This is the captivating story behind Schindler’s List, the Booker Prize–winning book and the Academy Award–winning Spielberg film. Keneally tells the tale of the unlikely encounter that propelled him to write about Oskar Schindler and of the impact of his extraordinary account on people around the world.
Thomas Keneally met Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg, the owner of a Beverly Hills luggage shop, in 1981. Poldek, a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor, had a tale he wanted the world to know. Charming, charismatic, and persistent, he convinced Keneally to relate the incredible story of “the all-drinking, all-screwing, all-black-marketeering Nazi, Oskar Schindler. But to me he was Jesus Christ.”
Searching for Schindler is the engrossing chronicle of Keneally’s pursuit of one of history’s most fascinating and paradoxical heroes. Traveling throughout the United States, Germany, Israel, Poland, and Austria, Keneally and Poldek interviewed people who had known Schindler and uncovered their indelible memories of the Holocaust. Keneally’s powerful narrative rose quickly to the top of bestseller lists. Steven Spielberg’s magnificent film adaptation went on to fulfill Poldek’s dream of winning “an Oscar for Oskar.” (Keneally’s anecdotes about Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and other cast members will delight film buffs.)
Written with candor and humor, Seaching for Schindler is an intimate look at Keneally’s growth as a writer and the enormous success of his portrait of Oskar Schindler.
The real hero of Searching for Schindler is Pfefferberg, the owner of a luggage store in Beverly Hills who buttonholed Keneally when he stumbled in one morning to buy a briefcase and told him the story of Schindler…Keneally's memoir is not particularly insightful on the deeper questions that have arisen around "Schindler's List"why the book was categorized as a novel, or whether the movie, among many serious criticisms, went too far in aestheticizing the Holocaustbut it abounds in amusing and poignant anecdotes…And it, too, serves as a useful caution against the natural preference for tidy stories with well-defined heroes. Much as the rescue could not have occurred without many small contributions along the way, the credits for the blockbuster "Schindler's List" should begin not with a successful novelist or a powerful Hollywood director but with the immigrant proprietor of a luggage store.