If you are reading this before getting on the plane to Israel, here's your homework assignment: Rent "Schindler's List" and watch the now-classic Steven Spielberg-directed film about one of the more remarkable stories to come out of the Holocaust.
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- Tourist Tip #147 / Multimedia museum in Tel Aviv's first town hall
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- Schindler's twist: The bitter battle over the Righteous Gentile's legendary list
Oskar Schindler was a card-carrying Nazi who made a fortune during World War II by exploiting Jewish slave labor in his factory, located in Krakow, Poland. But at some point, he experienced a change of heart.
Without ruining the movie for you, suffice it to say that Oskar Schindler is buried in the Catholic cemetery on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
When Schindler died in 1974, many of his “Schindlerjuden,” the term for the Jews he saved,who in the post-war years frequently aided him financially, stepped forward to arrange for his burial here. It is easy to find him. In keeping with the Jewish custom of honoring the deceased by placing a stone on the grave, thousands of Jewish admirers have paid their respects to the great man, creating a towering pyramid of stones atop his grave.
Anyone who has seen the film will recall its final scene (and its transition from black-and-white to color), in which the actors accompany the real characters they played to place stones on the grave. Between the stones, you may be able to read the German and Hebrew inscriptions. In Hebrew, the tombstone reads, "Righteous among the Nations" and in German: "The Unforgettable Lifesaver of 1,200 Persecuted Jews."
The cemetery is easily accessed from the road that runs around Mt. Zion and the Old City wall. Coming from Zion Gate, walk down to the road and turn right. The walled-off cemetery will soon come into view, with an English-language sign reading "Grave of Oskar Schindler" above the gate. Schindler is buried on the lower level.
The Catholic cemetery on Mt. Zion is open Monday to Saturday 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. and closed Sunday.