Oskar save hundreds of Jews from Nazi death camps in a story chronicled by the movie Schindler's List, has died, her biographer said Saturday. She was 93.

Schindler's widow died Friday night at a hospital in Strausberg outside Berlin where she had been brought for an undisclosed serious illness on July 21, writer Erika Rosenberg said in a statement. The cause of death was not announced. News reports at the time of hospitalization said she had suffered a stroke.

Schindler, who had lived in Argentina since 1949, had said she wished to spend her final days in Germany. A retirement home in Bavaria agreed to accept her, but she fell ill and was hospitalized at the Maerkisch-Oderland clinic.

The Schindlers emigrated to Argentina after World War II, but Oskar left his wife behind and returned to Germany in 1958. The subject of Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning 1993 film "Schindler's List," he died in 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem at his own request.

The Schindlers' campaign to save 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust went largely unnoticed until the Oscar-winning movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1993. The film itself was based on the 1982 Booker Prize winning "Schindler's Ark," by Thomas Keneally.

Emilie Schindler often complained the film overlooked her role in keeping the Jews alive. "Oskar is the hero - and what about me? I saved many Jews, too," she told German television in a 1999 interview.

According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, which bestowed her with the "Righteous among the Nations" award in 1993, Emilie Schindler prevented the Nazis from sending a trainload of 120 nearly starved Jewish prisoners to Auschwitz. Oskar Schindler convinced a Nazi Secret Service camp commander that he needed the emaciated, frostbitten men to work in his factory. Upon their arrival at the factory, his wife nursed them back to health.

Emilie Schindler was born October 22, 1907, in a German-speaking village in part of the former Austro-Hungarian empire, now the Czech Republic. She married Oskar in 1928 and moved with him to Krakow, Poland, where they ran a factory later used to harbor Jewish laborers during the war. After returning to Germany in July, Emilie Schindler donated papers and other items that belonged to her husband to a history museum in Bonn.

Earlier, she lost a legal battle to obtain a suitcase full of her husband's papers, including a list of the Jews who were saved, that a German couple found in 1999 and gave to the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper. The paper published excerpts, then donated the papers to Yad Vashem.